Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Unfortunately, in the US presidential race, colour is of great significance. Obama's colour is often up for mention (or the fact that he is, simmers right below the surface of every discussion) for one reason or the other. How can it not be, this is a historic moment in America's coming of Age. There are lots of people voting for Obama because he's black, there are lots of people not voting for him because he's black, there are lots of people who are abstaining because he's black!
In my corner of the globe I'm really just interested in whose policy will send down the price of saltfish. I love my ackee and salt fish you know.
Americans should vote for the person they believe is most capable of doing the job, the person whose manifesto they believe in, the person who has the clearer vision, the stronger will, and the greater fortitude to steer the USA out of the turbulent waters that threaten to engulf her.
I hope in another hundred years or so America will be so grown up that these will be the only issues that will guide voters to their decision.
Monday, October 27, 2008
by: Claude McKay (1890-1948)
So much in ten brief years! I have forgot
What time the purple apples come to juice,
And what month brings the shy forget-me-not.
I have forgot the special, startling season
Of the pimento's flowering and fruiting;
What time of year the ground doves brown the fields
And fill the noonday with their curious fluting.
I have forgotten much, but still remember
The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December.
I still recall the honey-fever grass,
But cannot recollect the high days when
We rooted them out of the ping-wing path
To stop the mad bees in the rabbit pen.
I often try to think in what sweet month
The languid painted ladies used to dapple
The yellow by-road mazing from the main,
Sweet with the golden threads of the rose-apple.
I have forgotten--strange--but quite remember
The poinsettia's red, blood-red in warm December.
What weeks, what months, what time of the mild year
We cheated school to have our fling at tops?
What days our wine-thrilled bodies pulsed with joy
Feasting upon blackberries in the copse?
Oh some I know! I have embalmed the days
Even the sacred moments when we played,
All innocent of passion, uncorrupt,
At noon and evening in the flame-heart's shade.
We were so happy, happy, I remember,
Beneath the poinsettia's red in warm December.
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die--oh, let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe;
Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Lovely dainty Spanish needle
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Ballad of Sixty-Five
by Alma Norma
The roads are rocky and the hills are steep,
The macca stretches and the gully’s deep.
The town is far, news travels slow.
And the mountain men have far to go.
Bogle took his cutlass at Stony Gut
And looked at the small heap of food he’d got
And he shook his head, and his thoughts were sad,
‘You can wuk like a mule but de crop still bad.’
Bogle got his men and he led them down
Over the hills to Spanish Town,
They chopped their way and they made a track
To the Governor’s house. But he sent them back.
As they trudged back home to Stony Gut
Paul’s spirit sank with each bush he cut,
For the thought of the hungry St Thomas men
Who were waiting for the message he’d bring to them.
They couldn’t believe that he would fail
And their anger rose when they heard his tale.
Then they told Paul Bogle of Morant Bay
And the poor man fined there yesterday.
Then Bogle thundered, ‘This thing is wrong.
They think we weak, but we hill en strong.
Rouse up yourself. We’ll march all night
To the Vestry house, and we’ll claim our right.’
The Monday morning was tropic clear
As the men from Stony Gut drew near,
Clenching their sticks in their farmer’s hand
To claim their rights in their native land.
Oh many mourned and many were dead
That day when the vestry flames rose red.
There was chopping and shooting and when it done
Paul Bogle and the men knew they had to run.
They ran for the bush were they hoped to hide
But the soldiers poured in from Kingston side.
They took their prisoners to Morant Bay
Where they hanged them high in the early day.
Paul Bogle died but his spirit talks
Anywhere in Jamaica that freedom walks,
Where brave men gather and courage thrills
As it did in those days in St Thomas hills.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
In this post I asked you guys what title you'd give a poem written by Angel Girl. I got a few awesome titles, but I also got some perspective on the notion of titles and how to eat a poem. Linda said that a poem just is, and can exist quite well without a title, although, she pointed out, a poet may want to send his reader in a certain direction with a title. Geoffery noted that we can simply love a poem without poking and probing at it.
Lorna Goodison, a leading West Indian poet has done some very interesting things with titles as with poems; several of her titles are poems, stories by themselves, for example there is
- The woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son which uses irony to capture the betrayal of some 'role models' who send young men to commit crimes,
- and there is For my mother (May I Inherit Half her Strength) -the story of a woman who wasted (it seems to me) half her enormous strength on her sweet-talking man, and nurtured nine children with the other half.
-and then there is Annie Pengelly- what a weird name for a poem! A lawyer has filed a suit on Annie Pengelly's behalf against her tormentor- her white owner who deprived her of countless hours of sleep, now history owes her her rest.
Two of these poems are from her sixth collection To us All Flowers are Roses. The poem that bears the title is a magnificent invocation of many place names in Jamaica, most of which range from the silly to the sublime, but all of which reflect our robust personality. Enjoy the first two stanzas of the title poem:
To us all flowers are Roses
Accompong is Ashanti, root, Nyamekopon. Appropriate name, Accompong, meaning warrior or lone one. Accompong, home to bushmasters, bushmasters being maroons, maroons dwell in dense places deep mountainous well sealed strangers unwelcome. Me No Send You No Come.
I love so the names of this place how they spring brilliant like "roses" (to us all flowers are roses), engage you in flirtation. What is their meaning? Pronunciation? A strong young breeze that just takes these names like blossoms and waltz them around, turn and wheel them on the tongue.
For the rest of the poem she groups the names in various categories; those that originated from Europe, those from Africa, those from Israel, those that express our frustrations, those that reflect our eternal faith. So there are lines like:
"at Bloody Bay where they punctured balloons"
"Rhine and Calabar, Askenish where freed slaves went to claim what was left of the Africa within"
"and Wait a Bit, Wild Horses, Tan and See, Time and Patience, Unity"
"There is Amity and Friendship and Harmony Hall"
"and Tranquility and Content. May Pen"
If you want to read any of the poems in it's entirety, drop me an email from my profile. To get a peek into the collection To us all Flowers are Roses click this spot, and to chat with me about this post click the comments button below :-).