~~~ -, 't
Top Right: National Fruit
ACKEE; (Blighia Sapida).
Bottom Left: National Tree
BLUE MAIWE; (Hihsbeuedat, |-*
Bottom Right: National FPower
LIGNUM VflAmE; (Guaiaoum Officinallk. "
QUARTERLY OF THE INSTITUTE OF JAMAICA
SEPTEMBER 1972 VOL. 6- NO. 3
inaica Journal is published Quarterly
rthe Institute of Jamaica, 12-16 East
reet, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.
Frank Hill, Chairman
Rex Nettleford, Vice Chairman
Neville Dawes, Deputy Director
Roy Reynolds, Editor
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The Jamaican Press . . .
SCIENCE . . .
Heart Disease . . . .
ART LITERATURE .
POETRY.. . . . .
Bird of Passage . . .
Biography . . . .
A Voyage . . . .
A.B.C. The Bumble Bee . .
Lawd Jesus . . . ..
Mandeville . . . .
Thoughts of a 4th Former .
Limbo . . . . .
An Old Woman . . .
Robar-I . . . . .
Rainy Nights . . . .
Festival Poetry. . . . .
Craft Exhibition . . . .
SHORT STORY . . . .
Moonrise . . . .
See Dem Come . . .
Birthday Drive. . . .
Moonstalker . . . .
The Outsider . . . .
A Day in the Life of a Good Man
The Death That I Regretted .
The White of an Egg .. ...
Hurricane Experience . .
A Man Condemned . . .
At The Beach . . . .
PLAYS .. . .....
Stowaway . . . .
At The Bus Stop . . .
An Evening With Ronald Moody
Graduation Exhibition . ..
. . . . . . . . 3
. . . . H.P. Jocobs 3
. . .Heart . . . . .Jamaica 7
. .. .Heart Foundation of Jamaica 7
. . . . .
. . .. Dennis Scott
. . .. Olive Senior
.. Mervyn Morris
. .. Alma Mock Yen
. . .. Jean Small
SKenneth Austin Maxwell
. .. Rita Ann Brown
... Ethan Lyn
. Vincent Rose Spencer
. .. Ashley Hamilton
S. Edward Brathwaite
. . . . .
. . . . .
. .. Charles Mills
S. Hazel D. Campbell
. .. Trevor Fearon
.. Dennis A. Lyn
. . Dennis A. Lyn
. Hyacinth Stephens
S.Nicola Gaye Rodriques
. . .Judith Jarrett
. Marcia Scott
. .. Samara Fletcher
. .. Carmen Lyons
Kimberley Anne Robertson
... Dawr Ritch
Jamaica School of Arts
Front Cover: Junior Centre Creative Dance Group; Silver medalists Festival 1972, for
dance, Paranda. Taught by Monica McGowan. Photo by Derek Jones, Institute Staff
Back Cover: Inside and outside Design by Raphael Shearer.
by H.P. Jacobs
The Jamaican press goes far back. It
began long before the French Revolution.
But it is just at the time when an age of
storm and change is beginning that we are
able to find, in the bound volumes of
newspapers in the West India Reference
Library, an almost complete series of
papers. Moreover, the number of news-
papers increased during the Revolutionary
and Napoleonic Wars. In addition, there
is a literary periodical, the Columbian
Magazine, which is of considerable im-
portance to the historian and belongs to
this early period.
These volumessare unique sources of
information well on into the 19th century.
They frequently containrinformation about
public life which is not available elsewhere.
To take an early example, the Columbian
Magazine printed in 1797 the funeral
sermon (delivered in 1791) on the Earl of
Effingham, which does not seem to be
available elsewhere and is crucial for an
understanding of Effingham's position in
Jamaican history. The obituary notices,
and later the notices of births and
marriages as well, are invaluable in tracing
genealogies and securing biographical out-
lines. And the advertisements give us a
mass of other information: the names
and addresses of business firms, what they
produced, what real estate was offered for
sale, what furnishings people bought, the
names of runaway slaves.
To take two totally different types of
information obtained from advertisements
and not otherwise available, the mere fact
that some advertisements, early in the
century, were in French or Spanish, vividly
illustrates the mixture of races amongst
immigrants, and it is only from an adver-
tisement that we gather that some sort of
fountain-pen was on sale 120 years ago.
Dr. Edward Brathwaite, in his book
The Development of Creole Society in
Jamaica, 1770-1820, has given a vivid
account of the press in the period he
covers. He points out that 'the percentage
of local news coverage was low'. This, of
course, was modified as time went on.
World events which closely concerned
Jamaica the French wars and the War of
1812 were naturally followed with
special interest here. After 1815 there was
something of a decline in the thrilling
quality of world news, while at the same
time there was a greater sense of the
importance of what was going on in
Jamaica thus, the Anglican clergyman
Bickell, who was something of an admirer
of the Jamaican press, mentions that soon
after 1820 there were rumours that a
particular parish was in a disturbed con-
dition, whereupon a Kingston newspaper
man went there to see for himself, and
found nothing particularly wrong.
So close was the connection between
Jamaica and the happenings in the external
world that sometimes it looks as if a
particular story from abroad is given
because of its local interest. Thus, there is
a detailed account of the victory and
death of Sir Ralph Abercromby in Egypt
which may have been of considerable
interest in St. Elizabeth, since the son of a
St. Elizabeth estate-owner died on
Abercromby's expedition. But it is un-
likely that the editorial decision to run
the story was influenced by the fact that
some people in Jamaica had a personal
interest in it.
It is equally unsafe to assume that a
particular story about the reception of the
news of Nelson's death in London was
printed because it contained a verse which
Jamaicans might recognize. The verse in
question was well-known in England a-
round 1600 and in Jamaica in the present
Undoubtedly many death notices from
abroad were printed because of the con-
nection of the deceased with Jamaica,
which is usually indicated in such cases.
The wording of such death notices is some-
times identical with that in the Gentle-
man's Magazine There was definitely a
wish to record the deaths of Jamaicans
abroad, and we find notices of people who
died in the United States or Canada: but
it is not clear whether the information was
obtained from relatives or from foreign
These observations apply particularly
to the Royal Gazette and the St. Jago de
la Vega Gazette, weeklies carrying the
dates of two Saturdays, such as March
13-20, 1813, which meant the paper
appeared on March 20. Both these papers
aimed at wide coverage of world events
in so far as this was available from British
sources. The arrival of the packets must
have been eagerly awaited, with their
English papers and magazines: sometimes,
perhaps, an early copy of a periodical was
snapped up from a friendly naval officer
who had arrived on a fast-sailing vessel
with a start on the packet.
Edward Brathwaite points out, how-
ever, that there is another aspect of the
scissors-and-paste work of these papers.
They published purely literary material:
verses on current events, extracts from the
poets of the time. Technological and
medical articles also appeared. Some
poems, and some of the articles, Dr.
Brathwaite points out, were written locally.
It should be added, however, that there
are articles and stories, some of the former
local, which throw further light on the
tastes and interests of readers. There is a
conspicuous example of the local literary
article in the Royal Gazette of Dec. 5-12,
1818, where 'J.T.' argues that Sir Walter
Scott, and not Dr. Wilson, must be the
author of the Waverley Novels. The argu-
ments are based on handwriting, style,
and type of knowledge.
'J.T.' is presumably Dr.James Thomson,
of St. Thomas-ye-Vale. So far as I can see,
he must have been a Scot and not a Creole.
His article was in reply to another and we
may infer that there was considerable
interest amongst the Scottish community
here in the Waverley Novels and the dis-
cussion of their authorship. This brings us
to a curious point: that the amount of
Scottish influence in these two papers is
considerable: thus a meeting of some
Gaelic Society in the U.K. is reported. (It
may be added that a new Gaelic dictionary
was advertised by a bookseller)
Many years later, the St. Jago de la
Vega Gazette published two poems in
Scottish dialect by Robert Nicol (Jan.
2-9, 1836). At this time there was a
Robert Nicol or Nicoll who offered for
sale Dove Cote Park Pen in St. John, three
miles from Spanish Town, and for that
matter the Gazette had carried, a week
before, a jury list in which appears the
name of Robert Nicol, of St. Catherine, a
saddler. Nonetheless, the poems are pre-
sumably by Robert Nicoll, of Scotland
who had just published (1835) a volume of
dialect poems. Only the difference in the
spelling of the name suggests that the
author may have been a local poet. I have
not been able to trace a copy of the
volume of poems published in 1835, by
which the question would be settled.
Of course Scots were numerous and
influential in Jamaica. But the Irish did
not have the same prestige. Hence it is
astonishing to find the Royal Gazette, a
little before its contemporary in Spanish
Town published the Scot's poems, printing
in its issue of Aug. 15-22, 1835, a tale of
Labrach Loingseach, a legendary king of
Leinster (whose name the present writer
prefers to spell Labhraidh, the form in
which it appeared in the very first story
he read in Gaelic).
The prominence given in these papers
to the Irish question is not in itself suffi-
cient to suggest that there was an influ-
ential Irish readership. However, with the
re-emergence of the Roman Catholic
Church there had certainly been a consoli-
dation of the Irish in Kingston.
It is singular that one of the few really
bad misprints in these old papers is with
regard to the Irish Question. The quality
of the proof-reading was high, and not
only in the weeklies, which presumably
had a rush only with the latest news by
the packet. However, on one occasion the
King referred in his Throne speech to the
difficulties hi Ireland, and expressed the
hope that his Ministers would continue
their inquiries. A Jamaican paper printed
'inquiries' as'iniquities' the proofreader
may have been an Irishman.
We are now in a position to understand
the development o the press in the early
19th century. Edward Brathwaite assumes
(p. 31) that readership was largest in the
towns, and it is difficult to challenge this.
But there were three aspects of the growth
of newspapers in the period immediately
following the French Revolution: not
only did the number of newspapers in-
crease, but dailies began to appear and a
paper appeared in Falmouth there were
already papers in Montego Bay and Sav-la-
The towns, we may assume, were grow-
ing. The real impulse to the towns
probably did not make itself felt till the
second decade of the 19th century. Ob-
viously, however, there was some impulse
to growth from the war with Spain (late
1796) and the increased contraband trade
with Spanish Ameiica. Clearly, too,
Falmouth was going to grow because of
the opening up of its hinterland. There
was certainly an increase in the number of
immigrants in the towns, and many of
these were accustomed to read newspapers.
In the case of a merchant from the British
Isles who settled in Kingston, for example,
we may well ask why he did not simply
order English papers and wait for the
One answer is that he did not want the
expense of subscribing to a number of
papers. A Kingston newspaper would
presumably do so, and then reprint what
it thought would interest its readers,
taking now from this paper, now from
that. It is this which gives importance to
the selection of articles which interested
But there was another and perhaps
more powerful reason. Merchants wanted
news about the movements of ships. They
wanted to know what ships were at Port
Royal, whether the ship on which they
had sent a large consignment of coffee had
ipping. From The Royal Gazette, May 2;, 11l.
reached and left Falmouth on its voyage
to England. Of course the merchants
could have combined to get some of this
information, and many years after the
wars they did so, keeping an agent at Port
Royal. But this did not help them with
the movements of ships outside Kingston
Harbour. Nor did it meet their other
need to inform customers of the arrival
There must be many people who re-
member the days when the housewife's
chief interest in the Gleaner was the
advertising. How eagerly she would glance
through its pages to see if Messrs.
Cheapskate & Codd had an advertisement
announcing the arrival yesterday of a new
consignment of fish, available at reasonable
prices, or if Messrs. Foote, Ware & Co. had
a new stock of dainty shoes! In the time
of Napoleon, it was still more important
to tell the consumer direct of new con-
Does this mean, then, that the Kingston
papers had really large circulations, since
they must have had considerable value to
I do not think so. Circulations were
very small. At a guess, I would say that
the larger papers, with mass readership,
may have had 500 subscribers apiece, but
that others including those in the
outports were doing well with 200.
And of course some people were buying
more than one paper.
There must have been extensive bor-
rowing we know that even slaves began
to read newspapers, and they can hardly
have been subscribers. Nor can I find any
evidence that papers were really retailed
casually. If you wanted a paper, you sub-
scribed to it, or perhaps went to the
printer and contrived to buy one. .
It is now that we see the importance of
the urban concentration. Kingston was
compact, the population quite dense. The
families of half a street might conceivably
read one and the same copy of a paper. It
is even possible that several householders
would club together to subscribe to a
paper; but I have found no evidence of
Several conclusions may be drawn from
In the first place, the existence of
papers in the outports and in Spanish
Town was beneficial to the Kingston
papers. Except in Spanish Town, the
latter could not hope to have many sub-
scribers in the areas served by these other
papers, and by obtaining copies of them
they were able to have the equivalent of
correspondents something which was
particularly valuable in learning the move-
ments of ships. I cannot discover that
they ever appointed correspondents the
Kingston papers in the outports and the
outport papers in Kingston. (Spanish
Town is a doubtful case: it seems possible
that owing to the regular contact between
that town and Kingston, the two Gazettes
sometimes obtained news from each other's
Secondly, the importance to the mer-
cantile community of the information
given about the movements of ships was
perhaps greater in Falmouth than anywhere
else, because of the distance which ships
had to traverse to that port from Kingston,
which meant that it was inconvenient, if
you wished to know whether a particular
ship had reached Kingston, to depend on
finding out from the officers of other
ships, while it was unlikely that many
Kingston merchants would take the trouble
to write to any merchant in Falmouth
giving such information. Hence Falmouth
traders must either have subscribed to
Kingston papers or supported their local
paper which may account for the
tenacity displayed by Falmouth in keep-
ing a local organ. In Kingston itself, the
need for checking on the movements of
shipping by the newspapers there, was
recognized up to and after World War II,
even in the case of coasters.
It may be added that the practice of
recording the arrivals and departures of
passengers began quite early, and is most
useful to historians. It is not clear that
that was beneficial to the mercantile
community in any particular way. It may
have been flattering to many subscribers.
Thirdly, we have seen the supreme
importance of advertising. Several papers
in fact called themselves Such-and-Such
Advertiser. It is a natural deduction that
merchants would prefer a daily to a weekly,
and the anxiety for early information on
movements of shipping would reinforce
this. Hence the appearance of dailies must
be set down to the belief of some mer-
chants that the results of greater frequency
would be so beneficial to business that a
daily paper would pay. Gradually, of
course, the daily superseded the weekly
as the chief medium of both news and
We know remarkably little about staff-
ing and editorial organisation. Obviously,
the reports of proceedings in the legislature
and the law courts must have been done
by reasonably competent reporters. A
court reporter is mentioned by Dr. Madden
in 1834, but his name is not given. We do
not know where and how reporters were
recruited, but at first they were probably
We have seen that the papers were in
some cases apparently leaning on groups
of Scotsmen and Irish. We have considered
these as readership groups. We ought also
to consider how far they were linked with
advertising. The point is of special im-
portance in the twenty years following
Dr. Brathwaite's period, when there was
great unrest, a large-scale slave rebellion,
emancipation, and constitutional strife.
In the 1820's Bickell thought that the
press was not merely reactionary. His
account of the conduct of a Kingston
newspaper has been mentioned: he also
quotes from a Montego Bay paper which
took a calm and reasonable editorial line.
In the 'thirties, an American called Beau-
mont edited a paper opposed to emanci-
pation, while the free coloured people of
Kingston had a paper of their own, the
Watchman, of advanced views.
The rebellion of 1831-2 provides a
special test of the quality of the press.
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Central advertisement offers a gang of slaves for sale. From The Royal Gazette, 1818.
Opinion amongst the whites was hardened;
so it is significant that after the rebellion
Beaumont resigned his post. But while this
tells us something about the outlook of an
individual newspaper man, a far less well-
known fact tells us a good deal about the
relationship of the press to the community
and its problems.
When one of the rebel leaders was
hanged at Montego Bay, a white man
present, whether as militia man or as
magistrate, commented on the firmness
with which the slave had died. This
observation was printed in a Kingston
paper, which probably obtained it from
some Cornwall paper which had the hardi-
hood to give publicity to so unusual a
The press, therefore, in a time of crisis
could show comparative independence.
This must have been due in part to the
fact that a good deal of its advertising
came from businessmen in the towns who
had no special interest in the preservation
of slavery. Some of these, we know, were
Scots and Irish; but it certainly does not
seem that these groups formed an over-
whelmingly large majority of advertisers.
It seems likely, however, that the liberal
Irish and Scots exerted influence as sub-
scribers and as persons ready to express
their views. Thus, the Attorney General,
Batty, an Irishman, resigned rather than
prosecute Edward Jordon for sedition in
an article printed after the rebellion. We
can hardly suppose that public opinion in
Spanish Town and Kingston was unaffected
by Batty. A climate was created by such
people which was favourable to the in-
dependence of the press.
Dr. Brathwaite refers (p. 39) to an
observation made by Andrew Lunan,
editor of the Kingston Chronicle, when
he was summoned before the Assembly
in 1806 to answer for publishing certain
resolutions passed at a meeting of Kingston
freeholders which referred in severe terms
to the conduct of the House. He said that
if he had refused to publish resolutions
passed by 'such a respectable meeting', he
would have been ruined. His paper was in
fact a daily, and particularly vulnerable if
his advertisers were offended, for, as we
have seen, the dailies were an extension of
the wishes of the mercantile class for more
advertising opportunities and more up-to-
the-minute news. The other guilty paper
was the Courant, also a daily. And its
editor had a Scots name (Strupar), just as
Lunan may have been a Scot. He made a
Dr. Brathwaite comments on the fact
that neither editor pleaded the liberty of
the press. But it may be that we have here
an example of concerted strategy: the
Assembly was in effect told by the editors
that the mercantile community of King-
ston had not merely passed resolutions,
but was ready to support the papers which
gave publicity to them. We have here
perhaps an indication of the possibility
that the mercantile community supported
relatively liberal editors a generation later.
If we look at the state of the press in
that later period, we find that there is
apparently a new phenomenon the small
paper which presents an opinion, the out-
look of one person or a small group of
persons seeking to win support for that
opinion, or for a particular public figure.
Beaumont's small paper has already been
mentioned: no copies appear to have sur-
vived. The Watchman, which presented
the opposite point of view, was produced
by Edward Jordon and his partner Osborn.
Together they owned a printer, and it was
of course regarded as essential that a paper
should have its own printer, so that it
could not be closed down by a printer
who came to disapprove of its views. They
appear to have had an editor, just as
Beaumont was editor, but not printer and
publisher, of the paper in the opposite
camp. Only a limited number of issues of
the Watchman have survived, but it is clear
from these that the paper was intelligently
run, and there is no doubt that Jordon
himself did a good deal of work on it. But
it was in no sense a vehicle for personal
propaganda in Jordon's interest: it appears
to have been a genuine attempt to con-
solidate liberal opinion.
The same cannot be said of the
Jamaica Despatch, which appeared' in
Kingston a few years later. This was
apparently a daily. It was the personal
organ of Hector Mitchell, for many years
Mayor. We know the name of one of its
editors, Eugene St. Ours, who ran it for
Mitchell for five years, though I have not
been able to find the exact dates.
A reference in the Gleaner of 1868
(Feb. 3) not only gives us this inform-
ation, but says that in 1868 he had a pot-
tery on the Elletson Rd., and that his
grandfather had bought land with clay.
This shows that St. Ours must have been a
Jamaican Creole. His grandfather was
presumably the Chevalier St. Ours who
died in Kingston half a century before.
While St. Ours was the name of an old
seigneurial family of Quebec, it is natural
to suppose that the Chevalier either came
here from Haiti or was a French prisoner
of war who decided to settle in Jamaica.
Since the Gleaner has been mentioned,
it should be said that this paper was
founded in the 'thirties as a weekly, by
Joshua and Jacob de Cordova. Presumably
its appearance as a weekly was experimen-
tal. The whole tendency was to aim at
dailies: the old Royal Gazette ceased to
appear as a weekly and became the
Jamaica Standard and Royal Gazette. The
Gleaner was an effort, we may suppose, to
obtain a voice for the Jewish community
with the aid of the advertising of Jewish
merchants. It did in fact soon become a
daily, and is the only paper which has
survived to the present time.
George William Gordon revived the
name of the Watchman, and a few copies
of his paper have survived. We know from
other papers the name of its editor, or one
of its editors, the Rev. Robert A. Johnson,
who appears to have published in 1859 a
libel on Louis F. McKinnon, Custos of
Vere, which is said to have been written
by the same Dr. Bruce (of Vere) who
narrowly escaped sharing Gordon's fate in
There were, of course, a number of
magazines during this period (1820-55)
which had no particular axe to grind and
had literary trends. The Trifler published
in 1823 what looks like an obscene libel
on Aikman, of Kgn. Chronicle, and a trader
called Abraham Rietti; but, so far as I can
see, this was just for the fun of the thing.
The Jamaica Monthly Magazine was pub-
lished in the early 'thirties by Francis
Cynric Sheridan, grandson of the celebrat-
My own feeling is that with the coming
of the daily papers it is more difficult to
follow births, marriages and deaths, out-
side Jamaica, of persons connected with
the country; but this may be because
such events are recorded, not in the formal
'Hatches, Catches, and Despatches' col-
lumns, but in short articles.
In selection of foreign news, there is
definitely one case in which an item was
printed at length because of its local
interest. This is an account of the trial of
a man called Beaumont by the Chamber
of Peers in France for conspiracy against
Louis-Philippe, early in 1836. This Arthur
Beaumont was an American who had lived
in Kingston, but he is not to be confused
with Beaumont the editor (whose Christian
names were Augustus Hardin), and was
presumably not related to him, since he
said he was of British parentage.
There is to be sure in the case of the July
Monarchy, an instance of what may be
called anticipatory relevance to Jamaica.
The great scandal of the murder of the
Duchess of Choiseul-Praslin, which was a
preliminary to the revolution in 1848,
naturally received attention here; but
when a local paper mentioned 'Mile de
Luzzi', who figured prominently in the
case, the editor could hardly have guessed
that she would become by marriage the
great-aunt of Lady Musgrave, wife of the
founder of the Institute of Jamaica.
My authority for these statements about
the July Monarchy are derived, I find,
from the Falmouth Post. This brings us
to one of the most surprising feats of the
period in journalism the creation of an
excellent outport paper by John Castello.
We tend, perhaps, to exaggerate the
merits of the Post. For one thing, so many
issues have survived that sometimes we
are comparing it with papers which we
cannot judge, because the Post for a
particular date has survived and other
papers have not. But why is the Post so
well represented today on the shelves of
the West India Reference Library? Pre-
sumably either people cherished their
copies, or the circulation was compara-
Again, I am afraid one will sometimes
select the Post for checking a point rather
than a Kingston paper, even for Kingston
events. But that is because Castello was a
superlatively good scissors-and-paste man
- he chose well what he took from King-
ston and foreign papers, and he had a
tolerably good display. Moreover, his
tastes were wide, and he often ran material
of special interest to us, such as the early
history of anaesthetics in Jamaica. In
1847, Hector Mitchell's Despatch gave
some space to this subject, and while we
have no copies of the relevant issues of
that paper, the Post has preserved it. And
part of the story is the interest in local
work on the subject shown by a visitor -
Gaetano Osculati, the Italian explorer of
the Amazon basis, whom English works
of reference seem to overlook.
Castello's treatment of the anaesthetics
story illustrates his methods very well. He
does not begin and end with lifting a st ry
from the Despatch. He follows up the
subject of anaesthetics, running accounts
of their use in his own area, in Trelawny
and St. Ann.
Nonetheless, useful as Castello is to
us, he was not onr the main line of devel-
opment. For one thing, cables and the
telegraph were bound to come and internal
communications were bound to improve,
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lb' -n . ,, bi s.
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'IV a o. I. o llp r ''nal *l i r i '.. i s i r rl i l. r 1n r 0 I .. ii-n .- fit,.l i.t m in I,. ,
This logo of Edward Jordon 's, The Watchman, was carried on every issue.
---- D ;7. D U
ALL ACCOUNTS against tlhe Babscriber are qmraed
10 be sent in oradjusimeat 4nd payment.
D. H. D'SOUZA, Ialian Warehouse.
51 Fahnotdwh.291& JuM, 1865.
Selling Off! Selling Off !!
At greatly reduced prices for Cash only.
Our entire Stock of Dry Goods, Hardware, Boots,
and Shoes, Books, &c., &c.
No reasonable Cashq o.er will be refiaed.
H. W. CODY & CO.
A Mule Dray and Four Prime Working
H. W. CODY I CO.
'T& 4 1 nTIVIfAI"lf
oice assortment of dy-M
While Calieo, Brown Calloo, Btriped iDometiis, Tioken. O;-
naburg, Btriped Holland, audikerchiefe, Dowlas, &c. a.
CLOTHINo CLOTH! CLOT !! CL NG !!!
TIHE BEST ASSORTED STOCK OF
Twe'ed SPTi--TwcIrcie s n-R-ca. Rluth Sacks
Tweed Tra)wiar,3--lIroJ (ci'l.,h 'rrow.5ri--T*vocd tl V t
Qdtrilag VI, a
SHIRTS! SHIRTS!! SIIIRTS !!!
Gents' Kingston Braces.
OPN7'S XECK TIES~,.
ALL Aeeounts due to December 31st 1964, If not Plantarer' oot&, very strong. ai 2n'
immediately nettled, will be seed for indiscriminately, .i.n ,lomel 'llri SYido. filuo, ,is 1.rga :sA;.
1n, W. CODY, & CO. 1 aiae' Black Cashmere higli heels, in vanoca queliuiou
Shildrea' tlh all iza s
151 FahoWuth, 29th June, ISij. ---
SI ar^ pretty lot of IFrench Irases Chea for CaL
A cross section of advertisements from the Falmouth Post, June, 1865
so that there was no possibility of national
paper outside Kingston. Moreover, one
feels that Castello was essentially of the
old school of editors which produced the
Gazettes, aiming at a small but relatively
cultivated readership with fairly wide
interests it is sheer ability which makes
him look up-to-date in the Mid-Victorian
I think there can be no doubt that
Castello aimed at producing a paper which
would circulate throughout the island. In
his later years, the paper was called 'The
Falmouth Post and Jamaica General
Advertiser', and came out twice a week
- on Tuesdays and Fridays. That is the
position, for example, in 1863; but fifteen
years earlier, Castello achieved the curious
feat of bringing out the paper as a weekly
appearing twice a week by publishing a
Supplement every Friday, while what we
may call the substantive paper came out
No doubt the paper did obtain
some readers in Kingston, and it did
obtain some Kingston advertising, though
of course anyone in Kingston who adver-
tised in the Post was trying to reach readers
in St. Ann and Cornwall, not in Kingston.
But is is difficult to believe that Castello
was aiming at mass circulation when he
reprinted, for example, an article from
some English paper telling a story about
the 17th century painter Teniers and an
Archduke who is not named, presumably
because the writer could rely on a sub-
stantial number of readers who would
know who was meant.
Apparently Castello was not technically
editor all the time he seems at any rate
to have had an editor for a short time in
1849-50. This was A.G. Johnstone, a
Christ Church man who owned Anchovy
Valley in Portland, found it unprofitable,
took up newspaper work, fell ill, left
Falmouth, and died soon after. I have not
been able to ascertain whether this Oxford
man was a Creole.
We also know that one of Castello's
mechanical staff went to Central America,
where he lost his life. It is remarkable that
we should know something about two
employees of the Post. I do not recall any
similar mention of former employees in
other papers; but this, again may be due
simply to Castello's better presentation of
As we have now reached the middle of
the century, it may be as well to refer to
an early occupational hazard of editors.
This was the duel. Since Jamaica was
notorious, early in the century, for its
duelling, it is rather remarkable that the
American, Beaumont, seems to be the only
newspaperman involved in duels. He had
a duel with an officer of the Garrison on
June 2, 1833: the pen proved mightier
than the sword, or, more accurately,
Beaumont was the better shot, and the
officer died of his wounds. On June 3 Mr.
Beaumont had a duel at Ferry with a
Major-General of the Militia, but neither
seems to have been hurt. Beaumont was
acquitted of a charge of murder arising
from the first duel. It is not clear whether
these two duels, or either of them, arose
from anything which Beaumont had print-
ed, and he was certainly not an editor at
the time. But a man who was ready to
fight a duel every day of the week must
have created a wholesome respect for
In 1865, of course, a new occupational
hazard appeared when Levien, of the
Montego Bay County Union, was arrested
and whisked off to St. Thomas, where
martial law had been proclaimed, because
of some criticisms of Governor Eyre's
handling of the crisis, like Dr. Bruce.
However, Levien survived some thirty
It is clear that much more could be
done to elucidate the workings of the
press in this period between the French
Revolution and Morant Bay. Thus, one
suspects that the older papers ran births,
deaths, and marriages as part of their
service to the community, and that the
later papers charged for them: it might
be possible, by examining the wording of
the notices, to decide to what extent they
were sent in, during the earlier part of the
period, but the families concerned some,
I think, certainly were: if a paper carried,
let us say, a large number of death notices,
with a wide social range, we might guess
that some of them were paid for. Similarly,
it would be interesting to compare the
proportion of advertising in different
papers. Many other points will probably
strike the reader as worth stematic
THE HEART FOUNDATION OF JAMAICA
It is becoming more and more recog-
nised that diseases of the heart and blood
vessels are growing to epidemic proportions
and are now one of the greatest threats to
our modern way of life in so much that
they are referred to as the "No. 1 Killer".
That this is so is evidenced by the fact
that the World Health Organisation chose
as its theme for 1972, Heart and Blood
Vessel Diseases, and April 7th, 1972 was
chosen as World Heart Day. In a message
to all member nations, Dr. M.G. Candau,
Director General of- the World Health
Organisation had this to say:-
"Public health measures against infect-
ious diseases are obvious to everybody.
Urgent action is now needed against
diseases of the heart and blood vessels,
which are the main cuase of death in so
many countries throughout the world.
"Although the increasing burden of
cardiovascular disease of atherosclerotic
origin is to some extent associated with
the rising age of the population, ischaemic
heart disease is becoming more and more
frequent in younger subjects.
"Much more than we realize, the
health of our hearts is in our own hands.
The time has come for community action
to control high blood pressure, to prevent
rheumatic heart disease, to give proper
care to persons with myocardial infraction
or cerebral stroke, to treat respiratory
disease that often leads to chronic heart
failure, and to diagnose and treat mal-
formations of the circulatory system in
children as early as possible. "
In Jamaica, approximately 31% of all
deaths are due to diseases of the heart and
blood vessels, the next single cause being
cancer, accounting for 10%. One can see
from figs. 1 and 2 how the rate of increase
in deaths due to cardiovascular disease is
climbing rapidly in the U.S.A. and that in
Jamaica it is not very different.
However, death rates are only one
indicator and are final. One must also
consider the situation in terms of economic
cost to country and the misery and
suffering to the population. Unfortunately
we have no figures of economic cost or
days lost in Jamaica, but we do know that
approximately 40% of hospital beds are
occupied by patients suffering from some
form of cardiovascular disease, and that
the greatest mortality from heart disease
is in 39-50 year male age group, men at
the height of their productive lives being
lost prematurely. From fig. 3 we can see
that up to the age of 24 years Jamaica has
more deaths from cardiovascular disease
per 100,000 population than does the
United States of America; only after age
24 are we overtaken. This means that a
large number of children and young adults
just starting out on life die from these ill-
nesses, a large proportion of them un-
necessarily, as at this age the majority of
the diseases are either preventable or can
be readily treated.
REGISTRAR' GENERAL'S FIGURES
Heart Disease Cancer Deaths Motor Vehicle
Total Deaths and per- and percentage, Accidents Deaths and
1 Year Deaths centage of Total of Total percentage of Total
1965 14,311 4,303 =30% 1,463 10% 152 = 1%
1966 13,561 3,998 =29% 1,417 10% 158 = 1%
1967 13,136 41199 31% 1,460-11% 170-1%
1968 14,586 4,712 = 32% 1,517 10% 186 = 1%
1969 14,014 4,518 1 32% 1,505 10% 160 = 1%
Deaths from Cardiovascular Diseases, Cancer and Motor Vehicle Accidents compared (Jamaica).
AGE i age 24
Notice higher death rate in
100,000 population i
Cardiovascular deaths per eaca
per 100,000 population
Deaths per 100,000 population cardiovascular, infectious diseases and cancer
(1957- 68 Jamaica).
Increase of 53%
Let us look at four broad categories of
heart disease congenital heart disease,
rheumatic fever, hypertension (high blood
pressure) and coronary artery disease
Congenital Heart Disease. Congenital
heart disease means that a defect in the
development of the heart, in utero, results
in a child being born with a defect either
within the heart or in the associated great
vessels taking blood to and from the
heart. In the majority of cases it is not
known why children are born with such
defects although there are certain causes
that can be identified. German measles
during the first two or three months of
pregnancy is one such, and in this instarice
possibly 30% of children will have some
form of defect. The thalidomide disaster
is well-known and resulted in many child-
ren being born with numerous defects of
hands and feet as well as heart. However,
allowing for such catastrophes there seems
little we can do at present to lower the
incidence of congenital heart disease.
Figures of incidence have varied as more
and more complete investigations are
carried out. A recent study in Jamaica
suggested that out of every 1,000 babies
born, 6 would have a congenital heart
defect. A more recent study from abroad
has suggested that the figure may be as
high as 10 per 1,000 live births. In the
Jamaican context, with approximately
67,000 live births per annum this would
mean that approximately 400-670 children
per year are born with congenital heart
defects. Obviously, the severity of the
defect will vary from a very minor un-
complicated one to the major, and very
complex. The minor defects may not
influence the child's life and may not
shorten his life span; the major defects
may result in the child being born dead or
dying shortly after birth. In between these
two extremes will fall the largest group
who may die at an early age after consider-
able incapacity or may go through child-
hood and early adulthood without any
significant problem, possibly not realising
that there is anything wrong, only to die
before the age of 40. One of the com-
monest defects is where there is a "hole"
between the right and left sides of the
heart. This results in a varying proportion
of blood which should be pumped to the
body being shortcircuited, so to speak,
and sent back to the lungs from whence it
had just arrived. This obviously imposes
an extra work load on the heart and on
the lungs, at the same time not providing
adequate blood for the body functions.
In addition to this sort of defect, which
is called a shunt, there may also be ob-
structive lesions of the great vessels leading
from the heart either to the lungs or to the
body as a whole. If such a lesion exists in
the main pulmonary artery taking blood
from the heart to the lungs then obviously
not sufficient blood can gain access to the
lungs and therefore there is a deficiency
of adequately oxygenated blood. If such
an obstructive lesion is present in the
aorta, the main artery leading from the
heart, then inadequate blood will flow to
_-M ..s a s a
Severe congenital heart disease age 7 years unable to walk because of breathlessness.
the portions of the body beyond the
obstruction and in addition to which the
the pressure of blood proximal to the
defect is going to be excessively high with
all the consequences of high blood pressure
in the area of the body supplied.
There are of course numerous variations
and permutations of these two main types
of defect and the number of different
congenital heart lesions is legion. However
the essential thing is that in the best
centres, provided the child lives for more
than a few days, most can either be cor-
rected completely or at least alleviated
to a large extent enabling the child to live
a somewhat more normal life of longer
duration during which time it may be
possible to correct the defect totally. In
Jamaica operations on these defects are
being carried out extremely successfully
all the time and some of the most com-
plicated defects have been corrected. Un-
fortunately many children and adults have
undiagnosed defects, and many are diag-
nosed at such a late stage that it is im-
possible to help them by means of surgery.
Rheumatic Fever. Rheumatic fever is
an acute illness typically characterized by
fever and flitting joint pains, it may also
be associated with a peculiar writhing sort
of involuntary movement called chorea or
St. Vitus'dance. The most serious part of
rheumatic fever is that it affects the heart
valves in approximately 60% of sufferers.
The old saying that rheumatic fever "licks
the joints and bites the heart" is very true;
if the disease is contracted in early life
only 5% survive beyond 45 years. Unfor-
tunately, this illness is a common one in
Jamaica. The cause is an allergic type of
response of the body to a streptococal
sore throat and the typical history is of a
sore throat a few weeks prior to the
development of the joint pains. This
allergic response involves tissues through-
out the body but particularly affects the
tissues of the heart and the heart valves.
Unfortunately not all of the damage done
may be obvious at the time of the
rheumatic fever itself but becomes obvious
over the next few years The valves may
be damaged in such a way that they be-
come thickened and tightened, gradually
obstructing the flow of blood from the
upper chambers of the heart, the atria, to
the ventricles and it may be a number of
years before the patient has any symptoms
referable to this although a murmur may
be audible on examination. Alternatively
the leaflets of the valve may be distorted
thus allowing blood to flow back instead
of only flowing forwards and there may be
a combination of both. All of this means
that the heart is pumping inefficiently and
under an increased load which will ob-
viously cause various chambers to enlarge.
Untreated they will sooner or later give
out. However, before that happens the
individual may have had a number of
years of increasing disability, eventually
ending with swollen feet and being in-
capable of doing anything more than sit
in a chair. Once the valves have been
damaged there are no tablets or medicines
capable of repairing them, but if the
individual's symptoms are severe enough
these valves can be repaired or replaced
with artificial valves. Some of these
operations, for instance where the valve is
only narrowed, are relatively simple and
have been performed for many many
years both abroad and here in Jamaica.
One type of artificial valve which can be
sewn into the heart to replace one which
is irreparably damaged.
Replacement with artificial plastic valves
is more complicated and involves the use
of a heart lung machine. Such operations
have been in progress in the metropolitan
countries since the late 50's. In Jamaica
these operations have been performed
since mid-1970 and are being performed
in an ever-increasing number. Some of the
simple heart operations carry very little
more risk than an appendectomy and
many no more than having a gall bladder
removed. Yet people do not hesitate to
have their gall bladders out if this is
recommended. Some of the more com-
plicated operations do carry a higher
mortality risk, but without operation we
know what the final outcome is and it is
However, replacing damaged valves
after a period of disability is, in fact,
closing the stable door after the horse has
bolted. What can and is being done is to
prevent the initial damage to the valves.
Because of determined efforts over the
past 20 to 25 years, some cardiac surgery
centres in a number of countries have
closed and transferred their remaining
work to other centres because they no
longer are seeing sufficient numbers of
patients who require valve replacement.
Unfortunately, if Jamaica embarked on an
intensive preventative programme now
this sort of cardiac surgery would still
have to be carried out for the next fifteen
or twenty years. This,however, does not
mean that we should not undertake such
a programme. In fact it is imperative that
we do. According to the Registrar
General's statistics, Jamaica suffers a
mortality from rheumatic fever 16 times
that obtaining over the whole United
States of America.
The streptococcus associated with
rheumatic fever is extremely sensitive to
penicillin and if therefore, all children and
young adults who have a sore throat which
is due to this streptococcus could be given
penicillin early, rheumatic fever could
become a disease of the past. It is not
going to be an easy fight. It will demand
an increase in para-medical personnel
(much more so than medical personnel)
it will require an increase in a certain area
of the pathological services and improved
efficiency in communications and docu-
mentation, but most of all it will require
that all sections of the community become
aware of the position and all sectors, poor
and wealthy, medical and non-medical,
become involved to stamp out this disease.
Inside the heart after a "heart attack"' The irregular area in the centre is blood clot
This may be dislodged, travel in the blood stream and obstruct a blood vessel else-
where in the body.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure).
This is an abnormal elevation of arterial
blood pressure as a result of narrowing of
the small arteries. Hypertension is the
commonest single disease of the cardio-
vascular system, world-wide and here in
Jamaica. There is every indication that in
Jamaica between 200,000 and 300,000
people are suffering from hypertension,
It is unfortunate that people tend to
assume that high blood pressure is one of
the necessary evils of life and that it is not
a serious problem.
Hypertension itself rarely produces
any symptoms. The symptoms which
accompany it are unfortunately those of
the complications which it has already
produced, and surveys in Sweden and the
Photo by Lennart Nilsson
U.S.A. suggest that half of the hypertensive
middle-aged men do not know that they
are hypertensive. A number of people
discover their hypertension when they
have a medical examination for employ-
ment or for insurance purposes or when
they visit their doctor for some incidental
illness, and some that they already have
an enlarged heart when they have a chest
x-ray for any reason. The mass-minature
radiography units which were originally
instituted for case findings of tuberculosis
are now yielding greater dividends in
detecting cardiomegaly then they are in
the area of tuberculosis. It is not un-
common that the first knowledge an
individual may have that his or her blood
pressure is high is the onset of a stroke
with paralysis or blindness in one eye, a
heart attack or symptoms suggesting that
their kidneys are failing. In 1970 over
3,000 people died of strokes alone in
Jamaica and the vast majority of these
were associated with hypertension. If
adequate treatment had been instituted
early enough a number of these strokes
could have been prevented, and it is highly
likely that a number of the individuals
who died did not previously know they
There are special cases of hypertension
suitable for surgical treatment but these
are very few. The vast majority must take
regular medical treatment for the control
of their hypertension which should be
brought as near to normal as possible or
consistent with the individual's well-being.
It is important to realise that while
hypertension is, with very few exceptions,
not a curable disease it can be well con-
trolled with the correct treatment but if
this treatment is taken intermittently,
obviously control will similarly be inter-
mittent. Once the individual has hyper-
tension, only under certain specific cir-
cumstances does he ever lose it and he
should realise that he needs treatment for
life. In this context, of course treatment
may mean maintenance of weight loss and
dietary restrictions although a number of
hypertensives will also require drug
therapy in addition. Adequate, conti-
nuous treatment is the only known way
to avoid the often disastrous complications
Heart Attacks. This is perhaps the
most talked about and most dramatic of
heart diseases. Some victims have been
well, healthy individuals until they sud-
denly fell dead. By heart attack is meant
the death of or damage to a portion of
heart muscle caused by the cutting off of
its blood supply either because of throm-
bosis (clot) in a coronary artery or total
or near total obstruction. If the process
is acute then a typical heart attack results.
Classically this produces pain in the center
of the chest usually described as like a
weight or a squeezing pain. This may
continue for an hour or more and is often
associated with severe breathlessness,
vomiting, sweating or fainting. Unfor-
tunately, it is likely that 30% of people
suffering a heart attack will die before
reaching hospital; it is likely that another
20% to 30% will die in hospital.
Modem methods of treatment are
helping to reduce these figures. In Dublin,
Ireland for instance, there is a system of
coronary care ambulances which immed-
iately on call rush medical, nursing and
para-medical personnel to the patient,
complete with modern forms of treatment.
These are drastically reducing the number
of people dying before entering hospital.
Intensive Care Units with specially
trained personnel and electronic monitor-
ing devices which detect the onset of
abnormal rhythms, fall in blood pressure
etc. far quicker and earlier than can be
done by other means are also reducing the
mortality of patients in hospital. These
units are expensive, but when one considers
the increasing number of patients suffering
* During World Heart Month (April '72) the programme of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica
showed.an incidence of 15% of persons had hypertension, most of this was previously undiagnosed.
heart attacks, the fact that the incidence
is highest in men between the ages of 40
and 55, i.e. at the height of their produc-
tive lives, this expenditure is not un-
justified. It is hoped that we shall shortly
see the first Intensive Coronary Care Unit
It is common that the impairment of
blood flow to the heart muscle occurs
slowly and gradually. When this is so, the
individual may have no symptoms until he
suffers a heart attack or he may suffer
from angina pectoris. Here there is a
similar pain to that,of a coronary throm-
bosis but it tends to be milder and is
produced by effort and relieved by rest.
These two forms of heart disease,
heart attack and angina pectoris, are a
part of the overall picture of "ischaemic
heart disease" i.e. impairment of blood
flow to the heart muscle, and this is
intimately linked with hypertension.
A "pacemaker" and the electrode catheter which connects it to the heart. This stimu-
lates the heart to beat at an adequate rate.
Chest Xray of a patient with a "pacemaker" in place. The catheter can be seen leading
from the pacemaker on the right (it is buried under the skin) into the heart).
Ischaemic heart disease or coronary
thrombosis has been considered an "exec-
utive disease"; certainly it appears to be
more prevalent in the upper social strata
and its incidence rises with increasing
affluence. In Jamaica, in this area, we do
appear to have two populations, the
"haves" and the "have nots". The "haves"
have a high standard of living and suffer
ischaemic heart disease, the "have nots"
have a low standard of living and do not
suffer ischaemic heart disease so frequent-
ly. Its highest incidence is in the executive
class between the ages of 40 and 55. This
means that men with another 10 to 20
years of useful productive lives, having
undergone considerable training at con-
siderable expense, are lost to the commun-
ity and to their loved ones.
What are the factors involved and what
can be done?
Diet: The main fight is against arterio-
sclerosis which is responsible in the largest
measure for heart attacks and for the
complications of hypertension. Hyper-
tension influences arteriosclerosis and the
development of arteriosclerosis influences
hypertension. If we could make people
aware early in life, of the importance of
diet, adequate exercise, elimination of
smoking, treatment of hypertension and
diabetes, obesity and so on, perhaps half
of the cases of heart attacks could be
eliminated. There is undoubtedly a family
tendency for the development of arterio-
sclerosis, hypertension and heart attacks,
but this family tendency is in two forms
-- a small group with genetically deter-
mined inheritance factors and the larger
group of "environmental inheritance"
from familial habits. The genetically in-
herited factors, we can at present do
nothing about but there is no doubt that
we can influence their possible effects.
Attitudes are inherited from parents and
if parents smoke, do no exercise, accept
that obesity is desirable, then children are
likely to follow in their footsteps. It is
necessary for the middle-aged to make the
changes, to help influence the children of
today, and inculcate in them the habit of
Diet is of significance in these diseases
in 2 ways quantity and quality. Obesity
is a common feature in Jamaica and this
adversely affects hypertension and ischae-
mic heart disease. A man who is 25%
over his normal body weight has twice the
risk of suffering a fatal heart attack than
a man who maintains a normal body weight.
In this context normal means what he
should weigh for his height. So many
people insist that they were heavy from
birth and all their relatives are heavy.
This counts for very little, as eating habits
are passed from parents to children and
therefore weight habits are also passed on.
The attitude persists that to be fat is a sign
of affluence. This may or may not be
true, but it is certainly true that such
individuals are in a bad situation from the
point of view of their heart and their
The quality of the food eaten is also of
importance. Too many starchy foods such
as bread, rice, yam, potatoes, ice cream,
cakes, etc. will produce obesity. The
saturated or "hard" animal fats taken in
excess produce a high level of cholesterol
in the blood. A person with a high
cholesterol level has a risk of a fatal heart
attack twice that of the individual who has
a normal level. The poly-unsaturated,
"soft" fats do not have the same effect on
cholesterol as do animal fats. This type
of fat is found in fish and vegetable oils.
There is however, one important exception
to this. Coconut oil is 98% saturated fat
view inside a normal aorta. me three light areas are other blood vessels leading to the
head and neck. Note how the lining has a velvety smooth appearance.
The same view as in 11. This time with severe arteriosclerosis. Notice how the lining
is irregular and there is a large clot hanging down on the left. Photos by Lennart Nilsson
and in respect to cholesterol levels behaves
exactly like an animal fat.
Jamaica at present is in a situation of
protecting the Coconut Industry by
import restrictions on corn oil which is
only available on prescription at fairly
high cost. Thus only a small portion of
our population is able to eliminate one
important risk factor in heart disease. It
is not enough to make corn oil available
only to those who already have high
cholesterol levels. It should also be
possible for the general public to make
use of such preparations and at a reason-
Physical Exercise: This is important in
two related ways. Food intake should be
related to the amount of energy burnt up;
where the food intake provides calories in
excess then the person becomes obese.
However, it is clear that regular adequate
exercise is a good prophylactic against the
development of arteriosclerosis. It helps
to control bloodpressure and diabetes and
aids in keeping the coronary arteries
healthy and stimulates the growth of new
small vessels. In addition there is also the
bonus of improved general fitness. Exer-
cise to be of value must be regular, con-
sistent and must be sufficient to produce
a minimum of stress at least. It is good
practice to leave the car in the garage if
the building is three or four blocks away
and walk briskly. Using stairs instead of
the elevator, a twenty minute walk in the
evening, a regular game of golf, will serve
as better relaxants than one or two
whiskies. However, for someone starting
an exercise programme afresh after being
physically unfit it is essential that the
programme is started gently. The middle-
aged should not take up jogging or indulge
in violent physical exercise such as tennis
without first having gradually built them-
selves into fitter individuals over a period
of time. They would be well advised to
consult their doctor before deciding to
participate in violent exercises. Those
who participate in a sport, should make
every effort to continue it as-they grow
older even though they will not be able
to perform as well as before.
Smoking is undoubtedly one of the
most deleterious pastimes of modern man.
Anyone who smokes in excess of 10
cigarettes a day doubles the risk of heart
attack, increases his likelihood of develop-
Sing cancer of the lung by about 8 times,
increases his likelihood of developing
cerebrovascular disease, peptic ulcers and
of course emphysema and bronchitis.
However, if one stops smoking completely
the increased likelihood of developing
* these diseases decreases rapidly and the
time has come for us to actively try to
persuade people to stop smoking.
Mental Stress & Strain are now a part of
everyday life and there is a certain
amount of evidence that this plays a
significant role in developing heart disease.
The individual under mental strain tends
to smoke in excess or overeat and he does
little physical exercise. In addition to
these "side effects" of stress there is
evidence accumulating that mental stress
in itself has a very unfavourable influence
on the development of heart disease. Men
occupying highly competitive jobs con-
stantly meeting schedules and deadlines
and carrying heavy responsibilities, have
a high incidence of heart attack. Unfor-
tunately it seems that to do anything in
this area we have to reorganise life styles
completely. However, as individuals we
can attempt to limit the amount of stress
to which we allow ourselves to be sub-
A combination of factors such as listed
above provides a total risk factor which is
not just an addition but more a multipli-
cation of those involved and one can quite
definitely say that people who have a high
blood cholesterol level, hypertension, who
smoke, are obese and take very little
exercise, have an extremely high incidence
of arteriosclerosis and its consequences -
heart attacks, strokes, hypertension and
renal disease. All these factors can to a
certain extent be influenced. It is im-
portant to realize that advice regarding
diet, the taking of treatment continuously
for hypertension or diabetes, insistence on
exercise, stopping smoking etc. are intend-
ed to prolong life, not to ruin its enjoy-
Jamaica is quite possibly in one of the
best positions possible regarding the attack
on cardiovascular diseases. In many areas
of development Jamaica is many years
behind the metropolitan countries, but
we have at the same time access to inform-
ation regarding those countries. If we can
learn by their mistakes, without insisting
on making our own, if we do not insist on
blindly modelling our life style on that of
the American Continent, we can quite
likely see ourselves in a better position in
relation to heart disease and its problems
than these countries will be in the next
ten or fifteen years.
YOUR HEART AND HOW IT WORKS
. inside lining of heart
blood from the lungs
and pumps it through
the aorta to the body.
bag of tissue
Your heart weighs well under a pound and is only a little larger than your fist, but it
is a powerful, long working, hard working organ. Its job is to pump blood to the lungs
and to all the body tissues.
The heart is a hollow organ. Its tough, muscular wall myocardiumm) is surrounded
by a fiberlike bag pericardiumm) and is lined by a thin, strong membrane (endo-
cardium). A wall (septum) divides the heart cavity down the middle into a "right
heart" and a "left heatt. Each side of the heart is divided again into an upper
chamber (called an atrium or auricle) and a lower chamber (ventricle). Valves
regulate the flow of blood through the heart and to the pulmonary artery and the aorta.
The heart is really a double pump.-One pump (the right heart) receives blood which
has just come from the body after delivering nutrients and oxygen to the body
tissues. It pumps this dark, bluish ted blood to the lungs where the blood gets rid
of a waste gas (carbon dioxide) and picks up a fresh supply of oxygen which turns
it a bright red again. The second pump (the left heart) receives this "reconditioned"
blood from the lungs and pumps it out through the great trunk-artery (aorta) to
be distributed by-smaller arteries to all parts of theabody.
DENNIS SCOTT ADULTS SIL VER MEDAL
BIRD OF PASSAGE
The poet is speaking.
The window reflects his face.
A bird crawls out of the sun. Summoned.
Its wings are like tar.
That is because it is very hot.
7The poet sweats too.
There is a beak at the back of his throat -
the poem is difficult,
his tongue bleeds.
That is because the bird is not really
Clap a little.
Some time in de greathouse wall
is like a thumb mark de stone,
or a whole han.
Granny say is de work sign, she say
it favour when a man tackle de stone, an mek
to tear it dung, till de mortar tek de same shape
an im han. But Ifeel sey
is like sumaddi push de wall up
an hole it dere until de brick dem dry
out. Now dat is hard
my brother the worm
has no voice
but he comes and goes, comes and
not until the seed has shocked open
and dislodged the stone, the smallest lace of leaf
But then that spear leaps as fiercely
as I love you, justifying
the halves of my head, gut. And naturally
soon there will be the most delicate patterns of vein
suitable for his hunger. In the silence between us
Ihear his impatience, the clatter of earth
on your eyes.
DENNIS SCOTT ADULTS- SIL VER MEDAL
there is silence, you say.
The mongoose rests at the bamboo hill,
gnawing roots. The insects make holes
through the moth's tongue, it withers like bark.
We come and go.
The earth's curve is imperceptible.
But I am not deceived I fall
as quickly as any sparrow
towards the fire,
past the dumb gone
round the corner of patience,
past the green survivors.
The roots cannot hold me in
place. I have been there
before, to the river, I remember
where it leaps and is ever
underground, I know
the song of the knotted fire
where everything becomes simple
and must be spoken.
lam not deceived.
AT THAT FRAIL AND ABSENT EVENING HOUSE
something glitters. She is waiting.
She sings from her open cage.
Each note snaps another rose.
Every splinter contains a reflection.
Between them her shadow shuffles,
a slow dance. The long day
has cut trenches in her voice.
That is why the garden is breaking:
There are sharp blue lines round her mouth.
It is possible to enter there and be immediately lost.
The crystal stems make a forest of thorns.
Raked, Igo carefully
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A MAGICIAN
He painted the ball
first, balancing on it himself
a pale boy soft as young thorns,
and in his hand mirrors.
In these he observed
a delicate equilibrium.
Then all around, the details of such a summer
as he had known, the sun too, for that
to age as it would
the sturdy tree lifting to it.
At each stroke he cried out.
When it was entirely there, reflecting
something of what was true,
he applied white. The picture snowed out.
But the ball began to roll, making a neat black frame
around the figure, everything
began to roll
NO SUFFERER H L WI ns/L .
the sweating gutter of my bone
Zion seems far
also. I have my version -
the blood's drum is
Keeps me alive Like you.
And there are kinds of poverty we share,
when the self eats up love
and the heart smokes
like the fire behind your fences, when my wit
ratchets, roaming the hungry streets
of this small flesh, my city
: in the dread time of my living
while whatever may be human chains me
away from the surfeit of light,
OLIVE SENIOR -ADULTS- BRONZE MEDAL
Halfblue childhood shocks but these
didn't matter. All roads led outwards
and Home was Mother.
Then afternoons went dark, Hunger
became Brother, the hazy future
shadowed the roads, Failure was Father.
A night flashed steel cold, your life
went dark six feet under
the only road led back home
- Where, no one remembered
This is the only way for the mind
to wander: Firmly balanced against the hoe
rooted in the earth, grounded
in the province of my fields.
The soil warms to my feet. I am based
in reality, I cannot stray too far,
not become too much the cloud-dreamer -
the grains of wood score calenders in my hands.
My brown world below is stronger
than a brace of clouds in the blue.
Though the mind aches to know,
the hand gripping a tool says: This is.
Especially when passing birds pull taut
my lifeline My head lifts, but my feet
refuse to yield The moment gone, my life
goes slack again. Only my eyes water.
Last year the child died
we didn't mourn long
and cedar's plentiful
but that was the one
whose navel string we buried
beneath the tree of life
lord, old superstitions
are such lies.
MERVYN MORRIS -ADULTS- BRONZE MEDAL
At home (a wife
at anchor, two boys
bobbing in that life)
someone had talked of Sirens.
"Beware, beware their evil song:
they eat your flesh,
they bleach your bones,
you won't last long."
His vessel neared an island
Shimmering calm. Air still
Across the green a Siren song
and enthralled his will
0 heaven within his reach!
(he thought). And swam for shore.
His fortune waited, lolling on the beach.
In 19-something X was born
in Jubilee Hospital, howling, black.
In 19- (any date plus four)
Xwent out to school
They showed him pretty pictures
of his Queen.
When he was 7, in elementary school,
he asked what naygas were.
In secondary school he knew.
He asked in History one day
where slaves came from.
"Oh, Africa," the master said,
"Get on with your work."
Up at the university he didn't find himself;
and, months before he finally dropped out,
would ramble round the campus late at night
and daub his blackness on the walls.
OUT OF THE SHADOW
Out of the shadow an awkward figure
loomed, pointing an ugly gun.
The finger tightened on the trigger.
Froze. I froze, I went quite numb.
The finger tightened on the trigger.
Unarmed in that deserted park
I knew my end had come.
The finger tightened on the trigger.
And suddenly, along the dark
gun-muzzle whoosh! a full balloon
came rushing, rainbow-bright!
So that was not the end And soon
the awkward figure melted out of sight.
ALMA MOCK YEN ADULTS BRONZE MEDAL'
A.B.C. THE HUMBLE BEE
of your shoes. I
stroked the unkinked
Golden Hair, my precious
Baby basking in the warm as
asphalt service of this slave.
Peeing on my foot, thus you relieved
the tensions of your kindergarten year.
My black brain made the jig-saw scheme of
Lessons easier. All the goblins died and my
Anansi lisped, Brer Mongoose slide & Alligator
Wide jaws snapped in merriment For Jack Mandora
All the same. The Riddle Life. Unshade the game.
You nestled confidently in my magic palms, for
I turned hieroglyphics into speech I made the
Three R's sing-out fun-fun-fun and dance
Discovery! One year ago and that was
All it took. Someone, probably your
High-brown mother quietly explained
But what the hell so cunningly
You held your little head
Erect. Rigid as a common letter
7' blind inside your father's car
You always waved from. Prejudice hath won
Hurrah you've graduated! And just what makes
Me carry on, delivering all I have for
Peppercorn and disregard. Maybe I
Should have learnt to drive a cab
and bargain: blast you with
My horn. Cabbies have an
Arrogance I envy. Steel
it seems, serves people
Better than devotion
OLIVE SENIOR -ADULTS BRONZE MEDAL.
TO MY ARAWAK GRANDMOTHER
(Though they say it is impossible)
I reach but a finger across the universe.
Distance is only space-time and we
exist in the continuun. Understanding
reaches to shake hands across history books,
blood kinship may well be a fairy tale,
heredity myths mere lies, Yokahuma as real
as the Virgin Mary, Coyaba as close as Heaven.
My spirit ancestors are those I choose
to worship. And that includes an I
that existed long before me.
I choose you
for simple affirmations pulsing still
in spite of blood shed or infused.
Baptismal certificates are mute
while the whisper of a clay fragment as a museum piece
moves me to attempt this connection:
I cry out
JEAN SMALL ADULTS BRONZE MEDAL
University yu seh?
Heh, heh, heh, heh!
Don mek de mistake chile,
Fe tink seh yu gwine live in style,
Cause dem come from foreign
An is pon de Common dem living.
Mek ah tell yu lil
De hell ah fine mesself in.
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
She gi me uniform
She gi me cap.
Ah feeling good
Wuk don look hard
Four pickney pon me she drop.
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
She gon to wuk
Me tek me nap,
De children bawl
Me lock dem up.
Me youngman come,
'Im love me up
From half past one till five o'clock
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
Night time come,
She wan go out.
Me youngman deh
Me wan go wey.
Talk, talk straight,
Oona expec a man
Fe wuk he bone
Till he prostrate?
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
Den she have fe entertain
An use up all de plate an glass dem.
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
Is me day.
'Dulcie dear,' (is one o'clock)
'Dulcie dear, I'm sorry hear,
It's really on account of Doc,
The bills were more than he could bear,
So Monday, hear?'
Lawd Jesus, ma'm,
Is whole week dam,
Wuk ah wukin
Back ah brukkin,
Me na joke
Pay me fe me wuk
Else ah gi me youngaman orders
Fe come hey wid machete an bredders
Fe settle dis disorder
To ra .... me tired yah!
Spanish Town Road and North Street
KENNETH AUSTIN MAXWELL -ADULTS -CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
Wrapped in Moldy-cold houses,
They drift through a
Minding everyone else's business,
They impress -
Not even themselves:
And this creates their puritanical fear:
That Somewhere, Somehow Someone is ....
Having a Good Time,
Or Telling the Truth.
They'll exist forever.
Immortalised by a singular
Lack of imagination,
And the un-relenting horror
Of their own insignificance.
The English expatriates -
Sons and daughters of
Sip at their tea-cups,
And nibble their scones:
Playing Charades and "Beggar-Me-Neighbour"
In everyday life
"This one's got Piles!" type
Cocktail and Tea-time
"Yes, Hasn't she aged?!"
"I really think whatisname's wife
Should lose weight!"
"Imagine what it must cost them for food
"Rumour has it..." says she,
"Little Rose Whatsit's pregnant again!"
"What'll the Neighbours....... ??!!"
Yankee yobs, -
Of Yonkers (or Kill-a-nigger-Georgia)
Work at Alcan, Revere,
Filthy by Day, -
Then perfumed and whoring again,
While wives sit at home
Making love to the virile black sons
Of their husbands' hot whores!
Is often like that.
Wives are to dress in the dowdiest of clothes,
While husbands chase young girls
In crotch-level skirt-splits
And waist-length necklines, -
Showing voluptuous publicity
And handfuls of cleavage.
Husbands should swear
To their Little White Virgins
Who swear undying "Love"
To their Gardeners each day.
They think they're so cultured
And full of Good Taste.....
Then they see Pat Delapenha's house
With his statues and Music,
And rare Shetland ponies!
How poor they all are
In their cheap rented houses
Full of Ignorance
Then there're the "Natives";
Full-o'-money Cuffies; -
Wives smell of Khus-khus and sweat,
Drive long, American
And wear gold-lame dresses All day!
They've come no further
Than the scarlet-lipstick-and-caked-on-white-powder-days
When they knelt on all fours
Now, having screwed every white man in sight
For a couple of years,
She's married a wife-beating
Made his money in Ganja, -
Now he plays the horses
And keeps his job selling Insurance
As a Sideline!
He's got a wife, two kids,
And a Beverly-Hills girl-friend
(He pays the Rent!)
And he's "Out with the Boys"
His son, now Twelve,
Goes to DeCarteret, -
("Sorry, old chap, the Name of the Game is...
Not the Colour of your Skin!) -
Owns a stolen Smith-and- Wesson,
And steals for excitement
Every Saturday night
That's the game of Happy Families
Played to the full, -
With the Cheats and the Ginnals
Having Power and Pull
Then the age-old white remnants
Of the erstwhile Plantocracy
Live on in the suburbs -
(Knockpatrick and Newport!-)
And lord it (broadmindedly!)
Over little-knowing "Minions"
In the districts around, -
Whose "Respect"for them grew
Out of Slave-day subservience,
And means Nothing Today:
And consumate liars
To themselves, most of all
RITA ANN BROWN JUNIOR -BRONZE MEDAL
THOUGHTS OF A FOURTH-FORMER
Going to school....
Heart and mind on other things.
First period gone;
Second, third, fourth
'Till the eighth is gone
And there is still no difference;
Dull, dull and slow.
Reading Shakespeare -
But hating Columbus
And the alimentary canal
Oh that I were an Arawak!
That I were twenty-two
And all of this behind me!
Anything, anything but this.
Why force me into school?
Give me a garden and a hoe -
Give me a boat on the sea.
ETHAN LYN JUNIOR BRONZE MEDAL
THE DANSE MACABRE: A VARIATION
The trees have shed their leaves
And stand silhouetted skeletally
Against a barren skyline,
Stark sentinels in the twilight
Guardians of nothingness.
And the land lies bare and untended
Littered with fallen insects.
The air is silent,
Save for the chill wind that
Whistles across the floor of the valley
Roofed by the black branches of the trees.
He stood alone in the deepening
Shadow, himself a shade
In the desert of his being.
He is but an ugly black spot
On a disfigured landscape which breathes,
A withered, shrivelled fragment
Drifting for ever, and ever.
Doomsday is but a hollow dream.
The ominous light cut through the night,
The smart bomb, token of man's ingenuity,
Intelligent of its target
Following the laser ray
Fifty thousand feet in the air above the clouds,
In the cold, enthroned, amid the applause thundered by jets,
The pantheon crew, princes of air
With Jove-like calm,
Calculated a man-made metamorphosis.
Reconnaissance will prove their success;
Possessed, in a world of lies,
Technology alone, death's harbinger is true.
The child's shriek
Rent the silence,
Like the laser, it too finds its mark,
Tran, victim and debris
Is target of the cry,
Past feeling, robot-like,
He lumbered onto a pile of rubble
And began to.claw at the stones.
VINCENT ROSE SPENCER JUNIOR CERTIFICA TE OF MERIT
AN OLD WOMAN LEAVES
Bent and crooked, silent and still
was her silhouette against the moon-light.
A pathetic figure clothed in rags.
Yes, a scarecrow.
Nature has had its feed,
wind sun and rain.
Time has had its feed
Given up, surrendered, dying.
Green and brown,
golden and dry,
away and dance
to the slightest breath of air.
The wind has made a valley through them.
A bird has made a nest.
You look at them ten, fifteen minutes,
They dazzle your eyes.
Green and brown,
golden and dry,
RITA ANN BROWN JUNIOR CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
(on the death of a dream)
How I remember him
As my childhood hero
The concept heightened by
the winning of a scholarship
To the University.
Emerging in all his splendour,
Too wonderful to be believed -
The young lawyer -
Young, black and gifted.
Then the hurt,
The terrible hurt
When I met him
Stumbling drunk down the street
And falling into a gutter.
The ensuing year
When he grew thinner,
And I wasted with him
Because I suffered too.
And now the anguish,
The dreadful tearing anguish!
Those pieces of a jigsaw-puzzle
That lie on the pavement
Once made up a man!
A man, my God!
Life extinguished by some cleverly
put-together pieces of iron
And by drunkenness.
My God! My God! My God!
Why did you forsake him?
I stood and watched her -
A young woman alone on the sands.
A tall proud body,
A splendid dark beauty,
Lovely specimen of the beautiful Island people.
Poised, as if ready for sudden flight,
Then darted across the sand,
Lithe and graceful as Quicksilver,
Supple body telling of descent
From proud kings and princes.
I looked again and saw
Another splendid form.
A black man, tall and proud,
And as graceful as the sylph before,
Who darted after his love.
And she, quick and graceful,
Like a temptress, kept herself
Just out of reach
Until finally, he caught her.
And they stood,
As one form in the sand,
Rejoicing in each other.
I turned away.
I could not bear to see
Knowing I was alone.
Ji tV POETRY
ASHLEY HAMILTON UNDER 14 SILVER MEDAL
ROBAR-I (Black Power USA Style)
Black Power town
shucks and jives
full of dope
Full of brown
Robar-I Shopping Centre
Look on them on the street covers
We don't have to have a Campus
We have street corer culture
Well show you that we're ba'ad
We'll show you that we can be bad.
Our children can learn
black children &an learn
To be black respectable
Black Powa Toms
With Garvey Flag
They won't drag
Behind the White kids
We'll show you
We'll show you
They can be in order
Like the White kids
We can make them sit
one thousand rites
"Don't run in the hall"
"Don't po-op in the class"
don't you rip-off
don't you rip-off
at 1,000 dollars a year?
You sure rip off there
at Robar-I school
Oh at Robar-I school
You sure rip off there at
Send you home to die
Die Nigga die
You're not sick
Just a headache
You're not sick at all
Hey man we care for yor
Give you lectures
We can show you
That it's not only white folks
Who can use
Compute, Do you
have German Measles?
We can ape control
We have White wives
our black centre
mothers on dope
sleep all day
kids running wild
I loves my black
Let's rip it off
Whoo-whoo hey (sigh)
Co-op's open today
Gang war today
Look at that
Bag full of marshmallows
We can go around there
And creep into the back alley
while the cashiers are busy
Hey can I have some chicken please?
Got a bag
Now we can put all our loot in it
Hey let's move on
Shoot let's bug that machine
Rip-off that bike
Bug the Laundry people
They're giving out free cards
Let's grab some
Oh man let's split
Into our apartments
our low hope
There's the police
Let's tell them
That gang we hate
Was in Walker and Price
Dog eat dog
Woo-woo here comes
gas chamber guys
Woo hey, hey
Spreads from di Lawd
Gawd have mercy
the college van
is mine man
Get the hell out of here
You have no rites near
this Black Power Town
ASHLEY HAMILTON UNDER 14 SIL VER MEDAL
BLACK IS OLDER THAN HISTORY
White and shiny
Dark and grimy
This is the way
We all were taught.
But black is the
colour of outer space
Blacks is depth and
Black is older than
history. ASHLEY HAMILTON UNDER 14 BRONZE MEDAL
MY BROTHER KIT (1)
MY BROTHER KIT (2)
is never not
He goes on
out a fridge
He'll eat out
then you'll find
Would you like to live in Mona
Would you live in Harbour View
Or is it too cheap for you?
THE WILD WEST OF AMERICA
When my father goes driving
In Palo Alto's White West
for Liceman sends
Him back East
Black East Palo Alto
is your den.
Don't come back out agen
Into our white might
SUSAN HOWARD UNDER 14 BRONZE MEDAL
I love the town on rainy nights
When all the street lamps look
As I look in the puddles.
And the wires droop sadly in their
gloom and despair,
And all the town is in its utmost
Then, I walk along the sidewalks and
watch the people,
Which are few, but for the odd rain-
lover like myself
The whole world seems to turn
against everything and everyone except me
I love the way the rivulets of water scurry
along the windows of shops,
Racing each other to the end;
And how all the flowers turn up their faces
to accept the drink
While the trees soak in the fresh, clean water.
But then, I also have to wake up in the morning
To smell the sweetness of the air,
And watch the sun's reflection in the puddles.
And to see the wires drip off their burden,
And the town begins to bustle and start a fresh
morning after the rain.
The sidewalks begin to fill with people and
The world seems to turn to the people and against
Still, I am pleased to see flowers and trees
refreshed after the drink.
But still I love the town on rainy nights
When all the street lamps look up-side-down
As I look into the puddles.
DOREEN GUYADEENE-UNDER 14-CERTIFICA TE OF MERIT
OLIVE REID UNDER 14 CER TIFICA TE OF MERIT
Yes, that's Jane that walks about,
She's proud so very proud!
Her dog Tim is just as proud as she:
They both are very wrong to be
So proud So very proud
See Joan and Willy caught at her
They say she is very proud
Says Jane, "Oh dear! They're very silly!"
"Indeed they are!" cries little Willy,
"To be so very proud "
Come on little children
come on and see
The dear little princess
is waiting for you.
She wanted to hear you sing
all the songs you know.
She will give you all you need
If you sing the sweet, sweet songs.
She will take you to the Fairy-House
To dance and sing and play all day.
by Edward Brathwaite
This year, 305 poems were submitted to the Poetry Festival
Competition by some 93 (pseudonymous) writers, although it is
clear from internal evidence that a few entrants submitted poems
under a whole series of different names.
The majority of poems were technically poor, emotionally
pretentious or metaphorically unfocussed, although there are
many successful fragments and others not without a certain 'prose'
interest. But prose is not poetry, and on the whole even among
the 33 or so 'better' poems (that is, poems with shape, force,
motion and a metaphorical life that is part of the 'message') the
overall standard was disappointing. Nor did any talent emerge
meriting a gold medal award.
They were there
white with white
black with white, white with black
black with black,
their pooled tensions
on a musician's entry
(Basil Wilson: To Spiral on an Impulse)
Let the rain fall, let the rain fall,
Then you can give her a call
For that's the time her flowers are
Beautiful on her flower stall
(Danny Hayles: The Rain)
Missis, de book sweet me, i sweet me,
A could' put i dung,
So a read, it tickle me,
A nearly drop a grung.
(Samuel A. Fitz-Henley: Miss Lou)
A fair proportion submitted (about 33.3%) were 'modern',
ranging in style from
Where business thrives
Like asphalt streets
Than concrete stairs (It is pleasant to look to the hills)
to Alma Mock Yen's bee-shaped A.B.C. the Humble Bee:
Hurray you've graduated! And just what makes
me carry on, delivering all I have for
peppercorn and disregard Maybe I
should have learnt to drive a cab
and bargain: blast you with
my horn. Cabbies have an
arrogance I envy. Steel
it seems, serves people
better than devotion,
to Dennis Scott's award-winning,
something glitters She is waiting.
She sings from her open cage.
Each note snaps another rose.
(At that frail and absent evening house)
But if 'mainstream' (20%) were added to the 'sentimental',
'patriotic', 'nature' and 'religious' poems (this last category being
surprisingly sparse), we would arrive at a figure of about 46% for
this style and orientation: which seems to us to be a fair repre-
sentation of poetic taste and tendency in Jamaica at the moment.
And yet it was this mainstream verse that suffered the heaviest
"Rise!" the chieftainess commanded,
"See your priestess single-handed
Rend these rude, red-coated rascals
Ere they reach our sacred portals.
(C.L.G. Harris: The Boiling Cauldron)
I watched the Rose as a bud,
Enclosed and all protected;
Sheltered from the world outside
From all the hate and envy.
I watched the Red Rose slowly bloom,
In its red beauty and splendour,
And like a babe just from the womb
No scar it's soul dismember.
(Downette Smith: Innocence and Experience)
Only 6.6% of the poems submitted were in dialect; and only
two, Lawd Jesus by Jean Small, and Dennis Scott's Construction
reached a standard high enough to be seriously considered. On
the whole, I found the poems in this category surprisingly forced
and/or false. Signs of fashionability; but little gut of experience.
In Norma Hamilotn's poems, there was the sense of pushing the
syllables too hard.
Let me in gal, let me, let me in, let me in
open up yuself mek wi cling togedda
let me in gal, let me in, let me in, inna you
an mek wi twis an swim inna one roaring sea
mek wi drowned out di evil
a dis.strange Kingston lan
wid all di hot-hot-hotness'a wi love
come along gal, come on, mek wi
mingle-mingle-mingle wi flesh
an bill up togedda a brite new worl
out a wi hot new love (Let me in gal)
while Norma Hamilton often didn't have enough to 'say':
Di road narra an steep sistas
di road to damnation
is a wide-wide road
wid good asphalt to snare you
di righteous but di road
di road a righteousness
is a steep-steep road
is a narra-narra road
(Di Road Narra and Steep)
Mervyn Morris fell into stereotyped dialect-jingle with:
My dear, dese people always bawlin'
how deir life is hard
but you want to know how much dem charge me
jus' to cut mi yard!
An'even w'en de men don't work
de women breedin' still,
an' is de suffering' middle class
dat have to fit de bill,
Jean Small's Lawd Jesus, on the other hand, totally without
prevention, if not always accurate of ear, dramatizes its subject
matter with assurance:
She gi me uniform
She gi me cap
Ah feeling good
Wuk don look hard
Four pickney pon me she drop
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
She gone to wuk
Me tek me nap
De children bawl
Me lock demn up
Me youngman come
'Im love me up
From half past one till five o'clock
Lawd Jesus, me tired yah!
(Jean Small: Lawd Jesus)
The strange ones walk our streets
or stand on comers
stiff and branched as coral.
At nights, burdened like House John Canoe,
they seak the piazzas
and mumblingly arrange the brown scraps of their lives
troubled by a snapped stool of gold
(They had no eyes, and we led them not;
No hands, and we turned aside.)
"Me alone, in this wilderness
Me alone... deep deep down here!"
(Margaret A. Berna: Strange Ones)
Many poems, although in general quite 'good'; were marred
from the all-star cast by defects of texture, weak endings, or
unconvincing rhythm. In Untitled by X, already quoted, for
instance, you will note the very lifeless Patience and laughter/
Tears, thrills and money' in lines 9-10. This in itself wasn't too
bad; but the poem failed to save itself (in fact, destroyed itself)
with its punch (drunk) last line:
Contrary to current belief, there were very few poems about
race and colour Black Powa. Only a total of 12 in fact (3.3%);
some of which were critical of the new ideology:
Mista Black Powa leeda
Widyu 'i class
An yu tun co-la
Tell me please sah
ow a must knowyu sah
Fram all di wolf an beas dem sah
Upon di.day a reckoning?
Wat will be di mark
Di mark pon yu forehead
To mek mi pass ova yu
Upon di day a reckoning?
Yu brown pickney?
Yu brown/white wife?
(Norma Hamilton: A Question to all Black Powa Leedas)
Nor was there anything overtly 'political' or 'protest'. On the
other hand, a good 30% of all this year's poems were directly
concerned, in one style or another, with social problems:
Cars, swimming pools
Wines and fine liquors,
Real estate, progeny,
Hell and security;
Patience and laughter,
Tears, thrills and money,
Burning on New Year's eves,
Climaxes, housewarmings, trips, second chances -
Sure, you had everything
we waited three weeks
and thought of the abortion
and the money
the hospital bill and
if our friends ever found out
at the end of three weeks
great clods of blood and things
(John Braham: Human Being)
Sure, you had everything
All that I
Gave you. Me,
The big spender.
Just one, small item
Totally foreign from my upbringing
I could not give you.
Nobody gave me
So settle for Style,
[very poor E.B.]
Dignity. [! E.B.]
In another mode, Farica-I's All praises be to reggay, did not seem
to have that blood beat of the earth-music that the sound-systems
Reggay, reggay, reggay, reggay, reggay!
Reggay, reggay, reggay, reggay, reggay!
Reggay mi blackness
Reggay mi starvation wage
Reggay mi mine
Rise up an fly
Grung ding di bady.
Bady an soul in trance [?] *
Gone pun lang journey
and Kenneth Maxwell's Mandeville (Certificate of Merit) would
have done better if it had exhibited more wit and craft. It could
be worked on a great deal more.
Of all the competitors, the work of Olive Senior was perhaps
most 'interesting'. It certainly suggested the greatest capacity for
growth. On first reading deceptively simple, they repay repeated
reading. Here is a metaphysical mind at work:
This is the only way for the mind
to wander: firmly balanced against the hoe
rooted in the earth, grounded
in the province of my fields.
Halfblue childhood shocks but these
didn't matter. 411A roads led outwards
and Home was Mother.
Then afternoons went dark, Hunger
became Brother, the hazy future
shadowed the roads, Failure was Father.
In general, however, there needs to be more careful tightening
of this work. Dennis Scott and Mervyn Morris, on the other hand,
were watchful of craft; they produced art/products par excellence.
Morris' limitation towards the jingle (e.g. Housewife) has already
been mentioned. Case-History, Jamaica and Out of the Shadow
bear this out, although they are more self-consciously 'verse' and
are redeemed by a certain twist of wit:
The finger tightened on the trigger.
And suddenly, along the dark
gun-muzzle whoosh! a full balloon
came rushing, rainbow-bright!
So that was not the end. And soon
the awkward figure melted out of sight.
(Out of the Shadow)
With Scott the doubtfulness of rainbow-bright and melted out
of sight does not occur. An enigmatic stare gives very little away.
There is control, and the voice of the poet is finely textured and
most carefully wrought.
The poet is speaking.
The window reflects his face.
A bird crawls out of the sun. Summoned
Its wings are like tar.
That is because it is very hot.
The poet sweats too.
There is a beak at the back of his throat -
The poem is difficult,
his tongue bleeds.
That is because the bird is not really
Clap a little.
(Bird of Passage)
Gold medals = form = passion = commitment
(Muse = Life = Language)
I should also like to mention the following whose work
exhibited energy and outlines of promise:
Basil Wilson, Norma Hamilton, Trevor Burrowes, John Braham
and Margaret A. Berna (for most of Strange Ones).
The Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael Manley, left, and Mrs. Manley, read poetry exhibits at the Literary Exhibition of
Festival 10 at the Kingston and St. Andrew Library headquarters Tom Redcam Drive. Looking on is Mr. Neville Dawes,
Chairman of the Literary Committee of the Jamaica Festival Commission.
Jetro" CRAFT EXHIBITION
NEEDLEWORK, Map of Jamaica by M. MUNROE GOLD MEDAL
P Dragon and Lion
by WILLIAM DENTON
JEWELLERY, Diamond Ring by LEONARD MORGAN GOLD MEDAL
King Size Bed in Mahogony
by MODERN FURNISHING COMPANY
CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
POTTERY, Cat Vase in Clay Glaze by SHORTWOOD COLLEGE
POTTERY, Ceramic Jar by S. BOWERS
SHORT STORY ADULTS
MOONRISE CHARLES MILLS
The hut has obviously been abandoned for years now. Left to
the wind and rain, it sags ever closer to the ground from which it
was once raised. Eventually the hillside will reclaim its own.
Towards that day the walls fold, the floorboards rot and the roof
leaks. Dark puddles of water accumulate in the corners and grass
and weeds push their way up through the floor.
To all this I am indifferent. I sit on the weathered steps and
look at the city in the plain below. It is night and the city is a
constellation of colours. Whites, yellows, blues and reds burn
against the darkness. The others stay in one place. But the reds
flicker. The reds move. Now they are here, now they are gone,
now they have reappeared over there. The reds are fires. In the
morning, as on all the other past mornings, a thick pall of smoke
will hang over the city.
And I am here waiting, waiting for my time to come.
Why am I doing this? Listen, and I will tell you. Listen to this
strange and extravagant tale.
It goes back a long way, of course, like all these stories.
Centuries and more. But I think I could start with the moan. The
moan had woken me up, a low-pitched, infinitely mournful sound
that came twice again while I was still trying fuzzily to separate
dream from reality. Shaking my head, I sat up in a tangle of
bedclothes. A full moon was shining through the window, invest-
ing everything in the room with a calm, unnatural luminosity.
Shivering slightly, I strained my ears towards the main body of
the house. There were only the creaks and groans of the building
shifting restlessly about on its foundations. Then the sound
returned, now on a louder, more insistent note. With an
involuntary start of fright, I recognized my father's voice.
What is he doing now? I cowered against the wall, trembling
-ly apprehensive. I was thirteen years old and terrified of my
father. Heart pounding, I waited frozenly for the procession of
the slow, heavy footsteps towards my door.
It sometimes seemed as if I had been waiting for them all my
life. My father was a silent, brooding man, a man whom the world
had mis-used. He had returned triumphantly from England in the
postwar years, prosperous, and with an English wife. He had
rapidly obtained control of a thriving local business and begun
plans for its expansion. Everything had seemed to be going his
way. Then somehow it had all collapsed. My mother had left him,
for reasons that were never made clear to me. The business had
suffered a setback which had been enlarged to disaster by his
resulting distraction. And suddenly my father found himself
forced to sell the mansion and change his whole way of life. We
had to move to the ramshackle old two-storey house in its decay-
ing neighbourhood that was all that remained of the family
So he retreated into a private world, a world that could not be
touched by the sordidness of his surroundings. I was forbidden to
play with any of the neighbourhood children. While I do not even
think he saw them, nor their brawling, noisy parents, our neigh-
bours, who jeered when he passed in the street. All he lived for
each day was the hour when he could return to his library, there
to forget himself in one or other of the dozens of cheap Everyman
editions that made up his treasured collection of the English
Classics. And, as I later discovered, to write poetry.
For my father was a poet and this was why he beat me. I did
not recognize this terrible connection until I was ten. Up to that
time all I knew was that the postman would come, bearing a long,
thick air-mail envelope. There would be an interval of about ten
minutes. Then the frightening tread up the stairs would begin and
my father would be standing there, his black face remote and
inaccessible, the strap twitched slightly in his hands. Sometimes I
would beg him to tell me why. Sometimes I would steel myself
to an equal silence. But it made no difference. No matter what I
did, the strap descended with the same merciless power.
Till one day, driven mad by desperation, I intercepted the
postman, tore open the envelope and found myself the baffled
possessor of a two-page poem on the beauties of "A Winter's
Night in London".
It had been rejected, like all the other poems I intercepted and
clandestinely burnt in those crazy years. They were all similar in
content "Trafalgar Square Revisited" and "A Caribbean Othello"
are two other titles that stick in my mind; they were all sent to
magazines with London addresses; they were all, as even I could
tell, very bad; and they were all sent back with neat, standardized
rejection slips that did not even have a human hand on them to
soften the blow.
But what can it have to do with me? I asked myself in terror,
when I had first recovered from the shock. What?
And always as I circled the room wildly, looking for an answer,
there was no reply but the steps themselves, coming up the stair-
case, telling me that another letter had slipped through.
And now these moans. What did they mean? Fearfully, I
waited. But the minutes went by and I heard no footsteps.
Gaining a little courage, I slipped out of bed and tiptoed nervously
out to the landing. The bedroom light was on, but he was not in
there. I listened in the darkness. The sound that floated up to me
seemed to come from the downstairs bathroom.
I descended the stairs. Timidly, I knocked on the door.
His voice was low. "Is that you, Leo?"
I told him yes.
"Well, listen to me good, boy." In a calm tone, my father told
me that he saw no further point in living and so had decided to kill
himself with the .38 revolver that he kept in the bathroom cabinet
to discourage thieves. However, he thought it was only proper
that I should be informed beforehand of this decision, hence he
was doing so.
I listened with horrified disbelief. It could not be true. But my
father was completely matter-of-fact about it. Crying unashamed-
ly, I went into a frenzy of incoherent pleas. I beat on the door. I
wrenched the door-handle fruitlessly back and forth. Eventually
sheer exhaustion brought me to a halt. As I lay sobbing against
the door, my father said something in an odd, far-away voice.
"Perhaps. there is one thing you can do. On my desk there
is a new poem. If you could... read it to me.. ."
If I could? I was ready to do anything. I rushed into the
library and grabbed the sheets there off the desk. Running back,
I began to read hurriedly, stumbling over words I had never seen
"And where now, then, thou
0 great ship that listed
Through the savage waves enow
To carry the lion to far shores misted."
After the first five verses I paused for breath.
"I can't hear you!" came my father's shout through the door.
I was puzzled by this. We had been hearing each other quite easily
before. But there was no time to question anything. I flew to the
back-door, unlatched it and ran out into the yard. In the moon-
light it looked strange and dreamlike, the dark bulks of the trees
towering above, the ground bleached beneath my feet. A peculiar
sense of peace descended on me. For suddenly I felt that I too
was a part of this hallucinatory landscape. A pyjama-clad ghost,
drifting across . I stubbed my toe on a tree-root and was
brought back to reality. Halting, I looked at the papers in my
hand, seeing them truly for the first time. What was I really doing
here? Had I begun to accept this sort of madness?
Then my father called again. I hurried to a spot beneath the
bathroom window and went on reciting. But my brief moment of
oneness had passed. I was self-conscious and agitated. Why in
God's name was he making me do this? And the night was so still.
"Is wha a go on down deh so?"
I looked up. My cheeks began to burn with embarrassment. A
startled woman, head covered in curlers, was staring at us through
the window of an adjacent house. In a frenzy to have it over and
done with, I began to read faster and faster, skipping whole verses,
gabbling lines together. I finished in a jumble of unintelligible
words. "That's all," I whispered thankfully through the window.
There was no answer from within. "That's all!" I repeated
desperately. A noisy fumbling at the medicine cabinet door
commenced. I wanted to scream with frustration. Numbly, I
started over. By now the audience had grown to a sizeable crowd
of men, women and small children, all shouting encouragement
from the fence. The full moon shone down brightly on us all.
Why, I asked myself in my innocence, why are we doing this?
Because it was all wrong and nobody would admit it. The
years went by in the same unrelenting confusion. I grew up. I
won a scholarship. My father told me I was going to Oxford or
Cambridge. I told him I was going to the University of the West
Indies. It was the first time I had opposed him and for several
days he was too stunned to speak. Before he could recover I had
packed my bags and fled up to the Mona campus. It was there
that my awakening to the realities of the other world first took
I had been peripherally aware of it for a long time, of course. I
had always vaguely realized that not everybody lived as we'did.
But most of the fragments I picked up from conversations
overheard in the street, from casual references made at school -
were so completely discordant with my own experience of life
that I had automatically rejected them. I was a solitary child,
with an experience sharply curtailed by my father. I listened to
him on the rare occasions he spoke, I read his books, I read the
Gleaner. And none of these prepared me for what I saw: for the
cardboard shacks, festering in the sun, for the people scavenging
through the garbage heaps for food, for the stench of rot and decay
that hung over everything, for the naked, pot-bellied children who
were slowly dying of malnutrition, and above all for the common-
place, accepted barbarity of the police. It had been there all the
time and I had never seen it. Yet everybody else seemed to take
it for granted.
"But none of it ... shows," I said stupidly. That was what
had affected me most of all, the idea that this sub-world could
have been in existence all my life without there being the slightest
indication of its presence on the radio, television or newspapers.
I was trying to explain this to a medical student named McIntyre,
one of the leaders of the campus movement which had arranged
the tour. He tended to be more tolerant of my ignorance than the
others, probably because his own history was not all that dissimilar.
The son of a wealthy insurance executive, he had dropped out of
his Beverley Hills home after coming to the university and was now
living with a woman in August Town. His renunciation had been
total, extending to the way he spoke.
"What show on de surface an' what dem seh doan 'ave anything
to do wit' reality, yuh know. But it dere if yuh know whe fe
look." He gave me a yellowing collection of newspaper cuttings.
They were Star stories for the last three years, covering the shoot-
ing of criminals by police. "De criminal always shoot fust, yuh
know. Sometime count up fe me how many criminal dead. An'
how many policeman even wound."
I did. The statistics were frightening.
That weekend I went home to have a confrontation with my
father. I was confidently angry, determined that he should now
give me a complete explanation of everything. Without ceremony,
I thrust McIntyre's collection at him. He seemed taken aback.
"What... is this?"
I wondered why he still bothered with the pose of ignorance.
In a few brief words I explained the situation, then sat back and
waited. But still he pretended not to understand. I began to grow
"But what do you want me to say? A few criminals have been
killed. Would you prefer that the police were killed? And what
does it have to do with me?"
I told myself that he was mocking me, deliberately missing the
point. He must know that it was really his poetry I was asking
about. And yet I could feel my conviction beginning to wither
away. Was I on the wrong track?
"Your hair is getting too long."
I mumbled something about an assignment to finish and rushed
back to campus.
But I could not turn back now. I joined the movement. I
knew the extent of my naivety and so I laboured to educate
myself. Sometimes McIntyre would talk to me about the things
I had seen. He would ask me how I thought they could be
"The election?"' I asked tentatively, for this was an election
year. "Suppose get in?" But McIntyre snorted contemptuously.
"If dem get in den yuh jus' 'ave a new set of samfie-man. Yuh
see any change in dis country since 1944?"
"A third party, then?" I was trying hard to understand, to ask
questions that were intelligent.
"Dat better," he encouraged me. "But t'ird party crash plenty
time before. Who yuh gwine get fe lead it?"
This question threw me completely. I could only hazard a wild
McIntyre turned away in despair. Obviously I still had a long
way to go.
Over the next few months I worked doubly hard in the move-
Then one night at about ten o'clock McIntyre came to my
I could see he didn't want to talk. He gestured and I followed
him silently down to the hall parking lot. We drove down to
Goerge VI Park, stopping on East Race Course. McIntyre expelled
his breath in a low whistle. He turned to me. "Yuh 'member
what we did talk 'bout once, Leo? Bout de t'ird party?"
I nodded eagerly.
"Well we come 'ere fe get de leader of de party."
"Here?" I looked blankly at him, then round at the deserted
streets, expecting someone to spring suddenly out of the darkness.
Marcus Garvey. I felt myself reel backwards in the seat, as
from a physical blow. It was happening again. And I had thought
I was making progress .. "But Garvey is dead," I said gingerly.
"We goin' to bring him back," replied McIntyre simply. "Yuh
doan see, Leo? Dis is de only way fe beat dem, to bring back a
man who we know de people will follow, an' at de same time a
man who we know not gwine sell we out." His face came closer.
"Is a long time ah been working on it, yuh know. All ah did want
was a book like dis fe de final detail dem." He held up a mildewed
leather volume. "Obeah. A frien' smuggle it een fe me."
It was ajoke, I thought bitterly. Or some sort of test. I looked
accusingly at McIntyre, waiting for him to admit it. But the car
was silent. McIntyre stared back at me. In the pale light his eyes
were growing impatient. He was serious, I realized slowly, as a
hollow sensation began ballooning upwards from my stomach. He
was serious about this. And he was impatient with me, impatient
that I was so slow to understand.
Suddenly I was reminded of something. I looked up and
shrank back from the face of the full moon, rising above the trees.
So it was here too. Was that part of the answer? I thought back
to other nights, other lunacies.
I got out of the car.
Carrying the pick-axes, we walked over to the shrine. We
unearthed the casket at about two-thirty. Then McIntyre motioned
me away and I obeyed mutely, stumbling through the piles of
broken concrete. I sat down on one of the remaining points of
star and rested my head in my hands, too weary to think. Out of
the corners of my eyes I could see McIntyre movingritualistically
about the casket.
Then there was a flash and the earth sighed. I fell to the ground.
Vaguely against my ear I caught a disappearing rumble of drums.
For a moment I blacked out.
Then McIntyre was bending over me. And there was another
figure, silhouetted against the sky.
We took him back to the yard in August Town. At first he was
like a man in a trance, unable to speak or to understand anything.
But McIntyre's woman brewed a pot of coffee and McIntyre talked
patiently to him and gradually he began to come round. By dawn
he was weakly asking for breakfast. The two of them rushed to
prepare it for him, both grinning like lunatics. They hardly heard
me when I said I had to go.
1 went back to my room in hall and sat on my bed. I felt I
should try to think about what we had done, to work out all the
implications. But in the middle of framing my first question I fell
The story broke the next day:
Thousands flock to August Town to see miracle
There was a picture of Garvey in the middle of a cheering
crowd. McIntyre's exultant face was somewhere in the back-
Then it all began. The radio and television interviews. The
editorials. The newspaper columns. The telegrams of congra-
tulation. The invitations to address meetings and open functions.
All against the rising tumult of the people's jubilation. It should
have been perfect: everything we had ever hoped for. But some-
thing was wrong. Something kept nagging at me, something I
couldn't quite put a finger on. It was connected with what
McIntyre had said to me once. I kept searching through the news,
not knowing what I was looking for. Once or twice I tried to go
to the house in August Town to talk to him. But the crowds were
always too great.
Still I was uneasy. I seemed to be waiting for something,
something that didn't seem to be coming.
Then, one day -
"Security Police, eeh?" said McIntyre thoughtfully. "So is
wha dem do?"
"They told my father that they had a search warrant. That
they were looking for guns, ganja, subversive literature ... things
like that." I paused for breath. I had run most of the way here.
"Then they just went into his bedroom and started!"
"An' what dem find?"
I hesitated. "A folder ... of his poems."
I looked in growing dismay at him. What was wrong with
McIntyre? Didn't he realize how serious this was? Impatiently,
I told him the rest of the fantastic story my father had given me
on the phone: that the superintendent had read the first two
poems, apologised profusely to my father and immediately sent
the men away. That the two of them had then apparently spent
the rest of the evening drinking tea and reminiscing about life in
the mother country, where the superintendent had served some
time during the war. I didn't bother to mention my father's angry
demand to know what I had been doing that involved the police.
"So what are you going to do?" In spite of my efforts, my
voice had risen to a shout.
"So is wha yuh wan' me fe do?" he shouted back at me, seem-
ing to be as astonished at my agitation as I was at his lack of it.
"Ifdem come, dem come! Me cyan do nutten 'bout it! Might get
a few licks, but dat is all. De place clean." Suddenly he made a
step towards me, looking with amazement at my bewildered
expression. "Den wait ... Yuh didn' realize dem would come?
You mean yuh still -"
Abruptly he broke off. He stood motionless, listening to some-
thing. I listened too. A sudden uproar had broken out in the yard
below. Angry shouts were rising to the window.
With a sense of fatalism, I realized that the police had arrived.
"Well, dem come," McIntyre was saying briskly. He gave the
room a quick, sweeping glance. "Now jus' res' cool an' doan
bodder answer dem back." He looked swiftly around again, as if
reassuring himself. Then for the second time he seemed to freeze.
His face changed colour. "Lawd God," he whispered, staring at
the bookcase. Confused, I followed his gaze. "Me figet-"
A thunderous knocking began at the door.
I could see McIntyre take one desperate breath. He launched
himself across the bed and began to scrabble frantically at some-
thing in the bookcase.
"Hold him!" The door burst open. The room was full of
policemen. I was grabbed roughly and pinned against the wall. I
tried to look around and caught a glimpse of flailing limbs before
my head was wrenched back to the front. Sweating with fear, I
held myself rigid. The policemen were struggling with McIntyre.
I heard a sharp curse. Then a voice said, "So 'im bad? Jus' le me
- Mmmhm!" There was a characteristic, dull thok and the
struggling ceased. In the sudden silence somebody was panting
"All right. Check'dat one." The voice was more leisurely now.
As rough hands began to move down my body, I looked steadily
at a patch of peeling paint six inches before me, trying to control
my trembling. The book, I thought. It must be the obeah book.
But didn't McIntyre tell me he'd -? I was gripped by the
shoulders, my hands pinioned behind me and turned around.
"So you bringing subversive literature into the island," said a
stout man in khaki. He was leafing slowly through a book in his
hand. The superintendent, I thought emptily. I looked cautiously
around the room for McIntyre. He was propped up at the far end
of the room, a thin trickle of blood running down one temple. His
face was carefully blank.
"Yuh not answering me, boy?" There was menace in the tone
now. I looked helplessly from one to another of them. My mouth
felt like sandpaper. What in God's name did he expect me to say?
The book ... I glanced vacantly at it and then stopped breath-
ing. It was impossible.
I re-read the title. "Philosophy and Opinions of-"
"That's Garvey's book," I said incredulously. I felt like a
sleepwalker jerked awake. "Our National Hero. You were going
to arrest him for having Garvey's book." It was too absurd, too
unsurpassably ridiculous. I began to laugh, softly at first and then
hysterically. They stared uncomprehendingly at me. "You don't
understand?" I said harshly. I tried to get control of my voice.
"You don't understand? Mac! Explain it to them for me!" I
turned to him.
Then I stood rigid with shock.
McIntyre was staring at me with the same expression as the
"No," I heard a voice saying feebly. "No". But it sounded
far-away and unconnected with me. Just as everything else
suddenly started to become far-away. McIntyre smiling crookedly
at me, with sadness and a little pity in his face. The superintendent
gesturing and a man starting to move towards me. Then right after
that Mr. Garvey coming in and the superintendent beginning to
talk a lot and saluting and bowing and backing out of the room
with his men. And Mr. Garvey and Mclntyre laughing together.
And then a long time after that McIntyre came over to me and
put his hand on my shoulder.
"Me did t'ink you unnerstan' by now, Leo, man. Me really did
t'ink so. But yuh see even dem 'ave limits, yuh know? Even fe
dem, dem 'ave some t'ing dem cyan do."
I got up stiffly and went over to the window. I watched the
police car drive away.
It was to be the culminating event, the grand climax of the
most extraordinary month in the island's history. McIntyre was
everywhere at once, determined that each last detail should be
worked out to perfection. He spoke confidently to me, whenever
he had the time, of thirty thousand people. I listened without
enthusiasm. It seemed that I was never really going to understand
what was happening.
But he was wrong about the crowds. There must have been
fifty thousand people in and around the Stadium when I got there.
I managed to squeeze into the grandstand on a special pass he had
given me. By that time the fence around the cycle track had
been breached. People were being forced through to escape the
relentless pressure of the crowd outside, pouring in an ever-
increasing tide over the athletics track and on to the football field.
A sea of humanity spread over the ground.
Two hours before schedule Garvey suddenly appeared. A
swelling ocean's roar greeted him, a great booming sound that
went on and on, reverberating back and forth between the massed
banks of people.
Then'he raised his arms and in an instant there was silence.
He began to speak and from the beginning his control was
absolute. Poised at the centre of the huge bowl of light, he lifted
an arm and they were silent; he spoke a. sentence and they
hummed with approval; he shouted a question to the heavens
and they gave back a thunder of denial.
"- and so," he was saying, "after much consideration I have
decided to reform my party under the new name of the People's
Freedom Party, and do hereby announce my candidacy in the
Then the roar overtook him.
I woke up to the sound of somebody knocking. Groggily, I
pushed myself upright. My father again, with his poems... No,
that was a long time ago. Through bleary eyes, I registered the
familiar outlines of my room in hall. My head felt as though it
were enswathed in cotton wool.
I looked at my watch. Three o'clock in the morning. Just two
hours since I returned from the celebrations in the streets.
The knocking came louder. And now there was a girl's voice
"Leo! Leo! Wake up!"
I went to the door. It was McIntyre's woman. I caught one
glimpse of her face, irrevocably shattered like an old crystal. Then
she collapsed in my arms. Numbly, I listened to the fragmented
sentences: McIntyre shot by the police, Mr. Garvey arrested,
martial law about to be declared, a squad probably on their way
here by now...
"Mr. Garvey arrested?" I said stupidly. "But they can't ..."
My voice trailed off. Over her shoulder it stared at me, the brood-
ing silver face. A remote, chill light lay over us. And suddenly
all the pieces fitted together and for the first time I truly under-
stood. "Yes... Of course they can .. ."
She was sobbing. "Dem jus' shoot 'im, Leo ... Oh God, dem
jus' shoot 'im .."
"He didn't understand," I told her sadly. "He thought that
there was a place where they had to stop. That was what puzzled
me. Why he should believe that once they had started there
should be any limit at all. ." She went on crying, not hearing
me. Gently, I disengaged myself, telling her that I had to go now.
Through the tears she seemed to nod.
I knew what I had to do now. I dragged on some clothes and
ran up to the hospital, where taxis are parked all night. We drove
to a certain place, where I found something, then raced down
through the empty streets to my father's house. I let myself in
and went up to my room. In a few minutes I had packed an old
haversack with as many things as I thought I could carry. Hoisting
it over my shoulder, I started downstairs.
My father was standing half-way up the staircase. He had some
sheets of paper in his hand.
We stared at each other. In the silence I began to hear a faint
sound, growing rapidly louder as we stood there.
Before he could speak I said calmly, "Listen. Do you hear that
He hesitated, disconcerted by my manner. Halting on the stair,
he listened to the noise, which was now at our front gate. "It
sounds like a police siren," he said slowly.
"It is the police superintendent," I told him authoritatively.
"What do you think he's come for?"
He seemed to falter under my gaze, becoming even less sure of
himself. "To hear me read my poem?" I said nothing. "I
remember he was a cultured man." Abruptly he went into the
I unlatched the back door and stepped into the yard. As I
started towards the back fence my father's voice began to declaim
powerfully from the front verandah. I could hear the angry
voices of the police raised against his. But he only ignored them
and spoke louder. Suddenly a mocking sentence rang out. "But
dis man a try wuk obeah pon we!"
Simultaneously there was a shot. My father stopped in mid-
I dropped to the floor of the gully behind our yard and began
to run up it.
Now here I am, in the hut.
Here in the mountains time passes more slowly. The sun wheels
across the sky by day, the stars by night. There is time to think,
to meditate upon things in general. There is time to gain insight
into the workings of the universe.
There is also time to read and understand books, or rather one
book in particular.
For the moon has me now, as it has all those others. The moon
is in my blood, driving me on, making me a party to our common
insanity. And when the time comes for me to go down again into
the city they will recognize that I am one of them now, one who
has finally been initiated. Even in the moment that I gather the
people to say the words that will raise up those other dead, so
that they too can join our terrible game.
SHORT STORY ADULTS
SEE DEM COME
HAZEL D. CAMPBELL SIL VER MEDAL
The two old women sat at the table in the middle of the room,
working. There were piles of letters to be sorted, entered in a
book and filed.
Daphne came from a back room, walked over to the table and
took her seat. She wasn't anxious even to appear to be working.
So many stupid letters to be sorted and punched and then placed
on the hook in the big book. More letters in the letter box to be
stamped and taken to Post Office in the sun hot. Such a bother-
ation. Not worth the seven dollars a week, she thought.
One of the old women was speaking.
"The young, young boy. What a shame! Lawd! An you can
bet the parents never even know whey him de."
The other woman sighed and went on punching holes in the
"The young boy that get shot this morning," the first old
woman exclaimed, catching Daphne's eyes before she swiftly
"High school bwoy at that. Mam! If the police never reach in
time! The poor woman! God only know what them was gwine
Stupid woman, stupid old woman, Daphne thought. Why you
don't shut up. Maybe you'd like the young boy to be doing 'God
only know what' to you. Nobody would...
"Him dead?" the other woman interrupted Daphne's thoughts.
"No. Him in hospital. Have a seat sir," the first old woman
said to a man who had entered the building, asked for Mr. John
Ferron and been quietly waiting for an answer.
"A believe somebody in there wid him."
Can't even take the trouble to find out, Daphne thought. Them
supposed to be teaching she and that stupid girl Lena, all about
the job so them can tek over from them, but all them doing is
jealously guarding them job. Won't admit them too old to carry
"Hanover Street Baptist have one lovely service last night you
see," the other woman began her story.
Oh shut up! Oonu cant work without talk. Thank God the
man at the Embassy say that she would hear from them in another
month or so. Away from all this. America! Away from these
Bzzzz. A buzzer sounded.
The first old woman had gone to knock at Mr. John Ferron's
door to find out if he would see the man who was waiting.
"Him not there. Him soon come back. Wait a little," she said
in the direction of the client who had asked for him.
"Coming," she grumbled at the buzzer and looked meaningfully
at Daphne as she shuffled to the other door.
Daphne kissed her teeth and walked over to the clerk's desk to
pick up a pile of letters which she had to stamp and enter in the
A man and a woman entered.
"Is Mr. Ferron in?" the man asked.
"Mr. Paul or Mr. John?" the old woman at the desk asked.
"Oh! I didn't know there were two."
"Father and son," the old woman said proudly as if she was
responsible for this fact.
"P. L. Ferron."
"Mr. Paul. That's the father. Take a seat."
He was handsome, Daphne thought. And such a nice voice. A
pity men like him didn't look at her except for one thing. Them
look at her and see only a maid who only good to But she
gwine show them. Is only that she didn't get a chance. When her
mother died she had to leave school and work, but America next
month maybe. March the latest.
She wasn't no maid neither, not like them old crow. Them
two old crow. Start working with Ferron and Ferron for two
and six a week. Would believe is them mek the business grow if
you hear them talk. Talk, that's all them do. Baptist church
service.. Hanover Street Baptist Church. Wonder what else them
know pon Hanover Street.
Sighing wearily, Daphne took up the bundle of letters and
prepared to leave the room.
The first old woman rocked her way across the room.
"But Molly, you ever see anything like that Daphne? She hear
the buzzer and wouldn't even look up, much less answer it.
"She must be don't work with Ferron and Ferron. Don't you
know how dem young people stay dese days? Don't want work.
Short frock and money and boy fren."
"Who fa pile a things dis?"
"The girl from Casey's. She come in when you was talking to
"Oh. I was just gwine trow dem off. Come missis," she called
to the girl from Casey's who had just entered the room. "Move
you things mek me get on wid mi work."
"You can see how old the servants are," the man was saying
to the woman. "Many of these lawyers and solicitors find that it
doesn't pay them to move. They're so well established in a
particular spot. So they modernize the buildings as much as
possible and pass on business from generation to generation. See
how modern the facade is but notice how the old woodwork inside
has been preserved. Look at the hand-carving on those stairs.
Every where so cool and dim and musty with age. Look at the
panelling in this room. This must have been the hall."
"Can you imagine them?" his companion murmured drearily.
The family gathered, stern papa smoking in the corner. Maybe
he wouldn't have been smoking in the presence of the ladies all
crinolined and bonnetted. Did they wear bonnets in the house?
Maybe Louisa, all the girls were named Louisa weren't they? She
would be listening eagerly for the clip-clop of the horse on the
cobble stones which would mean that her lover, Mr. Bennett, no
Mr. Bennett sounds like an old man -.Mr. Bogle no he was a
runaway slave, right?
"You need to go back to school," he told her dryly. "You've
got no sense of history." He looked at her closely and wondered
again if he wasn't making a mistake rushing to divorce his wife to
Who him calling old servant. Why, they weren't servants at all,
not even office maids really. They didn't scrub floors or anything
like that. A little light dusting and carrying water for Mr. Paul
and Mr. John and look. how much paper work they had to do.
She couldn't even read the name on this envelope M 0 S E.
"Molly see if you can mek out dis name."
"Moore. Dat don't belong to Ferron and Ferron. Put it back
in the letter-box. That young boy won't even read the envelope
"Maybe him can't read."
"Post-man can't read? Missis... Tek a seat mam. All dese
people before you."
Daphne came back into the room with the pile of letters in her
hand. Some were to be delivered by hand. She had to be careful.
As she reached for the satchel in which she carried them her hand
bounced over the INFORMATION sign.
Information! Christ! These old crow couldn't tell nobody
nothing except'bout Hanover Street Baptist church and who dead
and bury and in hospital. Look how that Jane face light up when
she see the one-arm woman come into the room. She bound to
ask her how it happen.
Old crow, John crow, Jane Crow, Molly Crow.
"Daphne why you don't hurry up? You should go to Post an
come back already."
"Miss Jones was talking to me," Daphne answered sullenly.
Show off. For the benefit of the clients. They expect her to
call them Miss, too. To show respect. But she wouldn't call them
anything. She wouldn't call their names at all. Miss Jane Crow,
Miss Molly Crow. Look at them looking at the one-arm woman.
See de carrion eaters come. See dem come, dum, dum. That
was poetry. Yes like that poetry her Rasta boy-friend tek her to
hear the other night at the library. He like things like that. Could
talk plenty'bout it and sometimes him talk like him reading poetry
too. Maybe when she went to America she would go to school,
night school. Plenty opportunity in America.
Daphne placed her satchel under her arm and walked out
through the door.
"I wonder why that young woman looks so angry," the man
"Maybe Mr. Bogle didn't come. There wasn't any clip-clop on
cobble-stones, nor gentle knocking at the door," his companion
answered, still dreaming.
SHORT STORY ADULTS
NORMA HAMILTON SIL VER MEDAL
Mr. Shaw fretration about him future now dat di war over
prove unnecessary. Whole heap a new job open up ina Jamaica.
Him find himself wid more money dan him never did have ina him
whole life. Him decide to go ina business, open up a hardware
store. Di business doing well. Him stop wuk fi people an when
him not looking after di business him doing real estate. Real
Estate big-big in Jamaica now dat some black people a-get money
enough fi buy house. Mr. Shaw him boasty like cock chicken.
Him buy two car. One big one fi show an one little one fi do him
business wid. Him buy a refrigerator, di fus one ina Clacton. Him
buy electric stove. Him put telephone ina him house.
Mrs. Shaw boast off pon di woodman, "I won't be needing
wood any more. My husband bought me an electric stove." And
pon di ice-man, "Don't bother to drop any more ice. We have a
refrigerator now." Both a dem gie Mrs. Shaw bad looks and wen
di electricity cut off, which happen at least once a month widout
warning, dem would never sell Mrs. Shaw any a dem products.
Dem cuss her off di fus time she ask dem.
"Gosuse yu fridge," di ice-man tell her. "A would never sell
yu a piece a ice even if yu was dropping dung from tirst. A was
a-set fi yu people wid unoo fridge for me know say that electricity
not a constant ting ina Jamaica."
"Those people too ignorant," Mrs. Shaw say. "Ignorant and
bad-mind. That's why Chinee do better than Nayga anyday."
One of Mr. Shaw's favourite occupations was to take the family
for drives round Clacton in him new American big car. Him
always a-drive roun Clacton slow-slow, so mek sure dat all di
neighbours can see him ina di car. Is one ting dat not Mr. Shaw
line, an dat is driving motor-car. Him always a-drive di little car
ina di middle road an di Merican car pon di right han' side a di
road instead of pon di lef. Dere was scarcely a day dat Mr. Shaw
an di oder drivers pon di road not in a big argument. Him wife
nag him everytime she go driving wid him. She tink is her duty
to warn him against all dangers, real an imagine. Dis annoy di hell
outa Mr. Shaw.
"I been driving 20 years now an never in accident yet," was
him favourite reply to her.
Sandra was sprawling her long-self pon her green-tile verandah
pon her birthday wen Mr. Shaw hustle from out di drawing-room
an say to her,
"Yu waan go fi a birthday drive Miss Sandra?"
She jump up quick-quick an say, "Yes Papa."
Mr. Shaw hustle back ina di drawing-room an shout out at Mrs.
Shaw, "Yu waan go fi a drive Miss Marina?"
Mrs. Shaw hesitate. Sandra could see dat she was a-consider
if she should stay at home an be bore an go wid Mr. Shaw an
suffer from too much excitement.
"I gwine buy ice-cream an patty on di way back," Mr. Shaw
tell her. Mrs. Shaw still no answer so him get vex so kiss him teet.
"Yu never waan go nowhere yet. Yu-is a pain."
"Allright," Mrs. Shaw say. She know say dat Mr. Shaw a-go
mek her life miserable if she refuse fi go.
"Where di boys?" Mr. Shaw ask.
"Dem down the road playing cricket," Sandra say.
"Mek dem stan. A doan have no time to waste pon dem. Go
dress quick-quick Miss Sandra."
Mr. Shaw sidung in di drawing room an wait bout five minutes.
Him get up, walk out pon di front veranda, walk back inside di
drawing-room an shout,
"Yu ready, Miss Marina?"
"Don't rush mi,Howard," Mrs. Shaw say.
"A was ongly asking if yu ready, puss."
"If you going start rushing me just let me know and I won't
bother with it."
"But who was rushing you,puss?"
"You rush all your workmen until they don't even have time
to blink them eye and when you come home, you trying to do
the same thing in you house."
Mr. Shaw sigh and sit down for another five minutes then him
say to Sandra, "Miss Sandra, you not ready yet?"
"Coming,Papa," Sandra answer.
"Stop coming and come, madam," Mr. Shaw say. Sandra done
dressing and Mr. Shaw tell her to go sit in the small car. Him get
ina di car too an start blow di horn.
"What's the matter with this man,eh?" Mrs. Shaw ask.
"Come on," Mr. Shaw say. "Miss Sandra an me ready."
"Jesus Christ," Mrs. Shaw say. Then when she realise what she
just say, she say, "Yu see how yu making me sin mi soul?"
Them continue sparring like dat fi'bout ten minutes after which
Mrs. Shaw come out so sit in di front seat a di car beside her
husband Mr. Shaw start driving di car an since is di small car him
driving Mrs. Shaw say to him. "Yu driving in di middle of di road,
"Stop nagging me, Miss Marina."
Mr. Shaw kiss him teeth.
"Stop! Yu going hit dat car!"
Mr. Shaw slam him brakes hard an it gie off a loud screech an
stop near-near a car dat fly past him cross di road. Di car driving
behine Mr. Shaw almost run ina him car-back.
"Yu see how yu mek dat car almost smash up mi back, Miss
"But if yu didn't stop yu would have hit the other car."
"Twas my right of way. Who tell him could try beat mi to it?
Would have serve him bloody right if a mash up him car."
Mr. Shaw see one of him friends crossing di street so him rest
Mrs. Shaw. Him drive up near di man an bawl out,
"Obie, yu son of a bitch, come ya."
"Mr. Shaw!" exclaim Mrs. Shaw. "Don't you dare swear in front
of your girl-chile." But Mr. Shaw was not the only person swear-
ing. All the people who driving back a'him cussing like hell and
blowing dem horn. Mr. Shaw ignore dem. Him get out of him car
slow-slow an lean on di car-side so talk to Obie. Di people get
tired a cussing an'drive off. Den Sandra see one American
monstrosity of a car a sweep dung pon her. Mrs. Shaw see it too
an fe her face tun chalkwite. Mr. Shaw don't bat an eye-lid. Just
wen Sandra sure di car gwine smash dem an she clutching her
rosary, trying to pray an tink'bout all di bad tings dem dat she
ever do ina her life, di monstrosity car-brakes screech.and she feel
di car she ina jerk an she see dat di monstrosity stop so close dat
it touch di car bumper.
One good-looking black man wid a cool-cool complexion jump
fram outa di monstrosity. Him shirt immaculate-white an di crease
ina him pants dem razor sharp. Him shoes shine till yu can see yu
face ina dem. Him look like one a dem big-shot civil servant man
who walk roun wid towel an always washing dem hands an talking
wid Oxford accent wen poor black people a look service. Di way
di time hot him must bathe,bout three time a day fi look so cool.
"You are creating a traffic hazard," him say to Mr. Shaw.
"Mind yu bloody business," Mr. Shaw tell him. "A should sue
yu fe dent mi bumper."
"Look,old chap, my car measures 22 ft, how much does that
little bug of yours measure?"
Mr. Shaw open him out an not a soun come outa it. Him
speechless at di outrage a smady outbraggadocioing him. Him so
shock dat him low di man fi tek out pipe an light i' an start smoke
i' before him get back him composture. Him den decide say di
best course is fi ignore di man and gwan talk to Obie.
"Here's my card," the man say. (Him card prove dat him is a
solicitor and have him business address on it) "I'd like to have
your business card if somebody like you can own a business."
"The only time you will ever see the money I mek is when you
see it write dung pon paper," Mr. Shaw tell him. Obie bid Mr.
Shaw goodbye and lef so Mr. Shaw have no oder alternative but to
concentrate pon di facety man.
"Your name an address so I can sue yu sir," di man tell Mr.
Shaw. Mr. Shaw gwan ina him car an slam di door. Him start up
"Your name and address please, sire," say di man agerf. Mr.
Shaw say to him.
"Stan dey in front a mi car, yu ugly black monkey yu. Stan
dey front a mi car see if a doan mash yu."
Di man tek out pad an pencil an start copy dung Mr. Shaw
license number. Mr. Shaw aim him car at di man an start drive.
Di man continue writing. Mrs. Shaw a-beg Mr. Shaw fi stop drive
di car an acting like a fool. "Howard," she bawling out. "Howard.
Stop. Stop. Stop, I say." Di man leap outa di way just wen she
an Sandra sure dat Mr. Shaw done mash him. Him leap faster
dan any acrobat. Mr. Shaw laugh,
"Tink him wouldn't move. Di man fool."
Di man start cussing Mr. Shaw some real ole raw-chaw Jamaica
bad-wod dem an him Oxford accent gone like kite. Mr. Shaw
speed off lef him.
"Yu hear di langugue him usingMiss Marina? Him lose him
Mrs. Shaw say, "One of these days you going get yourself in bad
trouble, Howard Shaw. Just mark my words."
Mr. Shaw start drive fast-fast and then slow down all of a
sudden an then again without warning him start up a fast driving.
"Drive at a even pace,Howard."
"Look here, Miss Marina, if yu say one more wod 'bout mi
driving a going put yu out di car."
"Awright. I won't say another word. You too rude and crude.
Not even if I see death coming will I say a word to warn yu'bout
it an have yu insult mi wid yu sharp tongue."
Mrs. Shaw swallow her spit hard an roll her pretty eye to
heaven for strength to bear her up under her great burden. Mr.
Shaw look ina him rear-view mirror an notice one car a follow him
"Wat dat woman a-stick onto mi tail for?" him ask an start
drive fast-fast. Di woman drive fast-fast too. Him slow dung. Di
woman behine him slow dung too. When Mr. Shaw reach one stop-
an go sign she draw alongside him so push out her head fram her
car an say to him,
"You damn fool. You must have bought your license."
"Damn woman driver," Mr. Shaw say to her as if dat is enough
of a curse an should shut her up. But di woman doan tink so for
she her mout still strong.
"Stupid goat," she call out to Mr. Shaw an wid dat song she
speed off ina cloud a dust. But she mek a big mistake if she tink
Mr. Shaw gwine mek her get di las wod even though she is a
woman. Him follow her,man. Him follow her all over Kingston
still him ketch up wid her.
"Gwey," him tell her. "Yu ugly ting yu. If ugliness was a
crime yu would have been hang long time." Di poor woman tun
grey unda her tan colour skin and gasp ...
"Oh God. It was a evil day when all sort of riff-raff Jamaicans
like you start earning enough money to buy car."
"Look pon yu how yu dry an wizen. All di substance gone
from yu. No man no wan't yu, yu dry-up ole bag," him tell her
an lef her wid eye-wata a drop fram her yeye. Mrs. Shaw was a-
hide her face ina shame but Mr. Howard Shaw a-drive in a cloud
of triumph for him know is not a easy ting fi out-argue an silence
a woman. Him start sing. Him sing till him reach St. Andrew an
come out so look pon di house dem dere an di lights a Kingston
a twinkle below him an him can hardly see di sea.
SHORT STORY ADULTS
TREVOR FEARON BRONZE MEDAL
The wheels spun into each other melted at the edges became
sinuous waves bowing and lifting from all edges of infinity they
spun into exotic blossoms lengthened and became maypole
ribbons. Then a thought, transparent and mutable floated sky-
wards and faded away Holy Mama I stared.
Then I was roller-skating within darkness in a shrouded alley
my feet as light as my mind, cutting circles, all concepts of
regularity: A cynical Machiavellian devil brooding over centuries
of his unrecognition appeared, staring at me coldly. Inexplicably
my speed quickened. He danced before me, danced through me
in a distant manner. Like a bored jester he revealed tricks from
the darkness of his cape, cold facts before an audience that
promised no recognition. I pursued him, hating him, fearing him.
His eyes receded into darkness. He bent himself and lifted a
manhole cover from the ground. Flames dashed free, and
illuminated his face: streaks of light and darkness, reds and
yellows painted his face with harsh but loving fingers. I evaded
the flames easily, but now with fantastic feet he reveals fires, evil
fires; covers vanish with a snap of his fingers: dashing here and
there he creates an inferno. To survive I was forced into an angle
of impossible horizontality.
The awkward stile leading off the University grounds was
designed to make everyone passing through from inside out, feel
stupid. This action calls for a pivot to the right a half turn and a
step forward, a step to the left a step right and one is out. He
went through without reflecting on the absurdity. He passed the
Hospital wards where most of the shutters were closed.
An open window at the bottom right corner framed a wizened
female face. She was staring at him with unyielding intensity;
staring back he almost stumbled but did not avert his gaze. Per-
haps she sees something in me, he thought, that reminds her of
something from long ago. Perhaps she's just trying to fix herself.
Mama, just ask yourself, the how, the why, Jesus Christ the WHY
it has all come to this. He smiled. Then go on home and lecture
your children in wisdom. She was not the one to answer. She
was not staring at him in fact. He walked out of her sight and she
stared into nothing.
He too was fixed onto nothing the surge of anticipation at
the thought that he might find something to fill himself all that
had disappeared long ago along with the skittish dancing inside his
stomach. He stopped heavily, rubbing his palms across his face in
harsh motions, his eyes firmly screwed shut. Being, it seemed, was
leaving him in short gasps. He relaxed and breathed deeply. As
always anger evaporated away and passivity filled his lungs and
settled on his mind.
He ran his fingers in quick lateral movements against the
chicken-wire that was the barrier to the nurses' dwelling. The
Aquinas Center, he thought, looks like a sterile marsh duck.
The street lamps are on. Down the street they taper into air
illusion of air end. That in itself is magnetic enough to fascinate
me, but I have been tricked before. Most of its magic is gone,
leaving expectant hours of quivering lights. The traffic lights turn
red as I approach. I vaguely see a lightpost barefacedly compen-
sating for the lack of space at a withered street corner. I move
with the limpness that comes with the realization of failure.
Failure in discerning? More than that; a corroding failure that
was a damp sponge of inner sickness, soaking outward through my
pores. Green. Cars approach and dodge by me, staring slyly in
In truth the simple act of walking more and more assumes
credence as a reason to sneer. Now, I would prefer complete
darkness. But it is not that I look on darkness as a friend: I
prefer its acceptance, its ability to allow me fluidity without
necessity for embarrassing familiarity.
I consider nights, how I've probed into them, my antennae
unresponding. The only code I ever broke turned out to be aware-
ness. Here, God!, it was so easy to want to reach back, to vibrate
a chord on remembrance to launch an arrow into an introspinning
circle one I know would pierce me to the core. At such times I
would ask myself reasons for my exhilaration, why discoveries
seemed remembrances. Yet that Being could not last for long.
Every gesture, every sigh, every word and movement, seemed
etched against an uncertain relief. Piling, overlapping each other,
they stood in supreme indifference to my Being. The unreality
that is life ignored me completely or diffidently nudged me to a
transparent closet where my thoughts mushroomed and threatened
to suffocate me. The momentary exultation accompanying some-
thing new, the frenzied yet (as I like to think) rational plunging,
leads inevitably to the pathos I feel. Why is it inevitably the end
of both joy and anger?
Someone is whistling it disgusts me. Knowing I am being
unfair I question one's ability to whistle it looks so damned
pointless. There, I whispered, I had cornered it where, in any-
thing I was doing was there a point? Dust raised itself and ob-
scured my mind. Across the street a barber has his hand raised in
that awkward manner. When I sit in a barber's chair I fight thought
that something will snap inside him, and he will slash my throat in
one of those inexplicable actions that men seem to be always
doing. I am even afraid of this fear. It makes me uncomfortable.
What had he thought? That questions he directed against him-
self would have been answered. No. He knew there were some
problems that had no solutions the sophistry he answered others
with he could not use against himself. Well then -
The seminar on Black Consciousness had been scheduled to
start at eight. He arrived there at a little past seven-thirty and
picked a seat near one of the rear entrances. The Assembly Hall
filled with a bobbing black wave of Afro's. Sandals, dashikis,
black denim overcoats, Panther style. He felt proud. His level.
The indescribable surge of beauty that grew within him trans-
formed all around him from being individuals into parts of a
perfect belief. Dressed in black he had thought of solemnity but
baby black is sooooooo beautiful. Dr. Gordon spoke, his fervour
emphasized by black fists leaping for the sky, like a forest of
exclamation signs: the pledges of unity and allegiance that now
co-existed with cheers.
Even now he could not say at which point he had retreated
within himself. At which point the sick feeling had returned.
Does nobody know in here? The seminar was at the discussion
stage. He watched faces twisted by concentrated efforts, and all
the words, unsurprisingly came to him in a form of recollection.
There was so much he could tell them but Christ, where was the
point? The weight of former years, of former experiences now
fell heavily into place. His limbs felt cold and his eyes seemed to
be a vacant puzzle.
The night closed in ranks behind the bus. The youth's head
was half turned, looking out through the window. My people, he
had exulted, can pull themselves out of the morass of servility.
That thought had become a sort of signal to a tomorrow a focus.
Not so much a tomorrow, it was a point where it seemed that
forgotten whispers had rewoven themselves into the end of
endings an ending that was a carpet for a future. My people he
thought, staring at nothing, have only got prime time on fucking.
I can control her, I can control her sprawled on her body I can
control her. What does it feel like, me inside her my God what
does it feel like. I am crawling on my belly in front of my mother,
I am down, down. He climbed worked climbed and the accum-
ulation inside him sagged down into his penis. It felt like a water-
filled balloon, my God more than this more than this his
body refused to work faster and he shrugged himself cramply into
her and collapsed gasping.
One sonofabitch -
I live to fool myself and to portray the thoughts of a god:
random nature flitting 'my own way' across an eternal mind.
she was a sailor falling from grace into the sea
- what's wrong with me? When I had felt like jumping up and
asking, half-fearfully half-hopingly, you're joking aren't you?
the centuar floated off
throwing a trident at me
one sonofabitch refusing to grow up.
SHORT STORY-JUNIOR SECTION 14-16
by Dennis A. Lyn SIL VER MEDAL
Oh, what a headache! Waking up I drowsily stumbled from my
bed. Outside I put my head under a water pipe and the cold water
roused me. Afterwards, I urinated into a pit. Going inside I
donned a pair of trousers and a dirty shirt. I went outside again
and looked upon my castle. It was a weather beaten, two-room
shack made of rotten wood and rusting zinc, one of three in the
yard. I then glanced around the surroundings which I had seen so
many times. In one corner was the communal chicken-coop now
standing lopsidedly on two quivering, termite-eaten legs. Perched
artistically on a tree stump was an ancient ice-box whichwas the
habitat of a thousand insects. On the dirt ground were various
excretions of dog and poultry mixed with the strewn garbage. I
felt depressed. "How de hell me get here?" Shrugging I walked
towards the house. On my way I stepped on an especially sharp
Looking in a cracked mirror I saw a strange creature. It was an
old man, a man defeated by life, destroyed by alcohol. A failure
stared up at me. The creature was a lonely man. The man was
Ezekiel Jackson. I saw a face filled with wrinkles, streaks of gray
in his woollen, kinky hair. It was a bull dog of a face on which a
two weeks' stubble grew. It was itching. I managed to find a dirty
carbolic in some hidden crevice. I built a lather and began shaving
with a raw razor. As usual cuts were accumulated on my cheeks
because of a quivering hand.
Something was gnawing in my stomach. I thought it might be
another effect of drink but I soon realized it was hunger. It wasn't
the hunger of those who live in Beverley Hills who know it is going
to be satisfied. It was the hunger that reminds most of the
population that they haven't any money. Why? Some might be
ie me who spend my earnings on rum. Cries broke my trend of
though. It was coming from the second house where a girl scarcely
18 lived with her baby. "Bwoy, the younger generation a get
badder and badder. Everybody a try fe be in the crowd, yet dem
doan know the consequences. Guess nobody can stand being
I searched my pockets and found some money. I counted it
three times but the number, nine, wouldn't increase. "Anyway,
she mus can trust me." Walking out from that paradise, I faced
once more in my sixty odd years another day. My stomach
growled. The dull smell of gutter water welcomed me. "Bwoy,
me could a use some cow tripe and pumpkin." I stepped on some
dried-up dog mess. Shuffling around I saw a cane-juice man by the
corner. I was tempted. Turning down the opposite street I saw
my destination. A brightly painted sign advertised 'Wink' and
paraded the name of the establishment. It was Emma's Place.
A plump, chocolate-coloured matron with a commercial smile
was tending the bar. "Hey, Mama. Gimme a drink, nuh," I
"Maud"as her paying customers called her, smiled and replied
smoothly "Show me yu money fust."
"Aw," I groaned, sounding hurt, "doan treat me like dat. Yu
know me wi pay yu. Be a honey and gimme a drink." This was
all a game. The scene had been re-enacted a thousand times before.
I was usually the winner because Maud had no idea if I had any
money at all. She was afraid if she refused she would lose all the
money I usually spend.
It ended as usual; she giving in to me. Also, as usual the drink
was diluted with water. Maud, kind woman that she was, diluted
it because she knew alcohol was bad for my liver. The profit
would only be a pleasant reward for her consideration. All of
which proves that charity, not honesty, is the policy. Besides, it
was more profitable.
Downing the drink professionally; I gave Maud the nine cents,
at which she exploded, "Hey man! Business a business, yu know,
Wha' happen to de t'ree cents. Nest time me nah go serve yu until
me see de money. 'hink yu smart, nuh."
Of course, I was chuckling all this time. "If yu g'wan like dat
me nah go pay de res'." Walking out, the chuckle died. As I was
accosted by one of the thousands of half-naked, runny-nosed boys
in the city of Kingston. In an affected, apologetic voice which
showed a lot of practice, he asked, "Beg yu fe a cent, nuh?"
Looking straight into his eyes, I maintained a silence. The boy
didn't waver which proved that he was indeed a professional.
After about three minutes I was defeated and so shifted my gaze.
Half-ashamedly I replied, "Yu betta than me. Me bruk, but me
ha to'much pride fe beg."
It was five o'clock when I came off sweat stained from work.
It was Friday, pay-day in other words. It was also time for my
so-called friends to begin weedling money out of me. Yes sir, it
was open season on Ezekiel Jackson's wallet. I knew this. Maybe
that was why I was sad. Ever since I married I knew about people.
To find a truly good and moral person one had to go to the ends
of the earth. The rest, well, you just have to feel sorry for them.
Like someone said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they
"A'drey was'ar name. The renk bitch. Me musa been mad fe
marry 'ar. She a'ways a try fe pretty up 'arself but de wrinkles
a'ways a show. She doan even 'ave good legs." Happy as a lark
and about as stupid I had returned home. Expecting to see my
loving wife to welcome me, I was hurt when she did not. I made
excuses just as I did almost every other night. I was awakened at
midnight by a sound. Taking out a very ancient gun, I went to
investigate. I saw Audrey on a bed with my best friend. Raising
the gun I aimed at the two of them ...
My stomach growled reminding me of my hunger. While I was
having my lunch of a meagre patty, a bun and cheese and an
aerated drink, a boy cheaply but neatly dressed, as so few are
today, entered. Unexpectedly the boy let out an earsplitting yell.
The few who knew laughed, the others were disgusted. Their
disgust turned to embarrassment. The clean-cut boy, it was told
them, was deaf and dumb, able only to utter a few guttural sounds.
I knew him and offered him some of my lunch. However, he
refused. Maybe it was because he didn't want to die. Anyway the
thing that always struck me was his perpetual smile.
"Me wonder if 'im really 'appy, tho' me a'ways thought people
like dat a'ways sad. Maybe it is because 'im deaf and dumb dat
mek 'im happy Is because 'im can' hear all the bad 'ings dem dat
com' out a people mouth. Maybe 'im know dat yu can hurt
people by saying something dat yu doan mean. Me wonder if me
would be 'appy if me was deaf and dumb." Man, all of a sudden
I felt happy to be a human.
The sun was setting, leaving in its place a sky so beautiful that
a Titian could do no better. Reaching Emma's place I saw and
heard the younger generation in all its conformity and stupidity.
A boy about seventeen years old seemed to be arguing with two
gentlemen. The boy was outfitted in the style that was in vogue.
That means he wore a beret, dark glasses, frilled vest, bell-bottomed
trousers complemented by a rather long comb and a worn rag.
He was called Blue. Another was a haggard man who, due to
ceaseless worry seemed older than he really was. He had baggy
eyes from eye-strained work. He was Blue's father,'the old marf
as Blue would have called him. Mr. Brown, the third person, was
rather corpulent with an air of arrogance and importance I never
liked. Besides, he always smelled stink.
It was Blue's father who started the dialogue. "Do you mean
you weren't near Mr. Brown's store?"
To this Blue replied in a self-satisfied way which betrayed him
a liar, "No, 1."
Mr. Brown flustered, "You are lying. I saw you."
Blue in the same manner retorted, "Nobody naw go tell I and I
that I and I a lie." So it went with Blue's father frequently dabbing
at his forehead with a wet handkerchief.
"Bwoy, me memba Blue w'en 'im a small bwoy. A wha' happenn
to 'im now? Society, that's wha' everybody a try fe be in the
crowd, fe be tougher than de oder guy. Society say fe say I and I,
fe carry rachet. She say fe call de police, Babylon, fe bruk laws,
fe smoke ganja. But wha' dem doan know is wha' gwine happenn
to dem. Tha's why me a'ways say that society fart." My sudden
happiness faded and was replaced by depression and cynicism.
I was lonely. Loneliness isn't hard to achieve for an old pro
like me. Yes sir, I would like to tell you how to go about making
yourself lonely. However, I would not advise you try them out. A
song said, "Without love there is nothing," and take it from me
who knows, it's true. The first phase is think about the past, the
cruelty of society and then the treachery of man. The inter-
mediate phase is to wander about consoling yourself that it is
better to be lonely than to be surrounded by false friends. The
third and final phase is to listen laughter, hypocritical as it may be,
and conversation, boring as it may seem. Yeah, three easy do-it-
yourself phases of making yourself the outsider.
Eventually, loneliness triumphed. I walked over to a group of
enthusiastic turfites who were busy forecasting the next day's
races' winners. Poor me, I didn't understand a single thing they
were saying, but I stood there nodding and shaking my head. My
pride returned and I stalked off sneakily. It would be an hour
before my crowd would come so I went over to the peaka-peow
man to match my ticket. As usual, I lost.
After I had no more diversions, I returned to Emma's Place.
Entering, I saw a pathetic sight. It was that of the shoemaker who
was leaving. They said it was ganja that caused it, I don't know.
He was very dark with a relatively large forehead. He was making
involuntary gestures with his hands and head. I always felt sorry
for him and usually bought him a drink. I made way for him as
he made his exit. Outside a group of hooligans congregated.
Seeing an easy prey they began to tease the harmless old man.
They were laughing and enjoying it thoroughly, proving that man
is despicable. They saw that he was aroused so they intensified
their taunts. The shoemaker cursed at them and their maliciousness
grew. Yet, when the old man moved, they scampered away.
Gradually, the sport grew stale and they left him alone, all alone.
I saw in him a brother sufferer. I had felt intense anger at his
treatment. Yet I did not intervene. No, I did not intervene.
Although I felt a bond towards the pathetic shoemaker, I didn't
cheer him up. I was ashamed for I knew even if it happened
again, I would not interfere.
Walking fully into the bar, I saw Willie. Mr. Williamson was
one of my best friends, or rather, he kept telling me so. I knew
better. I knew that as long as I had one cent I would have friends
like Willie. However,I was in no mood for friends like that. I felt
sick to be in the human race, yet even more so, sicker to know
that I was no better than the rest. The place was beginning to
liven up. The juke-box was being punched and U Roy and John
I ordered a'teenager' and began the task of intoxicating myself.
It was an easy task. Only two instruments are necessary, a mouth
and some rum. After finishing one flask (they are best because
the owner cannot dilute them), you order another and then
another ... It must have been during the third flask I dozed off.
I seemed to have awakened and I saw through bloodshot eyes...
It wasn't a lush valley, wasn't even beautiful. But the lambs
were contented. They were simple and happy. They weren't
like the lambs in the neighboring valley. There, the next valley
was green and fertile, more so than theirs, but the other lambs
always fought each other for the greener pastures. Over them
ruled a great and tyrannic king. He was whimsical and made his
subjects obey his every wish. They weren't happy, but they were
too used to the luxuries of the valley. Also, there was a severe
penalty for disobedience. Well, this great king was envious of the
neighboring lambs for their happiness. He ordered his subjects
to march against their neighbours and soon, they won. But they
won nothing. They were just as unhappy as before. They
however, did one thing. They changed the lambs. No more were
they happy; they became just like their oppressors. Add to this
the king had a rebellious subject. He would not conform. There
was only one thing to do. He ordered his subjects to reject the
poor lamb. The brave lamb endured the penalty for days, weeks,
and months, but eventually he conformed. The king then let out
an ugly, gloating laugh gleefully acknowledging victory. He
laughed and laughed...
I lashed out with my fist hopeful of hitting that heinous
creature. It hit nothing. The monster continued laughing but I
could see him no more. In his stead, there were the hooligans
laughing at me, prodding me with sticks. As I turned around, they
vanished and the monster returned, laughing. I lunged out. I fell.
The monster disappeared again, but here was the crowd doing its
work. Little pictures formed in my head. I remembered the
shoemaker, the deaf boy, Audrey and Willie. I closed my hands
around my ears but the laughter pierced the hands.
Struggling up, I stumbled out of the bar, knocking chairs and a
table over. Outside, I bounced into someone and was knocked
down. I saw the monster and he was inside all of the people
looking at me as if I was a freak. Their jaws opened and closed,
laughing at me, my loneliness. I cried. Through tear-filled eyes, I
saw duplicates of me. They would feel sorry for me but no, they
would not stretch out their hands to help a drowning man. They
would not interfere. I ran blindly, from my monster, my duplicates
and me. Wobbling, I staggered across the street. Twin headlights
glared at me. The sound of brakes applied was heard. Thud!
Feeling a hand on my shoulder, I looked up startled and saw a
boy's face. My head was throbbing and I saw three blurry faces.
I soon realized that it was only one. Blood oozed from a cut on
my forehead. He was about eight years old and like many others
had no one to care for him. But he had done me a good deed.
One person alone can make you feel wanted. He tried to help me
up but the weight was too much and brought the two of us down.
We tried unsuccessfully a couple of times. Then, finally, with the
help of the water hydrant I was raised. I smiled. I felt suddenly
happy. But then a flood of depression drowned me. "Wait 'ill
society get'im 'and on 'im. I 'memba dat bwoy. Him a me before
society get me. Society a go get 'im to."
I heard a snicker, a sneer. The monster was stirring. My anger
increased. The monster was now real and began to laugh. I lashed
out as I did before. I hit something, something soft. I began to
laugh hysterically and I couldn't stop. Then I heard a crying and I
realized I had hit the boy. My laughter turned to tears as I ran
The moon was shining as I walked down the deserted street.
God, it was lonely. The stillness was broken only by occasional
barks. The street stank as usual, in fact, everything was as usual.
SHORT STORY- JUNIOR SECTION 14-16
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GOOD MAN
by Dennis A. Lyn BRONZE MEDAL
Suddenly the wind rose and carried the dust swirling in the
night. Then it died. Mort was a shapeless figure in the dark. His
clothes being the colour of dust, blended with the surroundings.
It was different from usual, the night; it made him rather nervous.
Maybe it was because he lived in a cemetery. No, it couldn't be
that. After all, what could they do to him? He was high priest
here. Still, the night somehow made him nervous.
There was no moon. It was so black, dark. Black like his skin.
Nothing, that was all he could see. It was mighty queer, looking
up so hard his eyes hurt, and yet, seeing nothing. Sometimes, he
would feel dizzy, as if he could float right out of this world.
Other times, the black sky was an impenetrable barrier, crushing
him, choking him, and he, all the while, struggled to be free, to
breathe, to escape from that damn nothingness that enveloped him.
No, he didn't like those nights. Especially those unseen chirping
crickets. Why in heavens did they have to keep up that infernal
chattering? A frog croaked. Mort stood there invisible and he
then walked on to his hovel. The foundation was of brick, but it
was built mainly of brick and cardboard. Mort stopped and
unpinned some clothing from a line. A withered cottonwood tree
planted its roots by the far corner. There was no door to the place
and he walked through the entrance. A lone candle helped to
make the place illuminated. Mort Johnson was a cadaverous man,
black in complexion, with a stiff mechanical gait as if his joints
needed oil. Long, varicose veins streaked his skeletal arms. His
sagging jowls and melancholy mouth made him look like a blood-
hound. His hollowed eyes were nearly always half-closed, while a
brown hat rested on his balding head. A crucifix was nailed to the
wall and some cheap decorations hung from the ceiling. He pushed
aside his saw and plane and took out a Bible from the drawer. This
began his Friday night ritual. Opening the Bible to the marker, he
read the passage: Matthew 23. It was one of his favourite
passages for there was a passing rhythm to it rushing to the
climax, "Woe unto ye, Scribes and Pharisees, for ye are like
whited sepulchres which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but
within are full of dead men's bones and of all uncleaness".
These passages always made him thoughtful. Sometimes Mort
was so deep in thought that he would close his eyes to think
better. You could not even wake him in the morn. He wasn't
particularly thoughtful that night so he decided to take a walk to
tire himself. He struck for the lighted road because the night made
him nervous. A car hurried by. Just ahead of him on the other
bank was a beggar, a clearly defined figure in the light. Plaited
locks crept from under the high shapeless hat on his head. His
eyes looking down, were never focused on anything in particular.
He was probably a drunk or a ganja-man. His mouth was shaped
in a queer half-smile. He was short, wearing a patched and torn
jacket and a one-leg pants with a slit up the knee. He held a bag
over his shoulders. It was heavy and with each step it drove him
to his knees. Nevertheless, he continued toward his destination.
He was so alone. Walking swiftly past him, Mort caught the smell
of urine mixed with disinfectant which came from the beggar. At
his side was the cemetery and the newly-built mausoleum with the
pretty mosaic of Mary loomed up before him. The creeping
flower clung to the fence and weeds grew everywhere. A dug up
grave made him think of the grave near his home. It had been dug
more than two weeks ago. One could walk into it in the dark
without noticing it. He wondered how it felt to be in a coffin
down in the grave. Did the earthworms go through the box?
Maybe they crawled all over your face. How did it feel to be dead?
He had read something in the Star about a man being brought
back to life while on the operating table. The man had said that
it felt good. The question troubled Mort since he first thought
of it and his curiosity was very strong. He had a crazy notion to
kill himself. Death was so far away and he couldn't find out
about it. Would he go to heaven right away? Or would he have
to wait until judgement day in 2222 to come to face with his
Father? Do the dead feel anything while rotting? Does it hurt?
Can they smell themselves? If,as they say, only the skeleton is left,
where does the spirit go? Maybe if they don't bury him right
away, his spirit would roam about looking for a body and when
Judgement Day comes, he couldn't go to heaven. No, that
couldn't happen, he had fixed that up with the obeah man. He
had paid the man five pounds. Ten dollars. Death must be a good
thing. Heaven must be a good place.
Mort's mechanical gait took a self-satisfied step. He had walked
quite a distance. He stepped on something soft and flexible, nearly
slipping, while crossing a road. Looking hard, after gaining his
balance, a stench nearly knocked him out. The decomposing body
of a dog was in the pothole. He couldn't understand how he did
not smell it until he was right upon it. The street was dark, but a
feeble light shone from the lamp. It must have been because he
didn't look closer. Yes, that was it. God, it smelled!
A cold breeze blew up, but he felt nothing. He moved slowly
and silently like an intruder. He crossed a street. The place was
dark and quiet. Everyone was probably asleep. Only a few were
awake. He looked up and saw the blackness, as if he were
trapped, as if the light could not come through. It wasn't only he
in the room, everyone was. For a long while he walked, roaming
listlessly without a destination.
At a stop sign, he decided to return. The whistle of the peanut
man sounded in the distance. He crossed the bridge with its foul
smell of gully water underneath. Apartment buildings rose in the
background, contrasting with the old shacks in the foreground. He
couldn't see anyone. He heard voices down the road. That
surprised him. Then he heard a cry. He came to a stop. Maybe he
should go and see if somebody needs his help. No, it was none of
his business. Why should he get hurt meddling in someone else's
business? Besides, others must have-heard the cry also. No, he
mustn't think like that. After all, if he was in trouble, he would
want someone to help him. But what would he get out of it?
Nothing. He might even be injured and how'd he pay his bills?
He wouldn't be of any help injured. Alright, he'll look. It was
down a dead-end lane. There were at least six bicycles parked at
the corner. He went on his knees looking like a dog and crawled
behind some barrels. There were five, no six youths who were
attacking someone. The attackers were all about the same age,
about twenty. The backs of three faced him. They all seemed to
be wearing the same type of clothing. Their trousers were too
short and very dirty. Their shirts were buttoned only at the top.
They wore spectacles. Rasta tams and Rasta caps were on their
heads. At least two had ratchets and the others had whips. The
victim had no shirt and his face was bloody. The leader of the
gang, a particularly ugly fellow with a scar on his face, was playing
with his ratchets. He spoke sadistically in short bursts punctuated
punches, whippings and slashings.
"Kneel down," he snarled to the sprawling figure. "Yu t'ink
yu tougher dan we. Crawl, yu hear." A punch knocked the
person back. "Brave, brave, Scotty. 'Memba w'at yu do me two
weeks ago. Well, yu get it back now. Ha. Ha. Ha." Apparently,
the figure on the ground was a member of an opposing gang. A
whip cracked and an unearthly groan came from the youth. "A
yu did mek me go jail. Yu never did know me did have friends.
Yu never did t'ink me catch up with yu. Yu don't know me.
Never forget that. Me always catch up. Ha, ha, ha, now go, ha,
get a chance fe' memba dat. Ha, ha, ha." He was choking with
laughter. Then he stopped. A wide smile split his face. "Hey,
'memba dat Django show we did go to. Yeah, that one! 'Memba
how Django cut off the man ear? Mek we do it with him." The
beatings had stopped. Mort's fingers had touched a sticky liquid.
Spit. The leader held the ratchet over the ear of the youth. Then
he used it like a saw. It was an eternally long time before he was
through. A bloody rubbery object lay on the ground. It didn't
look like an ear at all.
Someone came running. It was the beggar. In his mincing run,
he ran to help the victim. He tried his best, but he was weak and
they outnumbered him. Vainly, his small arms flailed, but they
knocked him down. Someone had used a knife on him for a spurt
of blood came from his side.
Mort went away before they were finished. He fairly ran away
from them. Imagine, he thought, the leader was wearing a Rasta
tam. He couldn't be a Rasta. They were like the Pharisees in the
Bible. Whited sepulchres! That was what they were. The Lord
was right. Rasta clothes on the outside, but inside, dirt. He
chuckled bitterly. He knew whose grave that was, the one that
was dug up. Dead Man. Yes, that was who. He felt sorry for the
old man, the poor old man. He very seldom had any breaks. When
he tried to go up, life would lick him back down. And now this
happened. He should have stayed out of it. Like Mort. He
couldn't have helped the boy. Now he is injured, might even be
dead. He was a fool. To think that they called themselves
Rastafari. Whited sepulchres!
The place was silent still. He was in the cemetery. He knew it.
The mausoleum with the pretty mosaic of Mary was behind him.
He must be near his house then. It was pitch black for the street
lights were well behind him. At least he saw his hovel's silhouette.
He stepped in a hole, a deep rectangular pit. The dead dog still
smelled. He could not run away from the hole. He lay there, his
face resting in the soil, kissing it.
The following Sunday, a roly-poly man with solemn eyes
looking from under spectacles, stood at the head of Mort Johnson's
grave. Half-naked urchins laughed, to the indignation of the
crowd. The spectacled man was finishing his eulogy, .. "The
Lord knows he was a good man. St. Peter will gladly open the
gates of heaven for our dear departed friend. He wasn't one of
those Pharisees, Our Lord righteously attacked. He went to
church every Sabbath day that I know of. But the Lord giveth
and the Lord taketh away. He took Mort's life, but he gives him
eternal life. Do not pray for him, instead pray that we may follow
in our brother's footsteps. For dust thou art and to dust thou
shalt return. Remember these words Genesis, Chapter 3, verse
19." He closed his Bible and they lowered their good brother
Mort into his home.
THAT I REGRETTED
by Hyacinth Stephens CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
I was residing with my father, who is a widower, and a very
close friend of his who answered to the name, Elaine. At about
this time, I met a boy named Ringo down by the seaside. After
going along with him for about a month, I received a telegram
from my Godmother informing me that her husband had died
and that she will be coming to stay with us until she could find
other suitable accommodation.
I was on the verandah while Dad and his friend, Elaine, were at
the seaside. I saw a car drive up to the gate. In a few minutes
after the person was out of the car, I surmised that it must be my
widowed Godmother, Mrs. Elizabeth Taylor. I ran out and
welcomed her with a big hug and a kiss. I then called the helper
and told her to take Elizabeth's belongings inside. While the helper
prepared Elizabeth's room, I showed her around the house. I
accompanied Elizabeth to her room. She then busied herself by
unpacking her suitcases. In order to show her appreciation, she
took out a lovely dress and gave it to me. I thanked her, thinking
of how nice it would be to have Elizabeth around.
I left her alone for a while. After about thirty minutes,
Elizabeth called me to her room. She turned to me and said,
"I understand that there is insufficient room for me to stay
because there are only two bedrooms." I answered her by saying,
"Godmother, there aren't only two bedrooms, there are three.
One is for me, one is for Elaine, my father's close friend, and Dad
sleeps in the beach house. There is still another room for you."
Even though I made things quite clear to her, she got insulted and
started to pack her belongings, and she sent me out of her room.
I considered this extremely strange behaviour. I thought about
it all the way downstairs. I then realized that she didn't like the
idea of having Elaine stay with us. I thought to myself, 'There is
going to be much trouble in this house.'
I rushed down to tell Dad that Elizabeth had come and then
decided to leave right away. As he was on his way to her bedroom,
he saw her coming down the staircase in a swimsuit. She
apologized to me for being so ignorant in the past few minutes.
Elaine and I decided to go up to the residence while Dad stayed
This was not the only incident with our new family member.
I remember that I was a student at the Rusea's High School at that
time. I had been studying for the Jamaica Certificate Examination,
but I was on summer vacation. Many times, especially after she
had seen Dad and Elaine together, she would quarrel with me
about not studying my lessons. She acted as if it were she who
held my responsibilities. I became suspicious of her unprovoked
behaviour. Sometimes she was extremely nice to me, and then at
other times she became quite barbarious.
I also noticed that for an entire week, she had a frowning look
on her face. I tried to stay out of her way as much as possible.
Then one day she cornered me. She said, "I want to tell you about
that boy, Ringo. I don't like the idea of your going around with
him. I want you to stop it." That made me furious! I started
acting very insolent toward her. I rushed to my room and began
to throw books on the floor, and stuck pins in my doll.
After that incident, all went well for a while. We decided to
bring the family closer, Elizabeth, Dad, Elaine and myself would
go into town and have dinner. The result of this was not as we
After we ate dinner, Elaine was playing at the pool table while
Ringo and I watched the game. Suddenly she stopped playing
and began looking for Dad. But Dad was nowhere to be found.
Elaine began to cry and said, "That Godmother of yours! She
came and broke us apart." I rushed outside immediately and was
just in time to see Dad and Elizabeth take off in his car. I went
inside and told Elaine that Elizabeth was feeling ill and Dad had
taken her home. But, of course, that was an untruth. Elaine saw
a friend that she met in Europe, so she stayed a while with him.
He later took her home.
After they left, Ringo and I started planning how to get rid of
my Godmother, Elizabeth. I told Ringo that the only way she
would leave is if Dad stopped paying attention to her. I told him
that I wanted us to have another affair, and then he would have to
do something to make the plan work. He was agreeable, as he was
in favor of getting rid of Elizabeth too. I told him that his part
in the plan was to pay a lot of attention to Elaine in order to make
Dad jealous. At first, he didn't like the idea, but I said, "If we
want Elizabeth to leave, then that's how it must be."
We went ahead with our plans we had a party with all the
people involved and Ringo payed a lot of attention to Elaine. It
so happened that Dad started to pay less and less attention to
Elizabeth and began to date Elaine more and more.
One evening Dad planned to meet Elaine down by the beach
house. Elizabeth found out about this, and I tried to stop her
from confronting them, but I failed. She went down by the
beach house. As she approached, she heard Dad and Elaine talking
of their love for each other. She peeped in to see Dad and Elaine
embracing, but ran out before they could see her.
Elizabeth ran toward the house and I followed her. She
jumped into Dad's car. I tried to discourage her about leaving,
but she didn't listen and sped away. Her only words were, "I'm
not wanted here. I'm leaving!"
I immediately notified Dad and Elaine of the situation. We
had gathered in the living room for about thirty minutes when the
phone rang. These were the words Dad heard over the phone, "Mr.
Andrews, we have found your car over a cliff about a mile east of
your home." Without hesitation, Dad and I rushed to the scene of
the accident. While we were on our way, my heart was pounding
fiercely. I knew that this was my fault because I encouraged Dad
to keep on a friendship with Elaine and ignore Elizabeth. And I
felt miserable because I could just look at Dad's face and see that
Elizabeth's death was a blow to Dad.
On reaching the scene, I saw one of the policemen with the hat
that Elizabeth was wearing. I turned to him and asked, "May I
have that hat, please? I would like to have it because she was a
friend of mine." He gave me the hat, and whenever I look at it, I
remember Elizabeth's death and blame myself for the tragedy.
Dad went back to Elaine. They went on steady for about four
months. It so happened that a little misunderstanding eventually
broke their lives apart. Eventually Elaine went back with this
man she met in Europe. Ringo and I continued our relationship
as usual. I continued my studies, while Ringo attended law school
in Washington. But the most unhappiest thing was Dad he now
was left alone.
JUNIOR SECTION 14-16
SHORT STORY JUNIOR SECTION UNDER 14
THE WHITE OFAN EGG
NICOLA GAYE RODERIQUES SIL VER MEDAL
Mr. Smith was a chicken farmer and he lived next door to Mr.
Jones. He was, a big, brawny fellow, with muscles that everybody
was afraid of. Mr. Smith thought very little of Mr. Jones, who was
a pack of skin and bones in comparison to him.
Now Mr. Smith was always boasting about how he was the best
pupil in the Adult Literacy classes, so Mr. Jones decided to trick
Mr. Smith into giving him the land that their families had been
quarreling about. The Smith family claimed that the land used to
belong to their ancestors and the Jones family said that they
couldn't prove it. He would bet Mr. Smith that he couldn't spell
something that he probably saw every day.
So Mr. Jones went over to Mr. Smith's yard and knocked on
"Who is it?" came a voice from inside. "Mr. Jones," was the
answer. The door opened and Mr. Jones stepped inside quickly
before Mr. Smith could change his mind and shut the door in his
"I've come to make a bet with you," said Mr. Jones. "If you
can answer all the questions in the little spelling test that I'm going
to give you, you'll be able to keep the land that we've been
quarreling about. If not, I'll take it. Is that a deal?"
"First of all, spell smoke."
"That's easy", said Mr. Smith, "s-m-o-k-e."
"Alright, spell poke."
"You mad or something? The answer is easy too, p-o-k-e."
"Spell folk then."
"You belong in the mad-house, folk is spelled f-o-l-k."
"Well then, spell the white of an egg."
"The answer to that is y-o-l-k."
"But Papa", said Mr. Smith's little girl who had been listening
all the while, "that is the red part!"
Mr. Jones was mad because a little girl had got the answer and
he had to wait a long time before he could figure it out, and Mr.
Smith was mad because he had to give the land to Mr. Jones. But
there seemed to be nothing at all to do. Now he wouldn't be able
to build that new chicken coop after all.
To make matters worse, as he lay on his bed wondering what
to do, his wife that very night decided to break the news to him
that their daughter was planning to marry young Junior Jones and
was even wearing a ring he had given her.
"What! My daughter, marry that man's son!" But then he
"You know something Maizie, I have a feeling that land coming
right back into the family."
g mi . .
-f --^N^' S.01
"Hey, John, look at this big jelly-fish in the water. Big, isn't
I called over to John. He brought his mask and snorkel over
and looked down.
"Wow! What a perfect specimen for my collection." he ex-
claimed. The next thing I knew, he was diving after it.
"John, come back. It might sting you!"
I dived after him and pulled him out of the water. It was too
late; he had been stung. I ran to call the life-guard but he was
not there. I saw a telephone booth and called my doctor, using
some change a lady had lent me. He came quite shortly after and
I led him to John.
"I'm afraid he has been stung rather-badly by a man-of-war,
but he's very lucky," said the doctor in a worried voice.
I looked on, feeling the tears swell in my eyes. Then I saw him
begin to move. His lips moved slowly and he began to speak.
"Take me home," he said in a whisper.
"Don't worry John," I said bravely. I couldn't help crying. He
was younger than I and I felt I should have taken better care of
In about one hour time he was able to walk again and I said
we should go straight home. I left him telling his mother about
what had happened. As I walked home I knew I would never
forget the day.
JUDITH JARRETT -CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
I was a Boy Scout of the St. Ann's Bay Regiment.
It was the day before all the Scouts were to camp together,
and I started getting restless. I packed and repacked my ruck-sack
with the necessary tinned foods, water, and clothing including
hammer and nails to build huts.
That night I went to bed at 9.15 p.m. and awoke at 6.30 a.m.
to start the walk to Trelawny with the other boys at 8.30 a.m. I
did everything in a hurry and threw last-minute things into my
sack. Then, I said goodbye to my parents who told me to take
good care of myself and be careful and all the things mothers
I didn't have very far to walk to the street where we meet and
start off together. It was where the St. Ann's Bay Public Library
now is. I wasn't the first of the boys to reach, for there were
about twenty-two there at the time including myself and twenty-
three more were to come in the next half-hour. We started
punctually at 8.30 a.m.
The walk was long and two weeks' provisions was hard going
on one's back. We stopped to rest and started on again. We
laughed and joked and told Annancy stories. We arrived in
Trelawny at about 10.30 a.m. and found that the place we were
given to make camp was spacious, with trees in the background
and a river. Huts had been made to shelter us and we only had
to repair the doors and roofs which were slightly damaged.
We all settled down and got to work, repairing the main hut
first. We swam and explored during most of the days and climbed
the many coconut trees surrounding us.
Everything went all right until the Tuesday of the second week.
The sky that had once been cloudless was now covered with a
blanket of black and grey clouds. Our Scout Master had heard,
just an hour ago, a newsflash of a hurricane due in two and a half
He told us to bring all our belongings to the hut, to get as much
fresh water as possible and that no matter what happened to stick
together. These things we did obediently.
When we had finished making preparations, we all gathered
into the huge wooden hut. Lunch was prepared and served but
no-one was hungry, except for Charley Zama, who ate enough
lunch for eleven people. He was fourteen, one year older than
myself, wore thick glasses and was enormous, weighing one hun-
dred and twenty-five pounds.
All of us were at one end of the room gathered together while
the thunder roared and the lightning flashed and the rain battered
the roof. Twenty leaks were found.
It was then that a coconut tree fell upon the empty side of
hut and crushed it. Anyone there would have been killed.
A few minutes passed and what was left of the roof was blown
off. We were outside by now and I had my ruck-sack on my back,
but I had left my shoes behind. I only had my socks on, in which
I could barely run, and had them off in a twinkle.
I followed the Scout Master and crowd but had difficulty seeing
because of the rain, and in keeping up with them for coconut
trees danced before my eyes. The tops of many blew off and hit
the ground with a thud. These I had to run round and the trunks
I could jump; I missed getting my feet crushed by the skin of my
teeth, when a tree fell before me, but I finally caught up with the
We were led to a farm where we were given dry clothes and
lodging for the night. After all the excitement, I did not feel the
painful splinters in my feet at that moment; not until I reached
home did I find that I could hardly walk. Many of them were
deep and my mother spent two days getting them out.
In our hurricane experience, excepting colds and splinters and
a broken finger, no-one was seriously injured.
A MAN CONDEMNED MARCIA SCOTT -BRONZEMEDAL
Joe leaned forward to hear the words of the witness."Oh God;
they all condemn me", his mind screamed as he feverishly went
over the happenings of the past few days. He remembered entering
the house; he even remembered demanding the couple's money,
but his mind was then a blank until he had awakened, lying beside
the dead body of the girl and surrounded by questioning faces.
His chain of thoughts 'was' broken when he realized that the
jury were now leaving to consider their verdict. After what
seemed like years of intolerable absence the jury re-appeared. His
hand felt wet with sweat, his brain spun dizzily. The jury had
requested more time!
Then he rose slowly, pinpricks of perspiration running along
his legs and was escorted down the aisles towards his cell. He
walked as a man in a dream, seeming to gaze far beyond the faces
which were straining to catch a glimpse of the murderer.
His cell was a small, badly-lit hole and he laid his clammy brow
against the cool metal bars. His attention was attracted by a spider
as it weaved its threads and suddenly faltered, falling to the
ground. Would he fall like that, would he be butchered and would
his soul be tormented forever? "Oh God, let it end now", he
whimpered, his fear increasing at every moment.
Once again the court room was packed, the oppressive air
beating down on them all. The voices droned on and on, never
seeming to end and every word was agony in his ears. He strained
forward to listen as the jurors made their final verdict; 'Guilty,
guilty and guilty yet again', the sombre voices declared. Some-
how it was asifhe had known what would happen and the words
had little effect on him. Then the judge made his decision.
"Sentenced to be hanged by the neck until dead."
Now he sat down, wondering what death was like and now that
he was so close to it, would he be able to face it? Would he look
bravely at death or would he cringe away, afraid? "Oh God, I
don't want to die," he shouted, beating his head against the bars.
His voice changed to a moan and then to a body-racking sob. He
looked at his tears in wonder as if they were alien to him. He
wondered who it was who decreed that he should be given the
breath of life and who decreed that it should be taken from him.
He slept but little those weary nights in the death row.
Then they summoned him. His case had been reconsidered.
New hope blossomed in his breast. "Your sentence is now
changed to life imprisonment". He stood as if dazed, not com-
prehending. Life imprisonment not much better than death,
but oh, so much better! He would not have to face death for
many a year. He had cheated death of its prize. Laughter bubbled
up inside him and he was glad.
SSHORT STORY JUNIOR SECTION UNDER 14
SAMARA FLETCHER CERTIFICATE OFMERITAT THE BEACH
It was an early Sunday morning and the sun was shining
"Mummy, can I go to the beach today? John said he would
come if it was clear."
"Yes," said my mother, "but be careful of the rocks."
I ran to get my trunks and towel. Then I walked down the
road to John's house.
"Hi, John, you coming?" I called.
"Of course!" he answered, running down the steps to meet me.
We walked along for a while, talking of school and what we
would do on the beach.
There ahead of us was the beautiful water and sand. We
stripped and put on our trunks. Then we ran over to the diving-
board and dived in.
The water was cold after the long walk in the sun, and it did us
CARMEN LYONS ADULTS BRONZE MEDAL
STOWAWAY (A ONE-ACT PLAY)
CAST OF CHARACTERS
A toothless, black, old man. He's about sixty. His hair is
white, and stands high on his head. He has a short beard and
bushy eyebrows. He's dressed in a white shapeless prison
smock and short pants. His feet are shod in sandals.
A lean, hungry, Indian boy. He's about twenty-two. He
wears a pair of madras shorts and tennis shoes. He talks
with his hands and his body, and has a great passion for the
A nervous light-skinned man, about thirty years old He
speaks with a broad American twang, and is not totally
certain of himself
A swarthy sambo-type. He's brisk in his movements, neat,
raring to climb up in the guard system.
As the curtain rises, the Cultivator and the Sailor are
already in the cell. The lights go up at left as the
Guard and the Stowaway enter. The Stowaway is
handcuffed and the Guard holds him by the waist of
his madras shorts.
Relax the hold enough, master . a don't have to run
Is prison this, Stowaway, you' sailing days over...
The Guard proceeds to unlock the Stowaway's hand-
cuffs, and taunts him. The Stowaway remains silent.
Three days and you free ... a don't know why them have
to send you out here from General Penitentiary for only
three days. Is like them sending you on a bloody vacation
out here ...
He pushes the Stowaway towards the cell. More lights
come up on stage, and we see the Cultivator and the
Sailor observing the arrival of the new prisoner.
Since them build that damn Causeway, and cut down the
distance from Kingston to Fort Augusta, we begin to get all
kinds ... all kinds...
The Guard holds the Stowaway by his chin, and points
with his other hand towards the prisoner's face.
Don't mek the beauty of this place fool you though ... is
not a bloody resort... the sea out there and them coconut
trees might try to fool you, but this is a prison . and
TIME: The Present PLACE: Fort Augusta Prison, Jamaica.
The action of the play takes place inside a prison cell at Fort
Augusta, outside of Kingston.
The events take place in three days; the evening of the first day;
about mid-afternoon on the second day; and early morning on the
Little or no props are needed; however, the setting should convey
the idea that the prisoner's cell is not just for the three days of the
Three bars at stage left represent the cell. A window down
stage represents the outside world; and a three-tiered bunk,
stage right, representing the prisoner's world.
Throughout the action the Cultivator spends most of his time
behind the bars. The Stowaway gravitates towards center stage;
and the Sailor is anchored down stage beside the bunk bed
We hear sounds from outside the cell, but see none of this action.
you'll be treated like a damn prisoner. (He pushes the
prisoner towards the cell) Inside for you ... and a don't
want one bit of trouble from you during the three days...
you hear me?
One final push from the Guard and the Stowaway goes
crashing into the cell The old man smiles as the
Stowaway falls to the ground The Sailor spits on the
ground and moves to the window. The Guard locks
the cell door.
Three more days and I'll be rid of the three of you ... three
blasted days... (exits)
Them catch up with you, eh, young boy?
The Stowaway stretches out on the floor and makes no
attempt to rise. The old man circles his body, coughing
and laughing, revealing toothless gums.
You meet all kinds in prison these days... him (points to
the Sailor) a molester, and proud as a peacock too ... think
him too good to keep conversation with an old cultivator
. And you . you shirtless and flat on you' bottom
(commanding voice) STAND UP! Stand up, young boy,
even in prison a man must learn to stand up on his own two
It stinks in here . and you don't help any. When last
dem jayse out this place?
How your nose so sensitive? (sniffs around) Smells alright
to me ...
(goes to the bars and shakes them)
Guard! Guard! Me hungry . them didn't feed me at
The Cultivator bursts into laughter, holding his belly.
The Sailor looks on bored.
(walks over to the Stowaway)
You remind me of Percy the Chick... remember him?
Leave me alone, old man. I've been going from cell to court
to cell all day, and a hungry ...
Percy the Chick had a fall... look Master Willy, Miss Cuddy,
look, look, look!
Stop the noise in there!
Is long past dinner 'round here ... so res ... no food for
you 'til morning... You have to get used to hunger ... and
when you been hungry enough food is no respite ...
What you mean by that?
(slow and deliberate)
Your hunger comes out in you eye, Stowaway, not in you
belly. I can see it! (the Stowaway laughs) That glassy, wild,
shifty look... you... you is a dangerous boy...
(hisses his teeth)
You suffering from being locked up too long ... too long...
Sound of a door slam at left. The Guard enters and
paces along the bars, snapping a swagger stick on his
Guard, please put me in another cell!
(points stick at Stowaway)
Keep quiet Coolie Boy...
The Stowaway glares at him for a moment and moves
away to sit on the bottom bunk. The Guard points
to the Sailor.
Look, Sailor Boy, we don't have any special accommodations
for anybody 'round here ... and I mean anybody ... so res
(comes to the bars)
Please, put me in another cell ... I would like to be alone.
I can't just move you around like that. I have to have orders;
besides, this is not a hotel . you can't just ask to change
rooms at your whim and fancy...
Big wo'ds, big wo'ds them that... whim and fancy . hey,
hey ... whim and fancy ...
Shut up, Cultivator! (to Sailor) We'll release you the day
after tomorrow... same day as the Stowaway ...
I'm an American citizen!
Makes no different to me . besides, this is not America
You ignorant... bla... black fool!
The Guard swats his swagger stick against the bars and
the Sailor jumps back.
(moving down the imaginary line of the cell)
Look, Sailor Boy, we don't address people in terms of col-
our disrespectfully 'round here. When we say a man is black
we mean him well, and a know you don't mean it in that
same light. Besides, I'm a member of the Constabulary ...
and when you speak to a member of this great nation's civil
service (the Cultivator laughs out loud) Hush Cultivator...
When you speak to a servant in the civil service you must
address him as "Sir" or "Mister". You, Sailor Boy, you may
call me SIR...
The Sailor moves from the bar and stretches out on
the second bunk, with his back to the Guard.
(one hand on the bars)
And you, Stowaway chap, relax... you only here for a few
days ... behave yourself... and stay away from the Sailor,
him have a liking for young boys!
The Guard laughs knowingly and leaves. The
Cultivator returns to his corner and sits on the floor.
Three days ..(to Stowaway) You and the Sailor free-free
in three days .. and me leaving here for Top Hill in three
Why them sending you to Top Hill?
For murder ...
You kill someone, huh?
The Stowaway moves closer bending over the old man.
(his hands over his face)
He wasn't just somebody ... he was my son ...
(hands in the pockets of his shorts)
I didn't kill anybody, so I don't know what I'm doing here
locked up with you ... (moves to look out the window) All
I wanted to do was stay at sea . instead a find meself
locked up with a murderer and a batty-man!
Life... is so life go. Where you stowaway to?
(without looking at the old man)
You mean you stowaway more than one time?
Seems I've been sliding on and off gangways all my life...
I've been all over... England, France ... all the West Indian
islands... and most of all AMERICA!
(on his knees)
America, Sweet Jesus, AMERICA?
(walks over to the old man)
Yes, Cultivator, America...
You touch land?
(pacing before the old man)
No. Never! Everytime I almost make it to land... almost
and then them catch up with me ...
(shakes his head, sadly)
Never touch land... never...
(returns and stoops before the old man)
But you know something? (the old man's mouth hangs
open, he closes one eye and peers with the other at the
Stowaway) Reaching land doesn't seem so important to me
anymore... just the trip ... knowing that there's miles and
miles of water all around my body ... the smells inside a
tanker... or a cruise ship ... and the ports, old man! Them
is something else! Just beautiful... standing in the harbour
and looking at the statue of liberty.
The Sailor is suddenly interested in the conversation,
turns around, sits up on his bunk and listens.
(all smiles, throws his hands in the air)
Bigger than life itself. . and the houses . higher than
the Blue Mountain itself...
(sinks back on his heels)
The Stowaway speechlessly shakes his head, indicating
"NO", and the Sailor joins the conversation.
It's the truth, old man ...
Hey, hey, Stowaway ... you touch a nerve in him system.
(pleasantly) Join the talking, Sailor Boy, just jump right in
and say anything you want to say ...
(turns to the Sailor)
I lying about the statue, Sailor Boy?
(jumps off the bunk)
No ... it's true enough, Stowaway. (To the old man) He's
right. New York has a skyline parallel to no other. Why, I
have sailed into that harbour many times, and it never fails
to intrigue me ...
Yes, tell him...
(sits on his rear and pulls his feet up before him)
I've seen big buildings and statues in my day ...
Old man, you probably haven't been off this god-forsaken
paradise all your lifetime ... right?
(a far-away look in his face)
Hey, now . I've been places, now chaps. (his head back,
looking up at the ceiling) I was actually born in Costa Rica,
and a still have a little Spanish in me blood left to prove it
... why my pappy was building railroads back in the early
days with Minor Keith and them other chaps from United
Fruit Company. From Costa Rica I went to Honduras and
Trinidad . I even went to England and saw some action
during the war days . I know 'bout tall buildings ...
(pause) only... only ... (pause) only these days them seem
like I dream them up meself ... (pause) but when I think
hard, hard 'bout it ... I remember ... I remember... I
remember 'bout the fighting, and Keith... Mister Keith...
and me pappy... and ...
The old man mutters into silence with the Sailor and
the Stowaway looking on. They pause hoping he says
something else, and then move away to the window.
What ship you was on?
The U.S.S. FELINE...
To rawtid! The Feline (pronounces it Fey-line) is the same
rawtid boat them just throw me off the other day ...
(as if he knew)
You? You were the stowaway they caught on the Feline?
Me same one ... just as you see me ya...
Sailor Boy, where you from?
San Diego ...
On the west coast of America ... out in California.
Big, big city?
About the size of Kingston. It's a navy town. Ever since
high school I would go to the dock yards and look at ships
and I wondered where they went when they left the harbour.
After high school I joined the navy . served four years
and then signed on as a merchant seaman, going from San
Francisco through the Panama Canal to New York and back.
Then one day I was on the Feline... and I jumped ship...
I wanted to feel land under my feet again, and this island
seemed like a good place...
You like it here, huh?
No; I was here for two days, and then a young man who
was showing me around tried to take my money. I got mad
. and before I realized what had happened a crowd
gathered. He told the cops that I had propositioned him.
So they put me in jail for molesting him. When I went to
court the judge gave me one month for jumping ship and
dismissed the molesting charge ...
A see it now ... So you going back to San Diego and San
Francisco when you leave here?
Anywhere the first ship's bound...
Take me wid you enough?
I think I'd like San Diego.. . the name sound so good!
(stresses each syllable) SAN DI-EGO! (laughs quickly) Yes,
Sailor Boy, I'd love to go to San Diego.
The Stowaway slaps his bare chest and flexes his arms.
Why would you want to leave this good country?
Why? Cho, this country no all that good ... besides, a spend
too much of me time in jail and the magistrates them threat-
ening me 'bout . "the next time you appear before me!"
Besides I would really like to reach another country.
This is a good country, Stowaway, you wouldn't like
America .. America is decaying ... America has lost the
frontier spirit, and soon there'll be a revolution in the streets
of the city...
No, sah, I always hear how life sweet in America and is there
I want to go. You know, Sailor boy, my father used to grow
and sell callaloo not far from here in Greenwich Town ...
and from me that high (indicating his knees) me dey pon de
road with him a sell callaloo ... from Sunday morning to
Sunday morning. And when the crop over him go back to
him job with the street cleaning department of the corpor-
ation. And one day when a was about ten a went out to sea
with a fisherman, and from that day on is me and the sea...
a month after that a jumped on me first ship.
SWhere did you go?
(his eyes wide, remembering)
Got on in Kingston ... but a was fool-fool in dem days. I
hide out in a dark, dark section, and when a feel the ship
start to move, me belly nearly turn inside-out ..:. (drama-
tizes) but a hold fast ... and the ship just move and move,
and a lose track of time. Then all of a sudden the ship stop,
and a come out and look and a see a port. So.a got off the
ship and walk through the town and see all kinds of people
S. some of them look like the people in Kingston. So
finally a pluck up and asked one man what country it was.
But before him answer, him say where you from? and a
tell him Kingston, Jamaica... and him laugh and say to me
"where you think this is?" And a say, I think is a foreign
country . overseas from Jamaica, I just got off a ship.I
said . and the man called down a crowd, and tell them
what a say... and you want fe hear how them laugh... by
this time a frighten you see .. then the man say ... is
MoBay this .. and tears run out of him eyes... you ride
from Kingston to MoBay on a ship, and you still in Jamaica,
young boy! A run out of the crowd and back to the dock,
but a couldn't get back on the ship. So a beg a ride on a
country bus back to Kingston...
SIt was a good experience, Stowaway!
Yeah, from then on a always find out 'bout a ship before I
You need a chance, Stowaway, a good one ...
So is not true what the guard say 'bout you? (pause) I al-
ways hear these things about sailors, but I never believe them
(vexed at being left out)
You better believe it about this one, though!
(stalks over to the old man)
What name in the book you think I should use for you, eh?
'cause any dyam name I come up wid too good . man-
This murderer has taunted me ever since I arrived in this cell
Yankee go home ... yankee go home!
Look, Cultivator, leave the sailor, enough ... we all have to
stay in the cell... so res, nough...
Call the guard and you and the sailor move out ... him
probably want some privacy with you!
The Sailor grabs the old man by the shirt of his prison
garb ard pulls him off the ground. The old man
struggles with him and they fall to the ground, the
Sailor on top.
(trying to pull the Sailor away)
Let me him go, Sailor boy ...
(slapping the old man's face)
I'll kill him ... I'll kill him...
The Stowaway struggles with the Sailor trying to pull
him off the old man; finally the Sailor releases the
old man, who turns over gasping for air.
He was going to kill me!
I know it ...
the lights fade slowly.
It's-the second day. About mid-afternoon. The sun
is shining brightly, exploding into the cell As the
lights come up, we find the Stowaway and the Sailor
by the window looking out into the prison yard The
Cultivator is sitting by the bars.
(his arm through the window bars)
Hey, you .. tell them to clean out the piggery ... the
wind's blowing the stink over here...
It would be easier to change the direction of the wind!
He's funny. Who is he?
I don't know. Never saw him before ...
Strange . you act as if you knew everyone out there!
That's easy when you're in prison. But even outside ...
people is people. That's one of the few things I learn from
my father... you be nice to people, he told me, and they'll
return the favour. It works like this: You tell somebody,
hey man, I'm going to do so-and-so for you ... and you do
it. Not because you owe them anything, but a promise is a
promise. And to people like me who don't have anything
and don't belong anywhere it means plenty. There's a word
for that kind of thing... a big word, but I don't remember
the word ...
Hey, inside there, how come you guys don't get to come
out for the afternoon stroll?
We don't need strolls. Besides we special!
Special? You guys are killers, huh?
Not us, only the Cultivator ...
Loud raucous laughter greets the Sailor's response.
The guard won't even let you out for a swim?
I understand they don't let real swimmers out there, because
we might forget which direction is shore!
More laughter from outside. The Stowaway and the
Sailor join in the laughter.
Hey, you, you with the side of pig ... is dinner that?
What else ... we have more pigs here than John read 'bout
some all have two feet!
Who is John?
It's just a saying . you damn fool ... just a saying, John
... John Public, John Doe ... damn fool...
The old man pulls a thin, handrolled cigarette-looking
smoke from his hair and lights it. He handles it
delicately, and draws hard on it, holding the smoke
until it seems that he is about to burst. He gradually
relaxes and draws easier each time.
(turns to the old man)
You amaze me, Cultivator! (he stalks over to the old man
sniffing as he nears him) You really amaze me ... sitting
here in prison and puffing away on ganja as big as life!
(a sweet smile on his face)
Most intelligent words you have uttered since you entered
The Cultivator is smoking weed?
Whatever you call it...
Sound of a tanker coming into port. The Stowaway
cocks his head and signals for the others to remain
(a broad smile on his face)
Hey there now . listen . Cultivator listen . know
what that is?
(his eyes closed, moving with his ear in the lead)
It's not just a ship .. it's a two-stacked tanker (sniffs) Oil
tanker... it's very heavy ... a bet you it pulls into the Esso
berth! Look through the window and tell me Sailor Boy ...
(straining to see through the window)
He's right Cultivator... he's right!
(opens his eyes, elated)
A knew hit! Cultivator, I just have to hear the sound and a
Then tell me something, Stowaway, how come you travel on
so many ships and know so much about ships and you never
(coming towards Stowaway)
Yes, tell us how is it that you never landed...
The Stowaway is frozen to the spot listening to the
(laughs in short chuckles, his eyes wide and glassy)
Him crazy coolie boy ... crazy, crazy coolie baboo ...
(as if in a trance)
I know what's on the land . it's the water that thrills me
bones . miles and miles of surging blue-black water . .
and the birds ... and the smell (grabs his belly) even now I
can feel a tightness inside me ... and, and I'm just thinking
(taps Stowaway on his shoulder)
Why didn't you become a sailor? Sign on a ship and travel
the seas legally?
Become a Sailor?
His face goes blank. This has never occurred to him
before. The Cultivator laughs and rocks back and
Become a sailor? He probably can't even read and write...
enough, true enough, Stowaway?
The Stowaway ignores the Cultivator and looks earn-
estly at the Sailor.
Sailor Boy, you mean I could be a sailor and work on a'ship
... just like you?
Yes! If you love going to sea that much, yes...
(shakes the Sailor's hand)
Good idea, Sailor Boy! This rawtid man is a thinker ...
(he turns back to the old man) God Almighty! Cultivator,
I'm going to be a sailor when I get out of here! I'm going
to get me a fine white sailor suit; and walk up the first gang
plank and say to the captain, here I am, sir, I want to be a
sailor (he turns to the Sailor for confirmation) Right?
It won't be that easy, but you have the right spirit!
You'll help me, huh, Sailor Boy?
Sure ... I'll help you ...
Tell me this, Stowaway ... you mean that all these years of
jumping on ships and being thrown off... you mean it never
occurred to you that you could do that?
(takes a final puff and puts out joint with fingers)
Become a sailor...
It's difficult to think about things like that . unless...
unless you have a head for it...
Nothing enough difficult, if you have brains in your head...
(sticks the butt in his hair)
What the hell you talking 'bout brains?
(grabs the Stowaway)
Don't let him upset you. He's talking crazy again!
You have brains?
(facing the old man)
Then if you so brainy, what the hell you doing in prison?
What you doing here with the rest of us?
It takes brains to get in prison ...
(laughing, moves away)
Then, tell me this? Where the hell you think I am?
The Sailor climbs on to the top bunk and dangles his
feet over the side.
He's one up on you, old man!
Cho, this stupid Stowaway got here by default...
(sharply, as he returns to face the old man)
By accident ...
You know how many times I go to prison?
The Stowaway stands in the middle of the cell, feet
astride, and begins to count on his fingers, then he
sticks all ten out before him.
I have been to jail that many times... and maybe more ...
You still think I don't have brains?
Yes, you're a damn fool, getting caught so many times!
(turns away confused)
Sailor, you see how you can't please this son-of-a-bitch, eh?
What the blaast you mean get caught? Then them didn't
catch you too? Or you want me to believe that you just kill
you' son and walk into the police station and give yourself
up? You want me to believe that I'm not a good stowaway
... and I can't be a sailor because I don't have any brains;
but listen to this: I not stupid enough to kill!
Anybody can kill ... if you give them the opportunity...
A not that stupid!
Well said, Stowaway!
Hey, now Mr. Cultivator, the shoe is on the other foot...
you can wear it?
My crime was a crime of passion ...
(jumps off the bunk)
You really believe that, old man?
My crime is forgivable in the laws of the jungle . even
Moses would stand by me in this case ... A man does what
he has to do. I work all my life, fighting every step of the
way to make my cultivation pay, and this runted, jaysey-
assed boy come and take away my woman and want to run
my cultivation as if he were owner-man ...
So you kill him!
(sinking back to the ground)
Kill him yes!
Tek a life! God strike me dead, before I tek a life... not
even me own!
You're a coward, Stowaway!
Coward? What's that?
Someone who is afraid to do something...
(paces before the Cultivator)
'Fraid? Me not afraid Me not 'fraid of burying ground late
at night; me not 'fraid of climbing onto ship; me not 'fraid
of prison... what else is there to be 'fraid of? Tell me that?
(covers his face with his hands)
Cho, you're a lost cause ... a man who is not afraid is not
You full up with double talk, Cultivator .. meaningless
(from by the window)
Just look at us? And listen to you guys . taunting each
other! There's no need to persecute each other, is there?
That's what I have been doing looking at us and we all
(over by the window)
You know we guys are not too different from each other.
Just think of all the roads we must have walked to reach this
point? The Sailor coming all the way from America ... you,
old man, from Portland ... and me ... just think?
Think? Why, Stowaway, that's going to be difficult for you
to do ... (laughs) all that thinking!
Res. Just res youself... I can put one and one together.
And you quite likely to come up with eleven ... instead of
For all your talk, old man, you're just like me and the Sailor
.. drifting . drifting on some hopeless, restless tide ...
all stowaways in this life; just moving back and forth with
the tides, and never getting anywhere.
What makes you say that?
A Rastaman told me something like that one time ... it
sounded good . only, he was talking about Rastafarians
Listen to this damn-fool Coolie Boy, nough...
This coolie boy getting out of here in one piece! Look,
Cultivator, just because John Crow shit pon your head, you
believe he shit pon the rest of us? I have been thinking about
being in prison, and is one thing a learn a not coming
back! I say to meself, Stowaway, tomorrow you have a new
future. Tomorrow you and the Sailor free-free. The
Cultivator him going to Top Hill; and you and the Sailor
Boy have a second chance to start over!
Nobody gets a second chance, learn that!
Wrong again, Cultivator. My father used to tell me that
there's a man out there in the sky . and that man in the
sky could read you a whole book about second chances;
and tomorrow I'm going out there (points towards window)
to tek mine ...
(climbs on bunk)
Well said, Stowaway, well said!
Just then the Guard enters the cell block.
The three prisoners come towards the front of the cell
and stand to attention facing the Guard. The Guard
Okay, fellows, tomorrow you'll be on your way out of here.
I'm pleased to announce that there will be a van outside this
cell block at eleven o'clock. That van is for you, Cultivator.
It will take you to Top Hill. There is a bus which comes by
here at ten-thirty tomorrow morning. You Sailor, and you
Stowaway, will be outside the gate at ten-fifteen to catch
that bus. Hear me?
The prisoners nod.
You haven't given me a scrap of trouble, so there is no
reason why you shouldn't leave here on-time, and in one
piece. Now quit talking and go to sleep!
The prisoners move toward the bunks. The Guard
switches off the light and leaves. The prisoners settle
into bed. The cell is quiet for a while. The Stowaway
begins to snore.
Hey, Sailor Boy, you really going to fake the Stowaway with
There's no response from the Sailor. The Cultivator
climbs out of his bunk, nudges the Sailor . he sits
Come, I want to tell you something...
They move stage-front towards the front of the cell.
The light from outside the cell lights their faces.
He's an ignorant, son-of-a-bitch, can't read or write ... he's
only going to be a burden for you... following you around
for the rest of your life ...
He's a good boy, old man ...
Hear me, I know his kind... let me tell you something...
(drops his twang)
Get off me dyam back, old man... and leave me alone...
Is how you pick up dis Jamaica talk so quick?
Tell me something, I really look like a foreigner to you?
(turns his back on the Sailor)
You sec me dying trial, now?
(spins the old man around)
You see that man sleeping up their? Him accomplish more
than I've ever dreamed of... you know the truth, old man,
I've never left this island! God knows I've wanted to many
times . but the opportunity never came my way. You
know that simple, ignorant Stowaway has seen more life than
I have? Christ, how I would like to catch sight of the statue
of liberty... and see the New York skyline ... how I'd like
to sail into the harbour at San Francisco or even San Diego
. but it's all talk... I've hung around bars and the water
front long enough to pretend that I've been to those places,
but I never put a feet. I've lived my life through other people
Yea, I've heard sailors talked about far-off shores long
enough to believe that I've actually been there myself
(shakes his head) Christ, Almight', old man... I've envied
the Stowaway ever since he put foot in this cell... if I died
tomorrow my life would have been one dyam waste ...
pretending to be an American has gotten me nowhere...
Is what you saying, eh, you have a whole life ahead of you
.. look at me and my life almost done for?
You don't understand, old man, I'm thirty years old and I
have nothing to show for having been alive all these years...
I never had a father like the Stowaway to take me with him
when he was selling callaloo ... a never had a son, like you
... I never had anybody. I've had a few women from time
to time... but they wanted more than I could give them...
see they really thought I was a sailor... and I'd go away for
a time and then come back and tell them that I'd been at
sea ... so they expected me to come back with money ...
and the little I scuffed on the streets was never enough...
Then how the hell you have the guts to make such a promise
to the Stowaway? What the hell you going to tell him
tomorrow when him wake up?
I'll explain to him . I'll tell him that I want a chance to
start fresh myself... and that's why I won't be able to take
him with me ...
So you really not taking him?
I thought I could when I told him that I would... but now
that I've thought it over ... a really, really don't think so
...see old man, I've been pretending, but I've never dreamt.
And now I have this wonderful dream, I'm going to stop
pretending. As I leave here tomorrow morning I'm going to
the labour office on East Street and find out about a job ...
a real job ... I'd take anything... and start from there ...
Hey, tell me this how come you in prison?
I was molesting a sailor...
You know something sailor-boy, I'd like to start over myself.
the lights fade quickly.
The lights come up slowly. It's the third day: the
three prisoners are eating breakfast. The Sailor is sit-
ting under the window, eating slowly. The Cultivator
is behind the bars, staring at the food on the plate
before him. The Stowaway eats sloppily.
Eat up, Cultivator, it's a long ride to Top Hill!
You ever been there?
(with food in his mouth)
Nope ... but I hear say it far... far... from here.
(pensively, re-adopting his twang)
What time will they come for us?
Ten-fifteen, the Guard said...
(finishing his meal)
When them good and ready ... is only execution them on
(pushes plate away from him)
Me belly so tight, a can't touch the food ...
I'll eat it for you .
Eat it baboo, you could stand the nourishment, eh ...
The Stowaway takes the Cultivator's plate and eats
rapidly from it.
When chicken is merry ... hawk dey near!
The Stowaway walks briskly around the cell, slaps his
chest and flexes his arms.
This is going to be one rawtid day in my life!
The sky is red .. that's a bad sign ...
Red sky at morning.. sailors take warning!
The old man and the Sailor exchange troubled looks.
We are free men today .. that's what it's all about ...
That's not what I think. You see how the Sailor quiet this
morning . him probably planning to run out on you ...
Go whey . you think the Sailor Boy is a bloody no-good
like you... you old murderer (to the Sailor) A promise is a
(looking through the window)
The Stowaway begins to march around the cell singing:
Sailor boy, sailor boy
Where are you going?
I'm going to the country
of the red, white and blue.
They call it sympathy,
They call it sympathy,
But if you are a sailor boy
You may come with me ...
You counting chickens again, Stowaway ...
Seems to me you just jealous. You don't wish us any good.
Just because we soon get our freedom, and you on your
way to another prison ... enough true?
A just sorry for you. All this planning, Stowaway, and the
Sailor Boy don't sound too positive to me ...
What the hell you business with me and the Sailor Boy's
business? What you so concerned for? The man gave me his
word yesterday. And at ten-fifteen when we walk out of
here . we heading straight for that causeway. (points
through window) And you see that Newport West out there
. and those ships? We going to head for the first one ...
and baps... me and the Sailor Boy going to sign up!
Stowaway, you know all this time I think you was playing
fool to catch wise; but you're just a bloody jackass. (the
old man rises and stretches manacingly to his full height
and approaches the Sailor Boy) What you waiting for? You
not going tell him?
Tell me what? Tell me what?
The Cultivator circles around the Stowaway like a bird
of prey, stacking his claim on a feast.
Drifting with the tides? Wasn't that what you said yester-
day? Well, you going to have to go out there and drift
The Stowaway strides over to the Sailor and stands
feet astride, hands akimbo.
You have something to tell me?
(dropping his twang again)
I cyaan' pretend any longer, pardie, but a not really a sailor
or anything like that...
Blind leading the blind...
Stowaway, I can't take you anywhere with me because I'm
not going anywhere ...
(turns to Cultivator)
Is how him sound so strange this morning? Is you put him
up to this?
(shakes his head sadly)
No ... me son .. but him tell me last night say dat him
never even left this island!
Never leave this island? What about San Diego? And the
Statue of Liberty . and the Empire State Building ...
(grabs the Sailor and shakes him) You did see them didn't
you? Didn't you?
No a never see them!
Who are you anyway? Who are you?
The great pretender . ever hear the song. (croaks) Oh
yes, I'm the great pretender... adrift in a world of my own
... my dream is such, I pretend too much ...
(belts the old man across his face)
Shut up and keep out .. you're an old man at the end of
The Cultivator slinks off into a corner and watches.
Don't blame the old man, Stowaway, he's right about me ...
I'm a Jamaican just like you. I've just been pretending
about being a foreigner and a sailor . look, old boy, I've
never even been off the island, never been at sea except
to take the ferry to Port Royal once in a while. And I tell
you something . that dam' ferry ride feels good! Some-
times I'd stand at the bow of the boat, and it's as if the damn
boat was under my command...
God strike me dead, what lying son-of-bitch! All the
blasted twang... and nothing to back it up ...
Remember what I told you yesterday . about second
The Sailor moves towards the Stowaway to rest his
hand on the Stowaway's shoulder.
Don't worry, you'll make it out there...
The Stowaway, his face masked in anger, lashes away
at the Sailor. He pushes him up against the bunk and
belts him with a few good blows.
Well, mek I tell you something . there's one thing the
Cultivator was right about... a cyaan read... and a cyaan
write . even if a see me name plastered on a big billboard
before me a wouldn't recognize it. But I tell you this,
Sailor-boy, you lying bastard, I wouldn't go back on my
word... I wouldn't let you down.
(stumbles to his feet)
A not taking this lying down ...
He grabs the Stowaway from behind and they struggle
beating on each other savagely. The Cultivator looks
on helplessly. Finally the Stowaway rises, leaving the
Sailor sprawled on the ground
MY NAME'S RUFUS WILLIAMS AND ALL I WANT IN
THIS LIFE IS ONE DEGGY, DEGGY CHANCE!
The Cultivator crawls over to where the Sailor is lying
on the floor. He attempts to lift the Sailor to his feet.
The Sailor is dead weight in his hands. The Sailor's
eyes are open, and as the Cultivator lifts him up, his
jaws fall, trapped in the mask of death.
You killed him, Stowaway ...
My name's Rufus, old man, that's what they call me out
The Cultivator lowers the Sailor's body back to the
floor and goes to the bars.
(no urgency in his voice)
GUARD. .. GUARD...
KIMBERLEY ANNE ROBERTSON JUNIOR SECTION 14-16 CERTIFICATE OF MERIT
AT THE BUS STOP
Characters: Old Woman (with boxes and baskets)
Little Mod Chile in Hot Pants and Boots
Man with Star
Woman reading Man's Star
A Bus Stop in the Centre of the Stage
Man standing beside sign reading Star. Occasionally
he glances up, looks at watch and continues reading.
Enter Schoolgirls, loitering, chattering and packed
with books. They look around expectantly.
AT THE BUS STOP
- (Excited, half-disappointed whisper)
They not here yet.
- Cho man, a didn't want to see them anyway.
They too nuff!
- They probably not coming today!
- They probably gone home already!
- No man! They couldn't do that!
Enter Old Woman. Girls look up eagerly heads
droop with obvious disappointment.
Old Woman is struggling with many boxes and
baskets of assorted sizes. She is wearing hat and
- Good evening young misses!
- (Sullenly) Evenin'.
- But wait. How can you say good evening' to me
like that? You don't have a little common
decency, eeh? I say good evening' to you and
you don't even look up or even smile at me! I
is a ole lady you know! You ill-mannered
pickney don't ave no respect for people which is
older and wiser dan dem!
Girls look at each other unimpressed, then turn
from the irate Old Woman and continue chatting.
But wait 'ere! Look at this! You see me talking
to you and you turn you back an' go on chat!
You doan now when a speak to you you must
look at me, eeh? (She then turns to Man with
Star) Eh, sah, you see what we ole people 'ave
to put up wid! (Man looks up uninterestedly,
glances at watch, returns to Star.) You see!
Well sah! A doan' now what dis worl coming to,
you know. Like look at dis bus! Is 4.30 dis bus
suppose to come, you know! An what time it is
Man (Looking up reluctantly) Quarter to 5. (Returns
Old Woman Right! Is pure late bus we 'ave in dis place yah!
You ever see de 33 come on time yet? Eeh?
(Turns generally to the world)
No sah, in all me years a never see a 33 come on
time. Is pure late bus we 'ave. An me wid all mi
belongings mus wait fe hours and hours. Me,
a poor ole woman, an no one will help mi. An
me, wid me backache and arthritis. An di pick-
ney at home. An de dinner fe cook. ..(Starts
muttering to herself).
- Is dem!
(Others immediately look up.
Enter Schoolboys, with shirts out of pants, mini-
mum of books and walking cooly.)
- I tell you! (Excited whisper) I tell you they
- Im sweet, eeh!
(Further glances in direction of Boys who pretend
not to notice Girls)
- (Sighs deeply and stares at Boys.)
Old Woman Yes sah, see de 33 a come now! Now when a
tired and stan' up here so fi 'ours!
All glance up and gather belongings, etc.
But wait! It not gwine stop.
(She flags down bus violently)
Stop, stop, STOP! me seh STOP!
(Bags are put down as the bus passes.)
Well! Look at that, eeh! It doan stop! It keep
mi waiting here fe 'ours and 'ours, an den it doan
stop! Well, sah!
(More muttering as she puts down all her various
(Boys takeadvantage of occasion as excuse to move
over to the Girls.)
- (Very cooly) Wha'appen?
- (Equally half-heartedly) Hi, wha' happen!
- You girls not gone home yet?
- No man, we had games.
(Awkward silence. Girls look one way and Boys
another, during which enter the Woman who will
read the Man's 'Star'. She goes and stands up
beside the Man)...
- Hey guys, take a look at this!
(Enter Little Mod Chile in hot pants and boots -
the works. Wiggles her way past the Old Woman.
The Old Woman straightens up, adjusts glasses and
stares. Boys also stare, but admiringly. The Girls
look put out by the Boys' otherwise occupied
The Man continues to read his 'Star' and the
Woman looks over his shoulder.)
Old Woman (Very loudly) But wait! Look at dis! How she
mean to come out on the street like dis? Is
what she tink she 'ave on? It look like panty
she 'ave on deh to mi!
(Little Mod Chile turns around and cuts her eyes at
at the Old Woman.)
But see 'ere! Young ma'am! Young ma'am!
(Young Ma'am looks round again)
Is what you just do? You did not cut you eye at
(Little Mod Chile raises her eyebrows, laughs, then
But see 'ere! Is who you tink you giving fasty
looks to ma'am? (Ignored by Chile) Eeh? Is
who? Eeh? (Comes up and prods Little Mod
Little Mod Chile-Doan touch me, man!
Old Woman Eeh? Is who you? Is you giving me fasty looks?
Is you? Is you? (Prods again)
Little Mod Chile-A sey lef me ole woman!
Old Woman -
Ole woman, you call mi, eeh? Well, is true. I is
an ole woman, me a poor ole woman, a helpless,
sick, ole woman. An you cut you eye at mi!
You mannerless! Is whey you madda come
from? She doan teach you nu manners?
Little Mod Chile-Is you doan 'ave no manners. Go quarrel wid
someone else. I doan bother you at all so you
doan 'ave fi pick on me."
(She stalks over to the far end of the bus stop area
near the Schoolboys and Schoolgirls very
The Woman and Man in the background are having
a little fight. Man keeps moving the 'Star' deter-
minedly to try and stop the Woman from reading
over his shoulders. But the Woman is equally
determined and keeps moving.)
Old Woman Butwatchya Lord! Well mi dear, you go on
you hear? You go on wid you faystiness and
fancy panty and you big ole booty dem.
Little Mod Chile-(To others) Mi no business wid her!
Old Woman You no business wid me, yes! But you business
wid di man why you wear dem panty though!
So you go on, mi chile. But watch dem fasty
ways de man you trying to catch doan like
dem fasty ways. Heh, heh!
(With a dismissive flick of the wrist, turns to Man
What time you 'ave now sah?
Man (Irritatedly) Ten to five. (Back to 'Star')
Old Woman Aye, mi foot a bun me, de pickney at home
waiting, and de bus come late and den doan stop.
We not goin get anadda one till 'bout six o'clock,
a bet you. A bet you.
(Looks around for some response. None.)
A bet you. (Short pause) You doan feel so, sah?
- (Very irritatedly) What?
- You doan feel so?
- (Extremely irritatedly) Yes, yes! (Gives ex-
tremely dirty look at Woman looking over his
shoulder, moves a few steps over. Woman fol-
(Enter Rasta carrying Bible)
- Gretetinig untn vnu all hreddas and sisters!
Old Woman I doan know 'bout de others, but like seh MI is
NO sista of yours.
- Peace, woman. I seh breddas and sistas because
we is all breddas and sistas. You is I sista an I
love you because you is I sista, an you should
love I because I is you bredda!
Old Woman Yus check what you saying! You telling mi I is
related to you? Who is you madda? Who you
- Peace unto you, woman. You doan understand
I. You is I sista in spirit. You madda different
from I madda but we have one Fadda!
Old Woman (Very indignantly) Wha- wha-what you saying?
Just mine what you saying! Mi fadda was a
Rasta (Very patiently) No, woman, I not talking
'bout you madda husband I mean you Fadda
above who 'ave a Son living in dis world today
in the form of his Imperial Majesty de Emprah
Haille Selassie, who did honour 'is followers
even 'ere in dis little island of Jamaica by coming
'ere so dat we could pay him 'omige.
Old Woman Chu, g'way wid you foolishness! Haille Selassie
isjus a plain man like yourself. You people mus'
be really fool if you tink 'im 'is any god. You is
a pagan heathen'. I am a Christian an I believe
in Jesus. Jesus shall save my soul from sin. I
love dat man from Galilee. (She begins to sing).
Rasta Woman, I pity you because you is hignorant.
But listen to I, and you will see dat you is
wrong, and I is right.
Old Woman You can just close yu' mouth now and doan
waste yu time and breat', 'cause I not listening
to one more bit 'o foolishness you going chat!
Rasta Woman, when I tell you dat de Lion of Judah
is the direct descendent of de wise King Solomon
who is related to your own Jesus Christ, you
will know seh dat if you listen to I you will see
Old Woman -But you tell me an a doan see no lite yet except
dat I now know fe SURE dat you is mad. Heh
hey! All you Rasta dem do is wax you hair and
smoke you' ganja an' chat 'bout Back to Africa
Movement. Is crazy you crazy. Hurry up an
gwan to Africa, den sah. We no want you ina
- Woman, peace. Is love a love you cause you is
mi Sista -
- Mi no no sista of yours, you know!
- Woman, you is ver' ignorant...
- Is fool you calling mi fool? Is you fool.
But is peace and love all the time same. Love I,
Hail I, Breddas. Hail I, Sistas.
Old Woman Hail I, yourself. You ole dutty long hair ting you.
(To Man) Dem fool eeh, sah?
(Man slowly lowers paper, looks long and hard at
unperturbed Old Woman, returns to paper.)
Little Mod Chile-Dem fool but dem not as fool as you!
Old Woman Heh, hey, bway! Look at dis! Is me you speak-
ing to, panty girl? Doan bother call me fool,
cause dem clothes you wearing just show seh
(Titters from Schoolgirls.)
Little Mod Chile-(To others) She can go on chat, but what she
say doan touch me! (To Woman) You is a
miserable ole hag.
Old Woman An you is a presumptious little pickney. You
madda mus be bad fe 'ave a pickney like you.
Little Mod Chile-Mi Madda bad, but oono madda worse.
Old Woman Mi madda compare with oono madda mek your
madda favour dry plantain under fowl totoos.
Little Mod Chile-(Gasps) Well, if oono madda look like you,den
dry plantain under fowl totoos too good fe her!
Old Woman Well, mi chile, even if oono madda look betta
dan you she still gwine favour cow dung or smell
like stinking toe. But is pure waste a wasting mi
breat' talking to pickney like you. A done.
(Looks up road) Anyway anadda bus coming.
(Everyone gets ready)
Dis bus not gwine pass us dis time! (With grim
determination) STAP! (Violently flags down
bus) STAP, a seh STAP!- But wait, it not
stepping? STAP! STAP!
(Bus passes, shown by head movements)
It passing us! No, it stap up so! Doan drive off,
(Everyone rushes off Old Woman going last
struggling with belongings.)
by Dawn Ritch
He was late. Peanuts, cashews, gin, scotch and rum were on a
tray in the kitchen waiting to be put on a small coffee-table.
Albert Huie's studio-flat is set a little way in from the road, so he
and Cecil Baugh the ceramicist, were listening for whether or not
a car had slowed to drive in. With the traffic on the Constant
Spring Road that is an impossible task. Huie held his stomach
briefly in a mixture of anxiety and discomfort, grumbling about
his hernia, the grotesqueness of unnecessary protruberances, and
women cursed with ugly, protruding navels. He could stand it no
longer, he went out to the gate. Ronald Moody still had not
arrived. Neither car nor footsteps were ever heard, only a very
soft and British voice speaking in the most apologetic tones as
as Ronald Moody came through the door. He was greeted by a
softly-exploding sigh of relief and welcome.
The sculptor's drink was white rum with a dash of ginger,
followed by the comment that the familial atmosphere when he
left Jamaica so many years ago was one of "No art, no drinking,
and no smoking". Pulling deeply on his cigar, Moody-gently
swilled around the drink and told us with a smile that this was
why he had left. That sort of atmosphere in Jamaica during the
1930's meant that he could only find himself outside the island.
He sensed the scepticism, and went into more detail.
"I left the island to study dentistry ... a gentleman had to have
a profession (his voice lingered satirically on the word) in those
days. .. never knowing that I would not return. I discovered art
in the British Museum. Egyptian art. I discovered something that
I had never known before." By then we realized that Ronald
Moody had little respect for words, and in a very endearing manner
assumes that a kind of immediate communication exists. Yet
there was a sense in which his discovering something he had never
known before was not necessarily referring to art. His tone
implied this even at the same time as it implied that he had nothing
more to say on the topic. What did you discover that you had
never known before?
With the quiet joy that comes of triumph recollected that has
since enriched rather than jaded, Moody said, "I discovered that
the Renaissance was not the be all and end all of art. I discovered
Egyptian art." What about it? He smiled at the insistence, and
replied that Egyptian art has silence. There was a silence in the
small room. Whether of dismay, incredulity, agreement or simple
ignorance, there was silence in the room. I had to ask what exact-
ly did he mean by that. He explained that in Egyptian art there
is a profound feeling of inner unity. Since the mind must come
to rest in order to comprehend, all great art must be calm.
Renaissance art, he continued, warming to the topic, is not
great art despite its great beauty, because it is full of movement
and agitation that comes from an inner restlessness. His voice,
unlike most others in a taste of enthusiasm, had lowered so that
words like "Taoism", "Buddism," were only barely distinct. But
it is clear that his mind was travelling paths leading to the cold
Himalayas and Eastern mystics. "Well, my dear," he said, with a
low chuckle, "I'm not going further West."
Ronald Moody is an Internationally-famed sculptor of Jamaican birth who
has been residing in London. He has had exhibitions in Paris, London, New
York, Amsterdam, Delhi and behind the Iron Curtain. A portrait sculptor
who is interested in 'psychological' and 'symbolic' sculpting, Moody is
nevertheless well-known as a monumentalist
Moody said he was not referring to politics or God, he can't
believe in a personal God but has an unshakable faith that the
earth is covered by universal, impersonal laws. "No, not legal laws,
no, not political laws. It has taken Germany two world wars to
discover that such is not the answer. I've been through one of
them . fighting . refugee . escape over the Pyrenees ..
madness... utter madness." This led to a conversation about the
war and certain Frenchmen who kept knives at the backs of their
necks and had a fatal accuracy with them. Then to the war years
in Jamaica and the growth of the Jamaica Art School begun by
Edna Manley, Albert Huie and Cecil Baugh.
"You know, I was in Jamaica seven years ago and was most
thoroughly bewildered. What a vast variety of wood and how
extraordinary that no one was using them. On this trip I have seen
a terrific sort of explosion, this excitement not only in the use of
woods but in the art as a whole. The Rastafarians have made an
impact that will develop and give the West Indies a kind of...
you know, the Mexican Revera and the impact he had? . the
same sort of thing can happen here in Jamaica.
A symbolic work, the arms of the figure are almost one with the
body and the legs are only partially free since one has been
trapped in a concrete vice. Only the head of man is truely free.
This is the sculptor's brother, the late Dr. Harold Moody who
was the President of the League of Coloured Peoples.
"The artist's job is to remind the people of certain eternal laws
and values, in art there is no progress. The European artist draws
a line on a blue background and sells it for one thousand, two
thousand pounds. He even has to tell the society what the thing
means. The artist mirrors the bankruptcy of his own society.
God Lord, (a mild and amused explosion) you have me talking
like a Baptist minister.
"Here in Jamaica there is a difference in the art. Yes there is a
difference; here there is sanity. In my youth I and the Blue
Mountains had a peculiar sort of relationship, they were aloof,
majestic. I returned this time to see twinkling lights on them."
This was met with loud denial and reminiscences about hikes to
the Blue Mountains and its refreshing untamedness. "Yet",
Moody continued,athere is a sanity here that the artists show
because the artist has a very direct relationship to the society."
"The Isis mysteries in Egypt . indeed all this consensus of
opinion about life through the ages and among countries despite
their geographical distance. . exude sanity and a recognition of
eternal laws. All this external thing is only a rythmn, a ritual. There
are two kinds of "I's", the I myself and the I, where I come from.
The latter is the one which recognizes the laws. God? What help
would that be, knowing who made the laws?"
Sunset had come and gone, but no one had bothered to turn
the lights on. The half-light threw the figures into soft silhouettes.
Huie, who had tucked a leg under him, seemed to be contemplating
the lush ease of his next nude, and Baugh began to rumble low in
his throat and addressed a question to Moody. Now a discussion
was in full swing about what exactly these laws were, why their
validity, and what is this 'external thing'? And in the room was a
feeling of exuberance, of things accomplished, of things yet to be
done, and of the capacity and determination to do them. And
then this man who doubts the efficacy of words put up his hand
for silence, he had remembered something he read once in.college.
"I do believe Socrates had this to say. 'A man must have
intelligence of universals and be able to proceed from the many
particulars of sense to one conception of reason. This is a
recollection of the things our soul once saw while following God,
which, regardless of what we now call being, lifted her head up to
When he first read this, it had meant nothing to him, but as the
years passed Moody came to cherish the thought as a comment
upon life and the artistic experience. "Growth is only growth
when it represents the connecting-up of inner experiences."
Savacou the work is situated outside the Epideriological
Research Centre at Mona Campus, West Indies, and is one of the
gods of Carib Mythology said to have come down to earth in the
form of a bird and being here for some time returned from
whence it came and became a star.
Again there was a silence in the room, and a calm had settled
in it. In so many ways this was reminiscent of a group of young
people planning to change the world or themselves... visions of
peace: but there in that room the calm and visions of peace were
more thoroughly earned, more thoroughly vibrant. The three
gentlemen had years of striving, failure and success behind them,
and yet the capacity and determination, indeed, the eagerness to
go on was there. The artistic endeavour continues.
What are you going to do when you get back to England? "Do?
What do you mean 'do'?" Teasingly, Moody made me realize the
lameness of my question, and put me in an awkward position
because he insisted upon an answer. So I had to tell him that
people usually want to know ". . what's happening after this."
"Well," he said, "tell people that I'll be thinking about
by Calleine Binns.
Screen Print, fabric design, by Frank Raymond.
A. Design by Lloyd Robinson.
B. Ceramic and Macrame
by Calleine Binns.
C. Foundation Course Design
derived from letter "S"
by Heather Jacobs.
Top Left: National Bird
HUMMINGBIRD; (Trochilus Polytmus).
Top Right: National Fruit
ACKEE; (Blighia Sapida).
Bottom Left: National Tree
BLUE MAHOE; (Hisbiscus Elatus).
Bottom Right: National Flower
LIGNUM VITAE; (Guaiacum Officinale).
Miss Jamaica 1972 cer.:r Ga.l Phil;ips. Miss
SIndependence left. Rita Fave Chambers. Miss
Fesval, rignh. Morene Blackood
Costume 1972 Adventure on an Unknown Planet modelled
by Sharon Douqlas and designed by Gillian Munroe
Miss Farm Queen 1972 r vonne Lawre
- it -.d