Mealy Bug Sonnet
all they get, they get by chance
and multiply in ignorance
page white, they grow between bliss
they grow, this peacetime upheaval, grow
outbreak of dandruff in cotton tranches
behold: diamond dew (a mistaken view)
‘til the whole plant is ensnowed
fossil leaves curled like Mother’s hem
Texas sage made fungus, at last transformed
from a thing living to a thing possessed
this is how it blooms, like mushrooms in
the Savannah after Amerindian rain
this is how it moors, to wide open fields,
unexplored hills in the distance, grief
You make art of me,
turn hate into the second poem
of a book you author
deep inside a closet
I authored you.
I looked and saw
a flower that looked and saw
a flower that saw
Mora Trees Walked From Venezuela to Trinidad
(a found poem after JS Beard)
Viewed from the air, the canopy of Mora forest has the same undulating but
continuous character of the waves of the sea.
The bark of the Mora tree is brownish and scaly, about 5—7 mm. thick, hard and
The blaze is pale brown, the sapwood white, the heartwood deep red-brown.
The timber is hard, and though resistant to termites it is susceptible to fungus attack
and therefore not durable when in contact with the ground.
Mora is evergreen. Flush leaves are pinkish brown in colour. Flushing takes place
over the whole tree at once and usually over the whole forest also, at which times
the canopy is a striking sight.
Shrub, field and ground layers in the forest are composed almost exclusively of
young Mora seedlings and saplings, which form a dense, scarcely penetrable growth.
Mora forest as a whole seeds abundantly every year, though individual seeds may
not do so.
The seed, which falls during the second part of the wet season
(November—December) is a heavy bean about 7—10 cm. in length and weighing
nearly 0.5 kg.
It naturally falls only beneath the parent tree, but the seedling produced is vigorous
and able to stand heavy shade, so that the forest floor is densely carpeted with Mora
Mora seems to have reached Trinidad just as earth movements made it an island.
Mora then became cut off from its original home in Guiana, but as forest conditions
were returning in Trinidad it was able to establish itself there successfully.
During Pleistocene times the area that is now Trinidad was a part of continental
South America and consisted for the most part of a vast, level plain, which was co-
extensive with the great llanos of the Orinoco.
The aboriginal Indians in British Guiana are known to use Mora seeds as a food.
It seems quite reasonable that wandering hunting parties of these aborigines may
have carried supplies of Mora seeds on occasion about the Trinidad forests and have
abandoned them at campsites, where they germinated and initiated a new block of
It is just possible that Indians may have carried the seeds to Paria beach. Otherwise
no rational explanation seems possible. This point is the northernmost in the
distribution of Mora.
It must be a matter of difficulty for any seedling other than a Mora to come up
through the dense mass of Mora saplings. The species thus establishes initially a
thick ground carpet of its own seedlings which maintain an almost exclusive right to
succession in the forest. Once such a carpet has been laid down it is only a question
of waiting for the older trees to die before a gregarious Mora forest comes into
Trinidadian poet Andre Bagoo is the author of four books: Trick Vessels, BURN, Pitch Lake and The City of Dreadful Night. His work has appeared in journals such as Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, St Petersburg Review, POETRY, and The Poetry Review. His essay collection on poetry and culture, The Undiscovered Country, is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press.