Comparing And Contrasting The Poems, Carpenter’s Complaint And Coolie Mother
The poem ‘Carpenter’s Complaint’ by Edward Baugh was about a carpenter who wanted to build a coffin for his friend; however, the son of the dead man ‘maaga-foot bwoy’ wanted another man, Mr. Belnavis, to build his father a fancier and nicer coffin. He was very mad because he built his friend’s house, but not his coffin. The carpenter described Mr. Belnavis as a ‘big-belly crook who don’t know him arse from a chisel’, and who only got the job to make the coffin because he was a big-shot. We knew that he was in a bar because of line 11 ‘Fix we a nex’ one, Miss Fergie’. He praised his friend’s ability to drink, and be able to stand up straight and walk home ‘cool, cool, cool’. The carpenter would have built the coffin for free because the man was his friend. He believed that university turned the ‘maaga-foot bwoy’ fool, and it burnt him badly.
The poem ‘Coolie Mother’ by David Dabydeen was about a hard working coolie mother named Jasmattie. She was broke and her home was so small that it was compared to a shoe box. Jasmattie did any work that she could find and these included beating clothes, weeding yard, chopping wood, and feeding fowl. She worked for every body line4 ‘For this body and that body and every blasted body’ suggested that she was frustrated and that she worked for everyone; even those that she might not have liked. She had to fetch water from the Canje River because they didn’t have running water. She worked until her ‘foot bottom crack’ and ‘she hand cut-up’, and curses swarmed out of her mouth. She was sick because she was coughing blood, but going to a doctor that would cut into her savings, so instead she mashed the blood into the ground. She saved her ‘one-one slow penny’ because in the end they added up. In the last stanza we learn that she was saving the money and working hard because her son Harilall had to go to school in Georgetown and had to wear clean starch pants or else they would laugh at him. He had to read book talk proper, take exam and go to England university, so that he didn’t turn out like his father who was a drunkard, and didn’t help out Jasmattie at all.
The two poems ‘Carpenter’s Complaint’ by Edward Baugh and ‘Coolie Mother’ by David Dabydeen shared many similarities. The first of these similarities was that both poems were about poor peple. In ‘Coolie Mother’ Jasmattie was broke, and she had to work very hard to make her ‘one-one slow penny’. Similarly, in ‘Carpenter’s Complaint’ the carpenter was poor, and that was the main reason why his friend’s son didn’t want him to build his father’s coffin. These poems are also similar because both of the major characters were hard workers. In dabydeen’s poem Jasmattie did all kinds of odd jobs for every and anybody, so that she could have money to send her son to school. In Baugh’s poem, the carpenter was a hard worker because he didn’t have to build the coffin; however, he wanted to do it because it was for a friend. He was even going to build it for free....
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"Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die."
"Oh, at home had I but stayed
'Prenticed to my father's trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads."
"Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I but left ill alone."
"Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So 'tis come from ill to worse."
"Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same's the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love."
"Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone."
"Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die."