81 co LO** f 8 aq V*,
This book is, I understand, the first published
anthology of poems in our country. Collections of works by individual poets have been published in the past and some years ago a series of leaflets were brought out y the Rev. D.L. Ching, then with the Methodist Mission here. But nothing has been done, until now, to bring togetheriss one book a collection from the works of our own poets, and I applaud those responsible for it.
This coiuection not only fills a long felt need for recognition of the poets and the creative heritage of our people but provides a book which, it is hoped will become part of the reading material in our schools, libraries and homes.
Poetry knows no national boundaries; but, since it is the product of the entire man that is the poet, it is natural that it will express his thoughts, emotions and desires in a way that is coloured by his personal and national background. To put it more simply, a twentieth century Earthman will write more convincingly and more poetically about the nuclear world in which we live than would a Martian. ?or we must not forget that all true poets have one thing in common they are essentially true to themselves and the things of which they write. Similarly, a poet who is rooted and grounded in this country, though he may range the world and space in the topics of his poems, will naturally reflect his feelings from the viewpoint of his own home. Thus, though poetry knows no national boundaries it nevertheless possesses a national flavour. It is most fiting at this time, when our country is going through great changes in status and pace, when the tide of nationalism is rising, that our people should be able to look through the eyes of our own poets at the fascinating and beautiful land that gave them birth and inspiration.
* .W. Macmillan,
Minister of Education.
The works presented in this section highlight a new theme in our poetry nation buildingand the march towards independence.
Fourteen years ago a quiet social and political revolution swept the country. It was a movement which has since pervaded every facet of our national life. Here was one of those currents of the future which for us would lead inevitably, yet smoothly on, to complete independence.
But before this goal is attained there would lie alad a long, slow process of nation-building. It would be required of all citizens that they make far-reaching adjustments: that they undergo a period of conscious preparation for projecting a new image on the international stage their own; that in the crucial pre-independence phase they shoulder courageously the burdens of nation-building; that on the attainment of independence they willingly assume all the varied responsibilitiea of this coveted status.
"Land of the Gods", by S.A. Haynes, is more than a song in praise of "mountains and valley where prairies roll". More than this, it is a strident call to prepare for "freedom" which "comes tomorrow's noon"; to pledge our manhood to safeguarding and enhancing the fulfillment we seek.
Milton Arana's "Birth of a Nation", composed to mark the achievement of internal self-government, puts the call in more urgent, more specific, form;
"Rise up, dear friend, and grasp your neighbour's hand;
With common heart subdue this, nature's' land'
In years to come a future generation
Will rise and stand an independent nation."
Not only nation-building but building with a wider purpose to "spread the nation's fame" is the exhortation of J.L. Blackett's "Master Builders All".
We must hope that the poems presented in this section
represent the beginning of a New Tradition in Belizean poetry.
SEP. 2 7 1977
IUND .OF, THE, GODS ,
0, Land of the gods by the Carib Sea, Our manhood we pledge to thy liberty No tyrants here linger, despots must flee This tranquil haven of democracy. The blood of our sires which hallows the sod, Brought freedom from slavery oppression's rod. By the might of truth and the grace of God No longer shall we be hewers of wood.
Arisel ye sons of the Baymen's clanPut on your armour, clear the land
Drive back the tyrants, let despots fleeLand of the Gods by the Carib SeaNature has blessed thee with wealth untold, O'er mountains and valleys where prairies roll; Our fathers, the Baymen, valiant and bold Drove back the invader; this heritage hold! From proud Rio Hondo to old Sarstoon, Through coral isle, over blue lagoon; Keep watch with the angels, the stars and moon: For freedom comes to-morrow's noon.
Arisel ye sons of the Baymen's clan, Put on your armour, clear the land
Drive back the tyrants, let despots fleeLand of the Gods by the Carib Seal
This is a rugged land, a wild land, nature's country And amply blessed and filled with her great bounty. Nature resents the taming hand of man And labours ever to frustrate his plan. Cast back, dear friend, your eyes to long ago And see that ancient Maya toiling slow: See how he labours, building stone by stone; See him ass-burdened yet without a groan And look, do but observe the gorgeous fane Of yonder lofty Mayan temple, natures bane. But now, the jungle-smothered ruins proclaim Proud nature's triumph and of the ancient folk Only their stone. remain.
This is a lovely land, a fair land, natures own; With bush-green valleys and sunsets multi-tone, Yet the timber-cutter sought not nature's ease, But stood her hardships, her ills without surcease. He settled not the verdant Stann Creek Valley Nor Mountain Pine Ridge where one might ever dally, He chose the field swampy swamp Old River's estuary Impelled to it by sheer necessity. Cast tack, dear friend, your eyes to-the age past And see the great logs on the waters cast; And look, do but observe that splendid slave felling that
magnificent mahogany tree, Completely free of iron chain on grave.
This is a great land, a good land, nature's place; Its people free, composed of varied race: Witness the Carib paddling his canoe, Or see the Kekchi as he burns anew For long and hard our ancestors have worked In sea and forest where great perils lurked Rise up, dear friend, and grasp your neighbour's hand; With common heart subdue this, nature's land. In years to come a future generation Will rise and stand, an independent national And say with pride: "This is our dear land Given to us by God's and nature's hand".
MASTER BUILDS ALL
Each one of us a Master Builder is, Each in his place pressing onward still With main and might, with brawn and brain Each builds to spread the Nation's fame.
Each one can help to build a state Where justice, love, and peace do make The semblance of a garden rich and rare Where each takes interest, and all do care.
We build our nation Lord, On Thee That all our efforts men may seeAre aimed to glorify Thy name And rear a people free from shame.
We pray for strength and courage bold, To meet each problem and to mould With zest and seal, wit faith and love, A nation's pride, a nation'shope.
Like men and women with purpose clear, We work to build a nation fair, Where each doth from thie other draw Fresh courage for the coming day.
So, then, together let us build A Nation great, a nation dear; Where goodness, truth and love abound
Where UNITY is ever found.
For the greater part of our history poor transportation facilities have greatly restricted travel and social contacts between the widely scattered communities of the country. Water-borne transport was the natural, though inconvenient, means of getting around. Only the hardiest could penetrate the forest, highlands and savannahs via a maze of picados and tortuous overland trails.
It is only within the last 50 years that a network of arterial roads has forked out across the country, trailing a capillary-like system of feeder roads built to give access to new or potential farm lands. These are not yet first class roads.. The highway to Toledo, formerly tH6 forgotten district, has yet to be consolidated. But, for all this, the flow of goods and passengers between the district is today many times what it was half a century ago.
Poets like Leo Bradley,, Raymond Barrow and Edney Cain have travelled widely throughout the country over the old and the new highroads. The breath-taking scenery, the majesty and the mystery of unfamiliar vistas they have seen has filled them with gushing praises, appreciation, with pride for this their native land. So different was all this from the setting in Belize City, where they all grew up, that they felt impelled to call attention to the grandeur of our countryside; to rhapsodize, as it were, on the scenic delights which their fellow Belizeans had not seen, or seeing, failed to appreciate.
In terms of literary achievement, too, some of them have penned veritable gems of poetic expression.
Consider Raymond Barrow's flock of birds at dawm
"Giving their voice self-criticizing auditions".
For him, the sun is a ...."barefoot boy" striding ....... "briskly up
The curved beach of the sky, flinging his greetings
Warmly in all directions ..........
Leo Bradley looked out one morning and saw
"Waving droves of bougainvilias pencilling a clear
All this, he says, ...."reminds us of the glory and the
radiance of the free".
"In all", observed Thomas Lind, "there is beauty, grandeur and power" and this serves, he says, .... "To elevate the body, the mind and the soul."
Not only has Leo Bradley observed the beauty of the land and the sea. He also writes of the
"Ardour of a smiling people beside a radiant sea." No matter how far away, he says; ....."4y Mayaland calls me
To give her truly, prayerfully of my best"
Inspired by his travels throughout the country thd poet is impelled to sing the glory of his homeland. And this profound admiration leads naturally, with humility, to the discovery of his duty to the nation.
DAWN IS A FISHERMAN
Dawn is a fisherman, his harpoon of light Poised for a throw--So swiftly morning comes: The darkness squatsupon the sleeping land Like a flung cast-net, and the black shapes of boats Lie hunched like nestling turtles On the flat calm of the sea.
Among the trees the houses peep at the stars Blinking farewell, and half-awakened birds Hurtle across the vista, some in the distance Giving their voice self-criticized auditions.
Warning comes from the cocks, their necks distended Like city trumpeters: and suddenly Between the straggling fences of grey cloud The sun, a barefoot boy, strides briskly up The curved beach of the sky, flinging his greetings Warmly in all directions, laughingly saying Up, up, the day is here! Another day is here
Shades and shadows manifold Grace our tropic land Silhouettes of sea-gu ll wings, And palm shades on the sand; Of countless coral windy cayes, And dipping sail-boats grand.
House forms lie across the lanes To ease the noon-day heat, And bougainvilias lend their shade While caiiurcn spires lithely meet The shadows of the shuffling soul And the repentant feet.
And in the leafy forest home Where bamboos bend beside The silent streams, and timbers throw Their massive forms and ride Above the pine trees there too So many shades abide.
Yes, mla-aay sunblaze, lull-moon glow, Send myriad shades to earth; And we in humble confidence, Through days of grief and mirth Feel God's protective hands o'ershadow Our blessed land of birth.
71 1P ,
.4Y MAYA LND
Yes, my straying thoughts must wander far afield, far away, To a sun-kissed stretch of windy land by a bay, And hear the sea gulls cry for food by river harbour, Where market-goers purchase tropic fruits with ardour; Ardour of a smiling people beside a radiant sea.
A radiant sea that calls to mind my infant days of glee, Of glorious galavantings to a picnic caye -And the green-blue waves courting our tipping craft of joy, And grinning palm-trees hissing melody to a carefree boy; Oh! what sense of sweet surcease to me!
On country ride beside the rustic streams and road, And charming rustic faces in their whbite-marled thatch abode; The juicy taste of plums and bokatora, and the hunting in the night, The fresh smell of the pine ridge and the sacred sunset sight, Sight, too, of the sunrise and the morning rain.
And my mind betakes me harshly to those many jaunts of joy Manatee Lagoon, Xunantunich way up there in the sky -Caye Corker's sea, Sibun's chilly stream, Vaca's scenery, and a full full-moon's dream -And my heart aches avidly for home.
For home and avidly for those faces Of my winsome people, and those blessed places Where my feet and heart moved trippingly times ago, And my mind was light and full and free, and so My Mayaland calls me. It burns. I must go -Go to her mangrove shores, and hilly west, To give her truly, prayerfully of my best!
GREEN IS THE GARDEN
Green is the garden throughout the land, On all range of compass points Life's substance on earth transformed. Summer sun's rays are strong, But gentle the night's silver moon When gray clouds hang from the sky Seducing the blue ripples of the sea.
Great inheritance of which my father spoke. In the garden the fruit is sorrow, the fruit is joy. I am the gardener, and the keeper of the bees; With them I've learned to live. My praise is as sweet as honey, My wrath is as their sting.
Leeches live on the beauty of flowers, And flowers cast a shadow on shrubs, Yet, I am happy to have them all Tho' they don't seem to care Whether I am near or I am far.
I love the multiplicity of what I see, And what I don't know wont worry meIn my garden (with mind's fertile soil) Life means everything it's meant to be:
Show me the petals of roses or the dark of clouds in storms Or the snow-shrouded peaks of mountains in near or distant lands, Or waterfalls' colors beside the radiant sun. If birds twitter as they wing across the sky, They may be headed to take a pebble from a great benevolent hand. In all there is beauty, grandeur and power, To elevate the body, the mind, the soul.
MORNING GLORY LABD
Ohl The glory of a morning, midst my country's flowery fold, Foliage of bright confusion, of saffron, white and gold; Waving droves of bougainvilias pencilling a clear blue sky While hibiscus gold and red-stained standout idly by -Royal riot of colours, blazing beauty bold.
And the glory of the blue bells, coloured blue and white, Blending with the humble lily's innocent-like sight; Lot The periwinkles growing near to mother ground Mixing with the marigolds that everywhere are found -Nature's angelus of prayer, everyone's delight
And the fragrance of the flowers found within my native home, Brings a burning sense of longing any time I roam; Be it rose blooms sweet and tender or narcissus scent serene, Or the odour of thp jasmine, so slender yet so clean, Or those flowers by the cave-side right beside the angry foam.
Now throughout our little homeland flowery concourses hold sway, Orange blossoms in the valley myriad wild blooms by the bay; Water lilies in the river, and the wild rose by the stream And the blossoms on the hill-top, or the sunflowers that gleam -Fairyland so fresh with flowers, blooming night and day.
But of all this panorama the Morning Glory seems to me Best the flower of my country, with its waving glad and free, Welcoming the scaling sunrise, sparkling with its purple sheen, Seen around in much profusion, blazing forth an active mien, Watch them waving in the country, see them smiling by the seal
Oh God, the, rich array of all our flowers seems significant to me, That You have blessed us with a pageant, with a glorious thoughz'of Thee; And the brightness of our blossoms turned to Thee in prayer Should engender hallelujahs from my countrymen so dear, And remind us of the glory and the radiance of the free.
- 9 -
THIS LAND I LOVE
'Midst the brilliant, flick'ring shadows Of a tropic moonlit night, Have I gazed in dazzled wonder, Where in scenery of delight -Clouds of happy, waving palm trees Court the azure skies above, While the frothy, emerald wavelets Dash upon this land I love.
Many summers have I wandered Far across enchanted lands, That are decked with pirate mysteries; And upon whose grainy sands Of a hundred sun-bathed islets, Or in forest did I rove Wrapt in glorious admiration For this blessed land I love.
Streams and streamlets vie in beauty, Rushing to the Carib Sea; Cooling lands of tropic verdure Where in peace a people free Dwell in calm, serene and lasting And admire the olived dove And with shoulder bent to shoulder Marches on this land I love.
Proud am I to bear the birth-mark Of this sunny, sacred soil, Which fore-fathers of the ages, Bent and built in fervid toil; And if e'er a patriot prosper, 'neath our country's skies above-I shall be the one to answer For this blessed land I love!
TO A TROPIC REEF
Oh, murmuring reef Changing while yet unchanged, No earthly power can 'ere erase The jagged contours of your face; Nor can the hand of futile man Disrupt your sweet incessant song! Oh, chattering reef, foam-capped you bear Your craggy head up in the air.
- 10 -
Tempestuuus seas around you rage Their provocations to assuageAnd angry seas around you swe, Like-bound fiends from the depths of nell, While sea-gulls white and graceful sway Poised o'er your agelesshead each day. Did Christopher Columbus brave Hear the loud warning your voice gave As, standing on his gallant ship He passed by on his questing trip?
Did Cortes and his hardy band Sailing to Mottezuma' s land Steer 'neath your sheltering calm Secure from some fierce tropic storm? Oh murmuring reef v
Changing while yet unchanged, I am content to see you lie Serene beneath your tropic skyL Your many secrets hold secure; As long as Nature's hands endure I would not wrest them from your breast Nor seek to mar your happiness. And 'the angry tempests blast And stormy seas around you toss, 'Thn seasons change and we are gone, Oh Tropic reef! Keep murmuring on.... Oh Tropic reefl Keep murmuring on.
At twilight's gate the sun's departing teams pause for a moment, Conscious that night's precursors advance with stealthy tread, Trailing her shadowy curtains; The sun's departing beams not willing to depart And leave this lovely land. Darker the shadows fall and night's long fingers Mingle the twilight glory Painting the sky kaliedoicopic hues That blend, and smile, and glow And kiss the cooling evening on th6 sea below.
Knowing its reign a moment's span must cross, The sun reluctantly moves on But turas to see
The winding ribbon of the rivers
Wending through for ets; The pine-tree sentinels, needle-cloaked, Watching and waiting; While evening breezes ruffle theit lofty heads Pearly white-sanded beaches Stretching weary arms And the sea's whisper guiding White-sailed wanderers safely home.
- 11 -
Far distant, drowsy cayes shining Like crysolites on the darkling sea. The fleet-foot deer breaks swiftly From his wild-cane bower, And sniffing air, with lightning movement Flees the savage tiger Whose fetid scent airborne Assails the evening; While gaudy birds send raucous calls Winging their way to home and sleep---The breezes sigh a tuneful serenade The sun moves on and Night's dark cloak descends.
'Ere life's shadows lengthen And shy earthly sojourn ceases, How like the sun ay wish will be. To pause at twilight's gate, To turn and see The winding rivers, And the pine-trees, watching, waiting; The beaches beckoning, The white-sails streaming, The wild-deer fleeing The night birds calling; Palm-crees, and droning reefs where fishes play---George S. Singh A tinge of rose bids sweet repose Confront, the new-born day; A touch of fire, young hearts aspire To linger and to play. 'Midst forests green, the verdant sheen Heralds approaching dawnAnd birds and bees desert their trees To greet the coming morn.
Upon the hill-side nought is still; The beasts in bright array, By threes and fours, upon the moors They sally forth to play. In skies around, the heartening sound Of blackbirds thrill the air; They soar above, or swoop to prove Their conquest of the air.
The wind comes up the butter-cup Just nods her yellow head; As though to say: "Wake up it's day," To others in the bed.
- 12 -
The screech-owl cries in mock surprise; The sun begins her run Up from the sea in majesty, Her dawning is begun.
George S. Singh
The lengthening shades seem to be made For lovers strolling by; The evening breeze causes the trees To nod their heads and sigh. In bosque and wood all things seem good, The sun has sunk to rest; Soon all will be beneath a sea Of gloom on nature's breast.
On hill and moor, in nature's bower, Wild beasts desert their young; For hours of fun now being done The hunting is begun. O'er vale and hill, 'neath ridge and rill Nature's wild couriers roam, With every heart set on the thought Of little ones at home.
Night-birds of prey, absent by aay, Now fill the cloudy sky With cruel claws, and open aws O'er course and shrub they fly. The golden moon dispels the gloom, li, And sheds her golden light. A single Dove, of peace and Love Is seen to guard the night.
Silhouetted hills so slowly fading As shadowed the sun creeps To its westward rendezvous;
The palmtrees, graceful, swaying sing; And moonbeams like insistent dreams Drip through night's windowpanes.
The soothing murmur of the sea; The carefree rippling of its waves Echo fond lullaby;
- 1n -
And night with sleep so beautiful Comes on
When day's monotony gives way to rest.
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
There is magic in the moonlight Where the breezes softly sigh; There is wonder in the whisper Spoken in your eye. Night holds ten thousand splendours For the heart that's light and freely There is magic in the moonlight, More than you can see.
Dreams are born of Night's conceiving, In the morning they'll come true: All you wish will come to you.
When tonight the moonlight beckons, Hang your wishes to a star, Sow your dreams upon Night's ocean Stretching near and far And when morning comes to wake you You may find that this is true: All the things you dreamed you wanted Will be waiting there for youl
So many Cayes there are along our coasts Guarding our mangrove shores like little forts; So many of them our true pride and our boast, Forming the gateways to secluded ports.
Strung ou' 3o far, almost two hundred miles Theyer e: a string of emeralds embossed Someties in clusters, oft in single file, On mantle of sapphire, by ages glossed.
To one of these came I one summer day, While far I wandered in my boat so swift, Its sheer beauty took my breath away, And gave my lnely heart a God-sent lift.
From end to end flourished the coconut trees Down to the white and glittering sandy beach; The myriad sea-birds, quick-wafted by the breeze Flew here and there, now in now out of reach.
My craft I set straight for that lovely isle, And stepped ashore where wavelets frothed cream; Sweet solitude enticed my weary eyes, The gentle seabreeze lulled me into dream.
I dreamt I was the islands mighty king, With island queen and princely offspring too; Round me strong lads and lasses brown did sweetly sing, Who daily swam and frolicked in the blue.
My mansion great of cut white stone was perched, In the exact centre of this wondrous isle, No murderer slew, no drunkard lurched, While I dispensed y gifts with royal hand.
Alas, alack- I woke up with a start My weary body well refreshed by sleep. The seabirds cry like vendors in the mart; I board my boat and launch into the deep.
After some months, I sought the isle again Sometimes with others, sometimes all aloneI've never found it, it fills my heart with pain, That never will you bless my sight, sweet Abalone.
- 15 -
In this section the poems are in a much more serious vein. Queries are advanced, values stated, wisdom and great depth of' feeling imparted. While there Is still a lot of the romance inspired by patriotic sentiment and the charm of the surroundings, the poets concern themselves with matters of great depth and record their owi poignant observations.
James Martinez asks "What is Success in Life?" Luis Cano wants to know "Why should I be bothered?"
There is no short answer to either question, But, presented as they are, they pose an invitation to serious thought on man, his aim-In life and his relationship to society. In "The Necessity of Will" Rev. Elliot says flatly of man
...."if he shows no will to rule,
He will be reckoned as a fool."
We may not necessarily agree. Still, it is a provocative statement.
Four of the poems have children as their subject. This is neither surprising nor accidental for the works reveal something of our attitude towards children. Families are large in this country and the family forms a circle of love, protection and concern for the child. In turn, we glory in the innocence, trust and promise of the child. Similarly, the poems of Leo Bradley, particularly, reveal a deeply rooted sense of religious commitment. This follows spontaneously from the country's strong christian tradition.
In somber, serene mood, Raymond Barrow speaks of
"A volume of long-remembered things."
"And from these things has drawn, this heart of mine
Comfort and succour that will prove full meed
When in the drought of aging years I pine
For sustenance in some small hour of need."
Here is a condition of mind which must triumph over the ups anddowns of life. Here is a state of composure, of serenity that is rare indeed.
Finally, the poet himself and his mission comes in for
scrutiny. We are reminded that "He speaks in a wonder tongue"; that he is a "weaver of magic themes." And what is his mission? To "...tell of the yearnings of the crowd." What has this to do with the nation?
"The (Poet's) touch of beauty can mean so much,
It can make a better land."
We shall see now how the sixteen poems in this section
"evoke and satisfy our latent intellectual and emotional responses."
Twilight's myriad hues are covering Windswept lands beside the sea; While the lofty trees are bowing Leafy heads about'a caye, Where the loving voice of mother Whispered lullaby to me.
Now as stars serenely glitter O'er Belizean tropic sand, And the little lamsp lights flicker Mother's wrinkled, gentle hand Will but fondle babe while singing Lullaby throughout the land.
Here, beside the rushing river Where the glow worms brightly fly; There beside the Maya ruin On a verdant hillock high, Gentle lips of rustic mothers Fondly break in lullaby.
And within the fishing hamlet On a sandy, moonlit isle, Or below a Cockscomb sunaet From a Carib in her smile, Silent, stealing strain will echo Lullaby from mile to mile.
While the Carib sire will linger, Nesting like his Maya friend, And the city father's finger Will in sporting pleasure blend, Mother's voice throughout Belize Will in lullaby descend.
And beside the magic seaside ahre the wavelets splash and die-, Or on top the Western highlands Where the cradles kiss the sky, Little hearts of new Belizeans Throb to mother's lullaby.
For while laughing heads of palm-trees Blend with windy ecstasy; And Belizean tropic nature Join In glorious melody, Mother's lullaby will soften In a perfect rhapsody.
TO A CHILD
They tell me that your loveliness is childhood's, A beauty that will fade with passing yearsThey say that, like the blossoms of the wildwoods, Spring's flower will wither when wan Winter nears: Yet something tells me that your face pach Springtime Receives a lovelier radiance than it wears.
Yes, Time is resolute with those who hate her Their foolish tears she will not stay to drySou2s in the lengthening shadows find that, later, There only sorrow mirrored in the eye: I know hat you find joy in every moment, And you'll grow lovelier as time passes by.
The future heralds hope for new achievement For keen eyes and a heart as great as yours; A passing shadow, or a sad bereavement, Can add a depth of feeling to your powers: All noble souls have seen the vale of sliadows, Conq'ring the paths to Truth's illumined towers.
And in the twilight of the lengthening Summers, The sunset in your eyes will brightly glow; The morning's sunrise and the noonday's murmurs Will wonder that you still can charm them so: Only the selfless heart whose life is service Can feel the joy of living that you know.
THE SONGS OF CHILDHOOD
Sing the songs you hear, Or songs from little rhymes Which spring to your fairy mind. But sing no matter what mayl In songs many things are said Which adults do not comprehend. Sing your songs of childhood, sing
To childhood this melody was sung, "Gather little children unto me," And to others "Be ye as little children," Before the gates of Heaven swing, (The gates are small and low,) And only those who bend their heads May with glory enter therein.
ON THEM DEPENDS THE FUTUEE
Give them happiness When they are young, When they are grown They'll find their own.
it's a child's world Give it back unselfishly. Joy of toys and schooldays Long remembered.
Games played simulating reality, Like shams of responsibility, Projected into the reams of youth, Will cloud the days of maturity.
Time should be balm, Not of poison ivy But of happiness concocted. ise it generously.
Give it back to them, As it was in youth By your elders given you. On them depends the future
TO A POET
My friend, you whose great heart the Muse has touched, And who at her altar kneel, Hold high the flame, and let your name Exalt the poet's weal.
Let music from your singing soul Rise with the sun to-day; And when to-night, the stars are bright, Send music oJer the bay.
For what is life if there be no touch Of the singer's awakening wand? No tune of a song to help us along On the road to a Better Land?
The poet, the weaver of magic themes, He speaks in a wonder tongue: He tells the tales of a man who dreams, His life is a life of song.
The music of masters echoing loud Across centuries of time; They tell of the yearnings of the crowd, They speak in a voice sublime.
Oh, what would the world be without the touch Of the Master's enlivening hand? The touch of beauty can mean so much, It can make a better land
What greater love than that love should die, To keep its life secure? Such overwhelming love is the strongest tie 'Tween earth and the heavens above.
Deep in the heart, beyond all sight, there lies A volume of those long-remembered things Which, in the gloom of sorrows and of sighs Crept forth and sang of hope a stout faith brings.
And from these things has drawn, this heart of mine, Comfort and succour that will prove full meed When In the drought of aging years I pine For s sustenance in some small hour of need.
Clear on each page they are: a touch of hand In sympathy; or laughter of surprise; Or morn of beauty; or some romping oand Of children with adventure in their eyes.
And yet invisibly, a knife-like blade Marks where onelbeam brought sunlight to my shade.
I don't know why I always thrill To hear marimba musicTs it because it has Its fill Of angels' tones cherubic?
Or it might be because I hear The songs of fretting palm-tree, And little cataracts that tear The stream-bed pebbles gladly.
meybe it's because the heart lees melody so moving; That ith its gentle tremours start Cur ti red minds a-dreaming.
so many players blend their beats To bring effect so easing, And then a tone-ful chorus greets With ecstasy releasing.
it is not all like buzz of bees, ,Though yet that sound is there; Nor Is it like the sighing seas-I could be wrong I fear.
Oh, yest I think I have a cluel Marimba murmurs bring us So much of nature's music-to Set up our hearts melodious.
And never was a. music heard To equal nature's chorus; Marimbas always have concurred With melody so gorgeousl
Cars, trucks, cycles, silent walker Pressing my sore shoulders down Sans mercy, creeping onward With cargoes, humans, thoughts, to town; Rolling on, grinding on.
The sun burns unkindly, pains My throbbing muscles, pressed by Wheels, feet, towering loads While drivers curve, and brak'- cry Driving by, screeching high.Stainless tread of children off to school, Camions log-bound solitary hunter, Alternate and benA my back; Trucks cargo-loaded, modern limousine Swerve and lean, speed unseen.
Clouds of dust from rainless sumjxr Swirling pools from storm-clouds
Taint my curved anatomy, And scattered pebbles press, while They move from mile to mile, my spine beguile.
The light slips-by, night brings little rest, B-, I maintain eternal task Nature's melody of rustic sounds, glow-worms glow, Defiled by blazing headlights, chugging engines Up the hill, in the kill.
Yes, in the kill, for many a day In crazy moments, I have seen Men in twisted metal bleed, or felt The sickening touch of broken limbs And life bedims, by blood-stained rims.
But in the midst of strain and work I strut with h on pride,
I feed the nat4 point the way To other place, oe journey done, They carry on, my duty won.,
AT TIMES WHEN OVER BY-GONE DAYS WE BROOD
James S. Martinez
At times when over by-gone days we brood, How clear our thoughts do mirror on our mind. Those happy days when round our hearth we stood And talked our childish talk of simple kind -How sweetly lingers on our mind the good And worthy deeds and vict'ries we have won 'Gainst Satan, br some evil acts withstood. How clearly through our thoughts these memories run, At times when over by-gone days we brood.
At times when over by-gone days we brood, How well our parents' words come to our mind; -Words that were well intended for our good, Which thought we then uncivil and unkind, Our reasoning then being somewhat dull and crude; We clearer see as now we older get Then grieved of many things misunderstood, Our hearts are filled with sorrow and regret, At times when over by-gone days we brood.
At times when over by-gone days we brood, How memories sad of comrades long since dead, Creep up and put us in a gloomy mood, As Vision we the lonely grave--their bedl How tried we then to draw and lift the hood That bars our sight from out the Spirit World;Then changed to lighter things for mental food, When through such depths of thought our senses whirl, -At time when over by-gone days we brood.
At times'when over by-gone days we brood, And count what we have done and left undone, Were they for evil or were they for good? And what will be of us when we are gone, When we the Spirit's flight shall have pursued of those dear ones who long have gone before? And thus we picture in our fancy crude, The future fate that is for us in store -At times when over by-gone days we brood.
MY MORNING PRAYER
Dear Lord, I rise to face another day, .And with a humble mind I ask of Thee Your guidance firm along the weary way Of life the many hours will make me see.
Bring me the health and safety to perform The task for which my talents You did give; And when the troubles loom, do lend Your arm Of strength, to make me better live.
Point me the road of patience to endure The setbacks and the gall I must accept; And let my tiny actions do ensure That Your injunctions ten I shall have kept.
Bring blessing to the many efforts I shall make, And from the upright manner I shall live, I hope my neighbours will do ready take Example good and I assistance give.
Endow my day with virtues manifold, Of honest effort, faith and kindness free; Of courage, hope and heart of gold, That I true gentleman all day will be.
And whether in my work or out at play, With smiles of calmness or with face of fear, Deep confidence allow me now to bring Upon Your guidance through my silent prayer.
Allow me strength to fight temptation's call, Prevent my anger, ease my troubled heart; Let christian actions solely may befall From what my every effort will impart.
Yes, let my every action tend to be today A prayer of love and reverence to You; And all I do and all I'll have to say Be semblances of my friendship true.
When I come again to rest tonight, When hours are gone and weary day is done, Let me be worthy ever in Thy sight, To bear the title of Thy loyal son.
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NECESSITY OF WILL
However much one may be blessed With chance and brain and all the rest, Without a will a good strong will, No place of honour can he fill. So many men, we may have known, Some precious gifts away have thrown, Because their will at best was poor; They made-a start and not much more.
One day a clever thing they do; Next.day'their heart drops in their shoe; Nor tongue can be controlled nor brain: They hold in life no steady aim. And as from side to side they sway, Let be their talents what they may, They nothing gain great is their loss No rolling stone can gather moss.
A job done well gives stronger will; One poorly done sends in a bill; Our small strength saps, and we are left Of all true joys oflife bereft. Then teach the youth his mind to use, Else he his talents will abuse; Let him a strong will cultivate While young, and not till manhood wait.
Put him with hardship to compete, And crush that growing cur, conceit Which softens hand and heart of youthL, And blinds the eye to noble truth. Yes, goad him on to climb the cliff, Though sometimes sore he be and stiff. Before stern difficulty's lash, We hasten on to wear the sash.
The world needs men with brain and hand, Men with much knowledge backed by sand And a wise heart seasoned with love, To give the forward upward move To happiness. To do his part, The restive youngster urge take heart; For if he shows no will to rule, He will be reckoned as a fool.
If what you've done is all you could the best, Then'be content and leave to God the rest. Things fluctuate, nor joy nor sorrow stays; Oft changing scenes and changing moods amaze; But he. who learns that in all things there's good, That passing failures are but strengthening food, Will climb the hill, though his defeats confess, And push his way th pugh all to sweet success.
I HT MY LAMP
An inner large I cannot kill, And much stronger than my will, Gently takes my hand to write, Dimly, by the fire light.
Of thoughts unseen that flit in my nind, Of mortals stumbling in our time, In a darkness, of their own design.
Why should I be bothered? Am I the keeper of my brother? How can I live without a care If my happiness I'll not share?
And would it not be a sin?. To know the truth and keep it within?
So my lamp i light with my pen, To shine in the hearts of men, And'happy I'll be, If but one would see, The wonderful things I see.
I'm the shiny fire light, That shines in the darkest night; You may find me in the sea,, In ths sky and in the tree,
I burn with the sun With the sparkling stream I run, With the new born, I give a cry, With the old and worn, I gladly die.
I'm the eternal wisdom That said: "Thy will be done". I'm the everlasting life, The love between man and wife.
As far as I can recall. The Divine substance that glows The essence of everything that grows.
What is success of life I pray? Is it the wealth that ne nosess: Of treasures hoarded day by day? Is tL it success of life you say?
What is success of life I pray? Is it the honours that are gained; 01 fame and titles grand and gay? Is that success of life you say?
What do you call success of life? Is it to have a pleasant Home; A cheerful and devoted life? Is thgt success, you say, of life?
These may not be true life's success-Which dwindle in a moment's span. The earthly things that we posses, Are not the real true life's success.
What doth it profit us, if we The whole world's riches here do .gain, And still our souls should lose, and see No light through al) eternity?
Success of life is to array And deck our hearts with robes divine; That when we part this earthly clay, Our soul- may find eternal day.
I saw the sun set yesterday 'Twas wonderful to see. A splendour lay upon the clouds Its beauty frightened me.
I saw among the flittering clouds, A road that led beyond: It seemed the Golden Gates were there, 'Which ope'd in God's New Land.
I wondered as I stood and watched, How many saw the sight; How many souls found hope anew In the sun's farewell delight?
The sun had shown to faithful souls That twilight hours hold beauty; That canopieS jf gold await Blessed ones who do their duty.
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I'll see her go gain to-day, And never tire of watching: She leaves behird fresh hope and faith A beauty well worth snatching.
And as the beauty which she brings Pades with the day she carries; This soul of mine will find a calm To cheer while darkness tarries.
Night ban be free of wants and cares; Faith will dispel all anxious fears.
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This is the 'earthy' section.
So far the poets have spoken of nation building; they have rhapsodized on the scenic beauty of the countryside; they have taken us through flights of philosphy and religion.
Now, we '*t a moreexact word picture of favourite places where people 'k, love and play. Hugh Fuller's "MayanRaverie", particularly, and "There is a Mystic Splendour" by Raymond Barrow, reflect on days long gone by the greatness of the Mayan civilization and the lusty, blood-smeared era of the Buccaneers.
The very first poem takes us on a tour through the heart of Belize City. What do we see? Mule carts, trucks, a taxi stand. High school youngsters troop down Queen Street and, as we cross the swing bridge, there are "catfish swimming in the sun".
Follow the Old River upstream. It brings oat a poignant yearning for that serenity which Ray Barrow found in his "volume of well-remembered things". With a touch of melancholy the poet sighs:
"'Oh, that life an Ocean wide could be And man, a river moving to the sea."
Further up the same river, we come to Burrel Boom where the village ..."lives a life
Of cattle, cashew, rice and peace."
Southward, down the coast we come across "To-morrow's Eden, Gales Point Manatee". How aptly does the poet describe it asa.. "palmy, sandswept strip of earth" which he boasts is "The loveliest spot that yet is known" to himi
Before we leave the shore-line, there is a warning for Pueblo Viejo, near the southern end of the western frontier. Long years of isolation in its mountain fastness are ending with the arrival of a road which should bring new ideas and prosperity to the village. Yet the poet takes strong objection to the invasion of "Engines, electric lights, radios, 'fridges", and warns: TTdE ROAD IS A SWORD THAT IS PIERCING YOT'R HEART,
Looking eastwards now, towards 200 Cayes and the 165-mile reef, the second longest in the world, we become aware of..4..
"long blue rollers breaking on the reef
Like distant thunder...."
This is buccaneer territory of old and, amid the Mystic Splendour of such a setting
"...palm trees murmur of deep-sunken thingsOf buried treasure chests, and Morgan's gola ....
BELIZE CITY DOWNTOWN
A people walk, and ride and drive; Let me see this City and what it hasl I'll pass by Albert yes, slowly I strive, Mule Carts and trucks my people are alivel
From Palace to Brodie's on a busy day A thousand voices pass me in want, in need gay; My pace moves on to the Taxi stand. I see a clock, a fountain a garden below. "Taxi, sir?" "Not now, good man!" I'l walk and slowly, slowly go.
From the bridge on which I stand I lobk down to the river and the sea And then my being and wits expand Nature gave all this to me'
The catfish swimming in the sun I stand and look all over and around. As' the river pours into the sea's breast I'm patted lightly on the back, "Move on"' A devil inside, I detest -I leave the swing bridge saying, "It was funl"
I live, I know that I must die, The thought of life gives me a joyful blend. As the river flows to a common sea, I know that I will not haveca common end.
Queen Street gives me thoughts anew I see High School youngsters not a few, Kings and queens of a coming day, Farmers, lawyers to choose as they may.
The 'cop' at'Paslow erect and firm A peace-loving people with his hand signs move on, ThT Nation is moving to a National -goal To have and build more peace for the soul.
The busy/movements have muted down So small and yet all around; Queen anA Albert downtown Belize I love thee for thy love and gentle breeze.
TO THE OLD RIVER
Flow on gentle river to the sea: Flow on gentle river, broad and free; Dream your dreams of long-ago, Whisper tales we long to know, FlOW on gentle river to tne sea. -7 I
Drift on lazy river to the Sea, Water every bramble, bush and tree As you journey on your way Patiently from day to day; Drift on lazy river to the Sea.
Move on crystal river to the Sea: Smile, and in your rippling reverie Conjure up the days of yore When the logwood ruled this shore, And floated on your breast so tranquilly.
Silvery river beckoning *to me, Flow on drift on, move on to the Sea; You coud teach us to be strong, And like you our whole life long Patiently await the things to be.
O0h, that life an Ocean wide could be, And man, a river moving to the Sea, With a poise serene and calm, Patient solace for our balm, We would live our lives more peacefully.
We would learn to suffer quietly, And know the things which now we cannot seeIn the goodness of our Giver, Like the calm serene Old River We would move forever onward to the Sea.
BY THE RIVER FLOWING LAZILY
By the river flowing lazily, A village lives a life Of cattle, cashew, rice and peace. And on occasion, strife Of races run at CastletonBut kindness never ceases.
Trees in concourse shade the road Where little houses smile With Boom's delightful faces; And n6ighbours wait awhile To greet the teacher by the school, While children take their places.
The stream is like a sheet of glass On which the ferry slides And onward st retch plantation lands And beauty sure abides On blissful, ridgy country scene 'Whre wait most welcome hands.
Friendly houses, quiet folks, Blend with village kindness; Peaceful river, sky of blue Comfort deep, relentless Fertile lands and faces free That's Burrel Boom for youi
MEMORIES OF ST. GEORGE'S CAYE
John Rozel Cuthbert
Oft have I lain in thpse dear days of old And watched the sunlight play with wanton glee Among the palm fronds, and, with beams of gold, Make myriad twinkles on a dimpling sea.
The waving music of the palms aloft, The long blue rollers breaking on the reef, Like distant thunder, muffled, deep, and soft, Soothed me to slumber, sent my soul relief.
GALES POIUT., YNATEE
Look, Marion, how the moon lights up the skyl See how she spreads a splendour o'er the land; In what grand majesty the proud stars lie; How cool the touch of moonlight on your hand!
There, on the palmy, sand-swept strip of earth, The whispering breezes sigh in fond repose; Maidens go, hand in hand, in barefoot mirth, The soft sand tickling their tender toes.
There, in the clinging hush of early dawn, The breezes play among the leaning palms; The sunshine heralds each new lovely morn, As I lay, thrilled, beneath this dream-spot's charms.
I still can feel the water in my face, Playing at bathing in the smooth lagoon; I pleasantly recall a childish race Over the slippery sands this afternoon.
And now, with evening, comes the hour to leave The loveliest spot that yet is known to me; The playg'ound where the-best of men might live To-morrow's Eden, Gales Point, Manatee l
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So Marion, in the beauty of to-night, The breeze-blown palm trees whisper, 'Come again!' The tricky stars are tickled with delight, Winking their silver eyes at happy men.
And as we say good-bye, and steam away, Sentinel-palms salute us as we pass; The shore moves farther- memories of today Flock to my mind, a Jumbled, joyous mass Of care-free thoughts, dim as the lights I see, Far, far away, on careless MANATEE.
Fifteen feet above the blue Caribbean, Atop our highest, reddest cliff, Tucked in deep in Honduras Bay, Sits the charming village of Barrahco. 'Tis a pretty sight to relieve The monotony of endless swampland That stretches north and south of it.
As one approaches this dreamy village He is conscious of a wide bar of silt That, like a sentinel on vigilant watch Challenges the right of the xfirer to land. But with true Belizean hospitality The doughty swain that muddy bank has bridged With a thousand feet of jetty-board, To aid his welcome entry.
What a lovely land-mark the station makes As it vies with the chapel for the honourd role, Mid a carpet of green studded with tall palm trees, At once a symbol of law and of peace; The peasant's thatched cottage of board, And their more Embitious iron-roof'd neighbours Present an aspect sober and serene That pleases the questing., critical eye.
In the chill of the morning air, The fisherman floats his light canoe, To ply his trade of bringing home A goodly catch of snapper and mackerel; Whilst the busy housewife her daily chores pursue, Or gather tubers for the day's repast, And happy children romp and play 'Till the school-bell calls, a -sterner task.
At noon the sun in all its splendour Sends everyone scouring for the shad~s. But, harkl A welcome sound in the treetop's heard As first a murmuring zephyr; then a gentle wind Comes flowing in from the sea Heralding the long awaited fisherman; And lulling all ashore into a drowsy content, From which one is loathe to rouse himself.
Now the twilight steals over the sea, The joyous shout of youth is heard; The bashful maiden voices her plaintive song; The blare of radio stabs the air; Whilst the aged relive the by-gone days, Barranco prepares for the night's renose. Just another happy day of village life is past, And smiling nature seems to whisper "All's well."
ON ENTERING THE VILLAGE OF PUEBLO VIEJO
Dust-hidden, hole-ridden, jeep-driven truck pass, Hill-rising, creek-diving, trail for a mule. Frisky pigs wallow with mud glistening freshly, Landslides of children erupt from the school.
Palm roofed cabildo has silent aloofness, Tall crooked flagstaff is sadly undressed; Menfolk and elders are out in the milpas Bush-hacking sweat-dripping work without rest.
Cool thatch clustering hill-topping houses, Split timber siding and open door free; Huipil-dressed womenfolk bashfully peering, Fly-pecking poultry pursue busily.
Buildings are set in a velvet lawn greensward, Mule-cropped and pig-dropped and chicken-scratched grass; Baby feet trample the upthrusting seedlings, Woody growth, weed-growth and thorn-growth are sparse.
Planning could never produce the perfection, Haphazard housing on hilltops apartEnd of the road village furthest and oldest, PUT THE ROAD IS A SWORD THAT IS PIERCING YOUM HEART!
Soon comes the death and the gay resurrection, Yoney, prosperity, buildings of ironEngines, electric light, radios, fridgess; Everyone busy too busy to mourn.
But-busily bustling civilization All-coming all-changing the face of the land; All-ending an era, and God is'the Planner. The glass must be turned which is empty of sand.
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Signal smokes no longer curl o'er lofty tree-tops,
-Ancient are the hills from which they came; And ancient too the mystic Mayan magic, The proud priests wielded by the altar flame.
This is the land I love. The murmuring pines and palm-trees, And bearded baboons filling nights with eerie chatter. Clear from the rivers dark, hard-backed, the alligators bark, And yellow lights gleam from the thatched-roof villages Like fireflies signalling in the night.
This is the land I love. But where is the race that before us Won from the patient soil a heritage their own? Where are the temples? Where are the altars of the past? And might of architect that marked these men Mayans Whose resurrected prowess prove the worth of yesterday? The years accumulated dust has hidden from our view The towered towns, the naven streets which felt their savage tread; 'Nought now remains but stately mounds, Swathed under carpet leaves by Time's inexorable hands.
This is the land they loved, 'ere grasping grips descended Or pirates 'sued by privateers sheltering hither ran. Or thirsting axe mangled the mighty mammoths of our forests. This peaceful spot resounded to the call of Mayan Priests As overawed, the throng in meek obeisance knelt; And chants to Mayan Gods held nuArly sway, Where now is sung 'Ta Deum and Benedicite, Yet often do they span the bridge beyond, As distant Maya Mountain lift stately head, Peering patriachically like lonr dead Mayan Chiefs, Resurrected, austere, wise judging on these modern times.
This is the land I love. Shrill cicadas, blue lagoons; Savannahs stretching onward mile on mile, And the regal, Creen-garbed splendour of the Maya MOUNTAIN RANGE.
Signal smokes no longer curl o'er lofty tree-tops, Ancient are the hills from which they came; And ancient too the mystic Mayan magic, The proud priests wielded by the altar flame.
TTITRE IS A MYSTIC SnLENDTTR
There is a mystic splendour that one feels 'Talking this shore in the half-light of dawn, Placing one's footprints on the sands where keels Of ancient vessels must have beached and drawn.
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For there are tales that speak of glorious days WThen martial shouting rang within our Bay, And cannons thundered, and black battle haze Clouded this sickle isle with dark affray.
Those were the times when privateers fled The predatory Brethren of the Coast; Pirates ane buccaneers all these are dead, And all their lordly sway seems hut a ghost.
But even now the surf's loud thunder brings Bound strangely clear like battle cries of old; And pals trees uraur of deep-sunken things, Of buried treasure chests ... and Morgan's gold...
SOME BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Presently an undergraduate at the UTniversity of the West Indies, Milton Arana hails from the Toledo district. As a scholar he has done well, beginning with primary school at Lynam Agricultural College in the Stann Creek Valley and continuing at St. John's College before he went on to the UT.W.I.
Graduating with top honours from the Public Health
School in Jamaica (1960) he travelled extensively throughout the country supervising Malaria eradication teams and peering into latrines. From these grass-roots tours and his earlier observations of the south -- the people, their customs, the ph sical surroundings -- he absorbed the authentic atmosphere which he reflects in his literary efforts and his poetry. His first book, now with the printers is a. collection of essays on hurricane Hattie, 1961.
Although living on campus at Mqna, Jamaica, he has won first prize in three major national poetry competitions over the past three years.
It is not by accident that Ray Barrow's poetic works have been afforded the highest recognition yet bestowed upon a national poet. His poems have been featured in -.B.C. programmes and published in foreign anthologies. And although he has not himself published a collection of his works, poems like "Dawn is a Fisherman" and "There is a Mystic Splendour" are popular elocution selections for school entertainments throughout the country and in the Fetival of Arts.
The reader will come across passages of Ray's poetry the sheer beauty of which will make him pause, And read again passages worth commlmtting to RAYMOND BARROW memory. He is a master of imagery; his
words fall from the tongue with a smooth, woundedd cadence.
Born in May, 1920, Ray attended high school at St. John's College. He entered the Public Service in 1938 and worked his way up through the clerical grades, emerging in later years as a first class administrator. In 1958 he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Overseas "B" Course in Law and Public Administration held.-at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge England, and returned with a very fine report. His first administrative appointment came in 1955 when he became a D.C. Since then he has held successive
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commissions in this field as District Commissioner, Orange Walk, and as District Officer. He is now the Acting Circuit Magistrate
Married, with 5 children, Pay has found time to be a standard bearer in many cific, cultural and community organizations. He is a Lieutenant (Reserves) in the Volunteer Guard. Although he has played a useful role in popularizing the works of national-poets through poetry readings and commentaries over Radio Belize his pen has been strangely silent for many years.
It is in the academic field, as an educator, that Joseph L. (for Livingston) Blackett has made his greatest impact in this country.
He was born in BarbadOs fifty-one years ago. In 1939 he came here at the request of the Anglican mission to head their largest primary school. For the next sixteen years he was to continue as primary school principal. Then, in 1956, he was made an Education Officer, his first appointment in the public service. Climbing higher in his field he was made a Lecturer, then Acting Principal and then Principal of St. George's Training College -- a post he held until he' was
3.L. BLACITT, L.C.P., promoted to the post of Principal EducaM.A., B.A. (Hons.\ tionC Officer this year.
His record in gaining academic distinction is without parallel here. Studying on his own under the most trying circumstances he has behind him a string of qualifications ranging from the M.R.S.T. (1944) to the B.A. (with honours) and the M.A. he passed both examinations as an external student of London University.
In 1940 he founded the St. John's Literary Society, guided the debates, discussions and creative efforts of some of the serious young men of that period. Their publication "Outlook" a quality literary review, had a distribution of 1,000 copies per quarter in over twenty countries.
"Master Builders All" h~s only contribution to this anthology, calls attention to the tide of national awareness now sweeping across the country. He recognizes a special mission for poetry: to encourage and stimulate citizens to greater action and a keener sense of dedication to the country. His style is not pretentious but simple and direct.
Not only has he'made this country his home-- he married a Belizean girl. They have eight children. His hobbies all centre round the home: gardening, reading, music and, of course, writing poetry. He serves on many committees for the promotion of further education and is a licensed Lay Reader for the Anglican church.
-- -- -- -- --
Librarian, Poet Writer Historian, Social Researcher -- all this is Leo Bradley's field. He ranks unchallenged as our most prolific writer, though not much of his work has been brought together in permanent form.
Leo was born in March, 1926. Like Ray Barrow, he received his secondary education at St. KJohn's College, then entered the public service as a messenger. THowever, the service routine was not the outlet fo Leo's creative 4smpulse. His big opportunity came in 1950 when he was invited, at short notice, to understudy the substantive Librarian with the aim of taking full charge of the poorly organized, ill-equipped library service. This paved LEO BRADLEY, A.L.A. the way for courses in librarianship in
Jamaica, Trinidad and the Library School facultyy of Teqhnology) at Manchester University. He returned, full of new iddas and the A.L.A.
Ap he set about this task he found it necessary to put aside his poetry; to attend to what appeared to be a more urgent, more important task -collecting and organizing basic material on the country. The literary man had to be subordinated to the research man, the historian. He found that teachers and students preparing for examinations could not-secure the information for their studies. The attack and enthusiasm with which he addressed himself to filling thit need ifas resulted in a comprehensivee history book, (in draft) the first by a national, a so-far unpublished collection of folk tales and the series of essays on cultural and social themes broadcast in the popular Radio Belize series: "Glimpses.of Our History".
His poems flow naturally from a, depth of warmth, patriotism and religious conviction. He is serious at times, yet never profound. He communicates well because of his simplicity hi: obvious sincerity and his very competent use of the English language.
EDNEY CAIN. A.A.C.C.A.
What most of'our poets are still planning to do, Edney Cain did 17 years ago -- publish a decent collection of his works. His volume "When the Angel Sayst. ITE!" will be found in most family libraries. Many copies have been sold abroad.
Though small in stature, Edney is a giant in two important respects: in his poetic achievements and in his brilliant public service career.
He is by far the most inquiring, the most profound,
the most widely ranging of our poets. From "Gales Poipt, ,Manatee" in light, romantic vein he passes on, in contemplative mood "To a ChilA to the sepulchrb! "4'1tlliell% of Death". For all the strict economy of his style his poetry leaves a lingering effect he seems to impart thoughts, suggstions which have the uncomfortable habit of recurring without invitation. He succeeds in combining the flowery imagination of Leo Bradley with Ray Barrow's Smooth turn of phrase.
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Udney's public service career, too has been brilliant by any standard. Taken on as a clerk-in 1940, he quickly proved that his mastery over figures was no less complete than his mastery of words. Studying, mostly on his own he followed upa correspondence course in accountancy by going to London where he sat and passed the qualifying examination to become an Associate of Association of Certified Chartered Accountants.
After serving for a spell as a top officer in the
Audit Department he was selected to fill +he highest accounting post in the service -- that of Accountant General.
Edney is married. He has kept up his interest in
nation cultural and literary affairs but he, like Ray Barrow, has not-published any important works of late.
Roosevelt belongs to a new generation of poets. For his material, so far, hv- wefls on the familiar Belize City scene.
He was educated at St. Michael's College. A part-time musician and entertainer, he has been featured In broadcasts over Radio Belize.
ANTHONY FRITH. B.Sc.
Like J.L. Blackett, Anthony Frith is not a Belizean
poet. He was born in London and educated at Aberdeen University. He came here nine years ago to fill the post of Conservator of Forests.
However, as can be seen from his single contribution to this antholo y, he has thoroughly assimilated the 'tang of locality' and writes with sincere feeling about a threat which confronts almost the whole spectra of indigenous culture the relentless march of 'progress' on an originality, an indigenous flavour which is quite irreplaceable,
Apart from his official duties which, by the way,
enables him to see more of the grandeur of the interior than the average Belisean can hope to see in a lifetime Anthony is something of an exception for Englishmen residing in this country. President of the Rotary Society both he and his wife have been playing an active part in the life of the community. In amateur dramatics, he has been on stage as stage manager, scene shifter, and actor. Mrs"Frith is Secretary of the Nurses and Midwives Council. She has also served on the Festival Committee. Anthony's hobby is sculpturing. He has produced a number of excellent works using local material.
HUGH FULLER, M.B.E.
In all his writings poetry as well as prose virility and deft, incisive strokes are qualities which distinguish his works from that of other Belizean writers.
This is in harmony with the man himself. For all his ready banter, his easy-going manner, Hugh Fuller is a man of clear insight, intellectual depth and bold, decisive action. These are the qualities he displayed when, as Custum fficer-inCharge Corozal District in 1955, he was suddenly faced .with the task of rallying the people and organizing a massive relief programme almost single-handed after hurricane 'Janet' had cut a swathe across the northern districts.
In recognition of his leadership and resourcefulness he was awarded the N.B.H.
"ugn, now Secretary of the Cabinet and Principal
Assistant Secretary at the Ninistry of Information and Broadcasting, has long been recognized by the top echelons of the public service as a capable and efficient administrator. His staff and public relations are unmatched in the service.
In 1959 he attended the Overseas 'B' Course, specializing in Community Development at the Institute of Education, London University. Since his return he has risen rapidly in the administrative grades. "
Before these desk-bound days however, Hugh had quite a career with the Customs Department. This provided the opportunity for him to travel around; to see the country. Long and lonely were the hours he spent at customs posts like Corozal Town? Copejo, St. Elena. But, here was a chance for his poetic inspiration to germinate. The result was a rich outpouring of poetry, some of it in deep contemplative mood.
'Hugol, as acquaintances call him, was born in 1918. A precocious bard, his first jingle, a cutting jibe at his teacher, earned him a sound thrashing. his headmaster, the late Geo. Griffiths warned him, "Although I admire your poetic ability, you should xever have committed such sentiments to writing."
Undaunted, Hugo kept alive and further intensified his poetic inclinations at St. 1ichael's College. As a junior civil servant, from 1937, every spare monent was a challenge to produce some new creation. With similar zeal, assisted no doubt by his developed poetic persuasion, he wooed and won a winsome girl from San Ignacio whom he married in 1944.
It is not only in poetry and as a top civil servant that Hugh has made a name for himself. Elocutionist, vaudeville performer, lecturer for the Extra-Mural Department (U.W.I.), broadcaster it is no wonder Hugh Fuller is known as an "all 'rounder."
"Caribbean Jingles" (1920) by James hartinez is recognized as one of the first serious collections of poems to be published by a national.
The author occupies a special place in Belizean poetry.
He was an experimenter, an inovator. His deft use of the creole language as a medium of communication, the way he succeeded in capturing and reflecting the authentic local atiosphere; the inspiration he drew from the local situation, made him a 'poet of the people.' The power of his poetry lies in its natural simplicity a quality which runs throughout his works.
James never went to high school. Yet he was not
afraid to tackle serious and exalted subjects. That he was able to do this, and with credit, is no small tribute to this largely self-educated man.
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Humble, the son of humble parents, James trekked behind his father from camp to camp in the great mahogany forests,
absorbing the atmosphere, learning how to give expression to the rich beauty of the wood. All this he was to portray in craftmanship of a superior quality. Examples of his workmanship can be seen today in St. John's Cathedral in Belize City.
A prolific writer, he died some twenty-odd years ago. His poems have a quality of simplicity, of 'earthliness' which should assure theik survival.
GEORGE B. SIGH
George B. Singh's emergence as a poet of note came
immediately after his graduation from Wesley College. his poems "Dawn" "Dusk" and "Soliloquy of a hiurderer" were all written the same year (1954). "Soliloquy of a hiurderer" won a first prize and a gold medal in a national poetry competition.
he was born in hay, 1937, and went to Wesley College. After & short spell as a primary school teacher, he joined the public service as a clerk. He is now a customs and excise
officer in iunta Gorda.
MINOS Developme t IY