.Z. Me G- e-eA
A 1* L,-;*don
* Cameron Tudor -
L. G. Eddey
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Published by the B.G. Writers Association in conjunction with
the D.F.P. Advertising Service.
Vol. 3, No. 11 .. .. .. .. October, 1950.
Turn the page (poem) .. Harold M. Telemaque
West African Diary .. .. G. C. L. Gordon
Symposium .. .
Man, as viewed by
The Student of History J. Cameron Tudor
The Medical Student .. L. G. Eddey ..
SThe Artist .. .. John Harrison
I The Religious Student of
Philosophy .. .. Lloyd Searwar
In the Dark (poem) .. .. A. J. Seymour
Love Came Down (story) .. Eugene Barirum
Some More Aspects of Creolese D. A. Westmaas
The Language We Speak II .. Richard Allsopp
Note on W.I. Dialect Words .. John Harrison
Villanelle .. .. .. Doris Harper
Dawn (poem) .. .. Hilda McDonald
Nature Poetry in the West Indies A. J. Seymour
The Medicine Man (story) .. Basil Balgobin
History of British Guiana Scholarship N. E. Cameron
I Saw Two Flowers (poem) .. E
My Love, Are You Strong? (poem) M Keane 6
Cynic and Eagle (poem) .. A. J. Seymour
Recent Drama Highlights .. Sara Veecock & J. D.
Shakespearean Cinema .. David Ford
To a Friend (oem) .. .. Basil McFarlane 68 &
Poemh Guia s
British Guiana's Y.W.C.A.. ..
Book Reviews .
History of Indians in British Guiana
A Morning at the Office
Valley of a Thousand Hills
Treasury of Jamaican Poetry
Short History of the British West In
Select Bibliography of West Indian Li
Appendix B.G. Scholars
dies .. Wiseman
Contributions and letters should be sent to the Editors "Kyk-
Over-Al", 120, Fourth Street, Georgetown, British Guiana. Business
communications should be addressed to J. E. Humphrey, Esq.,
Manager, D.F.P. Advertising Service, 4A, Hope Street, Georgetown,
British Guiana. P.O. Box 267.
We were unwilling to discard our historic archgateway, now
recognized throughout the British Caribbean as a quality trade-
mark, but we wanted readers to be able easily to slip excellent
reading matter into convenient pockets and handy satchels, so we
tailored 'Kyk' into this present size and new-look style.
The Contents page will convince readers that we are begin-
ning to fulfil our promises of a wider Watch over all facets of
Guianese community life. Comments on the quality of the recent
presentations of drama and the Cinema now aid communal discus-
sions and we propose to add other features as we proceed.
A word now about the contributors to this issue. The bulk of
the poetry printed here has come from overseas-Hilda McDonald,
(incidentally the grandmother of the Trinidad tennis star Ian
McDonald), lives in Antigua, Basil McFarlane of Jamaica, is the
son of J. E. Clare McFarlane and a poet in his own right, Ells-
worth Keane is in St. Vincent, and Harold Telemaque is princi-
pal of Fyzabad Intermediate School in Trinidad.
The review section is rather full because there are many books
being published nowadays that are of interest' to the readers of
Kykoveral. The philosophical readers should like the symposium
on Man, and the philological should like the discussion on W.I.
dialect and creolese.
But this being good wine needs no bush.
Turn the Page
Turn the page, turn the page:
The network lengthens
Mesh into mesh involved.
They move within uncasual filigree,
Casual and merely moving in the dark.
Here might have been the light,
Here might have been no trappers' paradise,
But a man riding in triumph
Into the City of earth.
Now, only from the muscles of the face
Comes the laughter,
Only like the dew the sun is after
Lives their mirth.
Turn the page, turn the page
Voices return, that now at dusk
Sing back an evening wailing
Out of dead years.
They walked this lane and that,
And there they saw the ships return
To fill their failing ranks
Where no good water was
Here, one fell off and was never buried.
There, was the whipping post by the river,
The river unattached, still moving,
Clearer now only a little.
And the man with the telescope
Watching from his castle;
The man with the telescope
Surrounded like an island
By his castle, directed by economy.
Turn the page, turn the page
Against the wind of acquisition.
The bible on the mantel piece
Contains the family history:-
When father was married, and when
Brahaman won the breeders' plate
And when the best falcon died
Down in his silver cote, in September
And was buried.
Turn the page, turn the page
Even from one ignobility to another.
Change breeds hope, and hope
Is the virtue of the unfortunate
Turn the page not in the manner of desperation,
Not in fire and inventions of fire and earthquake,
But in the quiet of hope in misery,
Turn the page.
Extracts from a
West African Diary
by G. C. L. Gordon
January 1, 1950. Kano: My first contact with real African
life and it is not likely that I'll ever forget it. We drove by the
Amir's compound which is surrounded by a high mud wall,
through dusty streets flanked on either side by mud huts closely
packed together. Their occupants literally littered the streets
and limited yard space. Dressed in long loose garments they sat
about in the dirt or walked about or rode on bicycles or donkeys
and their dirty red teeth, red from continually chewing the cola
nut, could be seen yards away. It is certain that these people had
never seen a tooth-brush let alone using one :
The site of the society's meeting was a slaughter slab. Here
cattle are slaughtered in the open on a concrete slab of about half
a square chain in area. The blood is collected and boiled in large
drums until it coagulates. Then it is dried on a sort of barbecue
and then pulverised. It is excellent as fodder for cattle and
pigs and even better as a fertilizer. The evil smell of the place
(boiling blood, burning bones, and drying blood) was almost un-
bearable. Vultures mingled with black, shine bodies like the
pigeons in Trafalgar Square. I was glad to get away. At 8.30
a.m. on the 31st we set out on the 500 miles journey to Kaduna.
We did it in five hours with two stops--one to change a tyre and
the other at Zaria to buy potatoes. Zaria is much more modern
than Kano and things were less strange. On the way
we passed several little villages of native huts, some looking like
large pots with thatched tops and women with babies tied to
their backs going to market or to fetch water from stagnant
pools. The shine round heads of the babies. glistened in the
bright sunshine and everywhere the ugly red colour of the teeth.
Surely we are fortunate in the West to have had the benefit
of western habit.
Kaduna is a centre of the European community and grew
up as a sort of "station" for whites. It is. built on elevated
country and commands a good position. (It was the site first
chosen as Nigeria's capital by the first governor of Nigeria.
January 6: Undertook my 400 odd mile train journey from
Kaduna to Enugu between the 3rd and 5th inst. I had always
prided myself as an admirer of the human form, but I am begin-
ning to change my mind. I have never seen such a mass of
oddity. It is true that people go about in just a loin cloth. I
have seen it myself. We visited a Co-op. Maternity Centre.
Quite a good effort. One patient had twins. They are not fond
of twins here and they usually try to kill them in some way or
other. People are extremely primitive. We have nothing like
it in the West Indies. Of course the educated African is far
January 12: Met Mr. Stoby, Enugu. Had lunch and spent
an enjoyable afternoon together. Motored 160 miles to Aba. A
small town and quite pleasant at the Rest House which is situated
in the white section. When you leave this section then you meet
the rabble. Went to the local cinema. Must have been built at
the same time as Noah's Ark. Certanily very backward here.
Saw a witch doctor's "surgery." Better seen than described.
January 15: Am still exploring the strangeness that is
Africa. Now on the Southern Coast, Eket. Conditions seem to
get more and more civilised as one proceeds south from the north.
There are far less naked people about there are lots of nicely
built churches to be seen on the wayside-a few good houses also.
They seem to pay a deal of attention to the dead down here as
there are some really magnificent tombs all about.
Eket is just a Government Centre with a District Officer in
charge. Of course it is just his headquarters. He has extensive
territories under his jurisdiction and wields tremendous power.
I can see now why officers coming to the West Indies from the
African service are so disillusioned with our conditions. Here
the D.O. as he is called is King. Whatever he says is law. He
is similar to the District Commissioner in B.G. But Oh! Much
rtore powerful! They treat the Africans as thrash and have no
respect for them.
January 17: From Eket I went to Ikot Ekpene-the Eastern
Provinces. They do a lot of raffia work here. Was rather
impressed with what I saw.
January 23: Motored 120 miles to Onitsha on the river Niger.
Crossed the Niger by launch (about 3 miles) to Asaba (Western
Provinces) "Motored" 80 miles to Benin. "Motored" is in paren-
thesis because of the car. A small Hillman which has seen better
days. Can be heard a mile away. Doesn't have to use a horn.
Uses a gallon of oil a day.
January 29: Life is getting more and more interesting, as the
days go by in this land of our ancestors. From Benin travelled
through Ilesha to Akure and then to Ibadan. Ibadan is the largest
town in West Africa.
Am begnining to learn to like Africa. There is a charm about
the place, the people that is simply amazing. The Africans are
very kind-they possess qualities which are admirable. Here in
Ibadan people are far more modern (it gets more and more so as
you proceed from east to west). They are fond of wearing their
native clothes which I find very attractive and beautiful. The men
wear long, loose gowns made of beautifully coloured cloth; the
women wear "clothes" draped around them with big head-ties.
Visited the African club (there is a European club and an African
club) and I met some of the more educated and intelligent people.
They have excellent manners and conduct themselves remarkably
well. Their club is open to the whites who make frequent use
of it. You do find some pleasant whites here who have made
some friendship with Africans. Educated Africans consider them-
selves superior to the whites and I believe there is general dislike
of the European, many of whom realise they will have to get out
sooner or later. Self-government is the main topic of the day
and work has been going on for some months on the draft of a new
constitution. The various Amirs and Paramount chiefs have been
in conference here at Ibadan for several weeks with legislators
and government officials over the construction.
February 5: I think the period of my stay in Africa will be
a complete blank as far as world affairs are concerned. One just
doesn't hear anything of what is happening in the world and
seems to care less. I heard a radio this morning for the first time
From Ibadan I went to Lagos. Lagos has given me a pleasant
surprise. It is quite a nice city and beautiful in parts. Devalua-
tion has affected the whole of the sterling area and even in these
remote areas people feel its effect in an increased cost of living.
The people in the towns feel it more as they have to buy every-
thing. People in the villages concentrate on their native foods
but even they have got to buy something sometimes.
February 8: I arrived in Accra after 1 hours flight from
Lagos. At 6,000 feet in broad daylight the country below could
be clearly seen. I am pleasantly surprised with these two West
African towns (Lagos and Accra). From the office I am looking
out towards the sea. The houses in this section as well as Public
Buildings etcetra are nicely built and laid out among trees.
Streets perfect. Stores clean and lovely. Really a pleasant sur-
Met quite a few prominent West Africans' as a result of which
I have gained a greater conception of my own worth as a negro.
These Africans have a great deal over us West Indians. They are
sure of themselves, West Africans in the civil service live under
much better conditions than we do. Nice houses are built for them
by Government, and they have time to enjoy the better things of
life-books, music and art. They are much farther advanced in
culture than we are. Their sculpture and paintings are better
than anything we have. I have certainly been enlightened by this
African tour. Of course the West is way ahead of the East and
North and many of the conditions described in my previous letters
are non-existent in these parts.
Man--As seen by the Student
by J. CAMERON TUDOR
"I weep, for it reminds me so
Of that old man I used to know
Who seemed distracted with his woe
Who rocked his body to and fro,
And muttered mumblingly and low,
As if his mouth were full of dough...."
It's all very well for the Psalmist to ask "What is Man?"
when he himself need not supply the answer. That has been
done for him by every vested interest from the Theologian to the
Psychologist who-despite his efforts-is now being taken
seriously. And between these two there is yet room enough for
the Biologist, the Chemist, the Economist, the Philosopher-in
short for Mr. Bernard Shaw-to have their say. But when all
is said and done, when each specialist has pronounced his judg-
ment, then a concerted scorn, barely hidden, is turned in the
direction of History.
Pity the poor Historian. He has to provide the grist which
feeds their mills. They all rely ,on him to supply all the evidence
they need, and hint darkly that he need not be too scrupulous.
Naturally he tries to please them all and sometimes succeeds.
But let him urge an unpalatable conclusion upon them. At once
the sun of faction beats down upon his defenceless head, and he
is at once ordered back to his ashes which he is sternly admonished
to guard and not to scatter. But, sometimes, when controversy is
bartered for genuine enquiry, chairs, even professorial ones, are
pushed back, and the Historian is asked to execute a tall order.
He is asked to join in the general debate on "Man".
Now no man is hero to his valet, as they say. Yet if the
aphorist had stayed for an answer, we might retort that the
historian is not precisely a valet. But one would naturally hesitate
to kick a platitude when it is down. For in his estimate of man
the Historian is both an scientist and an artist. As scientist
he must don his overalls and dig in the quarries of human institu-
tions for his specimens. But he must soon hurry to the studio
where, exchanging overalls for a smock, he has to paint and
evaluate. There-in the studio-he must make man presentable.
Perhaps he is something of a valet after all!
To the Historian Man redeems the littleness of individual
men. This achievement is in no way modified by the redefinition
of man in the so called Darwinian Thesis. From the earliest
appearance of civilised existence he has contemplated the "starry
heavens above, and the moral law within. His upright posture,
his self controlling 'brain, his mastery of the primitive arts-all
these enabled him to domesticate himself. He has rescued himself
-on the biological level-with the prolongation of his mating
season, and has lengthened the infancy of his children to the extent
that the orderly associations of language take the place of "random
infantile vocalisations". He has achieved his freedom within the
patterns of his cu..ure. But this freedom does not reject his. social
heritage; it does not reject the human norm. Rather does it
increase the heritage, and level up the norm.
This is the elemental nature of man as the Historian sees
him. For this is what his history attests. But if the Historian
saw no more than that, then the picture presented would be
remarkable enough in its own way, but would show nothing even
remotely connected with nobility and splendour. His growth is
by no means completed by his biological maturity as mate or
parent; nor is his development modified by death. For there is
ample evidence to show that Man does possess a self-outstripping
and even self transcending nature. His topmost fulfilments are
always preludes and his fullest growth leaves him still a malcontent.
So the Historian must make a still more penetrating analysis
of his, subject. For although Man participates in the characteristic
of most of the animal species, yet it is precisely the complexities of
his requirements which gives him his peculiar orientation. He
has to crystallise his environment (that is, he has to organise his
social world on his own principles); he has to associate in groups;
he must constantly draw on his social heritage. But- and this
is really significant-in doing all this he acquires a definite
character and become a Person.
But it is just here that the Historian and the Theologian
bceome fellow travellers. For they would both agree that the
quality of self transcendence which they see in Man is but the
obverse side of the coin. For added to it is a vast area where
meaning and purpose come into their own. In addition to, indeed
because of, Personality, Man works, towards ends or, as the
Theologian might put it, "to the future which doth not yet appear."
This thesis, held by the Historian, and Theologian, is in no way
modified by the truth that Man is hardly conscious of his ends,
that, even when conscious, he can scarcely interpret them. This
seemingly awkward fact does, on the contrary, sustains the thesis.
For it is his, uncertainty and bewilderent which demonstrate that
his purposes go rather beyond Nature. Moreover It is preclsely
his feeling of meaning and purpose which fosters his unique
creations of Art, Culture and Political Institutions. These are an
adequate pointer to his double Nature.
The Historian will be the very last to pretend that the going
has been smooth. He will readily admit that Man has not had
it all his own way. If the cowering wretches whom we meet at
the beginning of History have progressively become the shapers
of their own destiny, that it is only up to a point. Thus the
Historian knows, what the scientist appears not to realise, that
Man's trickiest exploits have often "done him in"; that Pride
makes a hash of him; that he readily slips from civilisation to
decadence via barbarism. In short the Historian sees in Man the
dire struggle between "creativeness" and "creatureliness". In the
end, as Robert Frost used to say, Man must leave something to
God. But that, as they say, is another story.
Now History is, apart from anything else, the granary of
human achievement. Thus without continual reinvention and
reinterpretation and indeed without unhindered access to the
granary, the life of a civilisation would be but an acorn cast before
a herd of swine. So it need not be charged against the Historian
that he is continually pulling down his barn and building bigger
ones. The truth of the matter is that Man does not take along
enough of his past with him. Were he to do this, his future would
not probably be less difficult to foresee, but would certainly be
Some Historians are, in their contemplation of Man, somewhat
limited and thus give no clue at all that History also possessess
an anticipatory side in that it is the domain of the possible. In
his study of Man, the Historian is really required to conduct an
intelligent and discriminate commerce with antiquity and purchase
for our use and enjoyment all that is servicable. Then, in the
light of some system of values which every Historian must have,
he must tell us how to anticipate our future by clothing our ideals
Nature is one of the theatres of human life. Therefore what-
ever the Historian has to say must render full justice to the reality
of the drama. For the drama is a dynamic one, consisting of
terror and pity, achievement and futility, crime and charity. Such
is Man's nature that the Historian can deal with it accurately only
when he is prepared to introduce the conception of value into his
wlrk. Mere chronicling will not wash; it will scarcely even white
wash. But we can leave it to the Historian. He does not always
speak as if his mouth were full of dough; but if he is the man
we take him for, his woes will make him "work his body to and
fro". After all he must pay the penalty of studying Man.
The Medical Student
by L. G. EDDEY.
If there should be anything distinctive about the views of
a member of the medical profession on the subject of the rela-
tionships of man it must surely stem from that early duty of
medical studentship which requires that acquaintance be made
with man as a species rather than as one's blood brother, friend
or neighbour. The process, involving as it does five terms dis-
section of the human body as an anatomical specimen, certainly
inculcates a profound respect for the complexity of the physique
of man. As dissecting room experience gives place to human
contacts in hospital ward and consulting room the medical student
comes to learn that if every detail of man's physique is complex
so also is every detail of his outlook and behaviour.
This keynote of complexity is hardly surprising. Of a cer-
tainty there is woven into the make-up of each one of us a pattern
reflecting, however remotely, something of man's trials and tri-
bulations throughout the ages. Something also of those varied
characteristics, some good and some bad, which we have each
of us inherited from our forbears. How natural that these things
should make our approaches, to one another and to the problems
of our time infinitely varied. A circumstance which can be both
fortunate and unfortunate for us according to whether or not we
are resolved to exercise goodwill understanding and forbearance
towards one another in all our relationships.
If there is one outstanding feature of our age it is, surely
that man is now able, probably for the first time in his long
history, to exercise, if he will, full control over his destiny. Scien-
tific advances have been attained the world over in the last half
century which earlier generations could not have conceived pos-
sible. As a medical man by training I would remind you in par-
ticular of the revolution which medical science alone has accom-
plished in the past hundred years. Nowhere more so than in
tropical countries similar to our own British Guiana where scourges
such as malaria and yellow fever are being effaced from vast
expanses of ,territory with astonishing consequences, from the
standpoint of human happiness and preservation.
Modern engineering skill, with its production of new surgical
tools and diagnostic apparatus, together with modern chemotherapy
and its dramatic furnishing of wonder-working drug substances
has gone far towards minimising the ravages of disease. Indeed
it seems likely that certain diseases which have been recorded as
inveterate enemies of mankind since the dawn of medical history
will shortly be eradicated for all time.
But as scientific workers themselves will be among the first
to recognize we cannot pin our hopes for the future on scientific
advances alone. At best science provides us with factual knowl-
edge and serves as a discipline--the sort of discipline that bids
us seek out the essential truths in every situation by weighing
carefully all the main facts tberein. Of itself it cannot impinge
on our mental and moral behaviour in such a way as to ensure
that we live in harmony with one another and mutually attain
thereby to a fuller and better civilisation. It is required of us
in addition that we integrate with our scientific advances cor-
responding progress in the realms of art and philosophy. This
done we need to weld all these advances into a compelling force
for good by cultivating spiritual faiths in our own futures and,
indeed, in the future of all mankind. Only thus does it seem
that we shall be able to assist man's survival let alone his progress
towards new and better horizons.
As to how we should set about achieving the development
just envisaged is a matter on which there could be many opinions.
Certainly the process must begin with each of us as individuals
for it seems indisputable that only as each of us seeks to put
his own way of life in order can that impetus be generated which
will be necessary to improve our social and political order as a
whole. Nor can there be any readily applicable code of rules and
regulations as to how this might be done for it is surely only
within ourselves that we can discern what individual changes are
most needed. But, for what they are worth, some broad princi-
ples might be indicated which history has taught should underlie
the general pattern of our living.
To take moral standards first there surely is a great need
for most of us to pay heed to the dictates of conscience more
faithfully. Far too many of us seem constrained nowadays "to
do the right thing" from fear of possible consequences rather than
from any conscious desire to cultivate a high standard of behav-
iour. The same misplacing of values seems apparent too in so
many of our petty strivings after minor forms of success, little
regard being paid to whether these successes, when attained, will,
of themselves, contribute anything of lasting value to either the
seeker or to those for whose welfare he may be morally responsible.
In the matter of earning a livelihood, economic circumstances do
not always permit a constant occupation still less a type of work
entirely suited to each man's bent. But it needs to be reaffirmed
that there can be both joy and dignity in every type of work
provided there is a desire to do the work well for its own sake
and to do it ever more efficiently. More especially so if the work
offers scope, however limited, for initiative and the creative
instincts, and if the worker himself is prepared to be his own
critic in the absence of any healthy criticism from more com-
petent people round and about him.
An important consideration is the maintenance of a healthy
state both of mind and body. The former so that the reasoning
and thinking powers may be kept so alert as to be ready to
operate with clarity in all the unforeseen incidents which crowd
our everyday activities. The latter so that there may be free-
dom from suffering and so that the body can be at all times
equal to the demands of whatever physical effort is required
whether for purposes of work or leisure and so that a satis-
factory support may be developed as between mental and phy-
In the matter of spiritual values, whether or not we profess
to hold any specific religious convictions there is clearly a need
to recognize good and evil for what they are, wherever they
may occur. There seems need too to overcome undesirable
temptations in whatever form they are presented and to culti-
vate those simple virtues of tolerance, humility and generosity
which are the very essence of good living in the best sense
of that term.
By way of conclusion it may be said that attention to those
occupational, physical, mental, moral and spiritual considerations
already touched upon is required of all of us if our relationships
one with another are to be put on a higher plane than ever
before. That there is need for us to rise to a higher plane
can scarcely be doubted, for now as never before there are
perilous differences of outlook prevailing as between supporters
of one ideology and another; even one nation and another. Indeed
it seems not too much to say that at present our whole civil-
isation is threatened with catastrophic destruction unless men the
world over can be persuaded to develop new national and inter-
national outlooks in which the qualities of goodwill, understand-
ing and forbearance dominate all other considerations.
by JOHN HARRISON
The artist, being himself a man, is of course a member of
the society in which he lives hence influencing and being influ-
enced by it. Roughly speaking his attitude towards Man will
be that of the society of which he is a part. Obviously the
Greek sculptor or the Italian painter did not regard Man in
at all the same way as the Byzantine mosaicist or the mason
of the mediaeval cathedrals. In the one case Man was the
centre of the universe, his delineation the end and object of
art. In the other he was only a means towards another and
more spiritual end.
We who are the inheritors of Greece through the humanism
of the Italian Renaissance have tended to take the pre-eminence
of man for granted until quite recently. Now, on the edae
of a new world of mass movements, rigid creeds, and rather
impersonal social welfare, the artist logically takes man for the
raw material of his experiments, the starting point of his abstrac-
tions. Man the individual is again in eclipse: we are in the age
of the common man. An age of reason gives way to a new
age of faith, and art accordingly becomes heiraticised.
And yet it is difficult for the artist himself to merge in
the mass. The very virtue of his calling sets him apart, makes
him aloof, suspiciously olympian, not quite one of the gang. It
is difficult for him not to observe, to judge, from a little dis-
tance: his sensibility, sharpened by training, leaps on impatiently,
making of him a creature misunderstood and suspected not
The Religious Student of
by LLOYD SEARWAR
Although the nature of man was not the first problem which
exercised the mind, when it became conscious of its power, it
almost certainly will be the last; man remains |his own most
The earliest thinkers, the Romans, considered man a part of
the universe, composed of the same elements as everything else.
But the Sophists notably Protagoras' set man in the centre of things.
Said he: "Man is the measure of all things". And old Socrates
who in nearly everything else differed from the Sophists agreed
that man and his strange nature was the supreme question. Plato,
his disciple went even further and declared that man's soul was
part of the Divine Reason. And Aristotle at a significant moment
in the world's history gave reason as the distinguishing mark of
man. From these and other insights the stoic lawyers of the
Roman Empire drew the idea of the rights of man, rights based
on mans essential dignity and sought to build it into law and
It is worth nothing how the thought of the ancient Mediter-
ranean world seemed to have been a preparation for the true
definition of man's stature in the Christian message. A world,
founded upon slavery and haunted by the idea of the grandeaur
of man's soul, heard of the God made man, of human nature sancti-
fied and of God's love for each man. They believed. Henceforth
and for nearly sixteen centuries the truths of revealed religion
were added to the old discussion.
Christianity so outwardly similar to many ancient cults made
a clear break. Each man, said the Christian Fathers, is of supreme
importance for each man is destined for an eternal honour. They
based their thought upon the example of their Divine Master who
had always dealt with individuals. Man, moreover, was a union
of body and soul made in the image of God. The partial ecstasy
and partial horror of life was resolved into a new idea of human
worth, an idea which flowered in the abolition of slavery, the
new honour paid to women, in Christian marriage and the law and
institutions dedicated to safeguarding the human person in ela-
boration of the Roman position .
Came the Renaissance and Re-formation. From Mirandola
and Luther the road runs down with scarcely a turn to our own
troubled age, for scholarship and the appeal to conscience swing
sharply away from belief and undermined objective values.
The tragic experience of the last four centuries and its deliv-
erance in thought may be briefly summarised. The doctrine of
Man taken as a soul alone, a soul held in bondage to an evil body
leads to a despair of this world and the decay of social purpose,
And a denial of spirit and its proper discipline over the body
leads equally to the collapse of the human person in the night-
mare world of Freud and the shelter of the totalitarian state.
A wise old priest once said to me: nearly any road pursued
long enough leads back to God. And so subjectivism perhaps the
most typical form of the modern mentality has begun to feel its
way back to true beliefs. From the English Empiricists who
dispaired of the possibility of knowledge the way leads naturally
to the modern philosophers of despair, the Existentialists who
intent on cutting away the layers of self come face to face in the
depths with the Lord of life. A philosophy based on these new
insights confirms the ancient pattern of the Christian Fathers
and opens the gates of heaven once more.
A. J. SEYMOUR
In the Dark...
Darkness, to the high unclouded call of flutes
Paints thick pure velvet on the day and sows
Night's deep womnb with a casual hand of stars.
Yet the coiled thought will slip a brooding Judas
Away from the lighted room and father a traitor.
But in each centre He has set His spark
His loved one-
Silent lovers when they lose identity
And lock in the sheath of the night, put on Godhead.
When the Eternal launched earth forth declaring,
"Let there be light" to the impregnate darkness,
From Everlasting Centre process seethed.
In that All-Eye the immense pupils swam
From idea into being island galaxies
In the bewildered unimaginable deeps
On a scale vaster than the wear of mountains
Or the huge deaths of suns that light their candles
Before His breath.
Darkness preludes the light
As Milton and Samson found
And both received their sight
Born of the anguished sound
When eyes imposed on the soul
The vision the body lost
And temporal things burnt whole
In a spiritual holocaust.
Their seeing soul swam out
Into light from the body's dark
As from hunting the hunter's shout
And out of the stone the spark........
Agony painting the night with pain,
Agony breaking the dark silences,
Agony shaking the silent darkness
As one shakes a spear,
Agony quickening and quivering in the darkness,
Hour after long-drawn-out hour......
And then the far-flung lovely light,
The morning singing in a host of nightingales......
Statues in living jet these women are
With skins so closely grained! it holds the light
And looses it over the body in a glow
Dappling it with highlights.
Their glowed limbs
Are blooded and fleshed out in easy roundness
That Helen might have envied-the breasts strong,
Halves of the world pointing, the deep waist flowing out
Into great unabrupted curves of architecture
Around the hidden altars,
The generous laughing mouth, the deep-lunged nostrils
Rateably proportioned to the strength of the Sphinx
Towering over the desert......
Often at midnight
When the daughters of the moon are sleeping
I walk along your heart's cathedral archways
And touch the organ to a phantom music
And see the pillars of your heart tremble
With the waves of sound........
will show that the centre is here.
Wherever circumstances pitch
or time reach
from the heart and the root
the centre is here.
how fallow thy soul
for eternity's fruit......
.....in the dark sleeping......
the vegetable prayer of the seed
bearing the toll exacted
before time matches desire.
.....in the dark the seed......
the secret movements of its fingers
feeding within earth's bosom
silent beneath the arrows of sun.
Hushed the fruit that will forth
the farmer has scattered his future of rice
the ratoons are rooted
the winds of the heaven their tears will weep
the Christ's in the womb
......in the dark sleeping......
tricky season .
Love Came Down...
By EUGENE BARTRUM
Nostalgia was an emotion which had not yet invaded the pre-
cincts of Michael Stevens' mind. It was not that he was never
away from home. Michael never had a home.
His mother died when he was five years old and Adolphus
Stevens, his father, who thought the carefree life at his "pork-
knocker's" logie at the Mazaruni less tiresome and more stimulating
than a re-marriage, placed him at old Mrs. Frumps' boarding
Mrs. Adelaide Frumps prepared boys for the elementary
schools. A limited number of them boarded and lodged with her,
if their parents so desired. In extenuating circumstances, as in
Michael's, they continued boarding and lodging with her while they
attended primary schools.
After Michael left school, he got an appointment as a Pupil
Teacher at Beterverwagting, a village about ten miles away from
Georgetown. There he shared a room in bachelor's, quarters and
remained until his father had died and left him the pretty sum of
two thousand dollars.
Never having shared his father's enthusiasm for the teaching
profession, he resigned quickly, in the embryonic stage of
that dreaded career and, preferring the smell of potatoes and
onions, he acquired a grocery in Georgetown.
The house-hunting nuisance did not affect him as he simply
removed his bachelor's furniture to the spare room at the back of
his grocery. His friends wondered why he hired a dray cart when
a donkey cart was so much more simple conveyance for a cot, an
old cannister and a Berbice chair.
Michael developed considerable business acumen and soon
"Mike's Grocery" became the pass word of Leopold Street. His
sole interest was his grocery. Still he spared some time to enter-
tain some of his .old school mates in his room after business hours.
After a while Michael realized that gradually the number of
fellows who visited him was diminishing and he learnt that
marriage was the cause. Young wives never savour the idea of
their spouses mixing with hard-boiled bachelors. Undaunted,
Michael never gave marriage a thought and eventually only one
other bachelor frequented his room.
Leap years have their peculiar way of wafting the wand of
marriage and in 1944, Michael's last pal joined the order.
At a stag party, promoted by Michael, and held in his room
the night before his friend's marriage, there was a reunion of the
entire squad. The ladies may be ignorant of this, but it is amazing
what excellent match makers men are, when an eligible bachelor
has the misfortune of being fenced in by married men.
"Dick's going off tomorrow", said Rupert Stone quite casually
and glancing at Michael, he continued, "what about you, old boy?
What abtut that little doll you took to pictures last week."
Charles Lewis joined in, "Yeah Mike. It's about time you
Michael had not taken any "little doll" to pictures and he
felt himself securely enough anchored to his grocery.
"All in good time", was his impassive answer.
He was never keen on being ragged about girls.
"Saf'ly saf'ly cachee monkey" drawled yet another intruder.
That was Dave Walters, as he raised a glass to his lips.
Rupert Stone was persistent "What's wrong Mike?" he
emphasised, "find the ladies too hot to handle in doors."?
Michael realized that his friends were getting difficult. His
way of countering difficult people was by being difficult himself
and there was hardly anything more disarming than Michael's
laughter. "Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!" was all that came from
his lips, as prolonged and as loud as he could, for the rest of the
After Dick's marriage, Michael found his room dull at times.
This, he tried to offset by dantributing regularly to the upkeep of
the local cinemas. When that became boring he joined a club
where he found out that there is a game called bridge which keeps
even loving husbands away from their wives.
Although Michael became a bridge fiend, he still longed for
the genuine association of his old friends. Now and again he met
one or other of them and when he accused them of giving him up,
their promise, "I'll drop in soon" was seldom honoured.
Dick was the most thoughtful of Michael's friends and when
Christmas came along, he insisted that Michael have Christmas
dinner with his little family. Dick's wife was a charming hostess
and among the niceties on the table was a delicious roasted pig.
The sideboard contained an intriguing variety of blends of Demer-
ara Rum and, in the drawing room, a string lof fairy lights ran
through overhanging holly and ended in a Christmas tree.
Into this setting Michael fitted as: if he belonged. Dick was
surprised to see his erstwhile girl-shunning friend accompany his
young sister-in-law Stella on the piano while she sang "Silent
Night" and other Carols.
His touch was artistic and Dick wondered where on earth
Michael had learnt to play. He left Stella to go into the details
of that enigma and discreetly withdrew into the kitchen to help
his wife with the dishes.
Stella had often heard Dick speak of Michael and being as
candid as she was charming she had long ago tabbed him as a
bore. But somehow, this afternoon they began calling each other
Mike and Stella, and in the evening they were sitting on a crib in
Dick's flower garden enjoying the closeness of more life-like leaves
"Do you have a piano at your batchie? That's how you men
call it, isn't it?" Stella asked with a touch of candour and
"No and yes." said Michael answering both of her questions
"And what do you know about my batchie?"
Stella withheld her source of information and asked. "Where
did you learn to play?"
Michael's thoughts suddenly went back to Mrs. Frumps and
the old piano of which that dear old lady was so proud. "At
school. As a boy" he answered dreamily.
"You play nicely," Stella encouraged, "why not add a piano
to the furnishings of your batchie?"
Michael was certain now that Stella knew about the way he
lived and, as he thought of the drab walls of his bare little room,
for the first time in his life he found himself loathing it.
Stella thought that she had hurt him and drawing nearer to
him she teased in a consoling voice. "A penny for your thoughts
big boy." Suddenly, Michael came down to earth again "Really
want to know them" he asked?
"I'll make it a bob" she giggled.
Stella never expected this-at least not quite yet, nor was
Michael Iresponsible; |Christmas is a tricky season. Suddenly
Michael was holding her gently but firmly in his arms "They may
cost you your whole life", he warned with meaning forcefulness
"Still want to know them"?
Stella blushed, but half nodded and Michael pressed her
closer to him.
When he kissed her he saw his room again. This time it was
transformed into a cosy little cottage. In it were holly and a
Christmas Tree and while his long fingers struck notes on a baby
grand piano, Stella's clear soprano voice was singing "Oh little
Town of Bethlehem."
Some More Aspects of Creolese
by D. A. WESTMAAS
The Romance languages take their origin from the forms of
Latin spoken in the various parts of the Roman Empire during the
fifth century, and upon those bases the peoples of those countries
have evolved whole languages and literatures of their own. It is,
to say the least, unlikely that any such distinguished fate will be
that of the form of English spoken by the common people of
British Guiana. Much more probably its chief interest for the
philologist of the future will be as an example of a minority
tongue which after more than a century of virtual isolation from
the rest of the Continent, found itself brought into sudden and
intimate contact with alien languages and cultures; although the
effect may indeed be mitigated by the spread of North American
English among the Latin nations on our borders.
I think it is principally from this standpoint that anyone
considering a serious study of creolese English should orient his
investigations. This means recognizing immediately that in default
of mechanical recording, great attention must be paid to the way in
which the debased forms of the English words are to be spelt. My
own interest in the matter is nbt so scientific; I am interested purely
from the standpoint of writing a light column in creolese. I found
and still find myself forced to do a certain amount of experimenting
in order to evolve an orthography that is as nearly representative
as is consistent with remaining close enough to classic English
spelling for the words to be easily recognisable. The task is not
too difficult, because in the main, creolese keeps to the English
departs from the orthodox is rather in the absolute eclecticism of
words (although mashing them up horribly at times). Where it
departs from the orthodox is rather in the absolute eclecticism of
its phraseology. Adverbs and adjectives are made to do duty for
nouns; nouns for verbs; preposition for adverbial phrases; nomi-
native and object cases are freely interchanged; so too are verb-
endings; and words and phrases are invented by the individual
speaker to suit the need of the moment. For example, you may
easily have the following sentence thrown at you: "Dem is mo
deadly dan he; an wid de deadly dey mo deadly, dey does baad-
talk he aal ova Tung." (se. "They are more deadly than he, and
with their deadliness so much greater, they habitually slander
him all over Town"). Here the sentence starts with an objective
case used for a nominative, and goes on to take a singular verb.
But later on, the same word in its proper nominative case is
preferred: "dey". Then the adjective "deadly" is made to do
duty for the noun "deadliness." Then the plural "dey" takes the
singular verb "does," before going on to call upon the adjective-
and-noun "baad-talk" to act for the verb "slander." And finally,
nominative case "he" is used for "him."
Or take another equally amazing usage: "E hit she, an in e hit
she, e run away," where the preposition "in" (on which the
emphasis falls) is made to substitute for a whole adverbial phrase:
"as soon as" Sometimes the word "since" takes the place of
"in", with the same meaning! The words "dem" and "me", by
the way, are the only pronouns which City creolese uses in the
objective case as a substitute for the nominative. You never hear
"Us are going somewhere," or "Her is a nice gyul," either in
Georgetown or tht country; but whereas you may get "Him go
run away" in the country, you never get it in Georgetown-unless
the word "um" is taken to stand for "him." Again, creolese pre-
fers "does" to "do" for all Numbers and Persons, e.g. "He does
dance plenty-plenty," "You does...." "Dey does...." (never
"do"). Curiously enough, in the only construction where it is
correct to use the verb at all, creolese uses it in a wrong way. "He
go to school" can be quite darrect English when it is intended to
emphasize that the person goes to school. But in creolese usage
no such emphasis is intended; it is a mere statement that the
person habitually goes to school. No one need complain of lack
of variety or inventiveness in creolese!
I have not been able to figure out where the query-word
"nuh?" at the end of a sentence comes from. Presumably it is
equivalent to the Spanish "no?"; but there were never many Span-
ish settlers in this country. In Trinidad the French have left the
word "oui?" (meaning "yes?"-precisely the opposite to our word),
to perform the same function. Then there is the long-drawled-
out "maan" with which friends sometimes appeal to each other-
even women! "Len me you' bike, nuh maan?" which might be
answered "No maan, A can't; I haven't the time." Another
creolese practice is the frequent use of "let" for "to cause." "Tell
she eef she en do um A gun le' she get a good beating does not
necessarily mean "I'm going to allow her to be beaten;" it may
mean "I am going to see to it that she gets a good beating."
I am unable to notice all the peculiarities of our vernacular
as I would wish, because the volume of written creolese is so
small. I can mention only those which come to my mind as I
write, and any attempt to work out the grammatical rules,-if
any-must wait until the deficiency is made good. This will
probably be a long time awaiting, because there is still some pre-
judice among local writers and readers against the vernacular as
being the language of the "common" people, the use of which be-
trays low origins, poor education, or a mind not "lifted up to
Those who think thus ignore the fact that "correct" English
itself was originally a dialect-the form of English spoken in the
districts around London and Oxford. It gained its supremacy
largely because the early English poets-Chaucer, Gower and the
rest-chose to write in it and make a success of the job. So when,
somewhere in the last half of the fourteenth century, the upper
classes began to abandon Norman-French, they naturally turned
to the tongue that the writers had made sound so pleasant. Even
then it was not till a hundred years later that literary men ceased
entirely to prefer Latin as a medium of expression.
Local writers who take their literary aspirations seriously
should consider creolese with much greater attention, because if
its appeal outside of British Guiana is never likely to be wide,
creolese is at any rate the most peculiarly Guianese thing they
possess, and poor as it may seem, it is their only chance of making
a unique contribution to the world's culture. Otherwise they run
the risk of becoming no more than imitators of English writers-
clever ones no doubt, but still only imitators.
"Tact is the ability to describe others as they see themselves.'
How did it come about ?
The Language we Speak--II.
by Richard Allsopp
In the issue of December 1949 (Vol. 2 No. 9) this subject was,
as was pointed out then, no more than broached, and by way of
introduction I attempted to establish an awareness of locutions
most of which have an exclusive local existence or usage. The
reader is referred to that article before proceeding with this one,
though this one may, if so desired, be read independently.
That discussion (I) ended with a warning that among the
many phases to be considered, first came origins of the terms in
use, and already in (I) some sources were indicated in the terms
chosen to classify the words: Africanisms, Localisms, Frenchisms,
etc. In other words we agreed that there are several tributaries
of varying sizes flowing into the main stream of our conglomerate
vocabulary, this main stream being English. But if we were to
attempt to go up each tributary separately so as to get at the
origins of the whole, interesting (if laborious) journeys though
these may be, we would be sure to miss much that their develop-
ment has in common, as well as the important question of the
influence these currents have on each other when they meet in
the main stream. I find this explanation necessary as it seems
at first fair to expect that we keep the classifications outlined
in (I) and continue to examine them separately. We shall not; but
of course we shall need to refer to them if in the "water" we are
examining we find elements obviously belonging to one or more
of these tributaries.
One more proviso. This is a search for origins, not an
examination of origins nor an examination of development; these
two being technical and distinct from what we are doing here.
We are still as in (I) looking, and when we find are content to
One certainty I think is that all the tendencies I can so far
discover are known linguistic tendencies with parallels in other
dialects and languages of the world. If our speech is doing or
has done anything new in the field of Language I have not noticed
Among the first things that strike a listener to the speech of a
person sitting on a shop-bridge describing to his friend a cricket
match, a fight, an accident, an embarrassing episode, or any
incident in which human emotions are involved is the number
of sound-words and gestures that go to give life to the description.
Many of these words are invented as the speaker proceeds but no
one is at a loss for meaning. Such words and expressions are:-
Blapp, bidip, bupsen, baxen, bram, budum, etc. (falls, colli-
sions explosions, blows of various kinds); ply, palow, etc.
(bicycle tyre bursting); waxen, widding, wooie, etc. (ball hit
through the air); "she hice (lift) he up hipbam;" "the car
move off vuh-vuhm!!!
Some run into four and five syllables; the sounds are made to
suit the nature of the description. We shall never have a com-
plete list; and it will be many decades before they begin disap-
pearing if they ever do. They are also most noticeable among
people of African descent and perhaps reflect the uncodified nature
of the original dialects of our ancestors who handed down the
"spirit" of imagery in their adaptations of English. It is danger-
ous to carry the interpretation of a superficial observation too
far, but in searching for an explanation of this habit (which is not
common to English people) it seems to me admissible that if four
or five of us hear the same sound, we all tend to hear it
differently. But if we four or five speak together only one mature
and codified language like English, Hindustani, Portuguese, etc.,
we would not "hear" differently, but simply use the accepted
sound-word provided in that language like-"bang, boom, crash,
wallop"-in the case of English; or we may not use a sound word
at all. If however we all speak a primitive uncodified dialect we
would indeed "hear" differently (and perhaps more accurately)
and in relaying the sound later on would each describe differently
the sound we "heard. Hence the multiple and unpredictable
Even if the sounds did disappear or dwindle to a small
"accepted" number, we are unlikely to lose the gestures that go
with any of these image-words. If it is true that some languages
(French for instance) cannot be spoken without gestures then it is
certainly truer of the local, indeed every West Indian dialect.
The word describing a hard fall would be accompanied by a vigor-
ous downsweep of the hand with the "loose" index finger flailing
the thumb to produce a sound; the word describing a ball sailing
through the air would be accompanied by a swift outward stretch-
ing of the whole arm, fingers tightly together while the face
carried an expression somewhat akin to horror; and so on-the
lifting and the moving off, the bursting all would have accompany-
ing gestures of eye, lip, arms, fingers and sometimes body, foot,
and toe. The speaker needs' a spacious platform for an "emotional
dance" of descriptive language, that hails chiefly from Africa.
What the other races have acquired of this art is chiefly from
contact with the African.
Gesture is so essential a part of our dialect that it has to be
given due recognition in any examination and I have taken it here
because it expresses the feeling which is at the root of the huge
mass of image words. Some gestures are so powerful that they
are able to stand by themselves wih full meaning. Examples are
the kissing of the palm of one's hand, the casting of the hat on the
ground and that unwritable half-gesture, half "expression" pro-
duced 'by "sucking the teeth" as we say. These are all three by
appearance African. The first is a form of oath-taking that need
not be accompanied by "for-true-to-God" which is its "meaning."
It calls to mind the North African and Middle East custom of
greeting a friend by touching the heart, lips and forehead (in that
order) as a mark of sincerity. Through the second, we can with a
little imagination see the African casting down his mask and head-
dress, perhaps the most significant part of his costume, thereby
not only laying his own head bare but also indicating that he would
put it down or in some way lay his life at the mercy of the other
speaker so sure was he of what he said. I have sometimes seen
this done as a mark of assurance without another word' from the
actor. In standard English we would simply say, without gesture
or intention. "I'd lay my head on a block."' As for "sucking the
teeth, words exist in West and East African languages which con-
tain a sound produced by sucking air in between the teeth. What
connection this may .have with sulking or defiance however, as
it does in our dialect, I do not know.
But the influence of gesture does not end there. The Afri-
can's sense, it seems, of physical manifestation is so strong that he
has introduced a class of expression which we might put next above
the primitive image-word, and in which a physical, one might
almost say personified aspect is added to an ordinary act; or if it
is already there, it is emphasised. For example:-
the policeman hang out behind him (sped after)
jail catch him now
he out hand and hit him
a push off (an advance of payment to enable a work-
man to start work).
a ground-eater (a ball that streaks along, "eats up" the
uppish (snooty without real reason, nose and chest in the
Finally, the popularity and number of image-words remind us
that to the minds of people desperately grasping a knowledge of a
language as the African emancipated slave did, or even painfully
developing that knowledge as the Indian, Chinese and Portu-
guese labourers did the concrete rather than the abstract would
appeal. A baby learning to speak and a boy learning French
experience the same thing. Hence-
(a) the image-word would find more favour than the
word that offers no immediate picture;
(b) the image being "present," the present tense
would be the most practical to use, apart from
being the first grasped and easiest to retain. Hence
its use still today by most people from labourer
to legislator in place of the past and other tenses.
(c) The future too is expressed by the present of the
verb "to go,"-I eoin' come, he goin' dead, you
goin' see, etc.
(d) The passive voice is almost completely replaced by
the active and we hear, instead of "a house is being
built around the corner"-"They got a house
buil'in' roung the corner."
"Make-do" Or "Key" Words
At the end of hours of thought I can still find no exactly
appropriate term in English to describe the next class of words
we shall look at. I put them next in order to the image words,
because although they are in this case quite English words, they
are used in a way that would make them incomprehensible if not
unrecognisable to the ear accustomed to normal English.
Again it seems that the early Guianese learners of English
regardless of race, I think, this time) being, as labourers, anxious
to convey an essential meaning and receive one in return-when
a wage, a thrashing, perhaps a life may have been in the balance
-seized hold of the most essential word in a sentence, the one
that held the meaning and got that out forcibly and early enough
in the sentence to catch the hearer's attention before some per-
emptory order should bring trouble. Naturally expressions forged
under such heat and pressure were strong enough to remain and
be used again and again both in similar and in less arduous cir-
cumstances until they became ordinary conversational vocabulary.
In fact many have been proof against time and are with us still,
instead of- we hear-
1. They have been unfair to They unfair the boy.
2. If he were so mad as to If he mad leave the gate open,
leave that gate open he is knock-off he get.
would be knocked off.
3. Be careful not to get dirt on Look, don't dirty the steps what
the steps that I've just I just wash down.
4. Put the fire out quickly. Out the fire I!
5. School has just been dis- School just over.
In the first three examples the vital adjectives become verbs
and in one case an adjective becomes a nominative noun (knock-
off). In 4 and 5 adverbs upon which the meanings depend have
become verbs. The verb or action word being the most vital part
of any sentence, these desperate learners filled the place of the
verb with what was for them the most vital word, be it adjective
The next thing to note is that after this vital word had been
given prominence the structure of the remainder of the sentence
did not matter very much. Small details like-
(a) whether the word is a verb at all, or
(b) the way a verb ought really to be used, or
(c) the use of the correct preposition, or
(d) the differentiation of words near in meaning, etc., were
given no attention (unless they vitally affected the meaning of
the sentence as described in the examples above). This made for
so much ease of expression that the habit has survived with
sufficient root to appear in the harvest of newspaper errors even
in 1950. The following examples, all with the exception of two,
have been taken from the local newspapers:-
(a) "the efforts of the police were negative"
"cricketers with reputations to upkeep"
(b) "you ain't see the bicycle riding" (= coming)
"no potatoes ain't putting in this pot" (= will be put).
(c) "he came with the ship" (= by).
"he dreamt his father" (= dreamt of)
"they had a quarrel over the last holidays" (= during).
(d) "pig-dealer", "pig-rearer", "pig-keeper", "pig-farmer" all
being used to describe a man who reared and sold pigs.
It may also be noted in the examples of (b) that transitive or
"physical manifestation" verbs are again preferred to intransitive
or passive forms.
The first two sections of this discussion have dealt with prim-
itive developments but from this one onward we are facing
developments that belong to secondary and tertiary stages. In
the languages of Europe as they were spoken in Medieval times
the biggest changes taking place perhaps were sound changes, and
in our local language there are still sound changes going on. Of
course spelling and print are two stabilising forces that serve not
only to check but "correct'" a change, and so preserve the correct
word for the next generation; but even this process of correction
is slow and not always sufficient-it may even misfire as we shall
see in the next section-and the girl who spelt college "colage"
was spelling a change she had definitely acquired. Had we been
living in the Middle Ages she might have started something!
Unfortunately this is one field in which we cannot get very
far without the use of phonetic symbols, of which we do not have
the advantage here, but I shall attempt as nearly as possible to
spell the local sounds that have been evolved. All changes are
primarily oral and it ought to be also pointed out that the word
"changes" here really has two applications:-
(a) Some sounds were changed immediately they were acquired
from English by our ancestors.
(b) Some sounds changed and are changing through the years in
their and our mouths.
I have. not differentiated in the examples below.
(i) The most widespread change is the occurence of the
absolutely open African pure vowel "a" in place of oh, ah,
uh, eeh (these being my spellings of sounds). The near-
est standard English approach to our "a" is the "a" of
have, after, staff, but even then it is not an exact fit.
ball, war become bahl, wahr
proper, water ,, prahpah, wahtah
dare ,, dahr
nation ,, natiahn
meagre ,, mahgre
(ii) The replacement of "th" by "d" or "t" is also frequent.
Germans speaking English make a similar change with
the "d" and the French with "t".
the, that become de, dat
father, mother ,, fader, mudder
thing, thief ting, tief
(iii) Hard "g" followed by -ir, -ar and hard "c" followed by
"a" become gy-, ky- like the "g" and "c" of gallon,
girl becomes gyirl
regard ,, regard
can ,, kyan
cart ,, kyart
(These differences are not peculiar to B.G.)
(iv) Final "-own" becomes a nasal -"ung". Thus-
down becomes dung
town ,, tung
frown ,, frung
ground ,, grung
(v) A "v" in any position often becomes a "b". (This is a
change familiar in the development of Spanish) Thus -
shove becomes shubb
vex ,, bex (this is dying out)
fowl-coup ,, ful-cuhb
(vi) Our "r"s do not die before consonants. We pronounce
the "r"s of bird, heart, worth, warm, etc., Even final "r"s
are sounded and we say dore, pore, etc., for door, poor,
Possibly the amount of North of England and Scottish in-
fluence in our first British years is a contributory factor
here. (The prevalence of such names of places and persons
as Lancaster, Leeds,, Manchester, Durham, Liverpool, Mc
Intosh, McDonald,McAdrew, etc. is evidence of this influ-
(vii) Many English words carry final consonants that call for.a
delicacy of pronunciation, and an effort of tongue and lips
that I think the Guianese of a century ago neither had time
nor need to appreciate. As in the case of the "key" words
above, once the essential element of the word had been
sounded, the end of the word did not matter. The meaning
was conveyed and that was what mattered. Thus words
like-build, lift, don't, give, etc.
become:: buil, lif, don', gie, etc.
Similarly all -ing endings become -in, and the "'g" carrying
the nasal element with it, goes. Of the final consonants
lopped off this way, "d" and "t" seemed to be the most
vulnerable. Sometimes they would even disappear in the
middle of a word without destroying what we have called
its essential element. Thus, "tantalise" is frequently pro-
nounced "tanlise" with a nasal "an".
(viii) Assimilation, or the effect of one sound upon a neighbour-
ing sound so as to make it like itself, is a phenomenon
well-known in the development of almost every language.
Tongue twisters in every language are based on the fact
that the human tongue is likely -
(a) to repeat a syllable or a phoneme instead of imme-
diately making a new one, or
(b) to anticipate a syllable or a phoneme and pronounce it
before its time in place of another.
Thus when we try to say "She sells sea-shells on the sea-
shore" and we say instead something like
(a) she shells or
(b) she sells shea shells. ,
our tongue has played us the tricks which students of
language call by the more impressive name of assimilation.
Examples of (a) are -
mattress becoming mattress
Dominica (hen) ,, domonic
and of (b) are -
pimple becoming plimpler
communist ,, comminis'
kotow ,, kowtow
(N.B. kotow is a Chinese word meaning "curtsey").
(ix) There are many other sound changes each of which calls
for a separate comment which we cannot manage here.
We shall have to be satisfied with the mention of a few,
each belonging to a different class. Thus -
challenge becomes challens
S stupid chupit
hag ,, hygue
cutlass ,, cutlish
hydrant ,, hydron
hang ,, heng
This is another student's term for a phenomenon in the life
of words. It simply means a mistake solidified by usage. Not
just any mistake however. It is the type of mistake in which one
word or set of words is replaced by another or others that are
alike in sound ; the speaker understands them to have the meanings
of the originals, but if they are examined they are found to have
no meaning or quite another meaning. This again happens in
every language and is quite understandable: X hears Y use a-
word or expression that appeals to him (X) and he retains what
he thinks he has heard. But when he uses the same word or
expression later on he has missed an important detail or details in
it which deface it noticeably. Thus the watchman who was told
to abide by the orders he was given and later on complained -
"I got to avoid by what they say", was establishing his own, or
a "people's" etymology for the word "avoid" A walk through
Lombard, Regent or Water Streets, or through the markets would
produce a dozen examples like this, of incipient popular etymoloy,
in a day; but I shall only here mention three or four examples
of errors of this type well-established among us:-
"a four-and a-half gallery" from "fore-and-aft-gallery"
"your sheep is in the pound,, "your sheep is impounded"
"what do you take me for" ,, "for whom do you mistake me"
"to buy a pig in the pork" ,, "to buy a pig in the poke"
Here again is a universal characteristic of speech. Analogy
is simply the "force" of suggestion by which, for instance, a young
child learning to speak and hearing plurals all the time ending
with a hissing or buzzing sound as "books, hats, fruits, boys,
chairs, mangoes", goes on to form all plurals alike and so says,
"sheeps, mans, childs", etc. until he is corrected.
But this force of suggestion runs riot in our community and
press, public and puisne judge go merrily word-building in this
from the suggestion of we get -
boatman, linesman, shopman, cartman, iceman,
horseman, etc. streetman, yardwoman,
contentious cantankerous, touchous, bambacious,
vicious, etc. fictitious (= ridiculous-
beat up, eat up, mess stink up, rough up, love up,
up, etc. take up with (a new friend),
betterment, amazement, upliftment, befuddlement,
stewardess, clerkess, etc. cateress
forenoon foreday morning
half-sister full sister
These inventions are in some cases, as in the first lot of
examples above, clear and functional and deserve survival for
their "basic" value even if they may be inelegant. But others of
course really have fit enough equivalents in standard English as
"touchous" has "touchy" and must, I think, remain in the class of
errors. Whether you agree with this comment or not, however,
there is nothing you or I could do about them they will nearly
all remain. Many of them have been gathered from newspapers
and reports of court proceedings.
North American Neologisms
So strong is the United States currency of words that even the
linguistically snooty French have loaned "O.K., le swing, le dancing,
le jeep" etc. into their spoken and journalistic language. Who then
are we, much more exposed and not at all "choosy" in our speech,
to resist the American invasion. In the fields of intonation and
pronunciation we are fast going west, and given another war we
should, I think, be lost, and sounds like -ahdress (=address) and
skedule (=schedule) will be universal.
But intonation and pronunciation are really a separate field
and our purpose in this final stage of the discussion is to point
to some examples of the useful elements only, of the American
invasion. Expressions like -
he was warded at the Public Hospital
Madam (=title of a hairdresser), etc.
are I think useful and comparatively recent new-words in our
speech. Unlike all the other types discussed above they have
reached us mainly through the medium of print American
magazines and our own newspapers. Hence the smell of "correct-
ness" about them though they are not strictly English. They are
all examples of analogy in American usage. Even the terms
"homester, tourist" which are used in connection with cricketers
and which have not yet reached the Oxford Dictionary, I suspect
of being the result of an American influence in British journalism.
There then are some of the likely origins of the expressions
we use likely I say, because in our language the study of the
present often depends on a conjectural past. Furthermore these
are some of the origins but there are other currents in the main-
stream which run deeper or disappear further back so that we
miss or cannot reach them though we know they must be there.
P.S.: Elsewhere in this issue appears a useful contribution
to the discussion by Mr. John Harrison, which I have read with
interest. It is indeed an encouraging thought that in the study
of dialects as in bottom-house out-for-play, good for one- is good
A Note on West Indian Dialect
by John Harrison
While laying no claim to be a philologist, the present writer
feels obliged to question Mr. Richard Allsopp's assertion that
Guianese speak not English but Guianese. Even in England itself,
the home of our common tongue, each county has its list of
regional words, and the list becomes longer the further one moves
from the centre of the land. But not even the most fervent
Cornishman confuses the English he speaks today with the Cornish
which his forbears spoke, however many traces of the latter there
may still be in his version of the former; and the fact that different
senses may be given to the same words in Northern and Southern
- and for that matter in New England, does not mean that people
living in those places do not all speak the same language.
We feel obliged further to question Mr. Allsopp on another
point. Many of the words he claims as specifically Guianese are
in fact also common to the islands. This would not be important
did not Mr. Allsopp infer that the list could be enlarged "a dozen
times over for the West Indian islands" simply by making new
lists in each place. And even were this done it would prove
nothing. English, a composite language, is always absorbing new
words from new sources, words which are accepted in common
speech long before they make the Oxford Concise Dictionary.
Beterouge is used in Trinidad and St. Lucia, and understood
ever in islands which don't suffer from this pest. Cabane. fete.
and flamboyant are common to all the eastern islands, though it
is interesting that Jamaicans call the last tree by its orthodox
French name ponciana. Masquerade is used, in the same sense,
at least in St. Kitts, Antigua, and British Honduras. Patois has
virtually entered the English language. The sick, the dead, all
two, and gallic confusions of at and to (as in at him for chez lui,
and at Castries for to Castries) are common to the islands where
French patois is spoken. Another common confusion, arising
from speaking in English .but thinking in French, is to make
possessive pronouns agree with their nouns according to their
gender as in French and not with the subject as in English; thus
always her house, always his book.
Americanisms are of course common to all the islands, and,
in general, to England too for that matter. Bookstore, drugstore.
"The Language We Speak" Richard Allsopp (Kyk-Over-Al,
beautician, mortician may offend the sensitive English ear, but
we may as well get used to them. O.K., guess, guy and reckon
are all used by young people in England, and may or may not
finally be acknowledged by the dictionary. What we might,
perhaps, still watch for is the infiltration of American syntax -
get off of something, which merely complicates the English get off,
is making headway on some of the islands, and there is a popular
local comic st:ip in Trinidad which deliberately cultivates illiterate
speech, making its characters use he for him, she for her, and so on.
Indianisms are found in Trinidad as well as in British Guiana
- present, that is to say, in the two, places where Indian immigra-
tion has been highest. But let us remember that other words of
Indian origin come down to the West Indies by way of England -
verandah, chutney, thug, and so on. And might not rhoti, often
spelt roti, be itself borrowed from the French r6ti meaning roast?
Africanisms are, of course, to be found all over the West
Indies, surprisingly few in number, however. Backra or Buckra
for master must be used on most of the islands, as is B6-qu&,
meaning much the same thing, common to the islands with a
French background. Quashie is equally well-known, though
surely not necessarily meaning an idiot? Jumbie is common.
Big-big is, as Mr. Allsopp rightly suggests, an example of a common
West Indian tendency to repeat a word in order to give it more
emphasis the tendency itself so to do may be African. Small-
small is as much used as. big-big, and surely there was a calypso
about Sir John Shaw being tall-tall-tall?
Clear-skinned and bad-minded are currently used at least as
far north as the Dutch island of St. Martin. So, we suspect, is
At least two of the words listed by Mr. Allsopp as Localisms
are, in fact, also used in his sense in England a coolness meaning
a misunderstanding, and to womanise, which with womaniser and
womanising was in common use at least at Oxford some ten to
.fifteen years ago; not a pretty word, but, as Mr. Allsopp says of
mortician, clear and functional.
In his travels about the Caribbean, the present writer has
noted many local dialect words and phrases, not all of them, alas,
suitable for publication. Here are some, many of them, no doubt,
already known to Guianese:-
MAN-used as 'a vocative, and applied indifferently to man,
woman and child. Common to all the islands.
MAUGER-thin. Jamaican only, as far as we know. From the
obsolete English word itself derived from the French maigre,
as is the variant Meagre.
To CARE-to look after. Leeward Islands.
To MAKE SPORT-to joke. Heard in British Guiana and
To CARRY TO-to bring or take to. Common to the islands.
Presumably either a gallicism, or an obsolete English term.
EVERYSENSE-ever since. Very common in Barbados.
PRESENTLY-Now. Common to all the islands except Jamaica.
HEAD-TIE-bandannah. Common to the islands which wear
them. An interesting example of a word of foreign origin -
bandannah being more commonly used in English to
describe an object for which a perfectly good English
expression also exists.
FORTY-LEGS-centipede. Heard in the Leewards and Barbados,
probably common to all the islands. A reverse example of
RED-Not quite white-skinned, roughly speaking. Common to
Leewards and Barbados, and probably to others as well.
MAUBY-a mildly fermented drink made from tree bark. Common
to the islands which drink it (St. Kitts at least down to
(The pronunciation of the word changes from MAARBY in
Antigua to MAWBY in Barbados.)
CALABASH-a gourd. Trinidad of course, but surely elsewhere
GOOD HAIR-straight hair. Common to all the islands.
To REACH TO-Gallicism for TO REACH. Trinidad.
LEGGINS-A miscellaneous bunch of vegetables, sold in the
market. Presumably from the French "legumes." Jamaica.
To JUMP UP-To join in the Carnival dance. Trinidad.
To PLAY MASK-To dress up and participate in Carnival.
Trinidad. Presumably a gallicism.
To ROLL BACK-To dance (behind the steel band etc.) St. Kitts.
TRICKSTER-Pretender, hence cheat hence smart fellow.
Jamaica. Used also in British Gui- na, but perhaps with not
quite the same meaning. Possibly from French tricheur.
IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE-it is. A very common form of diffi-
dent affirmation in the Leeward Islands.
To HUMBUG-to annoy. Common to most of the islands.
SAGA-BOY-A rough but fascinating young blood. From Trini-
dad spreading fast North as far as St. Kitts, and doubtless
South as well.
MOUSSE-Cabin boy on a schooner. St Kitts. From the identical
French word. Current no doubt in schooner parlance
throughout the area.
EAST and WEST-Left and Right. Antigua, where the terms
Left and Right are virtually obsolete.
SNOWBALL-an iced drink syrup poured over ice-shavings.
PICKANEGER-small, black child. St. Kitts.
RAMGOAT ROSE-periwinkle. Jamaica.
DONKEY'S WEE-WEE ) Unidentified flower.
SIX MONTHS RED SIX MONTHS GREEN) ing trees. Jamaica.
TITLE-Surname. Leeward Islands and elsewhere?
SECCOYAS or SUCCUYAS.-Witches. Dominica, Trinidad,
LOU'GAOUS-Werewolves. Ditto. From French Loup-garoux.
JACKIE LANTERN-malevolent sprite. Ditto and Montserrat.
From English Jack o'Lantern.
Steel Band Words
GROALER PAN PING-PONG TO KNOCK THE PAN etc.
-From Trinidad, spreading with the bands at least to St.. Kitts.
Phrases and Inflections.
In St. Vincent and Barbados they say, when giving you direc,
tions to get somewhere or do something, "You go SO and then SO
and after that SO and then SO," each SO being accompanied with
graphic and kindly gestures of the hand indicating Left, Right,
how far Left, how long Right, etc.
In Grenada, Dominica, and sometimes in Trinidad, they say,
"You like this, OUI?", "She coming to, OUI?", "We went along,
OUI, and then stopped."
And they say "I'll come tomorrow, PLEASE GOD," "We'll
meet again, PLEASE GOD," And very often, in answer to a
question (Grenada), "I may, as well as I may not."
A note on the Words OBEAH and WANGA
From a book, with that title, by Sir Hesketh Bell (Sampson
Low, Marston, LONDON, 1893.)
"......probably derived from .the substantive obi a word used
on the East Coast of Africa to denote witchcraft, sorcery and
fetichism in general. The etymology of obi has been traced back
to a very ancient source far back into Egyptian mythology......
obiou is still the Egyptian name for a serpent......the Witch of
Endor is called Oub or Ob, which is translated as Pythonissa, and
Oubois was the name of the basilisk or royal serpent, emblem of
the sun, and an ancient oracular deity of Africa."
Sir Hesketh equates obeah with wanga. common when he
was a young colonial office official in Grenada in the Nineties.
The word wanga, spelt in the French phonetic way ouanga, is
common in Haiti: Poup6es ouangas Haitian voodoo cult objects,
male or female symbols, made from little gourds, feathers, snake-
bones, and beads.
In Trinidad the ritual of Shango is evidently derived from
the same sources as Haitian voodoo. While there are no poupees
ouangas, either in name or in fact, the word wanga is still used
in Trinidad to mean a charm, and, in Port-of-Spain slang, ex-
tended to signify a smart fellow: it would be nice to think that
wanga and wangle were allied ...... For the latter, the Oxford
Dictionary has the following:-
Slang 1888 or colloquial (origin obscure) to accomplish in
an irregular way by scheming or contrivance; to bring about or
obtain by indirect or insidious means; to influence or induce
(a person) to do something.
At sunset when the sunbeams die,
Ere daylight fails completely, all
The goddess nymphs go passing by.
Winds whisper low with winds the 'why'
Of Nature, wavelets rise and fall
At sunset when the sunbeams die.
The frog and bee agree to vie
Their voices through day's darkling hall
The goddess-nymphs go passing by.
The bold hibiscus, evening-shy
Wraps up herself within her shawl
At sunset when the sunbeams die.
A withered moon flung westward high
Hypnotic to the Bee's shrill call:
The goddess-nymphs go passing by.
At sunset, when the breezes sigh
For universal Eve's cool thrall
At sunset when the sunbeams die
The goddess-nymphs go passing by.
Like giant brooms the palm heads sweep
The star-dust from the dreaming skies,
As through half-opened gates of sleep
Bird carols of the morning rise.
Where sea meets heaven in misty blue,
The dawn fires leap through rosy spray,
And armed outriders of the morn
Flash burnished spears in bright array.
Westward their wind-whipped coursers sweep,
Hailing the shore to greet the day,
Then turn and toss their flying waves
In rippling silver o'er the bay.
Their trumpets sound from reef to reef,
Their gold-red pennons flaunt the skies
As mailed in silver, girt with jade
Dawn comes up with flaming eyes.
Nature Poetry in the West Indies
by A. J. SEYMOUR
This is the Wordsworth Centenary year and I want to con-
jure the spirit of Wordsworth, the poet who perhaps more than
any other of the great English choir of poets deserves, to be asked
to preside in spirit at this new dish in the English language.
His heart leapt up when he beheld the rainbow and his was the
mind which communed 'with the sense of something deeply
interfused, whose spirit is the light of setting suns and the round
ocean and the living air. And now that we are thinking of
Wordsworth, I want us to go from England over Europe's troubled
mid-rib, over the Alps and also back in time to the first known
civilisation that sprang up about the waters of the Nile. And
there as we pause cn the glory of Ikhnaton, that subtle Pharoah
who conceived God, I call up the spirit of an unknown Egyptian
worshipper who wrote hymn to the god Aton. Addressing
the god, he says reverently: "Thou makest the Nile in the lower
world and bringest it whither thou wilt, in order to sustain
mankind ,even as thou hast made them ...... Thou hast put
another Nile in the sky so that it may come down for them
and may make waves upon the mountains like a sea in order
to moisten their fields ...... whereas the real Nile, it comes
from the lower world for the people of Egypt".
There you have the nature-loving attitude in Words-
worth it is mystic and the other is more explicitly reverent; but
both are common to man who is a singer and a maker of images
when he is struck with the beauty and wonder of the earth.
It is significant, that we have chosen England and Africa
as our basic terms of reference because I have the conviction that
within the framework of the English speaking tradition now
operating in the W.I. the ancient religious impulses from Egypt
and Africa are seeking a deferred and hidden expression in Carib-
bean poetry. And who knows but that in "this Mediterranean
of the New World" as Philip Sherlock describes the Caribbean
who knows but that we here in these gracious islands which
Divinity has wooed out of the Caribbean, may not be a fer-
tilising ground where the Atlantic civilisation with Europe war-
weary and soul sick and America materialistic and grossly
thickening to empire may gain a new lease of life with the
re-affirming of religious values.
But perhaps we go too far afield there as we touch world
values. Let us merely remember that Africa and Europe meet
and mingle in the Caribbean together with streams from Asia
and come back to the nature poetry written in this area. We
have fixed our nodal points and I suggest we first have a look
at a phenomenon which has a striking tropical characteristic and
which has, shall I say, forced itself on the attention of W.I.
Poets. I mean the rain.
The English drizzle cannot be compared with the tropical
torrential downpour. In the W.I. we live on the invincible tops
of otherwise submerged mountains based on the Caribbean sea-
bed. We are the visible peaks of an archipelago, continually
forced to take note of the hydrographic factor. Water is all
about us. But not only so. There are times when it seems
that the Atlantic rises from his bed and hurls himself, wrapped
in his rainclouds, upon these islands and drowns their business
with his rain.
There is a certain reality-principle which runs through
literature, that the writer and the poet writes and sings of
what he knows and what he sees around him and I'm indebted
to Margaret Lee for noticing that in Barbados both Vaughan and
Collymore have noted their emotional reactions to train in a
Collymore has not named his location but he shows us the
asphalt square in the courtyard thronged by the shiftless crowd.
The asphalt square is drab and like a bettered scab. How long
ago since green things grew and burned there, asks the poet.
Then the rain comes in a sudden shower and the crowd scatters
and the rain lashing the metalled surface makes beauty live
"Here as each shaft of rain strikes home
Mark what ghost flowers spring
Up from it ......
Bells of water air and light
Unfold, expand and fall
To rise again petal upon petal
A myriad dancing small
Rain flowers, rain fairies
Leaping, sparkling run
With waving arms and tossing heads
Catching the threads of sun
To weave a pattern diamonded
Flower bubbles, frail
Crystal goblets, lilies spun
From glass ephemeral.
They bloom, they dance, they shine and each
As you or I" ......
Then the rain ceases and the asphalt square is bare and blank
and the shifting feet spurn it again. The minute's magic is over
and from being a stage for rain fairies, the street becomes again
a pavement for heedless feet.
Vaughan has been less anonymous. He gives us the name
of the street in his poem, Hunte Street. Walking along he sees
the rain begin to drizzle, although the sun is still shining through
it; so he catches the glitter of the rain drops in the air and above
the surface of the road. Then his mind tells him "Surely this
is another road, in spite of these sagging tenements, and these
little children, barefooted, should have not thoughts that harden
or corrode" and the poem ends -
If this fine drizzle falling on the grass
And the sun's rays that through the droplets dance
And on the one small flaming garden glance
If all this heaven-sent loveliness must pass
Why doubt the end, beyond all grim mischance
Of all the dreariness that men amass?"
You may say that Collymore is pantheistic and Vaughan human-
istic, but that is an avenue we must not pursue for the moment.
I want to take you now swiftly to another island in the Carib-
bean. I warn you as we go that we leave the urban streets, we
are out on open lands ,even upon the mountains. The tempo
changes, there is no sophistication, nature is untamed.
"The rain poured down
Upon a passionate thirsty earth
Swiftly, unrelenting, with immeasurable power
Then vanished suddenly in a peal of childlike laughter."
This is a land of mountains obviously and the poet is Carberry
who says in another place of his native Jamaica -
"We have neither Summer nor Winter
Neither Autumn nor Spring
We have instead the days
When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields
The days -when the rain beats like bullets on the roofs
And there is no sound but the swish of water in the gullies
And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds".
Carberry is describing the Jamaican scene. The curious
reader might begin to wonder how far the difference in attitude
between the Barbadian and the Jamaican poet is due to tempera-
ment as individuals or how far the difference rests upon the
complex of tradition that belongs to an aristocratic Barbados
shall we say, or to a fiercely direct and democratic-valued Jamaica.
But again we ignore the byway.
We can almost hear the water rushing down the Jamaican
hillsides "the swish of water in the gullies" but if the land
were level that volume of water might not find its home so
easily in the sea; so let me take you now to a land of waters
which is the meaning of the Amerindian word "Guiana".
"And there are times the rain's persistent mutter
Runs on through night and day and starts a flood
To ruin crops and drown the livestock
Till roads and trenches and the vast savannahs
Become an undistinguishable sea".
Of course there are more extracts of this kind but we must
abandon this rain anthology and ask ourselves what is the fruit
of the rain, what grows in the West Indies beside that most im-
portant grass, the sugar cane. In addition to fields there are
gardens and in a garden each flower is a miracle of beauty that
nature creates almost negligently from mud and water and sun
and the life in the seed. I doubt whether I can do better than to
lead you into the garden of West Indian poetry and present to
you a bouquet of West Indian and other flowers.
What shall we begin with? The variety is confusing.
"There are wedding-belled carnations
Always nodding, never tall
Huge hibiscus set a-quiver
Flaming from a live green wall
Heavy dahlias drooping over
All imperially dyed
On the grass's light green carpet
Golden daisies, starry-eyed.
But the flower to take my fancy
And to launch my thought on flight
Is the buttercup, that youngster
Leaning out to catch the light."
I have an idea. Let us use our rain theme as a bridge and
so come to the bouquet. If we follow Una Marson we shall see
her leave a hard tarred road and enter a meadow in Jamaica.
"I did not know" (she said)
There were so many buttercups
In the green meadows
Until the raindrops came
Kissing each gentle bud to life
Bidding them laugh and sing
And now the byways are gold fringed
Golden glory that lingers in the heart."
I hope Una won't mind if we overhear now this confided
whisper as she bends over a violet -
"Listen, little wild violet
Your heart beats wildly as mine
When you hear the feet of your lover
Stop by the Celandine".
Our versatile friend Collymore can help us here too. He once
celebrated the beauty of hazy days and I'm not quite sure what
apparatus he used, but he conjured a princess from a bougainvillea
hedge. It happened in Barbados and this was how he did it. He
wrapped the day in a tender haze and set the winds a-blowing -
"And tree and bush and shrubbery
Clad in their best array
Sway to this choreography
An evergreen ballet ....
And from the bouganvillea hedge
A princess would appear
Wrapped in a dusky cloak of green
With flowers in her hair."
In another mood, Collymore saw lilies -
"Scattered upon the grass
The lilies gleam at dawning
Like small birds too innocent for fear
Too young for flight
A delicate breath of colour
Exhaled upon the dewy grass
Swift and fragile nestling there
Upon the green breast of the valley".
I cannot in any way claim that I have exhausted this rich vein
available for students and researchers. Where the West Indian
poets speak or sing of tropical fruit, I should warn you that one
of the tasks awaiting the Natural Science Section of the University
College in Jamaica is that of classifying the species of fruit and
regularising their names. With our present West Indian inade-
quacies in canning facilities we merely eat our fruit that's the
important thing by whatever name we may call it, and I
remember our mutual surprise some years ago when McDonald
Bailey and I reached for the same fruit in a Martinique wayside
market tray fortunately we didn't have occasion to run for it -
and I said it was a tangerine while he called it a Portugal.
There are of course many other extracts dealing with what
we may presume to call the flora of the Caribbean although in
no way peculiar to the Caribbean alone. We too will celebrate the
rose. In a manner that reminds me at times of the sympathetic
vision of D. H. Lawrence who could almost get within the heart
and mind of an animal when he was writing about it, Ingram, a
Jamaican poet has written on the way God made sheep in the
early morning; and of the green-world of the lizard and the way
the wildest forest jungle lies within the domestic bundle of a cat
huddled on the household mat.
Of course, Ingram is not singular. If we go through the
pages of West Indian poets, we will find many an emotional
reaction to living things. I haven't quite decided what I would
call the West Indian Counterpart of the nightingale or the skylark
in English literature although in Guiana, many have poured out
their music to the song of the little kiskadee, and in Jamaica, the
solitaire is by way of being the poet's inspiration but Constance
Hollar, that Jamaican coloratura in poetry, whose voice is now
unfortunately stilled in death, has celebrated the rich enamelled
splendour of the pigeon's wings around her cottage while a
Guianese, Leo, 70 years ago set a swallow out on flight in a mad
wild joy for the possible admiration of Lord Tennyson. And if
we cared to pause, we could see how forest hills and moonbeams
and the darkness of a Barbados night by the cane-brake, or the
sight of a dead silkcotton tree on Essequibo's bank, or a live
lignum vitae tree in blossom in a Jamaican garden or a flowering
poui tree in a Port-of-Spain Park how these natural themes
have stimulated West Indian poets to express their emotional
quickenings and their gift of language in words that will become
the common treasure of West Indians who are now children or
perhaps not yet alive. Like you, I look forward to the day,
when anthologies of W.I. Poetry praising their own environment
shall feed the young intelligence growing up in this region. May
that day be soon.
But I'd like us now to embark on the second half of this short
and I'm afraid, most inadequate survey of the nature poetry
written in the West Indies. We leave now the water theme of rali
and our bee-like hoverings over the flowers that have exhaled
their beauty on the air in the mental gardens of West Indian poets.
We leave behind too the animals that grace Caribbean landscapes.
Where do we go?
But soft, we haven't finished yet with water. What .about
the Caribbean itself? What about the sea? Michael Smith of
Jamaica has written of the sea's half-breath, half-moan sweeping
in fugues through him, he has seen the waves as lines of epic
and the sea as a deep quotation and to him the mass music of
the dark falls fragment into foam which is the complete poem.
And Collymore has written a book of practically all sea poetry
in his Flotsam. The words float on the surface, a broken message,
but over and under and around the words there is the element,
First he shows us by daylight -
"Like all who live on small islands
I must always be remembering the sea.... viewing
Her through apertures in the foliage; hearing
When the wind is from the south, her music
Her lullaby, her singing, her moaning."
We're still on the shore there. Collymore takes us next into
a schooner and shows us the sea by night where the rocking on
the sea makes a rhythmic disturbance among the stars, the fixed
eyes of heaven, and he has written here what I feel is some of his
finest poetry. He says:-
"The ship's prow dips with the kiss of the wave and
The sails' saga is told in slow syllables as we plunge onward.
...... Voyaging is slow
And mists spiral through the waiting mind; the night is long.
...... Fugue of forgetting,
While stars rush silently in swooping curves and the night
Is hooped around the sea's endlessness. There is
No meaning here but the song of the sails, no end
To wandering. And across the waters strides the wind
To lay its reckless head upon the bosom of the night."
The sea is the great connecting mobile web around our archi-
pelago of islands, and by night or day as Keats says, it "keeps
eternal whisperings around desolate shores". We live on the
mountain tops rising from the Caribbean sea floor, and one of the
great bases of a culture (by .which, I mean the way of life of a
community) is the manner in which that community anchors itself
in its environment. This anchoring means that the poets of the
West Indian islands and on the shores of the Caribbean, begin to
write what we may call place-poetry which celebrates their pride
in the country they are making their own just as Shakespeare
and de la Mare write about England, and Walt Whitman and
Robinson Jeffers write about America.
There is a considerable amount of this proud poetry being
composed by British Caribbean poets. It can express itself
simply as a vignette of Saturday morning at Coronation Market
with its almost photographic description by Faith Goodheart
(incidentally, what a lovely name) of pumpkins, potatoes, pears,
plantains and pimento or it can be a verbal snapshot by Una
Marson of the thousands of beautiful coconut trees fringing the
Jamaican southern shores at Darlingford.
These are merely descriptions. Our placepoetry can add
nostalgia and history and pride. It can be a poem to "this
legendary clay of Atlantis, the land of sea-eggs, flying fish, rum
and freshwater springs...... where Africa and Britain meet "in
Collymore's poem on Barbados "This Land". Raymond Barrow
in British Honduras and poets in British Guiana go back to Spanish
and Mayan or Arawak and Dutch days respectively. Kaieteur
and El Dorado have their place-poetry. Derek Walcott releases
his mourning over the conflagration of Castries in his poem, "A
City's Death by Fire", or gives wing to his love of St. Lucia in
the poem 'As John to Patmos'. Or the simple descriptions can
be increasingly overlaid by tones of social protest. Vaughan and
Mittelholzer produce their satire.
In Jamaica, this national urge works through many poets.
Clare McFarlane sings of Port Royal and the Hills of St.
Andrews. Basil McFarlane can declare "I am Jamaica" and so
can Michael Smith; Carberry, now thousands of miles from the
Caribbean, writes his testament of allegiance "I shall remember
the beauty of my people and the beauty of my land".
But I want to end this short introduction with references to
two poems, written by Philip Sherlock. Both are examples of
place-poetry but the poet has charged them with a passionate
rhythm and he returns to the religious urge that we noted in the
unknown Egyptian worshipper who wrote a hymn to the god
Aton on the Nile.
It is significant, by the way, that for the people of the West
Indies their religious poetry (and there are more than a few poems
written in this reverent vein) was an inversion, but a direct
result, of their environment. Because of slavery and the hard
bite of conditions into his spirit and before he could take pride
in the place where he lived, the only place he could sing of and
wish for was the other world; and even today with the awakening
national urge of West Indian peoples, this vein displays itself in
sometimes unexpected ways. But that merits another essay on
its own account.
Sherlock writes in Pocomania -
"Long Mountain, rise
Lift you' shoulder, blot the moon,
Black the stars, hide the skies
Long Mountain, rise, Lift you' shoulder high".
And as he goes on, he invokes the spirit of Africa among the
trees, Asia with her mysteries when the ancient gods chose man
for their victim.
But as a partner to Pocomania, there is the unnamed poem
that begins -
"Clear as the clear sun's light".
This second poem is a vision of apocalypse that shows how
Eden stands by Gordon Town in Jamaica and is in the tradition
of the mystic poetry written in the English language.
And this is my final remark. The nature poetry being written
today in the West Indies shows that the people of this region
are taking a pride in their environment and in the natural
phenomena around them and that the possibilities exist which
will permit them to reach out after universally great themes even
while rooting themselves fully in their own growing West Indian
tradition. We have come a long way from the simple elements
of flower and rain that we noticed at the beginning but I hope
we agree that these elements can be taken, here as they have
been taken in other parts of the world, and woven into a tradition
we may eventually be proud of. Creative imaginations are at
work producing a distinctive way of life and you and I are the
consumers who must encourage them and show faith in their work,
because the tradition that is rising about us is one that belongs
to us all.
Tale of the Guiana Indians
by BASIL BALGOBIN
The bright rays of the early morning sun shone down on
the forest and on the broad, black river, as it flowed smoothly
through the great Guiana Jungle, on its way to the distant ocean.
All around the scene was calm and quiet save for, perhaps,
the faint rustling of the wind in the branches of the giant trees
around and the occasional distant scream of a red howling mon-
key. From the forest floor, a profusion of wild flowering plants
released their perfumed aroma on the cool, fresh air, their dele-
cate multicoloured beauty imparting a magic touch to the scene
that seemed to transform the place into a veritable fairy land.
This lovely scene was hundreds of miles away from the beaten
tracks of the jungle a place where but seldom, the feet of
civilized man trod. Here, the true sons of Guiana the hardy
Aboriginals lived the simple lives of their forbears, free from
the fettering conventions and diseases of civilization-trusting in
the strength of their arms and the keenness of their eyes for a
livelihood. The forest and the rivers supplied the few things
they needed to support life; the flesh of the deer and of the fish.
The fertile soil produced an abundance of cassava roots which
these children of Nature made their bread and from which they
also obtained their cassareep-a piquant condiment.
Here, every man was a man, free to follow the dictates of
his mind; to wander where he will, safe in the knowledge that he
was answerable to no man and that in the vast storehouse of the
jungle, there was unlimitable food for his needs. The laws. of
the tribe were few and simple. The Chief was greatly honoured
and respected as the father of the tribe. Next to him the 'piaiman'
or medicine man, was held in awe and reverence. In sickness
they turned to him with implicit trust, to cure them. By his
wisdom and knowledge of invoking the aid of the good spirits,
wonderful cures were effected.
So in peace and quiet, lived these Children of the Wilds,
untrammelled by the shackles of Society, toiling and resting;
feasting and rejoicing; trusting in Makonaima, the Dweller of the
Heights; and looking forward with equanimity to a prolonged
sojourn in the Happy Hunting Ground of the Braves, after death.
Maraka, the Medicine Man, stood on a high hill and surveyed
the landscape around. Beneath him lay the tropical verdure of the
forest roof extending as far as the eye could see. Far to the
South lay the great mountain range that began in the Guiana
Jungle and continued unbroken through the great South American
continent. As he gazed at this awe-inspiring spectacle a thrill
ran through his cold bosom; the amazing and spectacular grandeur
of the great mountain evoked an involuntary tribute of admira-
tion of the works of Nature, from this unemotional son of the
It was some time before he tore his gaze away from the
scene. He looked to the far north where, at the edge of the jungle
and where the flat savannah lands began, the village of his people
was situated. It was too far away to see the smoke of the fire-
places, but Maraka knew that life in the village was pursuing its
placid course. Then he looked down on the river noting how the
dark, rushing waters contrasted pleasingly with the dense green-
coloured plants on its banks.
Maraka felt a great peace in his bosom; the peace of the
jungle, and he gave a grunt of contentment. He turned to go
about his duty-that of collecting herbs and roots for medicinal
purposes-when he stopped suddenly and lifted his nose in the air
and sniffed. Borne on the scent-laden breezes, came the acrid
aroma of smoke.
Maraka sprung behind a large boAlder and scanned the land-
scape carefully. Soon his keen eyes made out a wisp of smoke,
scarcely discernable in the bright morning light, rising above the
trees on the river bank. He tried to trace the source of the smoke
but could not do so. He changed his position to one more
advantageous and from the new point of vantage he saw the fire
and three men by it. He made out two of the men to be white
men and the other, like himself, was an Indian.
Maraka wondered what they were doing here, so far away
from their usual haunts. No white man had ever ventured so
far into this wild country. Neither had the black man, who
wandered afar to seek the 'bully tree' to bleed it of its sap.
Maraka saw the Indian throw a few things into a corial.
He saw one of the white men talking wildly to the Indian, while
the other one lay stretched out on the ground. He saw the Indian
shake his head and pushing past the white man, spring into the
corial and paddle away downstream. The white man watched
him as he went rapidly downstream and finally disappear around
a bend in the river.
As the corrial with its human cargo went out of sight, the
man went back to the tall bearded man lying on he ground.
Maraka was too far away to hear the conversation that took place
between them. In any event he would not have understood.
"Well, Dr. Bates", the man was saying to the recumbent figure.
"Our Indian has deserted the party. We're on our own now. I
can't say that I blame the fellow for wanting to go; we took him
on for two months and we've kept him more than three. Now he
has gone back to his tribe, and here we are, in God knows what part
of this great jungle without a guide. What are we going to do,
The man on the ground gave no reply; his eyes remained
"Why don't you give up", continued the first man. "It is an
impossible quest! You'll never find what you are after! These
Indians are as close as oysters They never tell their secrets. Give
it up, Doctor, please!"
Dr. Bates opened his eyes.
"We must not think of giving up now," he said, in a weak voice.
"Having come thus far, we might as' well go on. Think of the
benefits to humanity if we succeed! No, we must not give up
"But how can we gon on?" expostulated Charles. "You are
weak and helpless! The jungle fever has well nigh crippled you.
It is now two weeks since you were able to walk. Quinine has
not helped you and you are getting weaker. Look, I'll tell you
something, doctor! I did not want to mention it before, for fear
that it might worry you, but I've got that fever, too. It has been
coming on slowly. Last night I had a terrible bout of ague and it
has, left me rather shaky this morning. We can't go on! We
should have gone down the river with the Indian."
The doctor opened his eyes. "Not till we find 'Paran Opiana',
the fever medicine of the Indians", he said.
"Well, if we don't get some of that stuff ourselves, our bones
will be left here", said Charles. He passed his hand over his fore-
head. "The fever is coming on again. I had better make some
"Never mind about the coffee. Let us go on up the river.
We must find this 'Paran Opiana' to save our lives", said Dr. Bates.
Charles looked doubtful.
"Do you think we could pull against that tide? The Indian
isn't here, you know", he said.
"I'll help", said Dr. Bates.
Charles looked at the man on the ground. He could not but
admire his courage.
"Just as you say, Doctor. Just as you say".
Maraka stood on his hill and watched. He saw one of the
white men place the camping impedimenta into the corrial, then
assisted the other man into the craft, got in himself and pushed
off. He was mildly surprised when they turned the bow of the
corrial upstream. The white men were venturing deeper into the
unknown withQut a guide. He gazed at their laboured efforts with
the paddles and doubted their ability to pull fhe craft against
the running water. Soon the feeble srokes of the bearded man
ceased, the paddle slipping from his nerveless grasp as he fell back
into the corial-spent and fainting.
The other man ceased paddling for a moment and the impetus
of the rushing water swung the corrial out into the middle of the
river. He dipped his paddle again and toiled feverishly to get the
craft to shore. For five minutes he struggled drawing nearer and
nearer to the riverside. Once, he paused momentarily from sheer
tiredness to rest his aching back and arms and for a moment the
corial seemed about to be swept away. Frantically, he dug the
paddle into the water and drove the little woodskin forward.
After what seemed an eternity to Maraka, the craft reached the
bank and the man tumbled ashore. He drew the corrial up on
the bank and then helped the bearded man out on the sand. The
sick man fell helplessly to the ground and lay still. The other man
stood over him reeling groggily from weakness and then he too,
fell, unconscious, to the ground.
Maraka watched the little drama being enacted below him with
interest. Who were these men and what were they doing on the
ground of his people. He wondered if they were dead. Something
within him urged him to go to the assistance of these humankind.
Who was better fitted to go, he thought. Was he not the medicine
man of his tribe. He peeped down again; the two were still
lying motionless on the sand.
He placed his medicine bag about his shoulders and took the
path down. When he arrived at the spot where they were lying,
he stood still and scrutinized them closely. They were indeed,
white men with gaunt, hollow cheeks and wasted forms. One of
them had the grey flush of death on his brow. Maraka touched
his forehead. It was burning hot.
He drew their inert forms upon the grassy flat and with the
skill of his kind, quickly erected a shed over them to keep off
the sun's burning rays. Then he washed their thin, sunbaked faces
with the cool water of the river. One of the men stirred and
muttered 'Marie.' Maraka did not know what the word meant; he
did not understand the white man's language.
From his medicine bag he took some dry herbs and steeped
them in a gourd with water, pounding them with a short stick
after the fashion of a chemist using his mortar and pestle. When
he had done this to his satisfaction, he poured the liquid down
the men's throats. Then he took some more dry herbs from his
bag and these he placed on the ground between the men and set
fire to them. The herbs burned, giving off a dense, pleasant-
smelling smoke that entered the nostrils of the unconscious white
men. They coughed and spluttered until the smoke and the fire
died down. After a while, their breathing became easy and regular;
they were asleep.
All through the day Maraka tended them. Several times be-
fore 'Adaili' (the sun) went down, he repeated his dosings and
smoking of his patients. The white men slept on. When 'Kaci'
(the golden moon) peeped down on the quiet earth, she saw him
keeping vigil. All through the night he watched. When in the
early morning hours it became cold, he lighted a fire to keep his
charges warm. He himself, did not sleep.
As the first flush of the coming day dawned in the East
Maraka quietly gathered his accoutrements together and packed
them in his medicine bag. With a last look at the sleeping white
men, he stole quietly away.
Then the birds awoke and the lively simians roused them-
selves from their sleep and hailed the new day with every mani-
festation of joy. The other denizens of the jungle awoke to face
the new day with its vicissitudes.
Under the fragile shed, one of the white men turned and
groaned. He yawned and opened his eyes and looked around. For
a few moments he mained in thought and as the memeory of recent
events returned to him, he started up. His eyes fell on his com-
panion and he breathed a sigh of relief. Leaning over, he shook
"Wake up, Dr. Bates", he said. He shook him again.
The doctor opened his eyes and looked up. Then he got
up and walked. The other looked at him in surprise.
"You're walking, Doctor!" he exclaimed in tones of incredulity.
"It is two weeks ago since you were strong enough to walk! What
has happened to you?"
But Dr. Bates was looking at the little shed and at the charred
remains of the fire-sticks that lay in a heap before him. Through
his veins he felt health and life coursing freely. Strength had
returned to his body. His lips gave expression to his' thoughts.
"Paran Opiana! It's 'Paran Opiana' that has wrought this mira-
cle," he said with deep emotion "Charles, we will return to civiliza-
tion, re-equip and come back here to find this wonderful drug."
High up on his hill, Maraka watched them. He gave a grunt
of satisfaction for his patients were well again.
He looked down and saw them launching their corial into the
river and he grunted again.
The white men were going down stream-going home.
The Story of the Guiana
by N. E. CAMERON
From the inception of Queen's College it was in the mind of
the founder to provide a Scholarship or Exhibition to enable
deserving students to take up professional studies in British
Indeed the Governor and the Court of Policy in 1843 approved
of a sum of about 2000 being reserved as the nucleus for such a
scholarship fund. This foundation sum really cost the Government
nothing as it represented the "unexpended balance of slave com-
However, when the need for a new building arose, the Govern-
ment in 1853 permitted the Council of the College to divert the
1,928 to the building fund, the building being more immediately
Although the foundation fund for a Colonial Scholarship was
thus removed, the idea of sending exhibitioners to England had
already been put into practice by 1853. For during the debate
arising from the request of the Council of the College to use the
grant for building purposes, the Chief Justice, remarking on the
good work of the School and how all classes were benefiting,
observed that a black boy had already been sent to England to
study Theology and that there were others in the school.
There is no record of how many exhibitioners were thus sent
abroad from time to time. But there were others. A Commission
on Education appointed in 1874 reported on the 7th June, 1875
that two exhibitioners had been sent to England by resolution of
the Combined Court to study medicine, and that they were then
(in 1875) practising members of the profession in the Colony.
For the institution of the Guiana Scholarship in 1882 much
credit must be given to Exley Percival, B.A., (Oxon).), Principal
of Queen's College from 1877 to 1893. In his report on the College
to the Governor in 188C( he strongly recommended that such a
scholarship should be granted annually to the boys.
The enthusiasm of the boys was unbounded. They followed
subsequent developments with great interest and when the Bill
was passed recorded their gratitude in the School Magazine.*
On the 30th June, 1881, the Governor and Court of Policy with
the Financial Representatives in Combined Court resolved that:
"This Court respectfully recommends that three Colonial
Scholarships, to a University in the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland be established subject to such rules
as His Excellency the Governor and the Court of Policy may
deem necessary; and that this Court pledges itself to provide
the necessary funds for establishing such scholarships."
*On reading the Principal's report on the College to His
Excellency the Governor and the Court of Policy for the year
1880, we observe that he strongly recommended that Colonial
Scholarships should be given to the boys. Now we have no
hesitation in saying that such a thing would be hailed with joy
as we have reason to know that many of them have often com-
plained of the want of some inducement for them to work hard
.... We sincerely hope that the Court will give to the Principal's
recommendation the weight it deserves, and that before long we
will be able to congratulate ourselves on at last having some-
thing for which we can work -
Editorial "Our College Gazette"
April 9th, 1881.
In "Our College Gazettte" of June 6th, 1881.
"On dit" that Financial Representative Cameron in the coming
session of the Combined Court will bring forward a motion for
the introduction of a Colonial Scholarship.
We are sure that all Creole lads will join with us in rendering
him our cordial thanks."
In "Our College Gazette" of June 18th, 1881.
We see that in the Combined Court Mr. D. C. Cameron has
made an amendment of his motion about "Colonial Scholarships,
extending the age of the competitors to 19 years, and making each
scholarship worth 150 tenable for 4 years."
In "Our College Gazette" of July 2nd, 1881.
It is with great pleasure that we are able to record the passing
of the motion in the Combined Court for the institution of
Colonial Scholarships. For some time we have all been eagerly
looking forward to this step.... Our thanks are due not only to
the Governor and the honourable members of the Court, but also
Sto our worthy and universally respected Principal, who first
recommended the introduction of such scholarships in one of his
reports on the College.
The first scholar was elected in May, 1882, after an examina-
tion conducted by the Inspector of Schdols*. There were two
candidates J. H. Conyers 6nd Farnum. The former was declared
A Committee, appointed in 1883 to consider suggestions for
the examinations for the Guiana Scholarships recommended that
the test examination should be the Cambridge Local Senior
Examination, the qualifications being at least Second Class Honours
or Third Class Honours with a distinction.
The value of the Scholarship was 600 tenable at a British
University or an Inn of Court.
The age limit was 19 years of age at the commencement of
the examination, but, as the Cambridge Syndicate awarded Hons.
Certificates only to students under 18 years of age, an announcement
was made in issues of the Official Gazette during August, 1883, that
candidates "may present themselves if under 19 years of age but
the result of the Examination of candidates over 18 will be notified
privately by the Syndicate to the Colonial Government and will
n't appear in the ordinary list of the University".
"The holder of the Scholarship shall be entitled to a free passage
to England, and also to a free return passage to this Colony, if he
satisfies the Governor that he intends to take up his residence
in this Colony". (See 1891, Ct. of Policy)
There is no mention of free passages in the Regulations from
1901, but many free outward passages have been granted.
The minimum standard of third Class Honours with a
distinction remained until 1902, from which year the standard was
First Class Honours with a distinction in one at least of "Classics,
Mathematics, Natural Science or Modern Languages".
The Editor of the Daily Chronicle of July 11, 1901, com-
menting on the raising of the standard remarked: "The decision
may be called a step in the right direction, since it opens the
possibility of effecting a saving to the colony"; but he advocated
as he had "repeatedly pointed out" the complete abolition of the
No candidate had qualified for the 1885 and 1886 scholarships.
The Guiana Scholars from 1882 to 1889 were boys of unmixed
European parentage. In 1890 two scholarships were awarded, one
going to the first coloured boy to win the Scholarship and in 1894
only candidate to obtain First Class Honours was the first African
to win the scholarship.
On the 12th of March, 1.880, a member of the Combined Court
moved the following resolution:
"Whereas by the foundation of the Guiana Scholarships......
"a great stimulus has been given to higher education in this
"Colony, as evidenced by the increased number of candidates
"who have attained the standard necessary for qualification for
"the said scholarships; be it resolved:
"That this Court respectfully recommends the foundation of a
"second scholarship of 150 per annum to be competed for and
"held on the same conditions as have been laid down for the
"one already established, and this Court pledges itself to provide
"the necessary funds for the foundation of such scholarships".
The motion was not seconded and fell to the ground.*
In the Argosy of January 15, 1898, there appeared an Editorial
on Discontinuing the Guiana Scholarship. The writer argued
that when the scholarship was instituted the Colony was flourishing
but not then.
He suggested changing the amount so that there might be 3
or 4 endowments. For Iboys:- to an agricultural school and
farming or master-carpentering, t a i 1 oiin ng, shoe-making,
printing and such like. For girls :- "young ladies" we should
say, cooking, nursing, hair-dressing, dress-making, millinery,
photography or else. "But the absurdity of giving 200 a year
foil 3 years to any one lad or lass, to enable him or her to
become a lawyer or doctor, or a prig, ought to be stopped
In the Chronicle editorial of July 11, 1901, the writer gave
as his reasons for abolishing the scholarship that the Colony could
ill afford the expenses of a scholarship and that boys were winning
it who, as he thought, were not originally conceived as winners.
In spite of the editor's hope that the scholarship would lapse
occasionally as the result of the new standard, the scholarship was
awarded every year from 1902 to 1905..
The value of the scholarship was 200 a year for 3 or 4
"The scholarship may be awarded to the candidate who is placed
"first of the Seniors from this centre in each year if such
"candidate satisfies the Governor that he is eligible and of fit
"character and antecedents, provided that he is certificated by
"the University Syndicate to be up to the Standard of first
"Class Honours, with the mark of distinction in one or more of
"the following subjects, namely, Classics, Mathematics, Natural
"Science, or Modern Languages. On the arrival of full par-
"ticulars of the examination from the University Syndicate, the
"Local Secretary will report to the Governor upon the results
"of the examination and the eligibility of the candidate
"or candidates competing ; and the award will thereupon be
"made by the Governor-in-Council".
In December, 1907, there was no scholarship examination in
order to allow for the change which had, been proposed by the
Commission of 1898 and which was to come into operation from
The more important scholarship changes have been associated
with the regimes of the various Principals.. The founding of the
Scholarship with Mr. Percival, B.A. (Oxon), the raising of the
standard in 1902 'with Mr. J. A. Potbury, M.A. ('Cantab.), the
placing of the Scholarship on a level with that of the English
Open Scholarship with the regime of Mr. T. A. Pope, B.A. (Cantab.),
the substitution of the Oxford and Cambridge Higher with Mr.
E. R. D. Moulder, M.A. (Oxon.), the present London Higher Exam.
with the present Principal Capt. H. Nobbs, M.Sc., (Lond.) F.R.I.C.
For seventeen years the standard of the British Guiana Scholar-
arship was that for Open Scholarships to the Universites of Oxford
and Cambridge. The pre-requisite for candidates competing was
the holding of Junior or Senior Honours Certificate (Cambridge
Local). The actual test was a specialized examination in one of
Classics, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences with a paper in
Minor alterations and additions were made in the syllabus
The value of the Scholarship was still 600, with a possible
increase for medical students. The Scholarship was tenable in
the British Empire and the U.S.A. Candidates had to be not more
than 20 years of age o nthe 31st May immediately preceding the
examination. Later (1913) it was enacted that no change of
College or course of studies being pursued could be made without
the approval of the Governor.
As regards the method of award :
"The examiners, after perusal of the answers returned, will
"report in order of merit such of the candidates as in their
"judgment would have been eligible at their College for open
"Scholarships or Exhibitions, and the candidate, if any, that
"stands highest amongst those reported to be qualified will be
"elected the British Guiana Scholar for the year".
This standard and method of award caught the popular fancy.
The people liked to feel that the conditions for the British Guiana
Scholarship were the same as those for open scholarships to the
"ancient Universities". Indeed some Guiana Scholars were able to
arrange their departure so that they arrived in England in time
to take the examinations for open scholarships or exhibitions at
Oxford or Cambridge.
The main objections to this method of examination were that
students strong in Modern Studies were not catered for and that
unsuccessful candidates found themselves at the age of 20 without
an additional Certificate to their Senior. The first attempt to
remove this situation came with the Regulations to make the
examination for the Oxford and Cambridge Higher Certificates the
test as from 1925.
There was the same age limit as in the preceding period, the
total value of the scholarship was now 900.* The pre-requisite
was the School Certificate (formerly Senior) of Cambridge or of
the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examinations Board with a
credit in one at least of the subjects to be offered. In addition
to English Essay candidates had to offer one of the four following
groups :- Classics, Modern Studies, Mathematics, Natural
Sciences (any two branches), and not more than four subsidiary
As regards, the method of award:
"The Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examinations Board will
"furnish a report on the work of the candidates and will further
"state to which of the candidates it recommends that the
"Scholarship should be awarded. Upon this report and recom-
"mendation the British Guiana Scholar for the year will be
"elected by the Governor-in-Council."
Now, although this examining Board awarded certificates to
all the candidates who reached a certain standard, it was found
that the certificates did not exempt the holders from the Inter-
mediate Examination in Arts or Science of London and the
Universities. So that whereas the mental discipline was unques-
tioned and the attainment considerable, the value of the Certificate
to those intending to pursue further studies was doubtful.
To remedy this and other anomalies the then Director of
Education made certain proposals in 1930. He submitted that, as
that Higher Certificate did not entitle to exemptions which could
not be obtained through the School Cerificates, there might con-
veniently be a change to the School Certificate Examination of
the Oxford and Cambridge Joint Board as the test. In such a
case there would be a greater number competing than the 7 to
10 on the specialized system; moreover the age limit could be
lowered to 18. The unsuccessful candidate at the age of 20 years
who joined the Civil Service received no consideration for his
higher studies and his higher Certficate and found himself two
years behind his confreres who joined at the age of 18. The
suggestion then was that, if the age limit was 18, unsuccessful
candidates could know of their position earlier and take steps
For the years 1931 to 1933, the School Certificate of the Oxford
and Cambridge Joint Board was the examining test. It appears
that the candidates had the option of submitting 7 or 8 subjects
and in 1932, a candidate from St. Stanislaus was awarded the
scholarship who offered 8 subjects and obtained a higher aggregate
but a lower average on the 8 subjects or on his best 7 subjects
than the runner-up from Queen's College who offered only 7
subjects. This created a big controversy and in the following year
the Regulations were amended so that it was definite that only
7 subjects would count towards the scholarship even if a candidate
offered 8 subjects for the purposes of the Certificate.
The present standard of examination the London Higher
Certificate Examination instituted in 1937 solves most of the
problems arising from the specialized test. But there was a
short experimental period -before the present position was
No examination was held in 1934 but two scholarships were
awarded on the result of an examination held in 1935. Candidates
from St. Stanislaus College and the Bishops High School for Girls
won these scholarships. The test was a Special Examination con-
ducted by a Board of Examiners in the United Kingdom approved
by the Governor-in-Council. English Essay was compulsory and
four optional subjects had to be offered from a syllabus approved
by the Governor.
The age requirement was that candidates should be under
19 years of age on the first day of January of the year of the
examination. Of course an adjustment was made for those who
could not take their examination in 1934.
The examiners had to "report stating which of the candidates
they recommended that the scholarship should be awarded. The
report shall ,be considered by the Governor-in-Council who shall
elect the British Guiana Scholar for the year".
In the following year there were some changes in the
Valuable exemptions from pre-Degree examinations or from
parts of such examinations may ibe gained from the present
examination for the B.G. Scholarship the value of which is
(For last of British Guiana Scholars, please see Appendix page 86).
E. McG. KEANE
I Saw Two Flowers
I SAW two flowers floating on the tide-
In form and motion-
Like wedded royalty riding a throne
Of ocean decked with foam-lace. Between them
Nothing was except a whirlpool of tears-
Discarded tears-too cold to mate the seamy
Blushes of petal....
I saw two flowers struggling with the swell;
The other-stalking the sunset-floated on.
I saw two thoughts, two lives two visions-
In impulse and conception-
Come, like lost children, over the waste
Of unreality-weeping and clinging.
Around, eddying bubbles rose, grew, burst
Into stranded notions, then settled back
In little, leaping maelstroms of doubt....
I saw two liquid thoughts, two lives, two visions;
The other, claiming conviction, thickened into actuality.
E. McG. KEANE
My Love are You Strong
My love, are you strong?
I will bring my life to you like a bundle of washing;
And all they say is my soul
I will bring
Like washing to your sweet rivers.
And will you say this?
Will you say,
Dream deeply of cleansing
In the rivers banes........
My love, are you strong?
I will bring my sins to you.
On the breast of your rivers, like stones
I will bring my sins
Prayerful to be swept along and away
And will you say this?
Will you say,
Dream deeply of cleansing
In the rivers' bones........
A. J. SEYMOUR
Cynic and Eagle
"Why should the broken eagle fly?
The hero's a fool", the cynic said.
"I'd nurse my shattered wrongs instead
And claw my brothers till I die".
The one-armed eagle stormed the 'blue
And towered the reckless sky
Till limping down the firmament
The shout failed to a sigh.
But spirit had toughened the broken wing
Eager blue lanes invite
And treading up the eternal paths
The eagle's out of sight.
"A double fool he", the cynic sneered.
"Witha broken hinge and a .wing that's wrung.
A matter for tales blind fools have sung".
But crying and laughing, the fool world cheered.
The Stage I.
Recent Drama Highlights
I have not had the privilege of seeing all the dramatic pro-
ductions in Georgetown for the past eighteen months or so, as a
result this review must necessarily be incomplete, but looking back
in memory there seems to have ,been few dramatic performances
in the past year or two apart from those given by schools. Of
these, I can recall three, by pupils of the Bishops' High School,
which stand out in my recollections.
"Quality Street" is still so vivid in my memory that I was
surprised to learn, when verifying the date of its production, that
it had taken place in 1946. This play was beautifully produced.
The stage setting was a little gem, with the window at the back
in the sisters' home, showing the street outside. The players had
been most carefully trained, and were word and action perfect.
The girls who acted as men had been taught to stand, sit and walk
like men, not girls.
"The Importance of Being Earnest" also by B.H.S. girls took
place in 1947 and was another great success on all counts, viz.,
acting, diction and .stage dressing.
In 1949 the School produced "The Far Off Hills", a refreshing
Irish comedy, which had a slight connection with British Guiana,
for its author is, I believe, a brother-in-law (or son-in-law) of the
late Mr. Dorman, formerly Manager of the Demerara Railway Com-
pany. This play brought to light many new actresses of the School,
and again there was evidence of the careful training which they
The pupils of the Urscline Convent in 1947 produced a pageant
in honour of the Centepary of the Convent, depicting the founding
of the Ursuline Order, with scenes also portraying the beginnings
of the Convent in Georgetown, and the early school life. This
pageant was written by one of the Sisters, and proved to be an
instructive and entertaining one, with the many actresses acquitting
themselves excellently in their respective roles.
They also produced "Little Women" in 1948 and "Pride and
Prejudice" in 1949, to the delight and pleasure of all who witnessed
Mrs. C. W. H. Collier wrote several short sketches about mar-
riage and divorce, which were performed in the Ursuline Convent
Hall to good effect. Her biggest effort was "Quiverful", a four-act
play about family life the family life we used to know half a
century ago, not that of today, alas It stressed family prayers
and parental control. This play Was produced in 1948 and was a
great success. It was repeated several times, and was revived
again later in the year.
Of adult amateur theatricals, the finest production I have
ever seen in British Guiana was "Arsenic and Old Lace" pro-
duced by Dr. A. W. H. Smith and a company from Berbice in
1948. The production demonstrated the great care which had
been taken to have every detail as perfect as possible. The stage
setting was a marvel. The play was produced on the tiny stage
of St. George's School Hall, yet a well-appointed living room
was presented. There was a staircase leading to a landing for
an upper storey, a street door with a lighted street outside, a
cellar door and stairs, and a kitchen entrance were indicated
besides the usual furniture, such as dining table, settee, chairs,
etc. The secret was that everything was in miniature. The stairs
were very tiny and shallow, and needed practice to use them
in a natural manner. The dining table was only half a table.
The settee was of child-like proportions. The actresses were
dressedto suit the characters and period. All the players were
word-perfect. Their actions were meaningful, not aimless mean-
dering and arm-sawing. It was production which Icompared
favourably with professional standards. The drop curtains also
merit mention, with their glasses of wine and borders of lace.
In 1949 Mr. N. E. Cameron's play "Sabaco" was produced at
old Queen's College. This was an elaborate production, with
many players taking part. The play was put on with some excel-
lent scenery, especially the decorated pillars in the palace scenes.
The hall at Queen's is long and narrow, and does not lend itself
to good acoustic properties, and in consequence, unless seated well
to the front, one loses the speeches. Amateurs seldom realise
how clearly and deliberately they should articulate their words
to be heard by all in the hall.
The same year we had Robert Adams playing "Emperor Jones"
at the Astor Cinema. Needless to say, Mr. Adams gave us good
diction ,expression and action, but the production was hampered
by the shallowness of the stage, and the almost total lack of stage
In 1950 we had "Charley's Aunt" performed at the Ursuline
Convent by a company from Berbice. The stage settings were
quite good, and as a rule the players knew their lines. On the
whole it was a creditable effort. This well-loved comedy is a
period piece, but the players were not dressed to suit the period
- one in which chaperones were absolutely essential and in
which it was unheard of for ladies to be received by young men
not wearing jackets or blazers, but only in their shirt sleeves.
This was a serious lack to an old-timer, who had seen the play
Amateurs, it seems to me, should aim at perfecting their per-
formances to the highest standards. One great fault is compla-
cency. If a player has once got through a part on the stage
without breaking down, he (or she) feels that he knows all there
is to know about stage acting. The real actor, amateur or pro-
fessional, goes on learning, practising and polishing up for as long
as he has any acting to do. Today, there are opportunities to
study professional performances at the cinema and over the radio.
Much may be learned from both action and movement from
the cinema; accent, emphasis and timing from plays broadcast
over the radio.
Many more people are being drawn out to take part in drama-
tic productions. With good training and a willingness to learn
they can only benefit by such opportunities, for they gain in poise,
body control, improved speech and movement. One thing is need-
ful that they are willing to be taught, and willing to try,
try, try again, until they attain as near perfection as possible.
The Stage II.
While the Sun Shines "
When the Georgetown Dramatic Club was considering pre-
senting Terrence Rattigan's comedy "While the Sun Shinbs,"
doubts were expressed as to whether audiences in British Guiana
would respond to the presentation, for it was intended to run the
play in the country districts, under the auspices of British Council,
so as to spread dramatic activities. Another point was that the
period of the play was during the last war, and all the main
characters, except two, were connected with the war services,
and the dialogue made many references to the war. The fact
that the play was a tremendous success in England did not mean
that it would necessarily have a appeal in British Guiana.
The G.D.C. nevertheless took the plunge, and in March, 1950
there were six presentations of the play at Buxton and Ogle;
three shows in Georgetown at the Children's Dorcas Club; and a
special request for a performance in New Amsterdam in April.
To say that the play at every one of the six presentations was
enthusiastically -applauded is no exaggeration. In the country dis-
tricts, the Estate and Village Authorities willingly co-operated by
affording all facilities to assist in the decor suited to a Lord's
residence. At Plantation Ogle the stage setting left little to be
desired for the lighting and furniture placement were artistic. In
Georgetown the furniture was obtained from a leading furniture
department, and the scenic effects were fully appreciated when
one actor had to remain nalone on the stage for a brief period.
The main theme of the play was the impending marriage of
Lady Elizabeth Randall, daughter of the Duke of Ayr and Stirling,
to Lord Harpenden. Complications set in when Lord Harpenden's
past, in the form of the personable Mabel Crum, keeps popping
up at the most inopportune times. Lady Elizabeth's hand is the
target of Lieut. Mulvaney, an American, and Lieut. Colbert, a
Free Frenchman, who jointly and severally declare hostilities
against Lord Harpenden.
The play gained momentum with every act, and the actors
stood the test well. They had to contend with the polished English
accent, American and French. A valiant effort was made by all
to sustain their respective accents, but at times lapses were audi-
ble. On the whole, however, individual performances were credit-
able, with some outstanding characterizations. It was a tussle to
pick the best actor unanimously, but most audiences liked the
Duke of Ayr and Stirling, with Lieut. Colbert a close second. In
the latter case, the actor portrayed the Frenchman as a sort of
calm philosopher, quite contrary to the popular conception of
gesticulating Frenchman. This deviation was seen to advantage
in dialogue between the Duke and the Lieutenant when the former
always tried to drive his point home most forcefully. Another
aspect of the play handled in the most amusing manner by the
Duke was the stress on the fast dwindling fortunes of the British
The consensus, of opinion was that the G.D.C. had drawn a
winning ticket in its selection of "While the Sun Shines", and
the praise heaped on the hard-worked Director and adaptable cast
was truly merited.
"There is always a plausible solution to every human problem:
neat, plausible and wrong."-(H. L. Mencken).
by David Ford
We have not too long ago seen films made from three Shakes-
peare plays: Henry the Fifth, Hamlet and Macbeth. Henry V was I
think a very good picture; Hamlet and Macbeth were to my mind
considerably less than good films. Why was this the case?
Firstly, because the Cinema is much more than the Theatre
photographed. The Cinema is more than the Theatre in that it
is not subject to the shackles of time and space. The playwright
has his three or four sets in which he lays his drama. His action
is confined to the place and space of those sets. and has to follow
a chonological sequence. His play can of course be set in any
period and his dialogue can range backwards and forwards in
time but it has to be acted out within the three walls or such
other forms of set as he chooses and, it has to follow the natural
sequence of time in those sets. In these matters the film is free.
At one moment we are sio to speak in the physical presence of
the actors; at the next we are in their imaginations or dreaming
their dreams. We can start at the end of the story and learn how
that end was reached by "flashbacks." We can travel where we
will over the globe. We can observe how the hearer really reacts
to what has just been said, not merely how he appears toV. We
can see what has frightened and what is, relished, what is looked
forward to and what dreaded. There is no rein on the director's
imagination except what he chooses to impose. Visually we are
ubiquitous and not with a mere human ubiquity.
But then we see all this and to really see there must be move-
ment. The film is essentially a visual art, an art of motion. True
there is dialogue and there is music but these are more or less both
accents to point up what we see. On the stage dialogue plays a
much larger part than on the screen, particularly on the Shakes-
pearean stage where memorable speech is the great thing. Visible
motion is the be-all of the cinema. A motion picture is by no
means just a photographed play.
You may well ask by now: what has this got to do with
films, of Shakespearean plays. Well, let us look at Henry V,
Hamlet and Macbeth, with which we are concerning ourselves.
Hamlet, we were told at the beginning of the picture, was the
story of a man who could not make up his mind. You will re-
member that. To me it was a promise unfulfilled. I did not see
a picture about such a man. Shakespeare has Hamlet learn from
his father's ghost that he was foully murdered and ought to be
revenged. Hamlet stages a play in which his father's murder is
re-enacted in order to convince himself of his uncle's guilt, feigns
madness and causes his sweetheart's suicide and then finally pro-
cures his father's revenge in a scene in which he and all that
matter in the play meet their deaths at the sword or the poison cup.
This is the action. The rest is magnificent soliloquy and dialogue,
in which Hamlet debates with himself the good of living, sends
Ophelia to a nunnery, upbraids his mother or Polonius sends
Laertes to Paris with sound advice and counsels the King as to
Hamlet's intentions. Or take Macbeth: the story of a couple who
go from murder to murder until they reach their own violent ends.
Duncan is murdered (offscene as Shakespeare requires) and Mac-
beth becomes king, then Banqu3 is murdered. Macbeth and Lady
Macbeth then gradually go to pieces, the while MacDuff's family
are murdered and the country becomes disaffected, until finally
Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane and they meet their respective
As rums these would fall under the heading of psychological
drama and they would, be quite different films if they started
frim scratch to be such. We should experience the horror of
Duncan's murder and see the smearing of the guards with blood.
We should shudder at the irony of Macbeth discovering their
heinous deed and stabbing them to death in his outraged anger.
We should observe the harassed and indecisive Hamlet not only in
flesh intoning "tD be or not to be"......with a dagger at his
breast. We would see these thoughts taking shape in his mind.
The suspense of the climax of this play would be....well, terrific.
And yet these would be films that still lacked the essentials of
Now let us look at Henry V. Here we have history, action,
romance, handled with cinematic freedom. After a panorama of
south Thames-bank'we reach the Globe theatre of Shakespeare's
day where the first part of the play is enacted. But we go back-
stage and we mingle with the audience in addition to seeing the
play on the boards. Then we take ship for France, but not before
we see Falstaff on his death bed in the in the words of Mrs. Quickly.
We note the apprehension of the French Court, we follow Henry
visiting his soldiers on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt. And
the Battle itself on the fair fields of France (Ireland), the French
knights arming and mounting and charging, the English archers
standing firm until they get into range, the flights of Eglish
arrows, the rallies on both side and finally the French suing for
peace. All the movement that is the essence of cinema. And the
frankly painted castle of the King of France in the frankly painted
landscape, Henry's spirited wooing of Katherine and the wedding
when we leave the French Court where Renee Asherton plays the
French princess and end up where we started in the Globe with
Katherine played by an Elizabethan boy actor. All this freedorr
and motion, the crowded scenes, the visual ranging to and fro, not
merely egged on by the imagination of the prologue, all this is
The conclusion, prejudiced n'> doubt, appears to be that Henry
V could not escape being a good film and that Hamlet and Mac-
beth cannot hope to be such. I hesitate to say, on a knowledge of
these three plays only (Hamlet and Macbeth were done at school)
that we should look to the historical plays and perhaps the
comedies for good Shakespearean films but the tragedies might
need to have such liberties taken with them to make films that
the Shakespeare might almost disappear
To a Friend
You are somewhere an essence never dreamed
By me or other fortunate mariner who holds
Steadfast a course among ungainly seas to find at dawn
Staggering Ecross his track your starless vessel.
You are that fate for being inconceivable no man
Anticipates nor wishes on his friend
Yet having found nurtures in it forever
A strange irrational joy.
You accept an accident as any
Other in the endless chain you celebrate
No more; the accident we are this only
Will overtake you slowly, outshadowing
Others. See already you would forsake
The more complacent rhythm of the deck
But newly gained. The ocean beckons.
Music a kind of sleep
imposes on this weary flesh
wind beyond silence
speech of the God who ordered
trees flowering of dark earth
light, essence of darkness
in arrogant disorder all about
pale quiet strength of constellated presence
hears in a wonderful dread
music a calm persistent tread
above the wild torment of nameless waters.
British Guiana's Y.W.C.A.
In accordance with its desire to contribute in the planning
of an informed and educated citizenship, the activities of the
Y.W.C.A. are wide and varied. Fellowship Services, Bible Study
Groups, Week of Prayer and World Fellowship Sessions feature
the first and most important phase of its work.
Ranking second is. the work done in the Girl's Clubs and Girl
Reserves. At present there are eleven such groups in British
Guiana under trained leaders who benefited a great deal from the
Leadership Courses given under the auspices of the Association.
This section of the Association is affiliated to the Youth Council
and much splendid work, of which the Association is proud, has
been and is being accomplished. This is due to the enthusiasm
of the very energetic Secretary, who, although handicapped by
a small and totally inadequate building, bravely pressed onward
and organised classes in Handicrafts, Plain Sewing and Dress-
making, Keep-fit Dramatics and Glee Club, Mother-craft, Home
Nursing and First Aid.
At the monthly general meeting special speakers are asked to
address the girls on some topical subject or give a review of their
travels and work in other lands.
A very interesting feature of the work of the 'Y' is its annual-
camps, one for juniors and one for seniors. Out-of-town camp
sites are chosen for the beauty of their surroundings and facilities
for out-door life and the benefits derived need not be enlarged
upon but are better experienced.
To fit in with the Grow More Food Campaign, kitchen garden-
ing has been introduced and many good crops of green vegetables
have been reaped. Another important phase of its work is the
Social Welfare Section.
This committee, although handicapped by lack of funds, tries
to relieve the suffering and to shed some rays of joy and hope
into the lives of unprivileged children. Visits are paid to their
homes and whatever help is available is given. At present a
Sunday School is run solely by these kind ladies for the benefit
of the children who are housed at the Alms House. At Christmas
some cheer is brought to thess unfortunate children when they
are at a Party and receive either gifts of clothing or gifts of toys.
In the new building which is being erected now, there will
be hostel accommodation for guests from country districts and
The Association has grasped with both hands the splendid op-
portunity to serve not to one section of the community but
all classes, regardless of race, colour or creed, and are really
'building' not mansions of wood and stone, but the
bodies of our women of today and tomorrow.
"A History of Indians in
British Guiana "
Mr. Nath has made available to the public a factual account
of the development of the Indians in the Colony today. Com-
mencing at the period (1834) when the newly freed African slaves
refused to work on the estates, thereby dislocating the cultivation
of sugar, and necessitating the importation of labour, Mr. Nath
concisely relates the Indians' progress from 1838 when the first
batch (numbering 414) of immigrants arrived from the hill coun-
try in Chota Nagpur, from Burdwan and Bancoorah.
The book is divided into three parts. The first is a detailed
account of the Emigration experiment, with particular reference
to the number of men and women who emigrated ,the Ordinances
concerned, and the Administrators who worked unceasingly to
improve the lot of the labourers.
The second part is devoted to the Reforms in the System of
Indenture, and the History of Land Settlement up to 1943, and
the cessation of indentured emigration.
The social development of the Indian in the Colony is out-
lined in part three. We are told that the descendants of Indians
who were at first immigrants styled "hill coolies" had, in the 20th
Century been awarded scholarships, and had qualified as doctors,
lawyers, engineers, etc.
This history does not hold the readers' interest for long. Peter
Ruhomon's style is freer, and one is in sympathy with the person
who complains "I do not get proper quantity of rice, butter,
tamarind ...... or any plates, or cups to drink water from"
etc. The immigrant's plight is at once vivid and one wants to
discover how the problems between employers and employees
were resolved. Whilst, in comparison, the quotation "Indolent,
dirty and vagrant in their habits ...... irregular in their atten-
dance, ...... begging and filling the most menial situations for
a bare pittance" is too general a statement to be effective. In
the history of indentured labbur for these colonies such a state-
ment can be made with equal truth in relation to the Chinese,
Africans or Portugese.
Mr. Nath has spent a great deal of time in research, and the
statistical tables appended are of great value to those who are
interested in figures and numerical facts. The book should be
of great value to the student of our times, and to those who are
interested in the events which helped to shape the Indian as we
in British Guiana.
"A Morning at the Office"
Coming as it did, shortly after I had read "New Day", Vic
Reid's novel, I felt that "Morning at the Office", Edgar Mittelholzer's
latest novel lacked the solidity of "New Day." Of course, "New
Day" is founded upon historical facts and the characters live in
one's imagination. Old man Campbell and John Campbell live
because of their indomitable will and determination. Mittelholzer's
novel on the other hand portrays character sketches of the cosmo-
politan community in the West Indies; and gives a picture of how
several races can work together and live together in a community
without displaying racial animosity. From this point of view he
has done a good job of work but we in the West Indies are so
accustomed to living together that we look for other meat in the
book, to be left somewhat disappointed in the end.
To Europeans and those living outside of the West Indies
who are not accustomed to races intermingling and intermarrying,
this novel shows the social scene in the West Indies and the
pretentious craving of the middle class to become upper class and
The romantic interest introduced is rather thin and ends in
an over-dramatic outburst by Xavier, the office-boy, which leaves
a bad taste in the mouth. One wonders if Mittelholzer intends
to show the emotional instability of the African against the silent,
resentful attitude of the East Indian.
The characters are nearly all true to type but one wishes so
much of the sexual side of the male characters portrayed had been
rather understood than expressed.
Mittelholzer in depicting East Indian characters has been as
successful in this as he was in his previous novel "Corentyne
Jagabir desires to be called Mr. Jagabir by the messenger
boy and the sweeper because he feels he is a class above them
and it would boost his ego. Yet for all that he feels insecure
when he sees the grease stains on his jacket pocket from the roti
for his lunch.
On the whole, a revealing picture of the rising middle class
in the West Indies.
by Derek Walcott
The poetry is there in all its power with lightning at times
etching the lines on a dark night, the poetry we now know Derek
Walcott can provide. This Chronicle of Seven Scenes reminds
this writer of Cyril Tourneur in its swift powerful imagery -
"This world is like a teardrop poised
In the eyelid of eternity, then dropping down the dark
"I shall build chateaux
That shall obstruct the strongest season
So high the hawk shall giddy in its gyre
Before it settles on the carved turrets".
I read the play some weeks ago, was disappointed at the Henri
Christophe I saw depicted herein, and so decided to learn some-
thing of Haitian history. Adolphe Roberts helped me with his
history "The Caribbean" and then in "Caribbean Circuit" by Sir
Harry Luke I came upon a heartening and sympathetic study of
the ways Christophe employed to make Haiti a fruitful land after
the wars that ravaged it. His currency device, and his nobility
hierarchy and then the Egyptian sickness after the monumental
overtook him and left that sky-rivalling castle now being restored
by the Haitian Government.
Then I came back to Walcott's Chronicle and examined the
three tensions of representatives of the military, the Church and
the State and the modulations he evokes upon the pallid theme
of terror. Of course, one must never forget Haiti's legacy of
superstition and voodoo, a legacy that I could feel within my
nerves some months ago as I stood watching examples of Haitian
primitive art on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince-Serpents and the
blood sacrifice and strange geometrical patterns drawn upon a
floor So the spirit of Haiti is passionate and darkly morbid and
consorts with the ceaseless fear and terror that plays over the text.
If I say that in the Chronicle itself I discovered echoes, that
is not a major criticism. To write in the English language about
men's lust to be kings is to invite the ghosts hidden in that
language of Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Eliot's Beckett and
Shakespeare's Caesar on the Lupercal and the death of O'Neill's
Emperor Jones to escort the sensitive reader through the pages.
But the dramatic tension began too slowly, I consider; it is from
the fourth scene with the argument of the young and old murderers,
that the action holds and it mounts through the offering of the
mitre. Of course one never knows how well the script will act
but this reader found the last scene not quite satisfying.
So far as characterization went, I found Toussaint noble even
in death and Dessalines brutal. I rather liked Sylla, the old
general who almost assumes the role of being the conscience of
the play and Brelle's dignity towers towards the end. For
Christophe himself well, I don't know. Walcott makes: one
"Christophe is a two-sided morror, under
His easy surface, ripples of dark
Strive with the light, or like a coin's two sides
Or like the world half blind when moons are absent
And brilliant in the glare of sun
Under that certain majesty he hides
The teaching of Toussaint, the danger of Dessalines".
In Walcott's interpretation, the danger found Christophe out.
And now a final word. Derek Walcott realises we in the
West Indies must feed our minds with our history. We are. glad
to have this Chronicle from his hand. The black and white
problem common to the Caribbean grips the story nakedly but this
is the way it must not and cannot be solved.
POEMS by E. McG. KEANE
In the Mediterranean world, the ancients used that laurel,
Lhe bay tree, in order to make wreaths for poets and heroes, whom
they desired to honour. One of the many inspiring facts about
the Caribbean that I recently added to my stock was the infor-
mation that Jamaican poets have adopted the lignum vitae as
the W.I. parallel to the bay tree and I assume that in 1933 when
Tom Redcam was posthumously crowned Poet-Laureate of
Jamaica, the lignum vitae wreath was used.
So instead of saying "the islands of the Caribbean are sprout-
ing their laurels", the critic noting a new poet in the West Indies
will remark "the Caribbean is sprouting its lignum vitae" and
he will dwell musingly upon the implications of the meaning of
the wood of life, because this book of poems "L'Oubli" by Ells-
worth Keane of St. Vincent can be taken as asserting that another
possible star soloist is preparing to add his gift to the choir of
West Indian poets.
"L'Oubli" is a booklet of 19 poems but its pages contain
quality for it can be said immediately that Keane uses language
emotionally and that he is an engineer of the soul. In this
collection among others Cantique, the Palm, and Love Story are
complete evidence that Keane is a poet and on other pages may
be found a flock of successful images in fragmentary support.
As an instance of Keane's use of language these opening and
closing stanzas of "To.................." may be taken -
.... Shyly a little
because your innocence is still innocent of itself
And you have not
learned your modesty by heart
my thoughts' embraces
Of your Soul
end every searching their sadness
my searching is forever
and so be your innocence."
One finds there a keen appreciation of certain facets of human
nature well phrased "you have not learned your modesty by
heart ...... my searching is forever and so be your innocence".
The overtones are rather ironic here, but these fit in with a
temper that produces a poem like S.O.S. and that can write as
Keane writes there.
"This neurotic generation
Seeketh after a sign
Sponsor a dream that's part of a habit
Build an aversion that coils like a spring
Or an emotion that works by a trigger
Give them that for a sign."
This irony is very apparent in the poem "The Proposition"
which is Keane's mathematically-toned version of the Creation
(with several glances sideways at the Quartets of T.S. Eliot?)
It begins -
"Before there was any sugar or nationalism
Before there was any political situation
Everything that was anything was nowhere
And nothing everywhere...."
The third stanza of this poem is reprinted here in its entirety.
There is the third day of Creation-
"Not that there was nothing to go on
Tentative decision could be taken
Like for instance
"Until further notice from floods
Storms and earthquakes concerned
The sea would be here and the land there
To avoid the unnecessary, there would be grass".
His Creator is a mathematicion who decided on the sixth
"Now that the axis was laid and
All feasible fluxions, worked out.
Now that alidads and orbits
Were believable, the revolving radius
A workable construction..........
It remained only the day
For fashioning the mirror out of the dust
Reflecting the Unapparent.
Neither the whale nor the seaweed can
Commit a Sin to memory
Nor is the ocean capable of nakedness
But here in the garden was a breathing
Thing of dust that narrowly escaped perfection."
Keane is a poet; that emerges clearly from his use of imagery
and his basic conceptions. One sees the successful marriage of
word and thought. Much here is experimental thinking and a
seeking after ultimate knowledge. But one can respond either
favourably or otherwise to the essential quality of those con-
ceptions. And looking behind the conceptions given verbal form
in these poems in an attempt to learn more of the corpus of thought
and imagination that bodies them forth, this writer is struck by the
rather pessimistic tinge given to the poems. For instance the
"sick" tends to recur in phrases like "sick crust, sick blight of
prayer unanswered.... sick latitudes......, last fanatics sick for
new slogans". In an "Easter poem", Keane writes-
The suffering flesh crawls
Up the cross, tasting the
Age dry blood where eternally
Rots our faith",
and in his most ambitious poem "L'Oubli" (six variations on a
theme) the theme seems to be the proposition that the "soul
that dares to remember dies". One seems to see what is possibly
the frustration of intelligence in a small community borrowing,
through the medium of the English poetic tradition, too much
of the European death wish that Auden and Keyes display in
varying degrees in their verse. So a Caribbean poet has his
frustration deepening from his affiliations.
But the young and challenging Caribbean environment must /
and does assert itself in Keane's poetry. In the poem "Perhaps
not now", he writes -
"And yet this soil is ours
And toil is love; ......
So with the clod's naked caress on our feet
We can hate in silence the sun laughing
At our bent backs, knowing
That the same fingers that hollow out the seed's grave
Will nurse soon arisen spirits of a tender vengeance
Sprouting green winged over the dust"......
Yams and cotton, the cane's generous blood
And the white dust, binding the veins
Of arrowroot in season these will in time
Shelter our children's backs from the sun's slaughter."
This young and able poet should take for himself as a motto,
the opening lines of his poem, "Country" -
"It is in the raw country that we come upon ourselves,
Here the hosman is no rejecter of heaven
And people wriggle their toes in the mud
Something for all of us here
Come dig, time to plant up."
There is much "raw country" in our young Caribbean.
"Valley of a Thousand Hills"
by H. I. E. Dhlomo.
This is a poem of considerable power that sings itself out of
a yearning Bantu heart. The burden of the song is may the
dawn come soon for the ever blooming soul and seed of this
African people, and the Epilogue runs
Creator who created sights so fair
But leave out pain
A world of Love and Truth, divinely fair.
For pain and sin our weary eyes have seen.
..Create therefore again.
"O Lord, but let now reign."
The beauty that this day my eyes have seen".
Structurally, the 42 page poem is built on the epic plan. The
Prologue is an invocation to the gods and heroes of Zuzuland,
to Mvelinqanga and Nkosazana and the others, and to Shake,
Hannibal, Aggrey and in spite of some sentimental overtones
there are a sweep and an appeal to the tradition of the past
that remind the reader more than a little of Homer's attitudes.
...."These men and places call to me
They speak out of Eternity ".
Then at the sight of the Valley, Dhlomo speaks ecstatically:-
You gasping craggy heights, you valleys deep!
Sway not you bushy-bearded hills....
Ancestral spirit great, vouchsafe me power
This beauty fierce to seize and rape and make
My own .... to express! The poet does not jilt
Give me the words, the depth, the holiness
This magic sight to hold, imprison, sing
This myriad beauty of the Thousand Land".
These hills have been the playing ground of the four tribal
gods, the god of earth and the Lord of heaven and the goddesses
of light and love. These have received the wonder working
warrior sons of the tribe Mageba, Nbada, Phinqa and Shaka and
to their praise, the Imrilozi Voices sing a lovely lyric of the way
the music of the harbingers of love fills the rills like milk and
curdles into hills.
Here is Dhlomo's pride in his valley:-
"here in truth is heaven sculptured land
Sweet hill on hill piles high to form and mould
.. This spirit-teasing speaking miracle
With patient ancient homes not built but sprung"
He sees and hears the silent dreamy cropping herds, the
whisperings and the pangs of love from black ebonied buoyant
hearts, the god-like wrinkled men around the chocolate pots, these
wrinkled men who have the magic of creation,
The many things they voice
Out loud are ripples on a deep rich sea ..
A flowering into never-ceasing maze
Of beauty's silent song as gods compress
Their magic notes into a vale, or touch
The -strings into a tingling rill, or swoop
A chord into a bulging hill, or fling
A theme into a scattering coloured swarm
Of winging melody".
But no paraphrase can convey this poem's power. This play-
wright, Dhlomo has brought his own nuances and subtleties of
thought and expression. In his warm, uninhibited reactions to
the tragedy of African peoples, he uses English in a way no
Englishman would and could use it. But his images have power;
he knows the secret of the rolling verse paragraph in which he
can pass from the vision of the high ideal to the ant crawling up
his leg ; and he sees the Valley of a Thousand Hills either instinct
witn its tribal life or under the vision of his Utopia. Incidentally
the power of the ideal woman is the theme he stresses again
and again. In one or two sections he reminds the reader of the
Wordsworthian nature vision. But the poetry is his own, and it
fits the unsophisticated form of Africa like a cloak.
"A Treasury of Jamaican
(edited by J. E. Clare McFarlane).
There are three main points which make an appeal to the
reader and they may be taken as notes on the three important
words in the title of this Anthology.
First, "Poetry" McFarlane's anthology is a fine blending of
the conservative and experimental in Jamaican poetry, and one
than can be taken almost as a definitive volume of the best work
written in Jamaica up to 1949. The editor in his preface points
out how earlier Jamaican poetry had adhered to the established
traditions of English verse and that the last 10 years have been
responsible for a new spirit and attitude which belong to the
social and political upheavals of the present times and which may
be called modern and national.
Secondly, "Jamaican". It is interesting to realise that the
villanelle has been used in a distinctive way by Jamaican poets.
Vivian Virtue's sequence "King Solomon and Queen Balkis" is
of a very high order indeed and around it in a family constella-
tion cluster Constance Hollar's "Night", Clare McFarlane's
"Immortal love" and last but certainly not least "The Villanelle of
the Living Pan" by Walter Adolphe Roberts who first brought this
French verse-form to the notice of Jamaica.
Finally, "Treasury". It is a real pleasure to find together
within the covers of one book, George Campbell's "Litany",
Adolphe Roberts' "Maroon-Girl" and "The Cat", Philip Sherlock's
"Pocomania", Redcam's "Legionary of Life", Clare McFarlane's
"Port Royal", Claude McKay's "Spanish Needle" and "Flame
Heart" and Ingram's "Sheep".
A Short History of the British
H. V. Wiseman
Addressed to an English audience, this short study suffers from
the divorce between the British story and the story of other
Europeah nations in the Caribbean, since the history lof the
Caribbean as Adolphe Roberts shows is an integrated pattern and
a mosaic. The chapters dealing with the European rivalries are
therefore confusing; and, because of the modest scale of the book,
the chapters on Social conditions up to 1939, the West Indies
since 1939 provide an inadequate treatment of the complex truth.
There are some errors too, (among them the misconception of
Spanish American influence on British Guiana, common to both
Simey and Wiseman, deserves an article in rebuttal) and the style
especially in certain sections leaves much to be desired.
But there are many good features in the book. Wiseman's
assimilation of much of Simey's arguments sets the train of thought
moving in the right direction and there is an excellent account
of the pre-Columban times in the Caribbean. The chapters on
Federation and Constitutional development are simple and the
excellent illustrations will make the book attractive to many of
the younger generations.
Philip Sherlock's Foreword with its broad urbane view and
thumbnail sketches from the Caribbean's history sets a very high
standard of expectancy in the reader. Perhaps too high. It is
certainly one of the best sections in the book.
Select Bibliography of West
Arthur, W. S. .. .. "Morning Glory"-Barbados
Bennett, Louise .. .. "What Lulu Says"-Jamaica, 1944
Brassington, F. E. .. "Poems"-B.G., 1941
'Cameron, N. E. .. .. "Guianese Poetry 1831-1931"
(ed) B.G., 1931.
.. "Interlude"-B.G., 1944.
Campbell, George ..
Clarke, A. M.
Collymore, F. A...
Cruickshank, A. M.
Guiseppi, Neville ..
Hutton, Albina C.
,, ,, ..,
Keane, E. McG.
Leo (Egbert Marti
."First Poems"-Jamaica, 1945.
.. "Burnt Bush"-Trinidad, 1949 (with
H. M. Telemaque).
. "Thirty Poems'"-Barbados, 1944.
."Beneath the Casuarinas"-Barbados,
. "Flotsam"-Barbados, 1948.
."Poems In All Moods"-Trinidad,
.. "Alpha"-St. Lucia, 1949.
1',1 /) 7C-
."The Light of Thought"-Trinidad
."Wind in the Palms"-Trinidad, 1945.
(with J. E. Penco and L. Pierre).
."Flaming June"-Jamaica, 1941.
. "Hill Songs and Wayside "Verses"
"Sonnets of Sorrow"-Jamaica,1939.
. "L'Oubli"-Barbados, 1950. >-, /_ 7
. "The Hills of St. Andrew's"-
MacA. .. "Meditation"-B.G., 1942.
"Selected Works"-B.G., 1949.
in) .. "Poetical Works"; "London, 1883"
"Local Lyrics'-B.G., 1886.
"My Heart was Singing"-Jamaica,
: : b ., ?
- McFarlane, J. E., Clare
Nicholas, Arthur ..
Penco, J. E.
."Tropic Reveries"-Jamaica, 1930.
S"Heights and Depths"-Jamaica, 1932.
."The Moth and the Star"-Jamaica,
."Towards the Stars"--Lndon, 1945.
. "Colonial Artist in Wartime"-
"Voices from Summerland" (ed.)
"Treasury of Jamaican Poetry"-(ed.) /
."Songs of Jamaica"-Jamaica, 1911.
. "Wind in the Palms"-Trinidad, 1945.
."Wind in the Palms" (with E. Hil]
and J. Penco).
."Anthology of Indian Verse"- (ed.)
*Roberts, Walter Adolphe .. "Pierrot Wounded and Other
,, "Pan and Peacocks"-N.Y., 1928.
'Seymour, A J. .. "Verse"-B.G., 1937.
S"More Poems"-B.G., 1940.
S"Over Guiana Clouds"-B.G., 1944.
S"Sun's in My Blood"-B.G., 1945.
S"Six Songs,"--B.G., 1946.
S"The Guiana Book"-B.G., 1948.
S"We do Not Presume"-B.G., 1948.
Smith, Jas. W. .. .. "Forgiveness"-B.G., 1944.
Telemaque, Harold .. "Burnt Bush"-Trinidad, 1948, (with
A. M. Clarke).
"Tropica" (Mary A. Wolcott) "Island of Sunshine"-Jamaica, 1905
Vaughan, H. A. .. '.. "Sandy Lane and Other Poems"-
Virtue, Vivian L. .. .. "Wings of the Morning"-Jamaica,
* Walcott, Derek .. .. "25 Poems"-Trinidad and Barbados, o :-
S "Epitaph for the Young"-Barbados
84 KYK-OVER-AL '
Aaron, R. L. C. .. .. "The Cow That Laughed"-Jamaica,
Bourne, J. A. V .. .. "Dreams, Devils and Vampires"-
Clarke, Dorothy .. .. "Adventures of Brer Nancy"-
de Lisser, H. G. .. .. "White Witch of Rose Hall"-London,
Ferreira, Albert S. .. "A Sonata is Simple"-B.G., 1946.
Figueiroa, J. J. .. .. "Blue Mountain Peak"-Jamaica,
Gomes, Albert "From Trinidad" (ed.) Trinidad,
Leo (Egbert Martin) .. "Scriptology"-B.G., 1885.
Lindo, Archie .. .. "Bronze"-Jamaica, 1944.
Mais, Roger .. .. "All Men Come to the Hills"-
S .. .. "Face and Other Stories"-Jamaica,
S.. .. "And Most of all Man"-Jamaica,
SMendes, Alfred .. .. "Pitch Lake"-London,
SMittelholzer, Edgar .. "Creole Chips"-B.G., 1937.
"Corentyne Thunder"-London, 1941
"Morning at the Office"-London and
N.Y., 1949 Yr- t. *
Reid, Victor S. .. .. "New Day"-London, N.Y., 1949
'Roberts, Walter Adolphe .. "Royal Street"-U.S.A.
S .. "Brave Mardi Gras"-U.S.A.
.. "Creole Dusk"-U.S.A.
.. "The Single Star"-N.Y., 1949.
Thompson, Claude .. "These My People"-Jamaica,
Webber, A. R. F .. .. "Those that be in Bondage"-B.G.,
'Tames, C. L. R. ..
'Roberts, Walter Adolphe
."The Black Jacobins"-London, 1938.
."The Caribbean"-U.S.A., 1940
S .. "The French in the West Indies"-
*Williams, Eric .. .. "Capitalism and Slavery",-U.S.A.,
Cameron, N. E.
Alert, C. V.,
."Henri Christophe"-Barbados, 1950.
"Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow"-B.G.,
Adolphe .. "Sir Henry Morgan"-U.S.A.
CRITICAL AND SOCIAL
'Cameron, N. E. .. .. "Evolution of the Negro"-B.G., 1929
and 1934 Vol. I and II
S.. .. "Thoughts on Life and Literature"-
McFarlane, J. E. Clare .. "Sex and Christianity" -Jamaica,
1932 and London, 1934
S. .. "Jamaica's Crisis"-Jamaica, 1937
S .. "The Challenge of Our Time"--
.Williams, Eric .. .. "Negro in the Caribbean"-U.S.A.,
cl. 3:L-4.~~ i~j~,.;(9~!.
British Guiana Scholars
1882. J. H. CONYERS .. .. .. Edin.
1883. W. FARRAR .. .. .. Oxon.
1884. S. H. A. LAMBERTI .. .. Cantab.
1887. H. A. BUTT .. .. Cantab.
1888. R. P. STEWART .. .. .. Cantab.
1889. J. C. SMELE .. .. .. Lond.
1890. W. deW. WISHART .. .. Edin.
T. H. K. MOULDER .. .. Oxon.
1891. E. R. D. MOULDER .. .. Oxon.
1892. W. I. VEECOCK .. .. .. Edin.
1893. C. KING .. .. .. .. Edin.
1894. W. W. CAMPBELL .. .. Lond.
1895. G. O. LAMBERT .. .. .. Cantab.
1895. G. O. LAMBERT .. .. .. Lond.
1896. J. DALGLIESH .. .. .. Edin.
1897. J. FAIRBAIRN .. .. .. Edin.
1898. C. F. BRAITHWAITE .. .. Cantab.
1899. Miss IDA C. TENGELEY .. .. Lond.
1900. E. S. MASSIAH .. .. .. Edin.
1901. E. J. MACQUARRIE .. .. Cantab.
1902. R. L. HUNTE .. .. .Edin.
1903. A. G. BELGRAVE. .. .. Cantab.
1904. F. G. ROSE .. Cantab.
1905. H. W. McCOWAN .. .. Cantab.
1907. C. S. WILLS .. Edin.
1908. S. D. NURSE .. .. Cantab.
1909. A. E. P. VANIER .. Edin.
1910. L. W. BRUCE-JAMES .. Oxon.
1911. E. M. DUKE .. .. .. Lond.
1913. M. P. J. SURREY .. .. .. Lond.
1914. S. J. VAN SERTIMA .. .. Oxon.
1915. A. D. GASKIN .. .. .. Oxon.
1916. B. PERSAUD .. .. .. Cantab.
1917. B. E. LEWIS .. .. .Edin.
1918. J. E. AGARD .. .. .. Lond.
O. C. HUTCHINSON .. .. St. Andr.
C. R. MIICHELL ..
M. L. HUTCHINSON
N. E. CAMERON ..
E. M. H. SHARPLES
A. G. McLEAN
P. G. BARROW ..
Miss WINIFRED HALE
G. McR. FARNUM..
I. H. PREMDAS .
L. M. F. CABRAL..
P. A. CHAN-CHOONG
S. H. WAN-PING ..
L. N. YHAP
Miss LILIAN DEWAR and
W. R. PAKEMAN..
C. 0. J. MATTHEWS
L. B. GRACE
E. F. HARRIS
L. F. S. BURNHAM
Miss ELSIE GOVEIA
F. A. OHANDRA
G. B. DELPH
D. C. PANDAY
F. R. WILLS
L. E. RAMSAHOYE
Lond. et Oxon.
Car, Truck, Tractor, or Cycle,
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Sole Distributors for White Horse Scotch Whisky:
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ANOTHER PROFESSOR SPEAKS:
S The West Indian is creating a literature of his
own.... He is writing his own poems and novels
and plays and his own histories....He is perceiving
the need to write his own school books.... He is
working on the problem of dialect trying to make
it answer the need of a unique expression that
will link him to the mass of his fellow West
Indians.... the Great Literary Adventure is on,
that will one day help him to find himself part of
A. J. SEYMOUR, Kyk-over-Al April, '50.
QUITE RIGHT "PROFESSOR" SEYMOUR.
And side by side and perhaps even more important
Than this effort at literary and cultural independence,
West Indians are developing their own financial
institutions owned and operated by themselves.
In this connection COLONIAL LIFE stands in the
Every new policyholder link(s) himself) to the mass
of his fellow West Indians" for progress, personal
and national independence.
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LIFE ISNT ALL PLAIN SAILING
_,.: -.^ ^
Sometimes we encounter the rcuie
winds of illness and worry, the squal
of money troubles, or the rapids
overwork and mental fatigue. Yoi
body is the frail craft that has
stand up to shock and strain in f
or foul weather. Small wonder th'
your nerves sometimes give way, leavi
you drifting on to the dangerous shoe.
of a nervous breakdown. Remember;,'
your nerves are your sheet anchor,-
When they are all right you can f,
whatever comes with confidence a
calm. If you have been undergo
a strain and find that you have started
to lose sleep, to worry a lot, and feet
frustrated and depressed, you need
(formerly introduced as Thiophos
which is a compound of Thiamine Chloride and Phosphorous'
designed to build up your nervous system and restore it towj
good health. If you are suffering from nerve troubles ofany a
kind you cannot do better than take '
SYou Eat Well --- You Sleep Well -- You Feel Well.
Obtainable at all good drug stores.
The B.mearra Tobacco C iJd.
T ~ -.r