This poem was almost a kind of confession when on one of the occasions I'd gone back to my village and a man who had grown much older - he was kind of going over his life to me - I had come back from England and the essence of what he was saying was a disappointment about his life and what he had been. I called the poem 'Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Then'.

Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

When I dead
mek rain fall.
Mek the air wash.
Mek the lan wash good-good.
Mek dry course them run, and run.

As laas breath gone
mek rain burst –
hilltop them work
waterfall, and all
the gully them gargle fresh.

Mek breadfruit limb them drip,
mango limb them drip. Cow, hog, fowl
stan still, in the burst of clouds.
Poinciana bloom them soak off, clean-clean.
Grass go unda water.

Instant I gone
mek all the Island wash – wash away
the mess of my shortcomings –
all the brok-up things I did start.
Mi doings did fall short too much.
Mi ways did hurt mi wife too oftn.

from Hot Earth Cold Earth (Bloodaxe Books, 1995), © James Berry 1995, used by permission of the author c/o PFD

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