National Geographic : 1975 Jan
he hesitated when he saw me, a white stranger. "Who's that?" he asked in Creole. "A poet," said my skipper. "Oh, that's all right then," the boatman re plied, and dropped his pants. I had not claimed that honor, but Symphar knew that his countrymen respected creative people as much as they mistrusted officials and businessmen. Now Symphar opened his box and took out a coil of line weighted with a grooved stone and armed with gang hooks. He baited these "How gray seem the words of poets in the presence of this Nature!" wrote essayist Laf cadio Hearn of Martinique's green world. On the island's east coast the crumpled hills reflect the dawn. Martinique's 340,000 people stem from African slaves, French planters, and laborers from India and China. Under France's wing for 300 years, the island in 1946 became a department of France.