Cy’s poems are sparks of light thrown off from a life lived to the fullest. They are rooted in the British West Indian colony of British Guiana, then track through the trauma of WWII Europe where as a RAF navigator the author was shot down over Holland and incarcerated in a Nazi prison camp. Having fought for the mother country, the racial bar on his chosen profession pushed Cy into show business – singing the news in calypso; theatre; movies – then into taking on the inherent inequities of British society, by setting up Drum the first black arts centre, followed by his production of the Concord multicultural arts festivals. The poems map the poet’s route, from the Keats of empire through the senseless loss of war, to the anger of the sixties, culminating in a 2-year national tour of Aimé Césaire’s Cahier – a tour de force of black discovery and reconciliation.

This transcendence was completed by his immersion in the non-dualist philosophy of the Tao Te Ching and an in-depth study of the steel pan, the gift of the West Indies to the world; a transmutation of industrial waste metal into healing sound. And so the later poems find him creating alternative healing realities at the crossroads of so many different journeys; enriching us like the panman, from basic materials – in his case pen and paper – and from the soul.

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