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Published by the B.G. Writers' Association in conjunction with the D.F.P. Advertising
Service and the B.G. Union of Cultural Clubs.
Vol. 2, No. 7 ..
Convention Clippings: Good Wishes
The Economic Basis of Culture
Cultural Life in Jamaica
Six Most Outstanding Men in B.G'
Survey on Education
On Writing Creolese
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Through Other People's Eyes
When I Go I Shall Remember
Nineteenth Century Georgetown
The Heaven of the Heart
Dance of the Sea
The Cultural Scene
Off the Record
Book Reviews The Guiana Book
A. J. Seymour
F. E. Brassington
Horace L. Mitchell
Arthur Goldwin Smith
C. Holman B. Williams
N. E. Cameron .. .. .. .
s. History .. Vincent Roth .. .. .. .13
Lilian Dewar .. .. .. 14
D. A. Westmaas .. .. .. .. 16
Cleveland W. Hamilton .. .. .. 17
Celeste Dolphin .. .. .. 20
Nemo .. .. .. .. .. .. 26
Margaret Lee .. .. .. .. .. 27
Eric Roberts .. .. .. .. 30
O.S.W .. .. .. .. .. .. 31
J. A. V. Bourne .. .. .. .. 32
Pat Lewis .. .. .. .. .. 36
Wilson Harris .. .. .. .. 37
A. P. Thorne .. .. .. .. 40
S .. ... .. .. .. 4 1
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British Guiana. P.O. Box 267.
_ ~~ I
Dear Mr. Editor,
Because of my many years of solitude in the great open spaces, I find the
written easier than the spoken word. Thank you first of all for the privilege of being
guest yesterday at the Union Discussion. I came away profoundly impressed and more
than a little sad. Impressed by the evidences of the wonderful human machinery that
evidently already exists for doing something really vital in British Guiana, and by the
keenness and eagerness to do something. Sad, because of the unquestioned sureness that
culture is something that can be communicated by us as a sort of high priesthood to a
:omplacent and malleable populace.
It seemed to me that we were among the small proportion of those who pass through
our traditional educational mill and manage to emerge with a love and not an aversion
for the beauties of our Western culture. So many children leave school with a nausea
and hatred for all that reminds them of the boredom and the thwarting of the years
which should have been an exciting intellectual adventure.
The spirit bloweth where it listeth, and I gravely fear that our good intentions may
be misplaced. I insist as an anthropologist that culture is not one, but legion, and it is
only living when it is rooted in the soil, and when it embodies the soul of the people who
empattern it. For us, effete representatives of a dying age, Western culture is all right,
and there will always be a few sensitive people in any community who love and appre-
ciate the world heritage of the ages. But we must not undervalue the wonderful vital
force a veritable Krakatit which is there in the hearts and minds of common men.
It is on the crest of this wave that we should try to build the vital and living culture of a
I feel so strongly that we run the risk of driving our people back in a defensive reac-
tion, to pleasure at the purely instinctive level, as the result of too intensive an effort to
refine the sensibilities of those who are not temperamentally or intellectually inclined that
way. Perhaps that might not be altogether an evil. The star in the east probably rises
over Sam Chase.
For God's sake don't let's frighten our people, and especially our children and don't
let's bore them. Culture begins when they're doing something, anything, because with all
their heart and soul they want to do just that and not something else.
......our people really have no "culture" (in the sense of a background of tradition and beliefs,
a complex of centuries of gradual growth, out of which one's spiritual feeling springs spontaneously).
Taking only one section, the African's tribal framework has gone, his self-confidence been shat-
tered, his language and all that that means of expression betokens to the conscious and unconscious
workings of his mind, (the terrible ravages Europe did to Africa, Hitler only repeated in part on
the Czechs), and then his great-grandson comes to a consciousness of the great yawning gulf where
should be tradition to strengthen his people, and he has to get his tradition through the English
We do so desperately want to be rooted in the European soil that is the only earth available.
We must make an act of possession somehow of our environment and the faster the better. And
so I borrow your sentence there is a wonderful vital force in the hearts and minds of (our)
common men. It is on the crest of this wave that we want to build the vital and living culture
of a new age. We must transplant quickly and put roots in the soil.
We have an urge born of the sun and a faith that whether or not Western culture is dying, in
some mysterious way, we of the African and cther peoples, the hewers and drawers of Empires,
still are waiting the cue to walk on the stage of history if a stage still exists when it's our time
to pass through the wings and say the opening lines of our part. These few of us believe that we
can fcrce our past history into becoming props for future purpose, and that the accident of forced
immigration into the Caribbean has isolated us to the impact of a dying civilization so that we
can pass on some flaming torch higher up the line. The seeds of the new race are germinating in us.
We want the creative few somehow to plough in their talents and forget what their individual
talents might do on their own. It's a case of the community first and in perhaps another century
or two we can afford as a people to grow our poets.
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 mead
When in the drought of aging years I pine
For 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 band
Of children with adventure in their eyes.
And yet invisibly, a knife-like blade
Marks where one beam brought sunlight to my shade.
A. J. SEYMOUR.
I lie like Egypt in the sun
You are my Nile
Through the dry earth the living waters run
Here, there, all eager, brimming every one
The ravaged wrinkles of the sun
Until my parched lands smile.
Over my heart the death of drought would reign
Eternally, but blossoms spring and grain
Because you came.
You breathe and Egypt comes to life again
Nile is your name.
F. E. BRASSINGTON
The perils of the night turn to roses
When the dawn comes up,
And the green grass drinks deeply
Of the Heavens' shining cup,
And the cattle with their keepers
Shake off the misty sleep,
That night, with its stars, throws round them,
The earth, and all the waters deep.
I awoke, and all the morning sky
With wassail-clouds and bright vermillion dye
Was filled, and filling to the brim
The ocean rushed upon the sands and in the bay
Full-tide, the emerald that in the waters swim
Dazzled in the sun, and it was day.
He shall touch God who reaches out and weeps
The poet in the valley, writing his homage,
With still small words upon a mountain side.
Dancers, taking the symphony's power,
Sad bodies making beauty on a stage
While lovers and dreamers and builders of words
Water their hopes with their tears,
Without glory forever are you among men
Who cannot weep -
Unhappy are they among women who love you
For you cannot love.
Oh boy with the soulless eyes
In the sunset no ecstasy,
Oh saint with the tearless soul
How soon thy Gethsemane.
I sat in the land of poets
Somewhere beyond the skies,
And beheld the roses blooming
In splendour with the wise.
And looked in the realm of wonders
And saw great mysteries--
Somehow with the mystics speaking,
And fell upon my knees.
I roamed in the fields of beauty
Somewhere within the sphere
Of knowledge with greatness breathing
In fulness on my ear.
And turned to the heights of rapture
Oft times of which I heard,
And felt for a while the breathing
Wrought by the Muse's word......
HORACE L. MITCHELL.
Night kissed earth's lips
In the eastern lanes of light,
Just where the sun's flight
From heaven's air ends
And lends its gaiety to day,
Then she blushed into a russet sunset
Of myriad modesties;
Her dark hair of purple clouds,
Shifting shrouds of ethered ecstasy,
Falling across her face,
Enthralling her blush into twilight loveliness.
The scouting stars, ever-senseful, sleeping
The slumber of the day's obscurity
Sensed the magic of the kiss,
And waking in their silver bliss
Peeped the twinkling peep of piety peering
And saw the amorous earth
Steeped in the nectar of her joy
Dissolving in the delights of darkness
And of night's dreams;
The moon, another lover,
Hurrying slowly, lovely, from the sea
To whisper, "Good-night", in her ear, yearning,
And watch her sleep till morning.
ARTHUR GOLLWIN SMITH
My faith is stronger than circumstance,
There's no condition to bind.
I use my patience and work my hand,
Behind it all is my mind.
My faith is stronger than four score men,
My hopes are bright as the sun.
I labour away at the task each day,
And each job I have well done.
In Memorialm 1948.
Death of the hero
Broad sunlight distinguishes the world
in huge shafts
that shatter the humble shadowy room
painted in ambiguous colours.
Clock ticking on the shelf of the factory
is each unreal presentation of time divided
The stars will remember is the song someone sings on the radio
yet we commit acts of murder
Who is the beautiful woman
groomed to perfection
swaying languorously? When
we seduce her is it hate? is it love?
Clock ticking on the shelf is time divided in the world
How shall the murdered live and preserve
the picturesque duel
in grim relief
like a dark statue that moves forever
Borne aloft on waves of colour
we assemble the worn limbs, patches in the seat,
tatters and the worn bearded inner meditation
who crumbles to a beseeching prayer, who sells the beautiful
colours the bottled drinks flashing faintly,
who offers with grave and quiet courtesy
gloomy shop, the quiet fury of fingers upon the spilt fruit
of momentary departure into an unknown world
The green leaf is etched forever
on the pale grey steely glitter of heaven
Lines and shapes are etched forever
and now the calm rustle of shapeless
whom the lightless spear forsakes at last.
Commemorate dispersal of collective form.
The centre shifts. The person moves.
Each raindrop spatters
the invisible balloon of the world
livid like a mirror where steel is colour of the sky
and delicate waters perform the ordeal
shadows grope in symmetry
too articulate for precision
like fluid and strange
discovery where the dim roar persists
and waters combine to glean
a passing vision:
funereal majestic mien
transforms this artifice of eternity.
A voluntary association of autonomous societies such as the Union may, perhaps, seem
to move more slowly and to produce less spectacular results than a single organisation
with centralised control. It may also give its executive committee more work and more
headaches. On the other hand, it certainly produces better and more permanent results
in the development of initiative and a sense of public service in members of its affiliated
clubs and societies. Those contributing most to the Union's activities will get most from
it; the passengers, if there are any, will get very little. That is life all over.
The economists tell us that British Guiana needs capital and no doubt they are right,
for that is what most countries need nowadays. Yet probably that capital is most attracted
to those countries whose people have developed the character, initiative and capacity for
sustained effort on which prosperity ultimately depends. It is just these qualities that the
organizations represented in the Union foster. They are contributing more than may always
be recognized to the development and prosperity of British Guiana. In many directions
the Colony has already gone an astonishingly long way in a comparatively short time.
The men and women who will carry it much farther are now developing their powers
and widening their outlook in the societies to which the Union offers easier contacts and
closer co-operation. One may hope that in time the rural areas may be as strongly repre-
sented in the Union as are the cities. Their need is at least as great.
-H. RISELY TUCKER,
British Council Representative
in British Guiana.
The Association of Cultural Societies of Barbados has been happy to learn of the
success which the British Guiana Union has achieved and considers that similar efforts
promoted by Caribbean colonies greatly assist the development of understanding and good-
will among West Indian communities. The cultural societies of Barbados look forward to
the time when it may be possible for their representatives to meet with those from
similar groups from other West Indian organizations dedicated to the fostering of culture
J. W. B. CHENERY, President.
A. F. CRICHLOW MATTHEWS, Hon. Secretary,
Assn. of Cultural Societies, Barbados.
A Convention Address.
The Economic Basis of Culture.
by C. HOLMAN B. WILLIAMS.
In this community, where Africa, Asia and Europe meet in an American
environment, we are beginning to sense a national pride and to strive for development,
for a local culture, for economic progress, for self-expression and for self-government.
Progress will be strictly conditioned by the measure in which these yearnings motivate
those whom, for want of a better term, we call the masses, and I submit that your role
and mine, as a group, is not so much to increase our own culture as to pass on to others
some of the ideas and ideals with which we are imbued, some of the knowledge and skills
which we have acquired.
What do these so-called masses lack and what are the lines along which, as indivi-
duals or as clubs, we can assist? The list is long, very long, but let us consider the four
cardinal needs, viz.:
i. Education in skills and trades and a complete reorientation of the common out-
look on the relative standing of the clerk and the artisan;
ii. Thrift, with which are associated regular work, budgeting and right-spending;
iii. Improved health, which is largely a matter of sanitation and diet;
iv. The focussing of attention on and emphasizing the importance to each and every
person of matters of civic, colonial and regional interest.
Education in skills and trades ccmes first because, in my opinion, there cannot be the slightest
doubt of forthcoming advances in mechanisation and industrialisation and a great number of the
things which the individual lacks will automatically follow an improvement in his earnings and a
great many of the things the community lacks will result from the provision of an adequate supply
of trained farmers, stockmen, tractor-operators, machinists, woodworkers, metalworkers, electricians
and the like. All of us can throw our' weight into the campaign for more technical training, for agri-
cultural education, for that reorientation of outlook which I mentioned a moment ago. Our allegedly
better-educated are afraid of the soil and afraid tc soil their hands or put on overalls. In our
community, conditioned by generations of slavery and indenture, and by the class distinctions of
Europe, the cloth salesman is Mr. Jones but thz skilled blacksmith is Jones, and the sons of both
hesitate to clean a stall or milk a cow. By precept and example we can dco something about it.
Thrift is my second plank. Let us be frank.Times are hard, rents are high, food is costly, but
the cirnema population keeps rising, almost in geometric progression, sports events and tournaments
come bigger and bigger and oftener and oftener, dances come by the dczen, we now need a cigarette
factory with a capacity of 1,000,000 cigarettes a day. Do not misunderstand me. Recreation is
essential to wholesome living but is it not our' duty to put over the idea that too much of anything
is bad, that scme forms of recreation can be relatively inexpensive and more profitable to mind and
body than others, that assurance of one's life, insurance of one's home and furniture, membership
in a friendly society which will provide sick benefits, must come before costly recreation.
Sick people are a burden to themselves and to the community. Modern science has taught us
that health is largely dependent on sanitation and correct dietary habits, and you and I know that
most of the shortcomings in these respects are due to ignorance or indifference. Our masses cannot
afford vitamin C capsules but they can purchase the type of inexpensive fruit in season; they can-
not afford the B vitamins cr phosphates, but they would hardly be deficient in these if their rice
were so cooked that they benefited by its contents in these respects. DDT has put a new com-
plexion on the malaria problem but it is surprising the number of persons who claim they cannot
afford a net but who find the money to pay the doctor and buy drugs; it is even more surprising to
see the number of nets so tucked in that the feet come in contact all night and are not protected
And my last plank is the awakening of interest in civic, colonial and regional matters. It is no
use murmuring in homes and clubs that this is wrong or that is wrong. We must awaken the public
mind to the fact; our criticisms must not only be destructive but constructive, we must suggest the
remedy. I may be wrong, but visits to the neighboring colonies leave me with the impression that
the citizens of Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados are better informed, on the average, on colonial and
regional questions, and more determined to share in the shaping of things than is the case here. A
Wakefield blueprints for Agriculture, a Hammond reports on Education, a Briercliffe on Medicine,
a Benham contrives to report on the national income, on the sugar industry, etc., etc., after a visit
of a few weeks, and so on and so on, and there is little discussion of the proposals in the Press, less
in the homes and clubs and none in the street. No doubt, much of this frame of mind owes its found-
ation to the long period when the average Colonial knew he could exert little or no influence on the
shape of things. This is no longer true. Two things should be obvious to all: firstly, the exten-
sion of the franchise places pow:r in the hands of almost every adult and he or she must be in-
formed and alert if he is to use it to the lasting good of the community. Secondly, no community
of 400,000 or 600,000 people can form a separate and economic self-governing entity under today's
conditions. In some matters, such a community must reach common ground and act in concert with
one or more other communities.
Suffice it to say, however, that the World at large, and the American Republics in particular,
have some ideas about the perpetuation of Crown Colony Government in the Americas, so much so
that England, France and Holland all show a certain unanimity in trying to replace it in one way
or another. We must face the situation as it is today and not blur the present picture either with
dreams of what it may be in 100 or 150 years, when British Guiana may have a population more in
keeping with its area, or with the mirage of "a South American destiny" in the lifetime of anyone
And what is the bearing of all that I have been saying on this gathering? It is this. Among
the members of your' various organizations can be found persons with knowledge and interest in all
the multiplicity of activities of the mind and body that make up human life; I am suggesting that
there is no better way of utilising the gift, inborn or acquired, which each possesses, than in
sharing it with those who are less privileged. The detailed techniques and methods I leave with you
to work out.
Report on the.
Cultural Life in Jamaica
by NORMAN E. CAMERON
These observations on cultural life in Jamaica are those of a gentleman at leisure
made during my visit to that island on holiday with no intention of doing anything like
serious research, and are not intended to be authoritative in any respect. I hope how-
ever to convey to you some of my experiences with the cultural activity of the country,
which to say the least I found very interesting.
I think that a fair picture of the state of literary activity can be gained by referring
to the Christmas Competition organised by the Gleaner Newspaper.
The departments of competition were:- Short Story, Essays, Poems, and Humorous
Verse. The judges remarked on the absence of most of the leading writers in all of these
departments, but their comments are useful in showing not only the standard of the con-
tributions, but also in reminding writers of the objects to be borne in mind in their
Thus the judges reminded the literary aspirants that the short story is "the hardest of
all prose forms; it needs a fine sense of characterisation, a vivid descriptive touch, above
all originality and plot, all to be confined within a short space". The judges remarked
that most of the entries lacked all of these qualities, the contributions reading more like
essays than short stories. The winning story entitled "Mamma Sue's Box" was judged
to have good characterisation, a plot that holds you, and plenty of local colour". This
was a story of obeah and witchcraft.
The essay competition reveals a characteristic of what I think is a present phase of
Jamaican development in which there is a combination of the artistic and the useful. Thus
there were two subjects for the essay competition, the first "Cottage Industries", and t.ae
second "Food Production". It is interesting to note that the judges found that in the coin-
petition on "Cottage Industries" there was only one excellent essay to which they awarded
both first and second prizes. This entry was found to show "much thought and serious
study of the question, regardless of whether the scheme propounded is in fact in that foim
workable or practicable". In the "Food Production" competition "none of the competitors
was confident of any single method which co uld be relied upon for success, but the prize-
winning essay shows a willingness to face the hard facts of the situation".
Of the poetry competition the judges reported that it attracted the largest number of
entries, as it usually does. It is interesting to note that for the second year in succession
the first prize was won by Mr. J. R. Bunting, Headmaster of Wolmers Boys' School. Com-
menting on the winning entry, "City", the judges thought that it "had not got the high
poetic quality of his last year's winner, but was more ambitious in both workmanship and
range of thought; and also had the additional recommendation (if one may term it so) of
being written in what is now regarded as the modern style. The development of the
theme shows power of imagination, and the handling of the free verse vehicle is at times
rather appropriate". This poem was said to have been given a very close competition for
first place by Lena Kent's "Island Home", "whose vivid imagery will bring up Jamaica more
readily than any similar poem I have read. Actually in sheer poetic quality it would rank
higher than "City", but lacks the scope of the latter". It is characteristic of Jamaican poets
to include patriotic poems among their writings.
Of the humorous contributions the judges found the entries very poor, both in number
and standard, and remarked that it was with great difficulty that they were able to find
two prize winners. It shows Lena Kent's versatility that she was the winner of the first
prize in this class.
I find that the short story was a very popular form of Jamaica literature. There are
a good number of short story writers who have published collections of their stories, and
in my opinion, these stories show a high standard of skill or technique. The majority of
the stories tend to compel attention to the end, and thus one of the main objects of the
writer is achieved. Also, I find that the stories tend to cover a great number of phases
of Jamaican life. Roger Mais' "Face", for example, is a story of an incident in a packed
tramcar. (I do not think that a Demerarian can have any conception of what a packed
Jamaican tramcar or bus is). The majority of the stories and writers seem to stop draw-
ing attention to problems and not suggest solutions. The writers whose works 1 was able
to secure were Roger Mais, Archie Lindo, and R.C. Aarons.
Of essays, apart from the newspaper contributions, I found Mr. J. E. Clare McFarlane's
"Challenge of our Time" outstanding. The essays on poetry give one a very good idea of
Jamaican poetry past and present, and his other essays give a fair idea of Jamaican thought
on certain modern problems. I may here mention that Mr. McFarlane is the President of
the Poetry League which does great work in encouraging Jamaican poetry, and in assist-
ing poets to have their works published. I found that our newspaper Companies were
doing more to assist local publications than in Jamaica.
With regard to the poetry, I have already mentioned one characteristic of the poets,
namely, their patriotic fervour. They take a delight in singing of the beauty and attrac-
tion of their country for them. Mr. McFarlane himself is, I think, the present poet
laureate. His romantic poem "Daphne" is very readable, and I think he attains a high
poetic standard in some of his scenic descriptions. Vivian Virtue is regarded as the most
promising of the younger brigade. His work "Wings of the Morning" contains some ex-
cellent poems, and "Villanelle", a poem which deals with Balkis' visit to King Solomon is
regarded as a Jamaican classic.
I also noted a large number of women poets. In addition to Lena Kent, there was
Constance Hollar, who was a very prolific poet, and there are others both among the in-
digenous population and among the English settlers or temporary residents. In passing,
I may mention that this was a rather pleasing feature of the cultural life of the country,
namely, that the English residents play a very important part in it, and tend to identify
themselves with, or at least to sympathise with, Jamaican aspirations.
A general idea of the condition of drama may be obtained from Archie Lindo's review
of the stage in 1947, which appeared in the Gleaner of January 11, 1948.
"1947 was not a very fruitful year for the legitimate stage in Jamaica. There were
few productions. These were:-The Little Theatre's productions of George Campbell's
"Play without scenery"; the Little Theatre's "Othello" at the Ward, directed by Vere
Johns, who played the title role; the Junior Little Theatre's "Wuthering Heights"
directed by Maurice Harty, the Little Theatre's "Pantomime with Cinderella", and the
Jamaica Art Society's production of Archie Lindo's dramatisation of "The Maroon",
directed by George Bowen".
The writer went on to mention the play "The Doctor Fails" produced by the Carib-
bean Thespians, and directed by Vere Johns, and mentioned also the Gleaner's competition
for a story for a Jamaican opera which had been won by Miss Inez Sibley. The winning
effort has been sent off to London for production. The writer also remarked on the suc-
cess of mock trials.
It interested me very much to learn that the Ward Theatre had been given to the
country by a Colonel Ward for theatrical and other purposes. It seemed as though during
the year under review the theatre became a movie theatre, thus adding to the already
difficult path of local stage productions. 21 days' notice now has to be given before a play
can be put on at this theatre.
From that review one can form some idea of the various dramatic groups existing in
the country, and I may mention that the schools and colleges put on very good plays from
time to time. For instance, I have been informed in a letter recently that one college had
shortly after I left, produced Gilbert & Sullivan's "lolanthe".
Another noticeable feature is the use of the open-air stage by schools for their speech
days. I was privileged to be present at a performance with an audience of some 2,000, and
the hearing was good throughout by virtue of the admirable loudspeaker system.
It will have been observed that their plays are mostly by English authors, and in-
clude plays which have been screened. This is a good idea, as the actors have an oppor-
tunity of seeing the professional actors present their versions of the parts. Jamaica is
also a country of organised competitions. There is a big annual dramatic festival at Port
Antonio. I may also mention that elocution contests are held annually.
I witnessed a dramatic competition in connection with Jamaica Welfare Ltd., and the
Lands Department in which country clubs had to write and' produce their own plays,
the idea being to combine dramatic activity with putting over the idea of the cam-
paign "Food for Family Fitness.' Eight plays of 15 minutes' duration were presented, and
some were very original and all interesting. The propaganda play seems to be very preva-
lent, and while the literary standard may not be high, the educational value is unques-
The only outstanding playwright is Archie Lindo. His work is interesting in that it
brings out a point which I have made from time to time, namely, that the story writer
should preceded the dramatist, as it may be difficult for th* dramatist to produce his own
story. Story writing and dramatic work do not involve the same type of talent. Anyway,
it is interesting to notice that Archie Lindo, in addition to "The Maroon" already men-
tioned, which was written by Captain Reid, has dramatised four of DeLissers' novels, and
in addition has written some four plays with his own plot. DeLisser was an outstanding
novelist who enjoyed the advantage of being editor of the Gleaner, so that publication pre-
sented no problem to him. "The White Witch of Rose Hail" a story of Voodhoo in the
time of slavery is one of DeLisser's most popular, and was very successfully dramatised
In closing the scene on drama, I should like to refer to the Mandeville Amateur Dra-
matic Society which was founded around 1902. This Society claims that since 1932 most
of its subjects have been taken on tour. Another instance which shows its virility is its
approach to the management of the Roof Garden Theatre on the subject of including a
stage suitable for dramatic production, and its winning from the management the assur-
ance that their submissions will get favourable consideration. These are some of the
considerations with regard to the position of drama in Jamaica, which I hope will be found
interesting, and also give food for thought.
With its Celebrity Concerts, Musical Competition Festival, Symphony Orchestra, Com-
bined Choirs and Military Band (in picturesque Zouave uniform); with its large number
of highly qualified music teachers and the public performances of their students; with
its luncheon concerts and the part played by the British Council, the music life of the
country is very vigorous.
Jamaica has the advantage of having a large number of middle-class people of very
fair means and considerable appreciation of things cultural to support the Celebrity Con-
certs. In spite of this attendance varies considerably depending largely on the popularity
of the performer.
The Seventh Musical Festival extended over a fortnight. All branches of music were
thrown open to competition, and, were Instrumental (solos and ensemble), Vocal (solos
and ensemble), Sight Reading and Singing, Accompanying at sight, Original Composition
and Action Songs; Folk Dancing, Jamaican Folk Songs, Verse Speaking; Essay on (a) one
of the Folk-lore, Folk stories, and Folk-songs of Jamaica (b) Descriptive Music.
The Festival was sponsored by the Musical Society of Jamaica. The Patrons were
H. E. the Governor, Sir John Huggins and Lady Huggins. The chief Judge was Dr.
Frederick Staton, successor to the late Sir Henry Wood. Other Judges included outstand-
ing local musicians; the Honorary Secretary Mr. G. H. R. Clough, was given credit for
his outstanding work in organising the Festival.
The prices of admission to the contests which were held in five different halls varied
from 6d. to 2,-; and at the prize-giving concerts one saw a fair example of the behaviour
of a democratic crowd seeking admission.
Jamaica took advantage of Dr. Staton's presence in Jamaica by having him, conduct
Handel's "Messiah". After some postponements the audience was afforded the treat of hav-
ing a "romantic" version of the celebrated Oratorio. Quite a few persons followed the
performance from their own copies of the musical score. I also had the privilege of seeing
Dr. Staton conduct a choir in Haydn's "The Creation" at the Scottish Kirk. At this Church
also the Jamaican Association of Church Organists and Choirmasters presented their first
Festival Service of Combined Choirs on January 21, 1948. Four choirs from Kingston and
two from Spanish Town some miles away took part. Again was Jamaican utilitarian-
ism illustrated by a sermon being preached by a former Vicar of the University Church,
A very interesting feature is the introduce tion of Luncheon Concerts run by the Jamaica
Institute and the British Council. These not only assist working people to while away
the period between lunch and resuming their work but also assist in improving their musi-
cal appreciation and "concert decorum". This excellent idea is spreading. It has been
adopted by the Y.W.C.A. and by at least one Secondary School.
One cannot help noticing the importance given to the folk songs. They enter largely
in the social life of young people's groups, and are used to assist in fostering a Jamaican
spirit and are being recognized as a feature of the new Jamaican culture. Incidentally I
may mention that young West Indians or Guianese who will have an opportunity to
travel in the West Indies will do well to have a stock of their indigenous folk-songs, folk-
tales, proverbs, as well as historical or other interesting episodes for bartering at gather-
ings of representatives of various "Provinces".
PAINTING AND CARVING.
Painting is an art which is fairly widespread in the country. In various odd places
I came across paintings which were done by one of the occupants of the home. The schools
are very largely responsible for this, I presume, as a considerable amount of drawing is
done in them and the scholars are encouraged to decorate themselves the walls of the class-
rooms. In addition, there is an annual competition in painting open to pupils of all
schools, the entries being displayed in the Institute for public observation before the
TheJamaica Institute provides an excellent "Gallery' for displaying pictures. I saw
a very interesting exhibition of Chinese pain tings. The Chinese seem to take more part in
the cultural activities there than here. The Lady Huggins Rose Bowl for the best solo
singing in any class at the Musical Festival was won by a Chinese male singer,
Ho-Sang, who was awarded a British Council Scholarship, and the winner of the Senior
Elocution Contest for the last three years was also a Chinese.
In all their activity the Jamaicans pay a great deal of value to originality, and seem
to like to venture in new things. Hence "futuristic" and imaginative work is well repre-
sented. I was very pleased to see that the widow of Dunkley was endeavouring to make
her husband's work better known by bringing it to the public from time to time.
Shortly before I left Jamaica I had the privilege of seeing Edna Manley's Exhibition
of Carvings and Drawings. Incidentally I may mention that Mrs. Manley plays a very
large part in encouraging cultural activity among Jamaicans. Of special interest was
the piece of sculpture "The Land" representing the artist's idea of the new Jamaica, which
was bought for 100 and presented anonymously to the West Indian University College
The collection which extended over a period of ten years was very highly spoken of and
some of the items fetched prices ranging from 50 to 75. I think that one can safely
say that that the inspiration for much of her work was her husband Mr. Norman Manley,
K.C., brilliant Jamaican lawyer and politician.
The Jamaica Institute houses the best West Indian Reference Library in the Carib-
bean and includes a fairly complete collection of the works of Jamaican writers. The
Institute is a focus of cultural activity as it has a fine lending library, a historical museum
and picture gallery, an auditorium and a sma 11 zoo. I found the Secretary, and members
of his staff very willing to show one around and to help. Indeed, this was my experience
throughout Jamaica, whether in Schools or Colleges, or Social Welfare or Cultural Insti-
tutions, the people were only too glad to mee t a stranger who showed a sympathetic inter-
est in what they were doing and to discuss their affairs and problems.
The Historical Society which publishes an annual Review will be glad to get in touch
with the B.G. Historical Society.
Shortly before I left Jamaica, a scheme fo r a cultural centre for Montego Bay was put
forward by a young master of Cornwall College who takes a keen interest in social work.
The scheme was accepted and I look forward to hearing more of it.
Kingston had no public Library up to the time of my leaving. I think this is a reflec-
tion of the social set-up of the country with its strong middle class and large class of
poor and illiterate. However such a library is soon to be established. I was pleased to see
the number of bare-footed children from th e country districts making use and apparently
intelligent use of the Free Library at Mandeville. The British Council helps considerably
with its regional library.
The British Council, which includes a Junior Centre, works in close co-operation with
the Jamaica Institute and pursues a vigorous policy of promoting the musical and artistic
life of the country, and also literary, debating and discussion groups.
Six most Outstanding Men in British Guiana's History.
By VINCENT ROTH.
It must be very nice to be the Editor of a magazine. When he wants an article on a particular
subject he simply chooses someone who he imagines has the necessary qualifications and then, with
smiling countenance and honeyed words, he approaches his victim and explains to him how happy
his readers would be if he would oblige by the end cf September at latest. Just like approaching
one of those ornate and noisy contraptions known as "juke boxes", placing a coin in the slot, push-
ing a button and presto there's the noise. Although I do not pretend tc any of the physical,
vocal or mental qualities of a juke-box, that was the impression I got when the Editor of "Kyk-
cver-al" approached me some weeks ago-without the juke-box ccin however' and suggested that
I write an article on the Six Most Outstanding Men in the History of British Guiana.
There are in the pages of our history, bcth ancient and modern, many times six men of outstand-
ing ability who, each in his own way, has left his mark on the history of the Colony. So whatever
six I choose there will be readers who will not agree with my choice as a whole. Of this I am
sure, for already I have tried my list cut on some of my friends, not one of whom has seen eye to
eye with me on my six. So, where angels fear to tread, I rush in. Here is my list:-
The first place I give to STORM VAN S' GRAVESANDE, the doughty founder of the Col-
ony of Demerai'v, the Dutch Commander-General of the Two Rivers who, with his headquarters at
Fort Zeelandia (Fort Island), had the vision to see the possibilities of the smaller but deeper river
to the east of the old Colony of Essequibc. There is not the slightest doubt that to his encourage-
ment, beth private and official, was due the start and rapid development of the youngest of the
three Guiana colonies to the position of first importance in the subsequently combined British Gui-
ana. But for him Demerara might possibly today be but another Mahaica or Mahaiccny, a small
settlement acting as a province of the principal area of the territory, Essequibo.
Next in order of merit I place SIR ROBERT HERMAN SCHOMBURGK, the famous German
traveller and scientist who, first cn behalf of the Royal Geographical Society and subsequently on
behalf of her Majesty's Government explored and mapped the furthest recesses of British Guiana
between the years 1835 and 1844. It was mainly owing to Schomburgk's work that British Guiana
came off as well as it did in the subsequent arbitration proceedings with Venezuela and Brazil. He
it was who literally and figuratively put British Guiana "on the map".
Next I choose WILLIAM PIERCY AUSTIN the first Bishcp of Guiana, described by Queen
Victoria as her youngest and handsomest bishop and by others as the Nestcr of the Anglican
Church. From the ecclesiastical point of view he also put British Guiana on the map but his greatest
claim to local fame was his exceptional human ess and spiritual qualities. It is recorded that at
the consecration of St. George's Cathedral when, just before his death he made his last appearance
before his flock the congregation wept unashamedly.
My fourth choice is WILLIAM RUSSELL for his driving energy in developing the East and
fomurding the West Demerara Water Conservancies without which there could have been no pros-
perity in the greatest and at that time only major industry sugar growing.
My fifth choice is GEORGE GIGLIOLI, M.D., because his work in this country as a malar-
iologist is world-famous and for being the guiding hand behind the D.D.T. campaign, the full effects
of which are not yet felt but which it is easy to see will revolutionise general economic conditions
in British Guiana.
My sixth and last choice is HUBERT NATHANIEL CRITCHLOW who has given the greater
part cf his life self-sacrificingly to introducing and encouraging Trade Unionism in this country, a
task from which all classes of labour have benefited to a degree undreamt of fifty years ago.
These, then, are the six men I personally would choose as having rendered the most outstand-
ing service to the country. But, as I said in my opening remarks, I shall not be surprised to have
my choice criticised. British Guiana has of course benefited greatly from the labours of other out-
standing men such as FREDERICK GARDINER ROSE in leprosy, PATRICK DARGAN and A. R. F.
WEBBER in political economy, WILLIAM BEEBE in zoology, WALTER E. ROTH in anthropology,
JAMES RODWAY and GRAHAM CRUICKSHANK in history, BARON SICCAMA in hydraulic
engineering, CESAR ROMITI and JOHN GRIERSON in surgery, FATHER SCOLES AND CASTEL-
LANI in architecture, Sir JOHN HARRISON in industrial chemistry and agriculture, BISHOPS
GALTON and EDWARD PARRY in the humanities, DE SAFFON and TROTMAN in charity, EDWIN
McDAVID in finance and SIR GORDON LETHEM in red-tapeless administration. Those who do not
agree with my choice will no doubt substitute some of these names as amongst the six most merit-
orious men who have served British Guiana.
A Union Talk
Simey On Education
by LILIAN DEWAR
I must remind those of us who are not teachers and who generally think cf education as the busi-
ness of the Education Department, Schools and teachers, that "education is a function of the society
it serves, unavoidably concerned with the environment in which young people grow up, that the
community and its traditions (i.e. we as human beings) are stronger in their influence on personality
than formal education". Therefore Simey's most basic pronouncements for education are perhaps these:
"In order to make their way upwa'ds in the social scale, the middle classes have to adopt patterns of
behaviour fundamentally different from those of the masses. They arc driven to demonstrate their
relive superiority by cutting themselves adrift from their own people, and identifying themselves
with the white middle ciasses as far as possible. Middle class culture tends to be white culture.
The use of the local dialects is frowned on; remarkable instances cf the rejection of the local sur-
roundings can be seen in the al' classes in schools, where it is more usual to find paintings of Euro-
pean flowers, than of the West Indian countryside. All that is beautiful and attractive in West Indian
life, social and other, is rejected in favour of a stilted imitation of a foreign way of life". And
again: "the most pressing task of the immediate future is to assist West Indian communities to
build for themselves a culture in which they can rest and of which they can be justifiably proud.
The chief barrier to stability in the social structure has come from the imposing of standards from
the outside world, which are a crushing burden for West Indian peoples to bear".
Now, however much we may quibble, none of us who participate in that supreme rejection of
ourselves by ourselves the bringing of ethical values to bear on hair formation: good hair, bad hair, etc.,
can deny the fundamental truth of Simey's diagnosis, and movements back tc Africa and India are not
yet of mere historical interest. But once we admit this rejection of our environment, once we admit
that it is complicated by racial issues, it is healthy to realise that the West Indies are not peculiar in
this respect, to realise that all colonisation may be studied as a problem in adjustment to a new en-
vironment to realise that Australia. New Zealand South Africa, on one side, Canada, the U.S.A. and
Latin-America on the other, have gone through and to some extent are still going through this phase
of rejection of local surroundings, of looking to West European civilisation for standards. As R.
Frost puts it: "the land was our's before we were the land's."
And cultural dependence is to a high degree related to economic dependence. As long as a
colonial territory exports only raw material and imports all its manufactured goods, standards and
ideas tend to be imported too. That is because for the export cf raw material there is needed only
a large unskilled labour force; and because a single crop economy does not provide a wide enough
range cf activities for intellectual life, which must therefore seek its stimulus from without. A single
crop economy means a restricted mental horizon. To quote: "we must be clear that thought is not
an independent self-contained and abstractedly intelligible fact, but is intimately bound up with
action. In actual fact, the existing body of ideas (and the same applies to vocabulary) never ex,
ceeds the horizon and the radius of activity of the society in question." What is more, until there
is diversification of economic activity until there is a suitable framework provided in which it can
operate, there can be no worthwhile reorganisation of the education system, e.g., until we commit
ourselves tc peasant farming, the Agricultural Bias Scheme is a mere tinkering with the problem.
What the educational system needs most of all is a sense of direction. Education can only be
understood when we know for what society and for what social position the pupils are being edu-
cated. It is because we lack this sense of direction, as because of our predilection for English
standards, that education has been out of touch with environment throughout the West Indies. Edu-
cation, the content of which is so entirely divorced from life as we live it, education which takes
nothing from the West Indian environment can hardly be expected to give anything back to that
environment and it doesn't. It does not become part of a man's personality, it has no influence on
his actions it leaves him at the mercy of his emotions, which are not at all engaged in the edu-
cational process, when he should think. That is at least a contributory factor to our emotional insta-
It is all the more disturbing, therefore, that a University Ccllege should have been set up which
shows every sign of perpetuating the existing system of secondary education, and this before any
social or economic policy has been mapped out. The lack of policy Simey makes abundantly clear:
"It is obviously desirable that the responsibility fcr producing a general plan for the social, political
and economic development of the West Indies should be placed on the shoulders of a single officer
or agency of government, for it has become so diffused that the task of planning may be said to have
gene by default."
I do not forget that Dr. Taylor promised us an intelligence trained in basic courses that is ex-
pected, I suppose, to adapt itself to any situation; but to this we may apply America's educational
touchstone, often irritating, always provocative: trained for what? The great drawback about basic
courses is that they are everywhere applicable: they constitute a body of learning which is not modi-
fied by the environment in which they are being taught: they offer ready-made problems, with
ready-made solutions: they do not offer problematical situations: they therefore do not demand the
use of the intelligence if we accept Dewey's definition of intelligence as "operations actually per-
formed in the modification of conditions." And yet what we need most in the West Indies is the
technical skill to modify our conditions.
I do not fcrget either that the Commission on Higher Education shook a warning finger at those
who thought that all other stages of education should be perfected before the University is added as
a coping stone. "Had this course been followed in the older countries, they said, their educational de-
velopment would have been very different and very much slower." I only wonder that the Com-
mission should have looked ic Mediaeval Europe with its strong social cohesion for a precedent for
what should be done in modern times in colonial territories that have to build up a community life
from scratch. Why don't we rather look to development in the new countries, to the States and
Canada, where I think we should find that the standards of academic education are not as high as
those in the older countries, but where the communities have taken root because they have used
technical skill in modifying their environment. We must take root, we must make an act of posses-
sion of the West Indian environment, before we can talk of West Indian culture.
When I speak of technical skills and the modification of environment, I have no grandiose plans
in mind for a vast development of our resources, because it is natural to me to agree with Simey's
gloomy pronouncement that the West Indies have no resources to develop. But I agree with him
also that whatever w\- do "the work must begin with the masses, which lag so far behind". I believe
"thllt the people are the most important fact in resource development. Not only is the welfare and
happiness of individuals its true purpose, but they are the means by which that development is
accomplished: their energies and spirit are the instruments; it is not only for the people, but by
the people". And yet we largely ignore the people. We know that workers on the job are most open
to educational influences, yet there is no single agency (except perhaps the Agricultural Instructor)
that tries to reach the worker on the job. We do net realize that education is essentially an in-
strument for transforming society; that is, a programme of education is necessary before every under-
taking whether the undertaking be adult suffrage. a land settlement scheme, or co-operatives. We
neglect even those opportunities that lie nearest to hand e.g. we prefer to use our staff of school
inspectors as apostles of an administrative code rather than as an extension of the Training College
for the training of teachers in service: in much the same way we use our police force to enforce
traffic regulations rather than to direct traffic.
Simey's tones are least mournful when he is discussing the possibilities of integrating the edu-
cational and agricultural systems: "Good farming is the key to the economic and social problems
oC the West Indies. The development cf family life, again, has been recognized as the crux
of peasant farming, and peasant farming, in turn, is seen as a means of establishing a secure econ-
omic status for the family". But the measures he approves of seem to me half-hearted if we really
want to settle people on the land, people who have had no real tradition of farming, and whose
education, if any, has left them functionally illiterate. These measures, the teaching of child care
and on Agricultural Bias in Senior Schools, and Young Farmers' Clubs, are largely those in use
in the stable rural communities of England. But I repeat we have to build up our communities
from scratch and again the experience of the new countries, notably the experience of the Agri-
cultural Extension Service of the T.V.A. in the States holds out most hope for us in our attempt
it establish a sound rural economy. The work there is based en the demonstration of a better way
of life and the demonstrations are carried out to the men and women of the community on a farm-
er's land and in his kitchen by 2 agents of the service, a Farm Demonstration and a Home Demon-
stration agent. The farmers learn terracing and other soil conservation practices, while their wives
provide their lunch and at the same time learn how to prepare and serve a well-balanced meal.
The District Nurse sometimes joins them, explaining how diseases are spread, insisting on clean-
liness, giving advice on child care. Here is a method of attack against that apathy with which,
says Simey, the average villager in the West Indies regards matters of hygiene and sanitation. The
Agricultural Instructor, the Social Welfare worker, and the District nurse can form a similar team
here, taking education into people's homes. For it is necessary to realize the creative significance
of action: "Only a new type of action can give birth to a new type of thought". Simey says "the
administrative problem has in fact resolved itself into one of generating a spiritual dynamic within the
people, translating it into action and so guiding this action that, when mistakes occur, they may
not be so serious as to destroy the work as a whole rather than a part of it".
Above all we need a purpose, a common objective towards which to work. Simey tells us
little about planning, except that there is none, but he does provide us with working hypotheses.
Chaucer had these problems........
On Writing Creolese.
By D. A. Westmaas
When it first occurred to me to write a regular newspaper column in the local variant of
English, I found myself up again-t a problem of considerable difficulty. From time to time in the
past I had come up against the efforts of previous writers to evolve a suitable orthography, but
none of them satisfied me as being sufficiently near to the words represented for the uninitiated
to be able to make even an approximate guess. Within recent years there had been few writers
habitually using the vernacular, and I found that spellings which more or lass adequately repre-
sented local speech around the tu'n of the century were no longer satisfactory, as since that time
popular education, the radio and the cinema had effected considerable changes in the local working-
man's vocabulary. Cruikshank's little book Black Talk, which was published in 1916 but had been
in process of compilation for many years, is an example in point. The reader will quickly recognize
that the Georgetown labouring-man's speech has made much progress in sophistication since the
days when, for example, the verb "to nyam' was in general use in the City meaning "to eat"; or
the word "Massa" was the usual salutaticn accorded a superior.
Then again, I noticed that a mere matter of ten miles made a difference to the pronunciation
of a word; the working-man of Buxton has a noticeably different accent from the tcwnee labourer.
Berbicians have another accent again. Generally speaking, there is a greater percentage of African
words surviving in the country districts than in Georgetown which is what you would expect;
And of course East Indian (estate) English is another matter again. Here also, Cruikshank's little
brochure is defective, as it does not mention where his phrases come from or are in general use -
whether and in which town or country district. The general impression I gained from it was that
for the most part he has recorded the speech of country people.
For convenience therefore, out of all these dialects I was forced to pick the one which I heard
around me in Georgetown, and which was always available for study when I was in doubt. I then
found it necessary to evolve my own spelling. None of the previous writers had considered creolese
sounds on their own merits; they were content to adapt the English by insertion of inverted commas
and apcstrophes, so that, for example, the sentence "What kind of thing is this?" became "Wha'
kin' o' t'ing (is) dis?" I found several objections to this procedure. Firstly, the townee working-
man does not say "Wha' ", but "Wuh". Secondly, the reader' seeing the word "kin"', is tempted to
give the short vowel-scund to the "i", and pronounce it as in the phrase "kith and kin". Again,
whenever creolese drops the "f" of 'of", the resulting sound is short flat "a" rather than "o". Yet
another consideration was that most creolese sentences have a rhythm and swing about them which
is very poorly conveyed in the example of spelling given above. I therefore felt that the sen-
tence was far better rendered as "Whu kyna-ting dis?" And finally a not unimportant point was
that the elimination of as many inverted commas and apostrophes as possible made the type-setter's
job ten times easier. I made it a rule to represent the sound phcnetically whenever I could do
so without going too far out of my way. Local speech drops so many endings that to scrupulously
put in every curlicue and scriph would have been to create a type-setter's nightmare.
Phrases that were in vogue thirty years ago are no longer so. Even in my own boyhood I
remember quite well hearing the phrase "among-you" used to indicate reference to more than one
person. This particular idiom was in use even among middle-class groups, but as a rule they pre-
ferred "you-all". Thus, a working-man of thirty years ago might say "Among-you din go to school,"
where the middle-class man would say "You-all didn' ........" Nowadays "among-you" has all
but vanished from the common speech, its place being taken, so far as I can discover, by the equally
amazing "Alyou-dis" ("All-you-this"). "You-all" is still heard occasionally among middle-class
youth. (I understand, by the way, that it is in common use in the Southern States of the U.S.A.).
The use of "me" for "I" was quite common in the City when I was a boy; today, reflecting the
general educational advance, it is used only occasionally in Georgetown, but has a vogue in the
It is impossible to deal satisfactorily with the subject of creolese in a single article. Remember-
ing all the phrases worth remark would alone take a month. To mention only those that come to
my mind as I write, there is the Elliptic Marvel "Is whc....... ?; is you. ......?" Translated into
English, it goes something like this: "Who is it that ........?; is it you that........?" There is
the Swinging Wonder "A had-was-to ........ (do something or other to meet an emergency)"; I
still have no idea how the word "was" got into the set-up. Likewise with the Trapeze Performer
"An-to-besides"; where the "to" picks you up up at the top of the swing from the "and", so to speak;
and pitches you clean over the bar of the "besides" coming up to meet you. And what about the
Classic Response to an enquiry after one's health: "Adeh-maan-Adeh!" (I'm there, man, I'm there!"
meaning "I'm still in existence")? Or its variant "waan-waan!" ("One-one," meaning the speaker
is just about creeping along through this life step by step)?
This double word "Adeh" (pronounced swiftly, as one word), will also serve to make a most im-
portant point in another connexion. There are two ways of pronouncing the First Personal Pro-
noun in creolese You may say "Ah". or you may use the ordinary I-sound. But in some phrases
one particular use seems tc be obligatory. "Adeh" would lose all its peculiar bouquet creole if
the ordinary I-sound were substituted. On the other hand, in the sentence "I en kay" ("I don't
care"), use of the A-sound would be equally out of place, and by the way, most writers when
representing this A-sound spell it with an "h" th us: "Ah". I preferred to write the plain capital A,
because I considered that the average person reading "Ah" aloud tends to aspirate the "h", and
because the normal pronunciation of the capital letter alone exactly represents the required sound.
Then there is my friend Elastic Egbert, the double-word "eh-eh", which can mean "yes" or
"no", or be a mere exclamation of wonder, surprise, contempt, anger, in fact, nearly anything. In
normal spelling of this word, the "h" is only there to show that the "e" is short: it is not pronounced.
The word means "yes" when an aspirate is sounded in front of the second syllable, which receives
the accent and is a semitone higher, thus: "eh-heh." It is then equivalent tc the English affirmative
"Aha." It means "no" when the accent is equal and the second syllable is a tone or two lower.
It is an exclamation when the stresses are equal and the tone is the same, or the second syllable
is drawn out.
Yet another fascination is the number of pronunciations of the simple word "Going." When
making a special effort to be correct, as in reading the newspaper aloud, the average working-man
will give you a full-blooded "going". Normally, pronunciation ranges from going through gwinee"
and "gyne" to gun." Thei'e is even a tendency tc slur the ending of all these words, ending them
up in the nose. In creolese "Are you going home?" may be "You goin'-home gwine-hom .
gyne-home?" (Note the hyphens; they indicate a very definite phrasing). But in this usage "gun"
may not be used; thus you never hear "You-gun-home?" All forms of the wcrd, including "gun,"
are used when intention in the immediate future is meant; but in this use "gun" is far the mcst
These are only some of the things I discovered as I began to write. Of course there was no con-
scious formulation of a set of rules before beginning to do so; I simply listened to the phrases and
decided as they came along what was the best way of putting them on paper. Let me conclude
with the anecdote about the planter who found creolese so expressive because every morning when
he was still in bed there would come a knock on the door
Planter (rolling over sleepily). Is who?
Maid. Is me.
P. Is wha?
M. Is cawfee!
Paul Laurence Dunbar
.by Cleveland Wycliffe Hamilton
"NATURE, who knows so much better than man about everything, cares nothing at all for the
little distinctions, and when she elects one of he: children for her most important work, bestows on him
the rich gift of poesy, and assigns hi'm a post in the greatestt of the arts, she invariably seizes the
opportunity to show her contempt of rank and title and race and land and creed." In such a philoso-
phical interpolation which was itself part of a magnanimous tribute did the late Hon. Brand Whitlock,
former Mayor of Toledo, express his opinion of Paul Laurence Dunbar, American patriot and the
greatest African poet ever.
Paul Laurence Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872 anppoximately six years after the American
Civil War, to parents of humble ci-cu mstances and showed at an early age an enormous literary
capacity and potential. It is said of him that he wrote bits of verse '.,'hen only seven. At the age of
eighteen he graduated from High School with honours and the class song composed by him was sung
at the commencement exercises.
At the time when it devolved upon Dunbar to strike out into the world and maintain his own (and
incidentally the existence of his mother also) the U.S.A. was still writhing under the throes of an
unconscionable race discrimination and prejudice. The theory of superior and inferior ethnic types
loomed large in the immoral codes of a nation which was later to become a formidable bastion of the
democratic cult. Negroes (or preferably, African progeny) were still in a measure "goods and chattel"
"incapable" of the noble or highly intellectual. Paul Dunbar, as a few Negroes had already done, rose
opportunely to confound the critics and bring a message of hope and inspiration to his African brethren.
Poets are messengers: no poet better justifies this truth than Paul Laurence Dunbar. In his "Ode to
Ethiopia" he says-
"Be proud my race, in mind and soul
Thy name is writ on Glory's scroll
In characters of fire.
High 'mid the clouds of Fame's bright sky
Thy banner's blazoned folds now fly,
And truth shall lift them higher."
And later on in the same poem-
"Thou hast the right to noble pride,
Whose spotless robes were purified
By blood's severe baptism:
Upon thy brow the cross was laid,
And labour's painful sweat-beads made
A consecrating chrism."
And in another poem-::Beyond the Years"-perhaps one of the greatest in the language for pathos-
facilely carted pathos-and linguistic purity, the same notes of prophecy and admonition are struck.
But though the feelings that are dominant in 'Beyond the Years" are the same as those dominant in
the "Ode to Ethiopia" there is a greater subtlety and restraint and a complete reaction from violence
in the former poem. The images the poet conjures up are poignant and potent images-images of
"grieving skies" and "smiling Faith." Dunbar is in this poem weeping for the castigation of his race
but there is optimism in his tears-the same optimism which is the poet's song but the yearning is
valorously attempered with faith. There are pathetic utterances of "blood and tears" but there is also
sight of an endless peace for the pining soul. The first and last stanzas are characteristic and
"Beyond the years the answer lies,
Beyond where brood the grieving skies
And Night drops tears.
Where Faith rod-chastened smiles to rise
And carping sorrow pines and dies
Beyond the years."
Beyond the years the soul shall find
That endless peace for which it pined
For light appears.
And to the eyes that still were blind
With blood and tears,
Their sight shall come all unconfined
Beyond the years."
"Beyond the Years" must be one of the greatest pieces in cosmopolitan poetry.
But Paul Laurence Dunbar was no narrow-minded bigot who fed on supercharged draughts of
racialistic poison: his magnanimity comprehended a virile patriotism. In his 'Ode for Memorial Day"
this patriotism is a seasoned delicacy served up in dishes of high poetic profundity. Con over the poetic
imagery and tap your toes to the music of-
"Out of the blood of a conflict fraternal,
Out of the dust and the dimness of death
Burst into blossoms of glory eternal
Flowers that sweeten the world with their breath.
Flowers of charity, peace and devotion
Bloom in the hearts that are empty of strife;
Love that is boundless and broad as the ocean
Leaps into beauty and fulness of life."
And we get a peep into his capacious mind in his eminently philosophical disquisition in verse-"Not
they who soar."
"High up there are no thorns to prod,
Nor boulders lurking neathh the clod
To turn the keenness of the share
For flight is ever free and rare;
But heroes they the soil who've trod,
Not they who soar !"
His religious views were practical and tinctured with the highly rationalistic. His detestation of
hypocrisy and cant is incisive and fundamentally the poet's : In his "Religion" he is only superficially
heterodox when in one stanza he writes-
"Take tup your arms. come out with me
Let Hoav'n alone, humanity
Needs more and Heaven less from thee.
With pit- for mankind look 'round,
Help them to rise and Heaven is found."
This is not cy-nicism; it is integral of something more munificent and ethical.
The Negro poet, Dunbar, was versatile. He treated of themes of love as facilely and with as much
skill as he treated of themes of philosophy and religion or creed.
"Love me, and though the winter snow shall pile,
And leave me chill,
Thy passion's warmth shall make for me, meanwhile,
A sun-kissed hill."
His 'Dawn" is evidence of what the craftsman poet can achieve with the single quatrain:
"An angel robed in spotless white
Bent down and kissed the sleeping night;
Night woke to blush, the sprite was gone,
Men saw the blush and called it dawn."
It is among the mightiest quatrains in English Literature that I know. Search among the great
poetic pieces of the language for a parallel and you peruse long. It is unostentatious and free, and
probably, the greatest tzibte to the author's genius is that it was spontaneously written on the fly
leaf of one of nis books in a few minutes for the entertainment of some visiting friends.
I have cuvied from a pretentious Donbar volume a few of his best poems. But I am sensible that
the operation makes bad surgery f_'om' both the point of view of the surgeon and the victim which is
Dunbar's i ipr-essive anthooo-". No short article can do appreciative justice to the work of one of
the greatest poetic mnint's of all races of all times. It is fo: this reason that I have consciously omitted
comment on his dialect pieces which are so beautifully wrought in a fabric of sincerity and humour.
It will be difficult to find in other places poetry so richly woven in a native home-spun.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Negro (or Af:ican) as he was, was (and still is) a strong argument in fav-
our of the universality of intellect'lal and other endowment in so far as endowments are gifts of God
and Nature. His achievement is the best refutation of tne preposterous and fallacious argument of race
superiority and the inherent universality of his poetry (ne wrote for the race of mankind) is the most
imposing testimony of African greatheartedness. Are there sceptics on the question of Dunbar's
achievements? If there are, then their scepticism must be answered in terms that appropriately
renrehend their unbelief".. .. Toe-e is a kind of sacredness attached to the memory of the great and
good, which seems to bin us reiulse the scepticism which would allegorize "their existence into a
pleasing apologue and measure the giants of intellect by an homoeopathic dynameter."
We may well say of this great poet
"Rapt tho' ne be from us,
Virgil salutes him, and Theocritus.... "
Peace in .......
by CELESTE DOLPHIN
Now that I have spent a day in the Cloisters, I think I know what the Middle Ages had to offer
to a spirit needing peace.
It was a place where one could think one's thoughts out aloud in one's mind, where one could
overflow with peace so much that tears would have been a relief, where one could fill with quiet
and a wistful happiness until one could take no more.
Outside Fort Tryon Park, New York roared and went about its business, but the Cloisters had
something set apart about them. Here was a haunt of peace for the weary hearted, some cf the
grave quiet of the cemetery of Cabacaburi, and all along the length of the slow stream of people one
would come upon monks walking with their breviaries intoning Latin in low, modulated voices.
Between the monks and the quiet-voiced assistants who knew the history of everything in the
Cloisters, they set the Cloisters apart.
At the mediaeval concert in the Cloisters, all around me sat the women and men of the United
Nations Cingalese and eastern women with veils under their eyes as a child sees them in picture
bocks. A woman beside me spoke and I wondered what language it was she was speaking. Even
now, I r-member the Gregorian chants -and my programme notes remind me the Kyrie from the
mass "Lux et Origo" sung by the Monks of the Solesmes Abbey and the Ave Coelorum Domina sung
by the Dijon Cathedral Choir. It was a mournfulmusic moving around one or two notes and every-
thing was in keeping the haunting mediaeval spirit, the women in their national dress, the
students so intense, and the solid marble columns through which one passed.
It seemed the marble columns would be there forever, to shelter for ever and ever the beauty
that lay behind them. Yet, in a curious way, if the whole of New Ycrk should be destroyed, the
columns affirmed that these treasures transplanted here would still show themselves and their
beauty under another sky.
Beyond the solid marble columns there was green, plenty of it, the orchards and the groves that
surround monasteries, and students walking along the paths much as monks walked past these
stones centuries ago in another land, or they sat intent, near to the fountains playing. One cannot
overstress the green, the fern and rocks, the trees lining walks, and the trees framing the view to
A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters guard a collection of mediaeval
treasures, pai' of the beauty of Europe. Themselves constructed from large sections of the cloisters
of long-abandoned and ruined monasteries from France, they were peopled now with life-size statues,
in all exquisite detail, of the Apostles and the Saints and replicas of extant mediaeval altars and
cathedral doorways.Particularly the group of the Baptism of Christ carved in stone and marble
stood out, for the faces had life and breathed out of the stone.
Two life-size statues of the Virgin and Child of the fcurteenth century troubled me, one because
the Blessed Virgin was smiling and the Baby Jesus had a large apple in his hand (for me she
should have had a face, lovely but sad, thoughtful perhaps, meditative, resigned, but not smiling).
The eyes of the other Madonna were very large and fixed and staring, and the longer one looked
at them the more fey the eyes appeared. As if the sorrows she foresaw were proving too much for
her, and at any minute she would leap down from her pedestal and go out running, demented. Her
eyes looked mad.
There was a life-size Spanish crucifixion piece and the stone eyes of the Man of Sorrows were
so real and alive that they followed me wherever I went in the room feeling eerily uncomfortable.
The Middle Ages believed that the unicorn could be caught only by a virgin. This wild and
unconquerable animal became tame when confronted by a maiden; he would lay his head in her
lap and thus be easily taken by the hunter. The unicorn is a symbol of Christ, the virgin is the Virgin
Mary, the huntsman is the angel Gabriel, and the story an allegory of the Incarnation.
'here is a special set of six French or Flemish tapestries with their colours as rich as they
were four hundred years ago and showing The Hunt of the Unicorn. A large white unicorn at
the fountain, sighted by the hunters, tries to escape, but the hunters surround him. The Unicorn
dopfends Uimself but is killed and brought as the prize of the hunt to the lord of the castle and his
..?,, arnd the sixth tapestry shows the resurrection of the Unicorn.
A-,.( tilo chairs, tall, straight-backed, hard uncomfortable. But one sat in them, because Abbots
rnl P-opes and holy dignitaries had sat there. And little kneeling stools with their' intricate detail
reverently carved had worn to a cup in the middle with centuries of use until they were no longer
praying stools but symbols of devotion.
The mediaeval concert ended with the playing of the Church Bells of Zurich. They were of
all kinds and of all timbres, the high and the low, the solemn, the sonorous, the tinkle and the
gong. Then the resonance hung in the atmosphere vibrating and leaving only the ng hum behind
them, the sounds stole away, back over in Europe where they belong.
Reading a poem
Through Other People's Eyes (2)
_-Experiment in Criticism
Six years ago, I sent to my friends who I thought would be interested, a copy of a version of a
pcem by Gerard Manley Hopkins but without his name attached. Would they please tell me what
they thought about the poem, I asked, and at any length.
To the replies I received then, I have added one or two more solicited much later but they now
cover a fair scope. Three of the commentators write poetry themselves, with more than average
ability in that field, three others are very musically minded people, two are teachers of primary
schools and one taught in a secondary school. The remaining two are well read people, one with a
legal training and the other interested in many branches of the aesthetics.
Here is the poem:
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleafino ?
Ah! As the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Tho' world of wanwood leafmeal lie,
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no .nor mind expressed
What heart heard of. ghost guessed.
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.
....There is a village "Golden Grove" on the East Coast, Demerara .and knowledge of this fact
affected the writer of the first comment rather seriously. I. A. Richards (to whom our commentator
refers) would call this difficulty to proper understanding a "mnemonic irrelevance".
1. One has to enunciate principles I daresay before criticising As matter of fact the mere
citation of principles is implied criticism.
Now what is the function of a poet ? What is poetry ?
A poet is a man or woman with fine sensitive ities. or is it sensibilities ? However he has keen
and unusual insight into things, he can perceive similarities where the other person cannot, he can
feel more deeply than the ordinary mortal. But this is not all. He has a corresponding feeling for
words; he can weave word patterns to mirror the deep sensitivities ; when he does this well enough,
he what you call writes a poem. And a poem fulfils its real function (I deliberately avoid good and
bad) the more accurately in so far as the reader is able to feel the feelings first born in the poet.
This is not an easy undertaking. Words have different contexts for different people and the
poet must realise this and so limit words by other words that he succeeds in focussing the mind of the
reader on that aspect of reality that had been his unique vision. (There is much more that can be
said, say on use of language (qua use)).
Now to the poem under review.
I would say that it fulfils its function in one sense and it fails in another
If it were by a foreigner, I would say that there is merit in it, but if by a local poet then his
use of Goldengrove well nigh ruins the piece.
It introduces a factor Richards calls Stock Response I think, which as it were throws a hammer
into the machine of communication which is even more delicate to manage in poetry.
One thinks of the place Golden Grove and this colours his whole reading of the piece with, to
my mind, fatal results
It is true that the poet attempts to limit this response by comparison-" world of wanwood leaf-
meal lie' and unleafing hut I do not think them strong enough to remove that irrelevant entity
introduced by "Golden Grove ". I note even the spelling of Grove with common g but still I can-
not acquit him or her
Briefly I think of the theme as follows. The poet observes someone moved at the sight of the
fall, person maybe a child, who sees the favourite tree or grove unleafing. He opines that as she
goes through life she would become inured to sorrow, would become either callous, sceptical or
He suggests that it is part of the human make up to mourn for these passing disappointments etc,.
but he goes on to say that in reality she mourns for her dead self-that self that she left behind her
and that she continually leaves behind her in the dynamic of living
This last line gave me the value that I look for in any poem I read
.... (We learn about Shakespeare and Milton. We see the way in which a man may make a successful
after-dinner speech, but this writer has not said much about the poem we are examining. But this
is characteristic of a type of criticism)....
2. To express in musical numbers and undivided breath, this, it is said, is the prime function of
the Sonnet. It is a fee-grief due to the poet's br east ; it is an aspiration, born and dying in the same
moment And it is a good poet who can make a philosophic ending, thus-
"It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret y ou weep for"
It also makes you feel, that the author poet feels strongly and sincerely about his subject. In
those two lines, he crowds all the tragedy of the theme.
It has been said, also, that to succeed, a poem must have originality either of theme or treatment.
The theme of this poem is not new, and Milton has expressed a similar thought in his. Cyriack,
these three years". But in Lhe matter of technical detail, the contrast of youth with age made by the
testing ground-the barometer-of a single indivi lual, first filled with enthusiastic youth, and later
crabbed with cold, old age, viewing one and the same thing at an interval of time-
"Ah as the heart grows older,
It will come to such sights colder
B- and by"
this gives a vivid sense and reality to the individual who sees the tragedy of "unleafing Golden
Grove "-cold, dispassionate,-intense, human. And again, who can gainsay the potency of the lines-
"Nor mouth had, no, nor mind expressed,
What heart heard of, ghost guessed."
Sorrow, indeed, but of a dispassionate quality.
... ("My friend who writes next was rather afraidthat perhaps I had written the piece of verse-at
least so it seems. However he says "Obscure".)....
3. I have read and re-read the poem. Perhaps my work has dulled my intellect and sense of
appreciation, but I doubt if they would have so dulled them-One word describes the effort-"Obscure".
The "Mechanics" of poem seem all right, but I am afraid there has been no emotional reaction to the
vehicle-a work of art or literature to be such must produee on its reader some emotional reaction.
Upon me there has been none. There are two lines w.hicn discovered in other context would be nower-
ful-even in their weak supporting structure I find potential greatness "Over Golden ......" (1)
"Tho' ..... leafmeal lie" (2) There seems to be an ove," striving for effect permeating the whole
work, and a certain overtone of immaturity! Perhaps I am mistaken; or too carping, but my criticism
(On the other hand, this lady who writes nexi is most refreshingly herself. Perhaps, for the first
time, we begin to see how the poem looks to a reader.)
4. Lady, are you grieving
Over Seymour unbelieving?
You say you cannot do it,
He ups and drives you to it,
And by 4 it must be through,
Nuts to Seymour, Marge and you.
That's just about how I felt, but the comment must go on. (Not really as reluctant as all that. I
quite enjoy doing it).
I like it only 10% until the sixth reading-and then it is .50% but if I didn't have to comment on
it I wouldn't read it twice, so it's almost safe to leave the average public anoreciation at 10%. It's
50% value as far as I am concerned is due to the wistful atmosphere that I find particularly appealing,
and the fact that it makes me want to write a verse or story around it. (Inspirational worth-what).
Here's what it means to me-Margaret is 'growing up," she begins to see the "underneath" of life,
and finds it rather joltin:. As she vets older she will merely shrug her shoulder at the harsh realities,
but sometimes then she'll be sad, no longer because of .'what happens, but because when she looks back
she will realise how she must have changed to be able to take ior granted what she formerly found
so upsetting. We've all eot to change with time, and it is the realization that she is slowly and imper-
ceptibly doing so, that worries Margaret. (It seems to express the pessimistic view that age always
means deterioration and not improvement).
There are two lines I can't tag with definite meanings:-
(i) "Tho world of wanwood leafmeat lie."
The only meaning I can give, in relation to its setting is-"though you find life strewn with upsetting
affairs." The underlined words are unfamiliar).
(ii) "What heart heard of, ghost guessed"
This just seems to be a very vague way of expressing vagueness. It seems to be describing a thought
which is dismissed before it is well formed. B'ut "gnost guessed" stili beats me.
Other phrases that could stand discussion are "Goldengrove unleafing" (this may have an alterna-
tive meaning which would change the whole idea), "sorrow's springs are the same," "the blight man
was born for."
I find the rhythm too irregular. As soon as I get into one "feel" of time, it changes. In my opin-
ion a poem of this atmosphere should be smooth. In the 9tn line a beat seems definitely lacking. Of
course if set to music jerks could be attractively rounded off. Tnis types it with those Elizabethan
ditties, e.g. "(Sigh no more ladies" (Shakespeare) ). Lines 2, 6, 10, and 11 smell Shakespea'ry. The form
of the poem-question at beginning, confidential motherly chat in the middle, ending with a firm self
made answer-seems to have been a favourite method of the times.
"Ghost guessed" I find jars. Tne gh and gu are too narsh to go together in such a vague atmos-
phere. It would fit well into a mystery with wind hissing through the shutters, but it seems wrong
(He raises the problem of the mass reaction to poetry, the writer of this comment. But then this is
Walter MacA. Lawrence, himself a fine poet. I have lifted the corner of the veil of anonymity in
honour of one of Guiana's worthy dead).
5. After reading it twice I captioned it. Psychoanalytical, and what a name for a poem; but it
just goes to shcw my subconscious reaction though I do think a lot of the poem. When you see what
is being done with words within such a small comp ass you must admire the work. You dare not throw
it aside fo: suppose there was a whole volume of it, wnat a splendid collection of concentrated thought
there would be; but is poetry really going to get there ?
I have fund pleasure in the reading of Tennyson, Swinburne, Longfellow, and that great Cana-
dian noet of the backhands and wild woods, whose name I cannot remember now; (Savage?-Ed.) and
I have all that pile of music f:om them-all that wo nderful descriptive music in words which has a way
of so getting into the being that one lives with it and for it- That is why I ask if, truly, poetry is
going to become pure art and so scientific, yet so good that one cannot despise it although one can-
not write it.
Into how many hands can I put a poem such as the one before me and hope to have an apprecia-
tive smile ? How many will be able to see what is being slowly done-look at that line where all the
wood-world has shaken out into 'grandmother's su gar'-if that is really what the author would ex-
press! Would it pay any collector to get up an anthology of such verse ? But take the fine simple
poetry of the past-take "The Shooting of Dan McGree"-any one of them at random, and give it to
your cook and ask her to read it and see how glad she is you let her. Everybody could understand
such poetry; but not so this streamlined literature meant only for the educated few who like poetry-
with trained brains quick enough to erasp at a flash what is being done, and laugh. Look at that last
line-"It is Margaret you mourn for." If you have not heard-not read, I grant-about the psycho-
analyst you wouldn't understand what was being said. That is not poetry, truly, is it?-to teach? or to
delight ? Yet one who knows would be delighted with it as I have been, which brings me back to
where I was, that such poems are good but can be appreciated only by the few
(What Lawrence says is a real difficiulty.... the next comment is a personal paraphrase and the
writer likes the music).
6. I like it, especially "It is the blight man was born for". Poets usually harp on the dark cloud
with its silver lining, and darkest hour just before the dawn, but this man is honest and true to life.
I like what he says and how he says it. Another line--"What heart ...... ghost guessed."
"Ghost guessed" is definitely good. There are so r, any things that one could never put into actual
There's music in the man's poerm. What I mean is that I've read it about six times and uncon-
sciously one's imaGination seems to fill inthe background music. Though that may mean that I am
musical and not the poet. Still I think it is.
Anyway I like it.
(Too much contraction but yet grandeur of style-'econition of these two elements is the con-
tribution of the next section).
7. My general impression is that the specimen is the work cf a young writer, a member of the
school of Modern Style.
There is too much contraction of expression. If, as I gather, the writer is com-naring someone's dis-
anuointment with the chance in the seasons then I'd suggest a sli.vht alteration in the second line,
which will result in a certain amount of expansion, and yet not change the metre. Here it is:-
O'er a golden grove unleafing ?"
Of course, this expansion of expression may be just a fad of mine.
On the other hand, the-e is a irand6eur of style which cannot fai to penetrate even !ny (dull sense
of anoreciation. For exanmpie, 1 consider the passave:-
"Ah as the heart . ... leafeal lie."
very good poetry indeed. I mink it the hihli.oht' o' the poem. Tie -ine "Tho' world of wanweod
leafmeal lie" conjures up a pict'.ue o' atitu-'n that is perfect, if I may sa- so. and the style is indeed
(In what follows, we have the story of the poem retold in simple language...... And yet is the
writer correct about self pity and the cold stare?)
8. The author seems to be thinking of a tender-hearted young girl who is grieving over the
unleafing of Golden-grove. He tries (in this poem) to console her as she crows older such sights would
pass unnoticed, so trival they wculd be; nor would she spare a sigh "tho' world of wanwood leafmeal
But as she grows older she wo.ilid -.wep and known v o i y.
Whatever it is, 'sorrow's springs are cne same." The heart ,-ii alvay., ache over something or
other. "It is the blight man was born for"-it is herscl, tnat she 'itolrns for (self pity).
It is a beautiful poem. After rea-ing it seve'aal times one is left with the music in one's mind.
The opening and closing lines are very striking; they seem to be al'..a:.s turning up in your mind at
some unbidden hour. The vowel sounds in "Margaret" and "Golden Grove" lend beauty to the first
two lines. On the whole the poem is like a song tnat leaves a melody in your soul.
"Margaret, are you grieving over Golden Grove" unlealing ?
Now no matter, child tie name, Sorrow's springs are tne same"
It is the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for."
These lines seem to me to be the best lines in the noem. They are very comforting lines; like
some kind old man giving counsel to a young girl. That's tne way with life. Things that seem to
matter now, as we grow older won't even give bicth to a sigh.
"Nor mouth had, no, nor mind expressed
What heart near of, ghost guessed.
I haven't quite understood those two lines I suppose they have their place in the poem, but I
can't quite see their meaning.
'Tho' world of wanwood leafmeal lie"
This is a very pretty line too. The w's and the i's make the music in the line
And now we come to the philosophical Dart of the noem.
"Ah! as the heart grows older......leafmeal lie"
Why worry, why grieve over something that is an accident of nature. There are bigger things in
life, harder hits that you'h! have to grieve over, and then such sights as the falling of leaves will be
viewed with a cold stare.
Nor would you spare a sigh even thounyh the wordd be left bare of all its beauty-green trees,
(This next comment touches off theology and t he after life. Death is not all, is it? -so it seems to
ask. But the whole comment is definite and well balanced).
9. There is something elusive about it, something beyond the sad acceptance of the brevity of
life and the inevitableness of death and decay. I like the tender simplicity of the first few lines.
"Grieving over Goldengrove unleafing" is very pleasant. "Tho' world of wanwod leafmeal lie" is good
alliteration, but seems to be a striving after originality. Perhaps it is meant to contrast with the
simple clarity of the next line.
Ghost guessed Alliteration, yes, but it conjures up pwcin'es of restless spirits of the dead haunt-
ing the abodes o_ the ,ivine. I su):)ose "or spirit r:.esseo." is too obvious and too similar in pattern to
"nor mind expresse-." Unfortunatel: I have a perverse ,'reference for narallel rhythms.
I like the last line, the effective and unexpected close of the poem. But I wish he had gone on to
comfort Margaret with the hope of Life after, even out of death.
I forgot to mention mxy gratitude to the poet fo: his use of rhyming '-oullets.
(This comment is intellectualized and one won ders .N-nether here too the poetry has not been
missed. The wood for the trees?).
10. This little lyric of wan regrets strikes its note of yearning at once in the opening couplet
where the rather Icng vowels and feminine rime produce an effect of wistful langour. A measure of
consolation, albeit intellectual, is offered by the reminder that familiarity and age will assuage the
present regret. But this consolation, presented in an ideal parallelism culminating in the subtle and
felicitous line-"Tho. ... lie," in which the consonants, w, 1 and f and the repeated vowel sounds,
first o and later of a, are pleasantly intermingled, is deceptive, since there is no cessation of tears.
There is weeping still for grief which, we feel sure, has a deeper cause than the unleafing of a
The rime-pattern which is that of the riming coinlet is saved fliom undue monotony by the inter-
changing of masculine and feminine rimes. While a unity and form is given to the whoole by making
the 13th verse a some ,'hat distant renetend of the 7to, :-vich is itself a variation of the 1st.
The simple diction and sedate rn-thrin help to create an atmios)phere of grey tonelessness annronrt-
ate to mourning. Buit that the v.writer coui" have a lo 'ed him-se'f to Ioroduc'e anvyhmin so toneless as
tne line,-"Sor:o.ws .... .sam'e," .hnich comes near to bliihting the w.'.hole poem is also a matter for
regret on the part of the reader.
(I was glad to have this as the final comment, with its acute end remark. The weeping Margaret
is a figure that stands over against the sorrow of the world).
11. The poet is philosophical, even slightly cynical-yet with a tender cynicism not intended to
hurt. One can imagine him as a father writing to his beloved daughter, now in the impressionable
spring of her life, seeing a time when moulded by convention and becoming accustomed to the
inevitableness of life and death, she
S winl come to such sights colder
By and by, nor s)are a sigh
Tho' world of wan -ood leafmeal lie"
and here the phniosophy comes in-
"And yet you 'ill w.eep ann know why."
A lovely alliteration in the sixth line-this line also creates a very realistic visual impression.
The obvious desire to create an unusual ending as expressed in the startling climax of the last line,
stamps the poet modern. Yet the effect is not unpleasing-certainly it is thought-provoking.
The form of the noem is strance--one would expect it to be a sonnet.
It has the feel of Debussy.
Here is the poem again for y-ou to read it for you_'s:f after seeing it through other people's eyes.
Margaret, are you 'grieving
Over Goldengrove unleafing ?
Ah, as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Tho' world of wanwood leafmeal lie.
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no. nor mind expressed
What heart heard of, ,host guessed.
It was the blight m.an was born for
It is Margaret you mourn for.
Memorabies of B.G.
When I Go I Shall Remember.
I shall remember how trees soften the ugliness created by men to whom green grass
and black earth are things to be covered with concrete and sawn timber and corrugated
iron; and remembering I shall wonder why people in Georgetown do not plant more of
them. For Georgetown's trees are half its beauty and the lack of them half its ugliness.
I arrived here my head stuffed with miscellaneous information about the Colony: I
knew that the coastlands were flat, that the water was brown, that houses were built of
wood and stood on pillars, and so on. I arrive ed here, too, looking for a tramway system
that had been scrapped and almost forgotten years before, and, like better informed men
since, for birds of gorgeous plumage flying over Georgetown and for numerous monkeys
for sale on street corners. The consolation at the time was that I was "interviewed"
by the Press. I can think of no easier and, to the interviewed, more gratifying way in
which any country can make a good impression on the newcomer particularly if he be
one in whose existence journalists have previously shown a complete and distressing lack
People in cities tend to behave in similar ways, and cities tend to resemble one another.
Georgetown, I will agree however, is different. I shall always remember Camp Street as
I saw it from my window the first week after my arrival, in bright sunshine, with the flam-
boyants a long and brilliant splash of red and orange against a background of white houses.
I shall remember Main Street on a Sunday morning, representing, I suppose, only one
side of Georgetown, but giving the impression, with its trees and its white houses and
tended gardens, of order and peace and gracious living.
I shall prefer, however, to remember Guiana by what I have seen of its Interior and
its coastlands. Not so much the long ruffled ribbon of Kaieteur, impressive and lovely as
that is even to one brought up in a land where natural loveliness is within a half hour's
drive of all, but the tree-colonnaded road from Tumatumari over which I walked at
midnight, laden with five dozen eggs of varying degrees of freshness, in search of the six-
wheeled truck soon to hurtle us through the forest night towards Garraway Stream. I
shall remember, too, the skipper of the boat that brought us down the Essequibo, and the
man from St. Vincent who built his home with his own hands and lived on a high point
jutting out into the broadened Potaro a few hundred yards below Amatuk, with a view such
as few views on earth can equal. Ten thousand such men as these and Guiana's troubles
would exist no more. Leguan Island, and lying in the sun on its beaches; its leaning
tower, and the schoolmaster who led us up it; its churchyard waiting, in the shade
for the future to bring a Guianese Thomas Gray; the quiet courtesy and ready good
humour of people whose troubles are more the age-old ones of wresting food from the earth
than those of twentieth century rents and wages and cost of living. Suddie, too, on a
bicycle and away from the dust of the main road; and drinking beer and swapping opin-
ions with the Chinese store-keeper who sold everything from cutlasses to castor oil and had
learnt arithmetic, like a thousand others before him and since, from. Mr. E. O. Pilgrim
when the latter's hair was different in colour and quantity from what it is now.
A thousand other things I shall remember the City at 11 a.m., on a Saturday morn-
ing, with a solitary and athletic cock making up his silly mind in the middle of Water
Street about the rules of the road; the wail from my wife on arrival when she took her
first shower in Guiana, and turned on the tap expecting water, only to get Lamaha; the
Elizabethan robustness of beard and voice with which Nature endowed the vendor of
"Sweet Cow Manure"; the variety and charm of many of the place names Uitvlugt, La
Bonne Mere, Anna Catherine, Providence, Cornelia Ida; Monday afternoons at Thomas
Lands, listening to tales of cricket battles long ago as told by Hynds, the groundsman,
future stalwarts batting before us; mangoes and shrimps, and avocados eaten on the sly
with a spoon; friendliness; hospitality; .......
I shall remember.
Reading two Barbadian Poets provided .
A Happy Week-End
by MARGARET LEE
Because he speaks so well for me personally, I like Mr. Collymore's work, and for the same
reason I hear his vice reinforced by those of older favourite writers. Like so many people today,
Mr. Collymore does not see anything particularly inspiring in modern living. We have made a new
god whose angels
"....have peculiar ways And now we are their wretched slaves
As one might well infer Nor do we dare deny
From legends of the ancient days The sacrifice their godhead craves
About proud Lucifer. Beneath the darkening sky". (De Angelis)
There is something of Mr. T. S. Eliot's earlier voice in this and in such poems as "Search", "Lost
Eden", "Salvage". We are lost, we travel we know not whither.
We have scorned the proffered prospectus
Of heavenly bliss, we have missed the bus:
And soon shall this desert of loneliness
Be engulfed in the tide of nothingness,
End and beginning, nothing less
Or more: at the end of the road". (Terminus)
This quiet pessimism flares out occasionally into cynicism at the artificial proprieties of living.
Our guardian angels-"the tepid smile, the suave indifference" preserve its brittle surface; but
underneath, what murder is done:
The old unheeded ghosts
Peer from their shrouds and sigh
In vain, the Judas kiss shall sneer
Again, another die." (By Each Let This be Heard)
The poet's cynicism, like his pessimism, is never savage; it is, rather, the well-bred sadness of
"For we are bound about with ghosts
And fool our hearts with compromise,
And from the shadow of cur love
Mirages ise". (Mutability)
Neither does he seek a refuge; the latter voice of Mr. Eliot is not heard. Mr. Collymore is essentially
a lyric poet and he sings the eternal themes.
He is haunted by the loss of childhood when
From the bougainvillea hedge
A princess would appear
Wrapped in a dusty cloak of green
With flowers in her hair".
One of the charms of convalescence is that toe-familiar surroundings take on again their old air of
friendly intimacy. He is equally sensitive to the power and mystery of beauty This is the gift
for all men to cherish and he calls for its praise as zealously as ever Mr. de la Mare does:
"Do homage to beauty whensoe'er
She calls. Let not the heat's desire
Or the mind's obsession or the body's claim
Shut out the message, dim the fire
In all this talk of beauty where is Keats' voice heard? In the title "But Those Unheard", but
more clearly in "Beneath the Casuarinas". Here, in smaller compass than in the Nightingale Ode,
is the same sense of being rapt away, the same awareness of the centuries past, of a power outside
man, the same baffled return to cur mortality. Mr. Collymore could hardly be a lyric poet and not
sing of love, but he does so mainly in quiet tones. The grave voices of Hardy and Housman are
heard in such poems as "The Culprit", "Mutability", 'Who Took Life Gaily"
"Let's take love gaily, you and I We look love gaily, you and I
The blossom of an hour. soon to die: But new apart, we yearn and sigh
But perfect neath the summer sky: Who thought Love's power to defy
Let's take love gaily, you and I. And take love gaily, you and I".
I closed Mr. Collymore's book, envisaging him as the lyric poet-the nightingale singing with his
breast against the thorn-but on turning the pages of "Bim" I discovered he was quite a different
bird, no less than the Teatea bird whom ladies dote on
for he displays
A fund of chatter which they find
Instructive to the curious mind".
I dote on Mr. Collymore's whole menagerie of strange creatures, both in verse and drawing. Earlier
he had written of "wild words" plunging and galloping; here they certainly do, in the maddest
mental gymnastics, in verse forms simple and elaborate, in rhyme schemes of amazing agility,-
reaching its breathless height perhaps in "Pullus Magnum Pumpum" with only one rhyme through-
out-and all in the highest spirits. Behold the Pimmity:
"Gaze on the Pimmity To show the Pimmity
With equanimity; True magnimity,
Let not proximity Pusillanimity
Cause you to quell; Must not in you dwell".
And the solemn fooling in "The Gaga" is no less clever. Amid all this nonsense Mr. Coll:more still
speaks on my behalf, and nowhere more earnestly than when he speaks of the cockroach:
"I don't like how I feel
When with my heel
If I still believed in Santa Claus, I should ask for Mr. Collymcre's nonsense verse in a companion
volume to his serious work.
If Mr. Collymore is in the general succession of Keats, Mr. Vaughan may be said to be in the
line of Browning, for it is his vigour and confidence that strike the reader first. Possibly he him-
self realises the needs of confines for such vitali ty, for he writes mainly in sonnet and epigrammatic
forms, and raps out these short terse pieces with gusto; the very titles are challenges -"To the
Unborn Leader", "The Call', and the epigrams are addressed to men who have made their mark
True, there is the backward glance at boyhood's pleasures, "to be The Wind skylarking", but
there is plenty of enjoyment left-rain, voices, the names of labourers' houses, the excitement of the
Disdain the donkey's dancing you who may,
Reach for your trim sophisticated art.
But I, I cannot scowl cr turn away
When naked rhythm ravishes the heart".
Beauty is a miracle, equalled only by the grossness of those who see it not who go
S.......... swaggering, crashing through
The goddess Beauty's vaulted calm abode,
Knowing nowhere to ease their secret load
Of weariness, no ritual to renew
Lost faith, no mystery to change the heart".
It will take death to silence this ecstatic singing of the joys of the world.
.......... but until that fateful hour
My feet shall find wherever Beauty is
My voice from her alone draw all its power...."
All this delight does not blind him to the ugliness around us; poems like "The Inquest" are proof
of that. But there is always hope.
The strength which gathers when the first young shoot
Rises and heaves the earth apart and flings
Its glory tc the sun;
It is interesting to compare the work of the two poets when handling the same theme-rain in
the street. For Mr. Collymore it provides a "Minute's Magic", which he interprets in lines of sharp
and fragile beauty:
"Bells of water air and light
Unfold, expand and fall
To rise again petal upcn petal;
A myriad dancing small
Rain flowers, rain fairies
For Mr. Vaughan the transformation of the dreary street is a promise of eventual triumph:
"If all this heaven-sent loveliness must pass,
Why doubt the end, beyond all grim mischance,
Of all the dreariness that men amass?"
Virginia Wcolf with her usual penetration has remarked in one of her essays that American
writers find themselves in the position of having to interpret a vast new civilisation with its crude-
ness and vigour by a language grown old and rich in a life almost the direct opposite: it is this
incongruity that explains the wrenchings, sometimes joyous, sometimes exasperated, which are pro-
ducing the American language. It may be that something of the same condition is felt by writers in
the West Indies. If it does, both poets have concealed it from the reader; the southern image fits
smoothly into the northern frame. Mr. Collymore has used the comparison of the two islands most
happily, and in "Farewell to the Islands" has developed from the descriptions of England and Bar-
bados the natural metaphor of the islands of human personalities.
This, then, was my happy week-end. And since I have no poetic talent to voice my praises, let
me avail myself of the poet's voice once more:
Sc I, acknowledging this day's gift conferred
Upon me, must perforce be content with happiness' unspoken word."
The Heart of Goodness.
........ There is a world-mind composed of the richest and best experiences that the human
spirit has ever acquired, and all down the ages the outstanding personalities of each period have
contributed to that world mind. The visions of Moses and Isaiah are a part of that mind, the sayings
of Socrates and Plato and the teachings of Jesus. To that mind Beethoven and Bach have added their
melodies, Michelangelo and da Vinci their arts. Statesmen of all races too have brought their
creative insight, the Indian Emperor Asoka and the American Abraham Linccln. Those are only the
great names, but in a word, every thoughtful action, every deed that has the character of beauty
and truth and makes similar deeds spring in others, all that is noble has contributed something to
the growing heart of goodness and spirit in the world.
Some people have described this wcrld-mind as the creative part of civilization because of the
way books and music and art inspire us to be our better selves and others have called it the theo-
psyche, a compound word that means the God-seeking spirit. But whatever you want to call it,
there is this power of goodness working in history, achieving victories for the human spirit, build-
ing hospitals or the Boulder Dam, assisting the su rgeons who perform an operation of mercy in an
out-of the way village, or trying to control natural forces for the sake of man, malaria or the atomic
bomb ........ A.J.S.
....... .Historians place 1748 as the year in which the brandwagt was first erected, probably on
the site of the present St. Andrew's Church ,and at night anxious men peered out into the darkness
from the guard house to see if smugglers were sweeping down the Demerary. The first building in
the precincts of the City of Georgetown was therefore precautionary and coercive.
The bicentenary of the brandwagt finds large ly unconscious of their history, the people who buy
and sell in the Stabroek Market and who throng the commercial places within a stone's throw cf
the site of the ancient smugglers' guard house........
" . your doors are ever open . "
Nineteenth Century Georgetown.
By ERIC ROBERTS.
At dawn the City of Georgetown has the appearance of a rural village, with its many
trees and palms through which peep the ma ny towers and steeples boasting of all creeds
and denominations. Here could be seen the shrines and mosques representing the religions
of the East, in close proximity to the edifices of its Western neighbours, a symbol of reli-
gious tolerance. Alongside of these are the many schools primary and secondary, endea-
vouring at all times to make Citizenship for the future the fundamental part of the
Curricula. In the City's oldest street, Brick dam, stands the Catholic Cathedral, which
destroyed by fire in 1913, has been rebuilt over an extensive area. Reminiscent of the
monasteries of the Dark Ages, its grim walls, boasting of no ulterior magnificence, have
ever been the centre of relief to destitute families. To the south and running in an
easterly direction is the Cemetery of Le Repentir,-
"each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep".
Here among thousands of graves, within vaults and beneath marble tombstones are the
remains of our City Fathers, whose early exertions, vision and courage have not only
helped in laying the foundation-stones, but have built on them. Here at rest in the sub-
limity of the morning's sun, they seem to be ever happy and pleased at our sturdy growth
From 1782 until '96 when it passed into B ritish hands the Dutch did what they could
in making the new town of some importance. In the possession of the former, however,,
some real progress was made during the six years which followed from then until 1802,
when by treaty it passed again into Dutch hands. The change in itself proved disad-.
vantageous to the planters, who enjoying prosperity under British rule, came into ruin.
It again changed hands the following year, and since then has remained British. In 1812
in honour of the Prince Regent it assumed its present name.
The town, one mile in length ran in an easterly direction from the river Demerara
with what is now Brickdam as the centre of activity, and on both sides of the road
were to be found the homes, offices of government, as well as the residences of the
planters. Cess-pools and quagmires were to be found in every yard, while mosquitoes
and frogs were a constant nuisance to the population. Conditions of health and sanita-
tion were negligible concerns. In 1831 the three counties, then under two separate gov-
ernments became one, and six years after, the Municipality came into being.
Within a few years some changes were made on an appreciable scale, and many muddy
tracks had been converted into moderate-sized streets along with the building and repair-
ing of bridges which spanned the many canals. Slowly with an increase of the town
population, areas adjacent to what was formerly Stabroek, and termed as wards, were
amalgamated within the limits of the City, of which Cummingsburg and Robbstown are
leading examples. But the greatest problem to be solved by the new Corporation was
the encroachment of the sea on its northern coastline, where were to be found the Eve
Leary Barracks and the little village Kingston. Flooding at intervals was not uncommon
or infrequent in those early days.
In 1864 the Municipality had its great baptism of Fire, which caused considerable
damage to both houses and commercial centres. Impediments though there were, the City
continued to make sure its progress. In 1872, gas-light replaced lamps, amidst open con-
sternation of the inhabitants, climaxed by an evening of discomfort at the Assembly
Rooms when it held its first Gas-Light Ball the same year. It is here recorded by Henry
Kirke, one time Sheriff of Essequibo, "the hall was swarmed with cockles and dancing
was almost impossible, everywhere cockles were to be seen, on clothes as well as in the
The final decade in the last century may be considered the most prolific period
throughout the brief experience of the Corporation. The Sea Wall was completed in '92,
St. George's Cathedral was also completed and Bishop Austin celebrated his Golden
Jubilee. Here for half a century, he remain. He died the same year, at the ripe age of
and beloved by all sections of the communited head of the Anglican Church, respected
eighty-five, well remembered for the tribute paid him by Queen Victoria in 1842, as "the
youngest and most handsome bishop in her dominions".
Five years after his, the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, and as ten years
earlier the Colony joined with the rest of the Empire in the pageantry; the City recover-
ing from the effects of earlier sufferings ran wild with jubilations, climaxed by the dis-
covery of gold and diamonds in large quantities. With these memorable activities, a
century alive with the memories of Stabroek, then Georgetown, nurtured among vicissi-
tudes, riots and uprisings, among epidemics and deaths, passed away within the records
........ her place in ........
The Heaven of the Heart.
by O. S, W.
The story of her life would read like a fairy-tale. It was anything but, believe me!
I don't know how old I was when Nana beca me a part of our household ...... I could easily
find out of course but it really doesn't matter now......... to me there was nc one like her before
...... there has been none like her since. In the good old days of the tramcar; of Brother Sonny;
of Atom and Patrol: when Willie McCowan was teaching us how to play Cricket and the one and
only Alfred Athiel tutored us in his well-loved Vergil, it was Nana who really saw to it that our
lives should be more or less as we would have it.
Nana was strict, but only to a point ...... where two eyes of a parent, naturally more exact-
ing, probed, she let but one stray; when anyone interfered with us unnecessarily and suffered Ibe in-
convenience of a mud-ball in his back or even a BB shot on his neck (or elsewhere) Nana was
always sure that it was only our aim that was at fault. And before any tribunal she would most
convincingly take that stand and no other. In these circumstances it was Nana who was in effect the
judge, the heads of the house were merely the executioners. Which made things very easy indeed,
fcr once Nana was on your',side you were safe: otherwise you were in for it and could make such
preparation as you and Nana could devise to offset or postpone sentence.
At table, however, it was a totally different matter. The slightest misdemeanor brought Nana's
wrath with its unquestioned authority and undeniable force upon your head and it often took hours
of sidling up to and under her long skirt before you were forgiven.
Junior was her favourite, Missey her pet and they bcth knew it so well that they took the most
inglorious advantage of their enviable positions. At the same time Junior was ever trying to rid
Nana of her pearls or ear-rings and even her clothes and was ever-ready to share whatever mud
that accrued to him on the Sea Wall with her. The muddier he was the more tired he became but
never was the spotlessly clean lap denied him as he slept his weary way home in the tramcar.
Missey was never, never allowed out of Nana's sight and when I look back and recall the days of
which I write, I can honestly say I have known no thing to equal the adoring and protective love
which Nana bestowed on my sister in her youth.
But that was Nana. She took a pride in everything she did and she was most inordinately and
- I might add at times most unjustifiably proud of her wards. She was part of the family and
the name we bear was as wonderful to her as she helped to make it to us. We in turn were equally
as proud of Nana and she has with due formality been introduced to all Governors, Members of Par-
liament and other notable visitors who visited our home.
Nana retired many years ago: that was temporary; she has now retired permanently leaving with
us reverent and respectful memories that time can never dim. The contentment and pride which
was hers in her closing years was an object lesson of the faith which can be gained from constant
reading of the Word of God......Nana has at least earned her place in the heaven of our hearts,
West Indian Traveller
Dance of the Sea.
By J. A. V. BOURNE
A bell struck twice and awakened me from a deep sleep. I sat up in the bunk and peered into
the sky-light. It was still dark. That would be five o'clock, I said to myself.
My first night on the schooner had not been a happy one. I stepped over the edge of the bunk
and went up on the deck of the vessel.
The keen breeze rushed over me cooling my fevered cheeks. Astern, clutching one of the davits
for support, I watched the far horizon where the sky was overcast with heavy clouds. I hoped they
would disappear and the morning break fair.
The schooner was rolling and groaning, mueh more so than on the previous evening for we
were already in deep water. Only yesterday morning the "Manuata" with my wife, my young son
and myself as passengers had dropped moorings at Georgetown and hoisted sail. During the day
brown ,:ater had changed to green and now the ocean was dark blue. We had made good time on
the first day's run.
Leaning on the poop I gazed thoughtfully at the horizon for Barbados and a lcng holiday lay
The wind freshened. It blew steadily from the east where a thin moon and a single bright star
faded slowly into the grey as dawn broke.
The schooner began to dip alcng briskly cleaving the waves. Four bells struck and the morning
watch was changed. A fleck of smoke coming out of the galley forward sail. The cook would soon
be coming alcng with the coffee.
I hoped land would be sighted on the morrow, for I was anxious to relieve the misery of my wife
and little son. They were ill in the cramped cabin below. John had been the first to be sea-sick
and it was a sorry experience for him.
Why did I venture to take this risk when I could have travelled by airplane? I should not have
counted the cost for in a few hours time I could have reached my destination. Now I was sur-
rounded on all sides by water . and there was no escape from the waywardness of the wind.
The schooner lurched suddenly and a big wave brcke over the side. The spray of the sea was
blown against my face. Now and then frisky waters threw themselves glittering against the blue
air. A huge fish leaped and dived gracefully into a wave. The sun crept over the horizon and the
clouds were dissolving. It would be another hot day.
I wondered if the wind would fall as it threatened to do the afternoon before. I didn't like to
hear the captain whistle for it as 1 had read of sailing vessels becalmed for days on the tranquil
ocean. Would this happen to the "Manuata"?
Last night a passing storm had frightened me. Vivid flashes of lightning and the crash of thunder
mingling with the creaking rigging had awakened me.
The schooner had rolled heavily in the tumbling water. Back in my bed I had lain listening
helplessly to the noise of the storm and watching apprehensively for each flash of lightning.
And in the blackness of the night I had seen In my mind's eye this lonely vessel on the vast
expanse of surging water a tiny speck tossed hither and thither by the winds and waves.
Suppose it sprang a leak! What chance an open lifeboat on the lonely ocean.
The sun was well over the horizon when I went down the steps that led to the little cabin. The
others were asleep and I was glad for that because the night had been awful.
I crept silently into my bunk and lay djwn. It would be another day of misery for all of us
but the longest day must end.
Strange how time seemed to stand still when anxiety grips the mind! Each tick of the chrono-
meter seems to be an hour. I sank into a profound reverie. The range of my fancy grew and grew.
Came an illusion that I was lost in a timeless world that I had somehow slipped into the fourth
I tried to conceive time, and the idea appalled me. Could time be expanded or contracted at will?
The monotony of just waiting and listening to the movement o fthe schooner, while seconds and
minutes moved slower and slower, was terribly agcnising. One could experience a lifetime of misery
in a few hours. I must have swooned slightly.
Suddenly my apathy was shattered by somethi ng falling upon my face. Brushing it cff quickly I
found it was a cockroach! Mad with anger my hand smashed it against the side of the cabin. I
didn't care what happened now. The last straw!
Death would be welcome. It would be a relea s from this misery. I would rush upstairs, jump
into the sea and end it all. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Others had gone and done it, why
shouldn't I? It would be a pleasant death. Water over me . clogging my nostrils . and
I sat up in the bunk, but the sea sickness had caused a subtle paralysis of my muscles. I could
net move. Beaten and resigned, I lay back down.
Presently, I turned my shut eyes to the light of the cabin window and the lids inside glowed
redly. I seemed to see mirrored within them strange scenes. Visions formed up in the glow awak-
ing macabre dreams of the distant past.
The face of a demented man I once encountered in Nigeria formed up bringing back an awful
Midnight at Lagos . pitch dark. Back home frcm a party I am about to unlock the
door of my house when . suddenly I hear a wild shriek come from within my house. I
stand hesitant before my door. What unseen horror is haunting my house? Fearful, I insert the
key. The door springs open. In the dark pas sage a hidecus face glares at me with baleful eyes
that glow like hot ccals! Terrified. I back away. Horrid cries again issue from the Thing! ..
in my heated imagination the dreadful scene was acted over again . and the cries, mingled
with a creaking noise kept pounding into my brain!
Slowly the phantasmagoria dissolved, noise faded and I became aware that John was crying
in the bunk below.
My delirium vanished and I sat up quickly in the bunk. Poor little chap. He must be thirsty.
The sails flapped loudly in the wind and the schooner dipped drunkenly as it breasted and clove
the waves. Eight bells chimed and a sound of footsteps came pattering on the deck above.
I picked up a glass and went out of the cabin doer. The captain was outside with a sextant
in his hands. As I poured out the water I asked him our position.
"You look as if you'd seen a ghost,' he growled. "Sea sick? Don't worry! Cheer up! we'll be
"How can you be sure of that, captain?"
"Go up on deck and look. Dolphins. Hundreds of them. Leaping and diving and sporting in the
brine. Sign of good weather. Land nct very far away. Cheer up, man. Home tomorrow!"
IT was fascinating and yet unbelievably soothing to watch the approach of that little green island
At first, it looked like a purple cloud cn the horizon; then the shape of the land crystallized
and objects such as the lighthouse became clearly discernable
As we approached nearer, the wide sandy beaches with dazzling-white breakers curling and
foaming and riding towards them contrasted sharply with the green vegetation.
It was a magnificent morning. The air was clear and crisp and there was a cold nip in the
breeze. On the ocean there was a spangling of tiny white waves, like sequins on blue velvet, and
here and there in the far distance venturesome fishing boats could be seen bobbing up and down
on the amethyst water. In the wake of the schooner a school of young porpoise was jumping play-
I borrowed the captain's binoculars and scanned the shore. Strange shapes among the mounds
of sand and rocks gave the dunes a fantastic apoea rance. On the slopes Dutch-locking windmills could
be seen dotted here and there in the green fields. The whole island appeared to be under
Soon I began to recognize the seaside houses and the white road running along like a ribbon
skirting the coast. The schconer glided on and on and on and rounded a point. There in the
distance was the wide harbour of Carlisle Bay.
The MANUATA glided smoothly to its anchorage.
It was certainly a fine morning, cloudless and sunny, with a mild breeze that rustled in the sails.
Row boats were coming out to meet us but the water-pclice kept them at a distance. The schooner
must be inspected by the Health Officer before the passengers can be taken off.
On land, peacefulness seemed to sleep upon the quiet wharves. It was Sunday, and there was
a distant drowsy sound of bells. A church called to worship. Nearby, a motor-boat chugged rhy-
thmically, and against the somnolent warmth of a perfect day came the chimes of the Public Build-
ing clock telling the hour of ten!
Soon we would be ashore; and there will be breakfast, sweet-smelling and crusty bread, butter
in ice and new milk. There will be a heaped plate of fruit and a crystal jug filled with cold
water, and clean table napkins.
Around the Union Clubs
The Cultural Scene.
"Amateur Theatre"-Georgetown Dramatic Club.
Due to the absence abroad of the dramatic director for ncst of the previous year, the project
that should have been undertaken in 1947 was commenced in 1948. This project ,the presentation
of plays at various places in the rural districts, had been suggested by Mr. Risely Tucker, Repre-
sentative of the British Council.
The first presentation by the Group was made on March 31, 1948, at Plaisance Village. It con-
sisted of a few choral items by the Singing Class Group and a one-act play, "The Lovely Mar-
garet", with a cast of five. It was enthusiastically received by a packed hall.
Following upon this, the members wished to have at one of their own fortnightly meetings for
entertainment and criticism another one-act play. It was desirable that the cast be a small one and
the play such as would lend itself to critical observation of dialogue in all its aspects, of movement
and of adequate and appropriate gesture. For this purpose Alfred Sutro's very excellent dialogue
"A Marriage has been Arranged" was chosen and presented on June 17, 1948.
It was then planned that the next production would be, as was the first presented in the rural
areas, and with the enthusiastic cooperation of the Group, three one-act plays were presented at Bux-
ton on July 28, and at Beterverwagting on July 30. These plays were also presented in Georgetown
on July 29. Both here and in the village audience reception was gratifying.
The expenses incidental to presentations in the villages were, for the most part, borne by funds
provided by the British Council. Its representative, Mr. Risely Tucker's ready cooperation and quick
perception and understanding of our problems contributed considerably to whatever success was
achieved. At the village snows no admission charge was made, but, working through the Village
Chairman, invitations were issued so as to enable the attendance of a representative section of the
community. In Georgetown the entire net proceeds of all three shows were donated to charity.
The "season" is now closed as far as this Group is concerned. It is pleasant to be able to say
that its enthusiasm and cohesion has been excellent; that an enlivening spirit has been imparted
by their zest; that they have at moments shown competence and, at all times ,patience and enter-
prise. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude that when the "humours" of the year's end festivities
and fuss dispel themselves, the ensuing year should find us enlarging our contribution to the Colony's
A. A. D. MARTIN,
Looking back on that week of Art, October 25 October 30, 1948, I must say that I thoroughly
enjoyed it, and found that the more often I visited the Exhibition the more I saw. If one only
went once, one should not be surprised if all the pictures I mentioned cannot be vividly remembered
These things grow on one with each visit, and perhaps there were other favourites. In Art as in
everything else, we are all entitled to freedom of thought, and every eye forms its own beauty.
The week of the 4th Annual Guianese Art Group Exhibition opened by Hon. W. L. Heape, Officer
Administering the Government, can truly be described as a week devoted to Art. It was enjoyed
from the onlooker's point of view, and successful for the Art Group. The attendance was much
better than before, and sales broke all previous records.
One of the factors that helped to make the Exhibition a success was the work of M. Huze, the
guest artist. His impressionistic treatment of water in particular, and the novelty of the expression
of a mood rather than distinct form were all part of his characteristics and he also showed versa-
tility in his colourful caricatures.
The Working Peoples Art Class was another important factor that helped to draw the crowd.
Some interesting work was submitted for instance the drawings of G. Wharton often called our
"local Picasso". The Newcomers Open Competition was won by a member of this Class, Hubert
Baptiste "Self Portrait". Mr. E. R. Burrcwes is to be commended for the good work he is putting
Mr. Burrowes' work this year showed noticeable change in style, his "Picture of the Year" Fort
Groyne for example is painted in shades of grey and has a smooth finish unlike any of his previous
work. His "Jetsam" on the other hand, was particularly attractive though somewhat abstract. This
picture calls for imagination, as with each change of mood it might mean something entirely different.
Claude Hoyte, a newcomer from Berbice, won a deserving prize for his "Gay Revellers", which
I like the best of his work. It put over the feeling of a holiday morning with boys sallying forth
to enjoy themselves. It was an interesting study made more so, by the use of a bright red ground.
Miss Seymcur, who herself had a number of attractive Bartica scenes is to be congratulated on
the high standard of work submitted by her pupil Carlotta Croal. Her exhibits had balance and
good colour sense. Her "Horses on the Beach" which won a prize was an effective attempt at space
filling. "The Market" however was a group study, and well depicted in colour
Francis Smith's flower' studies exuded a cheerfulness that was sometimes accentuated by white
frames. Among the portrait painters, Sam Cummings deserves mention with "Josh" and "Doreen".
"Bathsheba" by S. G. Stevenson reminded me of a jig-saw puzzle, but was by no means unattractive
in its simplicity.
I rather liked Moshett's "Timber Punt" in gouache, and Phang's "Kitty Market" was colorful
though small. Pestano submitted quite a few oils, but somehow lost some of the warm tones he had
in pastels, though he did achieve a certain amount of harmony. Carlton Allen was successful in
pastel, and submitted an unusual view cf "Leguan from Hague's Beach". Godfrey D'Ornellas
excelled in his "River Side Hut" in pen and ink. Philip Wong's "self portrait" would have been
interesting if there had been more highlights. S. G. Stevenson's "Self-Portrait" on the other hand
also in pencil, put over effectively his rugged individuality.
Schools Musical Festival
Official and other guests filled the capacious Astor Cinema, Georgetown, on Friday morning No-
vember 5, to hear the annual Schools Song Festival where the massed choir of more than 1,000 school
children sang to the accompaniment of the B.G. Militia Band, under Major S. W. Henwood, Director
Twenty-seven schools in the City and adjacent rural areas provided the 1948 choir, which was
trained under the general supervision of Miss Lynette Dolphin, L.R.A.M., the programme included
groups of Shakespeare songs, folk songs, bedtime songs (the delightful A. A. Milne "Vespers" was in
eluded here) with pairs of songs to the music of Bach and Handel.
Three evenings in one week, in November in the Town Hall, Georgetown, Majoie Hajary, a
young Dutch musician with considerable recital experience in Europe as well as in other parts of
the world, delighted music lovers with her pianoforte playing.
Ease and brilliance characterized her recitals and Guianese agreed that it had been a long while
since a performer combined youth with rich virtuosity and mature stage presence.
Miss Hajary played Schumann in two of her three recitals, the Symphonic Studies and Scenes
from Childhood but Liszt also recurred cn the programmes and so did Mozart. Composer as well
as performer, Miss Hajary interpreted some of her own work and at the close of the third recital
she played for an appreciative audience Martin Sperry's Russian Dance.
EVENING WITH SHAKESPEARE
The October 25, 1948, meeting of the B.G. Union of Cultural Clubs held at the British Council,
Georgetown, was very successful, from the viewpoints both cf attendance and of quality. In a room
that had seating accommodation for 50 only, more than 120 persons crowded and remained during
the two hours programme of song, dramatic readings, poetry-reading, illustrations of the plays,
incidental music and film.
The programme began with the music of Mendelssohn written as background to the Mid-
summer Night's Dream and the reading of Matthew Arnold's sonnet of tribute completed the intro-
duction, while Shakespeare's picture was flashed on the screen from the epidiascope.
After the sonnet "Like as the Waves" had been read, the well-known but still enjoyed Balcony
Scene from Romeo and Juliet was dramatised, the actors reading their parts.
A recording of "When daisies pied" was followed by the speech "The quality of Mercy" and
then for contrast there was a scene from "Much ado about nothing", which displayed high spirits
on the theme of lovers and their love, including the song: "Sigh no more ladies".
Shakespeare has given us many portraits of"the infinite variety" of Cleopatra. The programme
selected from the play two studies, coy and tragic, followed by the dirge "Fear no more the heat cf
the sun". Then came the calm of Prospero's speech, "Our revels now are ended", and the songs
"Where the bee sucks and Come to these yellow sands".
The remainder of the programme included the display of examples of Shakespearean illustrations
and paintings, with the aid of the epidiascope, the song with the haunting air by Quilter "Take, O
Take those lips away" and recordings of John Barrymore as Hamlet unpacking his heart with
words and Sir Laurence Olivier as Henry V delivering a battlefield address.
The century's new art-form, the film, next displayed the architectural beauty of two scenes from
Macbeth and finally music from the Tempest concluded the programme.
In a public lecture at the Gecrgetown Public Free Library on November 15, 1948, Mrs. Jean
Low. M.A., spoke of the great civilisations of the past and the lessons that might be drawn from
them to apply to a young country like British Guiana on the threshold of development.
Mrs. Low enumerated the civilizations that had passed over the stage of the world and the
pottery and fine work they have left behind them and declared that each civilization owed its com-
ing into being and its maintenance to the dynamic ideas and the spiritual and mental forces gener-
ated by each community in the process of overcoming natural conditions. Whenever the spiritual
and mental growth of a people ceased for any reason the civilization had begun to fall away and
die, although a certain section of the community would refuse to admit the decay and would cause
the ideas to harden into dogmatic assertions. That the flowering of a civilization did not depend
in exact ratio upon its economic security, she instanced from the glory of Elizabethan England
which without resources had yet achieved a marvellous outburst of spirit in drama and poetry.
The danger of Western Civilization in its present phase was its belief that mechanization was
a solution for the world's problems. Mrs. Low called on Guianese to expand their mental horizons.
Mr. Justice J. A. Luckhoo, K.C., First Puisne Judge presided over the well-attended lecture.
Working at the British Council
Off The Record "
by PAT LEWIS
There is, at the British Council among other facilities, a library which caters fcr all classes and
so many varying interests. Some persons come to glean knowledge from the books or else and are
oblivious of everything but their information, others come to spend a morning or afternoon in our
comfortable office chairs, others again come just to be associated with the institution or to visit the
premises and lastly there are those who are curious to know what others come for.
Sometimes I look up from my machine and observe the manners, expressions and, in some
cases, technique with which overdue books are returned to the Librarian. It is only by taking notice
of these persons and the effect their manner and attitude have on others that one can see and
compare one's self, make mental notes for future use and so apply them in bettering one's self.
There is the indifferent person who returns the book a week late never thinking, or perhaps not
bothering, to make an excuse; the casual one who mentions that the bcok is overdue and is most
unperturbed about it. As a matter of fact he might even treat the whole issue as a joke! Then there
are those who are highly indignant at being sent a notice and think they will cause lots of anxiety
lest they cease to borrow any more. On the other hand there are the well-mannered who are very
apologetic, in spite of the fact that they may repeat the act; and the really pleasant and clever ones
whom one never gets round to reprimand.
Every year at least three Guianese leave our shores for England either as scholars or visitors
and there is nearly as much excitement in following up the names and qualifications before the final
selections are made and after that in lending a hand in making preparations for their journey.
One should be in cur office to see the luggage going out ,and the bright faces of the successful
persons as they receive advice from the Representative and good wishes from the staff. Then there
is their return to look forward to how will it affect them? one, two years or perhaps mere
working in a strange land among strange people. In the majority of cases it is delightful to observe
the finish, the rounding off they acquire during their stay; that is, if they did not leave with it.
I am not behind the machine all day. Occasionally I exchange a library book for someone, put
through a phone call for the boss and help in preparing books for the shelves. I best enjoy
making placards for the library so that the borrowers may, at a glance, distinguish the sections and
also in writing in indian ink at the back of each book the section in figures, for example, the Fine
Art section is 700 and the history section 900.
At my typewriter, typing matter is full of variety. I really can sympathize with the typist who
types letters or figures all day. When I am tired of lists whether they are of records, books or
films my boss is ready to dictate letters, when I have had a stream of dictation and have said
good-bye to the letters, I am faced with making copies of book review scripts to send to London and
then, to vary typing even more, there is the script for our weekly programme of classical music over
ZFY which the SecretarylLibrarian passes to me for fairing. Towards the end of the month shortly
after pay day comes a huge dose of figures in the form of accounts and so the cycle goes never,
The Guiana Book by A. J. Seymour.
Review by Wilson Harris
A. J. Seymour's poetry marks to m_- "tilri the comnietion of the ornament in a century of poetry
in the West Indies and British Guiana. In fact, it is to be associated with the contemporary artifice
of a close6 union, a finished work, a colle.vtive loyan' t that one finds today so strenuously upheld by
critics as the only criterion for great art. Seymour's work, however, though within this school of tradi-
tion, is no such strenuous organisation. The pcet is unaware, as it were, of internal weakness, and
therefore uses his scope more leisurely in a gracious dream of the past. That group of Guianese poets
and prose writers, however, who intend to add ineffectual ornament upon ornament to reinforce a
puppet society can no longer hope for such ease and leisure in a work of tradition. If they insist they
will now have to become strenuous and forceful to achieve any measure of distinction. A measure of
distinction which will be purely an imposing facade. This temptation to impose is already at work
so much so that most writers in British Guiana are completely devoid of anguish or real passion, and
experiment is frowned upon by them as too personal, ugly and sinister. But the poet of the moment
has to accomplish a leap. He can no longer secure himself in a collective fashion but must surrender
himself in actual symbols-as distinct from recollected symbols-even though the shock of his sur-
render presents great difficulty to an audience whose "encased lives before the Infinite" have found
their measure in collective dreams and whose formula for existence has always evaded the actual
Se':molor inac 'rif.i'e,' the orna-ent in b'oineinr to finalit--to impersonality, the complex individ-
ual role of a reflective and impassive temper, the temper of history. He has explored the name without
(omlittine: iielf to tne )e'-on. Tne fe. n:oerns where he has attempted to commit himself to the
',neson are cautions statements ., itnou te strict unity and severe refinement of poems like "For
Christopher Coiumbui!s" or 'Tne Le.end of Kaietelr." It is in the raw material of the living situation
that tne cons'ioins re-inement of tener-so evocaLive and full of the enic of the past-becomes a
strain and tne 'ormnila can no lon.,e- be adequately' sustained. For instance compare
......... is vision had driven him from home
An(; tnia a a'chitet of a new- ace
T'e so'i ,i ,ol'd 'oued build uLon his noem.
The efficient engineers dam the conservancies
De'-i.n tie canals and the sluices
Tne chei' ists extract their sugar to the ton.
Tne noet here stands on two leo..s both enic, one truly epic and grand and the other diplomatic, cautious
and evasive.Tne formula is the sam-e but its applicability, so spontaneous and eventful in the first in-
stance, has be.un to .oear. This may mean sim.nily of course a degeneration in the hero and not in the
basic imth. But I tOnink it .oes f ii-her tnan this superficial cover and indicates a weakness of neti-
tion, a sratic a-,'-oach that cannot ;) over'om.e bv anoealing to the individual at a time when no
decentralization of re-ou-r'e or iran< wanting o' ihe m>ytn is able to free itself from collective disaster
unless escape is really the abandonment of formula in search of an open mind to new and constant
But more significant than contempoorary loss of direction in the formula is the failure of over-
refinement .within the trill- epic trariition w.'he'e it has been to show deep signs of strain. This of
course is a very definite indication of the leap tnat the new poet has to make if his work is to achieve
ultimate form. Becaiie it is withinn the legend that toe art of conscious refinement operates most justi-
fiably, and its failure nhe-e is symbolic.
Listen to thi :
Children dying in dozens below the decks
Tne -.omen drooping in cluimns of flowers, the men
Standing: about, with anger carved upon their foreheads,
There is to my mind no passion here, but only artifice. Passion brings about a different refinement,
so to speak, a spontaneous refinement that is defiant and imm-,easureably grand. For instance George
Women stone breakers
Hammers and rocks
Tired child makers
is full of the strange and actual anguish of nobility.
The failure of conscious refinement--wherever it ocurs-in Se'mi'or's poems, is not so much in-
dividual but of universal interest because existing side by, side witht real artistry and the fulfilment of
ornamental beauty it reveals simultaneously a completion a synthesis, and a reversion-a failure in syn-
thesis-a necessity for a different type of synthesis altogether.
Seymour's genius lies in the spirit and exploration o' the name, the epic tradition, the historical
Strange name for stones, a heap of stones
But a strong name to take imagination
And tie it to a neak in Time
Above lost -oains, drowned by the later names,
The Englisn names which still come creep ing in
On the slow gathering of the years.
And the strong name winds up the centuries
And buicis again the fort to hold the sentry
Standing unon his ticket in the night
Thinking of Holland and of home,
While tne full everlastin g winds stretch out,
Straight as a board and stiff without a flutter,
The Dutch pavilion overhead.
But still they have their dances and at nights,
When the drums trouble the dark wvitn rhythm
The violin takes a voice and patterns the air
And then the Indians find their tribal memories
Of victories and war and dim old journeys
That brought them from beyond the Behring Strait.
Form is always the most elusive and indescribable power of art. No technique in the poem can claim
supremacy. All great writing is finally a liberation from forlmuia. This liberation is to my mind the
only true indication of form and is a completely new tuning, a strange chaos and surprise whenever it
occurs. This surprise is all the more miraculous in the bonds that seek to hold it attendant to an exter-
nal mould. The Romantic movement while subscribing to the tyranny of matter-to collective rules-
recognizes this phenomenal release. But this accept ance of freedom seems to be a disguised applica-
tion of the myth wherein the formuilative approach new invites the tyranny of the external world-the
tyranny of force-without completely abandoning the colourful leap of tradition. This evasion is two-
fold. On the one hand it is an effort to sustain a paralysed gesture, cn the other hand it is an un-
conscious and blind liberation, though such realisation of freedom is still .constrained within an
ominous bound figure, whose leap into the unknown is deemed romantic because it has not yet been
granted an actual justification ,an ever-changing centre, new form and spontaneous fusion release from
classic Platonic memory. Essentially it has not yet been seen as a new thing, a surprise, revolution
and constant abandonment of the collective myth. This conclusion of the abandonment of the myth
is of course controversial and I do not wish to press it further at this stage. What is however indis-
putable is that the poem always must have this sense of leap, whether it be interpreted as an airy,
formless, unactual recollection of God by the fallen creature or whether it be the Romantic crisis of
the modern poem.
To a great extent the failure and ineffectual ornament of West Indian and British Guiana verse
has been the supplanting of surprise, of leap, by moral. Tnis is essentially the failure of Guiana
poets and an examination of the antholo"y "Guian ese Poetry (1831-1931)" reveals lines like these:--
When there shall be no restless sea
To picture forth infinity-
But endless raise.
Where yonder restless sea
Joins with the northern skies
Where glint the Polar stars
The north wind takes its rise.
Tnat's ;6 hy tne wind is fresh
And bears health in its blow.
'Tis savored iith the sea,
Whence greatest blessings flow.
or aeain this priceless gemw
We're pn:oud to be a giving branch
Dependent from the parent tree,
As Enelishmnen with Englishmen,
True-hearted, loyal and as free.
In a final analysis of this antholo:e', however, we cannot escape signs of great promise. We have
a een'ine release fi-oom orall a ien',ine anguish and nobilitv in poems like Cob Cotton's medita-
tion "Not Tne Same" ano in tne sneer ornamental grandeur of Lawrence's "Concluding Stanzas of
Ode to Kaieteur." Ann no'..' seventeen :ea-s after toe nitubication of the anthology Seymour's "Guiana
Book" has not dese-ted tnis n-:oise of ornamental beauty, but has closed the c'cle of the hundred
years .vitn a gracious o,0 er an leisurely contemplation.
And so the day beeinnine.
In the vast Atlantic
Tne sun's eye blazes over the edge of ocean
Anct w.'atches the islands in a great bow curving
From Fiorida down to tne South American coast.
Behind these towers in a hollow of ocean
Quiet from the Trade Winds lies the Caribbean
Witr the long shadows on her breathing bosom
Thrown from the islands in the morning sun.
And as the wind omnes up, millions of palm trees
Weave leaves in rhythm as the shaft of sunlight
Numbers the islands till it reaches Cuba
Leaps the last neck of water in its course.
Finally in a review of the Guiana Book the failure to accomplish the leap lies only in a certain
type of poem, is not individual but is in method, in ornament, in the living raw material which is
defiant and no longer consenting, which cannot be shaped by artifice. This failure is particularly
noticeable to my mind in Tomorrow Belongs To The People. Here the factor of consent the fact
that governments exist on the consent of the gov erned-is dull and late in the day and uninspiring.
They are all heroes,
They make history
They are the power in the land.
greets one with a peculiar sense of refined unevent fullness. The poem is forced, the centre is too
laboured, the heroism becomes doubtful because it is the type of heroism that is conceded within
certain terms of reference, like the canned heroism of the propaganda machines. This is the penalty
of formula asserting itself in the living situation w here the living raw material has not been gathered
up with a symbolist leap or unity. To understand the peculiar assertion of form over formula, in
the living situation, listen to Laura Riding
Earth is ycur heart
Which has become your mind
But still beats ignorance
Of all it knows
As miles deny the compact present
Whose self-mistrusting past they are.
The original substance of the poem-collective and individual-is broken down by the strange,
spontaneous chaos of surprise. And this power of the living form, this chaos of a moving or changing
centre is the new generation which confronts us,
I am reluctant to close off here, though perha ps it may be fitting. But something more must be
said about a poem like "Tomorrow Belongs To The People". There are indications of satire creeping
into the West Indian poem. Humour has become deep and hidden and full of strange forms that are
close to terror and yet are deeply purifying. To morrow Belongs To The People" in this light -
becomes interesting because its very lack of synthesis is satirical. Its failure has a grim weathering
possibility in a line like
They will make a hammer to smash the slums.
A grim unconscious humour seems to lurk here and change the current of this heroism into an
indictment of the self-same hero who has consented for a century to this "...... Empire, on which
the sun never sets, quantitatively the greatest imperial power the world has ever known--its
characteristic architecture is the industrial slum". (Herbert Read -The Grass Roots Of Art) How-
ever, to be fair this presumption of satire becomes an unwarranted forcing of the texture of the
poem. And we are compelled to go elsewhere in Seymour's work to find a grand and sustained
formulation of heroism, that is close to terror like satire and deeply purifying. The strange response
to hidden and powerful forces of heroism lies clo se to the secret of great abandon. Can Seymour's
pcetry in a final resolution of statuesque nobility, of figures carven in ornament and dance, convey
this motive of abandon and therefore of heroism? This is the test of the ornament and is not to be
discovered in the canned formulative hero Tomorrow Belongs To The People but rather in a poem
So the last note recedes
The old man beats the troubled rhythm faster
And music jerks the dancer's head and arms
In puppet-action. The tension grows
Movements come Bacchic and then half obscene
Drums, African Drums.
Then like a leaven, see the madness spread.
Drums, African drums.
Caught in the mounting wind of passion
Others come stamping in the hard-earth circle
With eyes now half-slit and now shut and blind
Drums, drums, African drums.
The old drummer tightens the frenzy again
The drum notes pursue each other fiercely
Climbing the curious archways of the blood
Snuffing out the brain--dancers topple balance
And running down the scale of evolution
Writhe like the snakes from sea or ovum seekers
Dancing upon their bellies on the ground.
Others are music-drunk- drums, drums, the drums.
Then the old man unwinds the dancers, lays
That wind of passion to rest within his drums
Right to the last note of the octave
Drums, African drums.
finally in memory like a communion and an eternal possession
What I like most about Prof. Simey's book, Welfare and Planning in the West Indies, is his
avoidance of both sloppy praise of and hostile attacks upon any of the social groups. Although
criticisms are of a radical nature, and are usually forcefully expressed, they are always accompanied
by reasonable and sympathetic explanations. Result is one is impressed that a good attempt has
been made by Simey to understand the mental attitudes and psychological problems of West
As a sociologist he is naturally very much aware that, whether we are. thinking of West
Indians, Americans or Europeans ,the mental attitude of the individuals of a community determine
not only quantity of effort but direction of effort, and, of course, no effort (or misdirected effort)
means no economic development, and therefore no Social Welfare. It was therefore logical for Simey
to pay adequate attention to the forces, past and present, which have produced and are preserving
undesirable attitudes and social values.
Middle class men and importee Government Officials will find in this book references to them-
selves which should be useful, even if not always pleasing. LEADERSHIP might find inspiration
therein. I think this is the purpose of the book.
A. P. THORNE.
Kyk-over-al attaches great importance tc the resolution of the Caribbean Commission to foster
the exchange of information in the Caribbean and its emphasis on the exchange of bibliographies
between libraries and the Commission. The Commission also hopes "to compile a general biblio-
graphy of Caribbean titles; arrange for an exchange programme with newspapers and periodicals
in the area; and make the Commission library available to the public for reference purposes".
In its 1947 Report the Caribbean Commission gives full indication of its emphasis on information
:services (press releases, library exchanges, compilation of statistical data,) the establishment of a
library of Caribbean literature at Kent House, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the distribution of pub-
lications tc Universities attended by West Indian students, other institutions, libraries and indivi-
duals in the area and without.
Inevitably but unfortunately, the information on individual British colonies in the United Nations
publication "Non-Self-Governing Territories" with its summaries and analysis of information trans-
mitted to the Secretary-General during 1947, suffers from too great compression.
Of the government policies on Education (in the section showing the analysis of information
transmitted) the objectives of the French and Dutch Governments are impressively stated Especially
does the Netherlands Indies report contain a hope for all dependent peoples...... "the general aim
of the new educational policy is to raise the cultural, social and economic level of the people, to
educate the child to become a citizen of his country and of the world by promoting a healthy
patriotism and a love for his country's national language, its history and civilisation, as well as by
developing his personality, and the understanding of his rights and duties as a citizen......"
Kyk-over-al congratulates Maurice Kurtz on his appointment as Secretary-General as from
January 1, 1949, to the I.T.I. Executive Committee.
The Report on the First Congress of the International Theatre Institute (Prague, June 28 to July
3, 1948) makes very stimulating reading. The great theatre tradition of Czechoslovakia, inspired
by Shakespeare, formed a genuine background to the international understanding I.T.I. plans to
promote, based on the importance of theatre as an art and an organ of society. As Mr. J. B.
Priestley, President of the Congress stated, international theatre is at least one thread in the fabric
of a world society and the attempt to link theatres together and to ensure that people enjoy the
best of the world's dramas shows a movement towaids international understanding.
From Malta comes Michael Kissaun's call "my personal idea of the National Theatre (cf Malta)
is a Temple in which the soul of the Nation finds expression of its philosophy and way of life",
(Times of Malta, March 4, 1948). In his article, Michael Kissaun outlines the administration of a
National Theatre, suggests a possible building or a site, and plans a Mediterranenan counterpart to
the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Kyk-over-al is grateful for the programme of the Children's Drama Festival with the list of the
ten plays (with the dramatic personae) presented in the Floriana Primary School, Malta, G.C., on
June 16 to June 19, 1948.
The 1947-1948 Report of the British Council shows the importance and the continued success of
the link of the arts and sciences cf Britain with those of the rest of the World. That the Council's
financial restrictions limited its work is evident from the pages of the report but the valuable library
service now afforded by the Council to the rural areas in British Guiana and its work mainly
through the Combined Cultural Committee deserve and receive the grateful approval of all
Kyk-over-al is grateful for the gift of the finely-produced Official Souvenir Programme of the
Bath Assembly, April 21 to May 1, 1948, with its magnificent photographs of the City of Bath
and of its historical and literary personages, and of the musicians and players who made this
period a festival of the arts in England.
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