Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 History and the institute
 Science for the layman
 Art, literature, music
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00003
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: September 1968
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    History and the institute
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
    Science for the layman
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Art, literature, music
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
    Back Cover
        Page 57
        Page 58
Full Text

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Prize winners
Jamaica Festival

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," ':


Carol No. 2 by Ruth Kasasian

... i.


SBarry in Meditation by Rupert Salmon


Jamaica Journal is published Quarterly
by the Institute of Jamaica, 12-15 East
Street, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies.

Frank Hill, Chairman.
C. Bernard Lewis, Director.


Design and Production

HISTORY and the Institute.
Marcus Garvey . . . .
A Frenchman looks at Jamaica..
Problems of Pre-History . .

SCIENCE for the Layman
History of the Jamaican Fauna.
Jamaican Aquatic Plants . .

. . R. G. Thwaites Jr.
. . .. Edited D. Buisseret
. . Ronald L. Vanderwal

. . . . . . . .
. . . J. D. Woodley
. . .. George P. Proctor

Lithographed in Jamaica
Litho Press Limited

Jamaica 5/- U:K. & Europe 7/6
U.S. & Canada $1.00
West Indies $1.50 (B.W.I.)

1 year 1.0.0. 3 years 2.15.0.
5 years 4.10.0. Post paid.

.K. & Europe
1 year 1.8.0. plus 5/- postage
3 years 4.0.0. plus 15/- postage
-5 years 6.10.0. plus 25/- postage

.S. & Canada
1 year $3.50 plus 50f postage
3 years $10.00 plus $1.50 postage
5 years $16.00 plus $2.50 postage
lest Indies
1 year $5.00 (B.W.I.) plus $1.00
postage 3 years $14.00 plus $3.00
5 years $18.00 plus $5.00 postage

Poetry Review. . . . . . . . Jean D'Costa
Bath, St. Thomas (colour) . . . . ..J. B. Kidd
Open (Poem) . . . . . .... Dennis Scott
Hill Country (Poem). . . ... ..... Olive Senior
The Jamaica National Dance Company . The Artistic Director
Country Wedding. . . ... Marcella Martinez & Tessa Dow
Dunkley . . . . . . .... .Edwin Todd
Essay & Play Extract . . . . .... Sylvia Wynter

The Editor regrets that for reasons of economy, this issue had
to be severely shortened in numbers of pages.

But within the given number of pages with smaller type and
through other means the editor still hopes to give as much reading
material as in the last issue.

Cover Photo Amador Packer

I ki(II



Drawing by Milton Harley


Af rica
and the
World Negro
by R. G. Thwaites Jr.

i i7l,

No feature of Marcus Garvey's thinking has been
subject to as much contemporary and historical mis-
understanding as his ideas on the significance of Africa
to the development of Negro people in the West Indies
and the United States. This paper will attempt an ex-
position of Garvey's conception of Africa connected
as it has to be, with his more general philosophy of
black nationalism. One particular point which should
be relevant for our society's continuing evaluation of
Garvey in terms of local history is that apparently his
attitudes regarding repatriation and universal Negro
solidarity matured considerably during his later years
(1928-1935) in Jamaica.

In a fair sampling of his early thought Garvey as-
serted that "if the Negro were to live in this Western
hemisphere for another five hundred years, he would
still be out-numbered by other races who are prejudic-
ed against him". In the light of this alarmist thought,
he continued that "for the Negro to depend on the
ballot alone for his individual progress will be hope-
less as this does not help him when he is lynched".
White supremacy as Garvey saw it, would always
generate anti-Negro hatred, particularly if Negroes
became a threat to white economic or political securi-

Under existing structures of society, both in the
United States and the West Indies, the Negro, accord-
ing to Garvey lived in a diaspora. The alternatives
were either to seek by their own self-assertion, a power
base as strong as that of the whites, or to leave
America. Both recourses, Marcus Garvey reasoned
involved the redemption of Africa. Historically, the
continent had been the focal point of Negro civiliza-
tion, and identification with Africa would, Garvey
prophesied, be the means of recapturing the Negro's
former dignity.

This spirit had many practical (if misconstrued)
applications in the U.N.I.A. organization. Garvey did
not intend the Universal African Legion to assist mili-
tarily in the conquest of Africa. Nor was he under any
illusions that the "majority of Black Cross nurses were
any better trained personnel than the Legionaires who
after each glittering parade reverted to their occupa-
tions as labourers and tradesmen. The importance of
these auxiliaries as well as his ritualistic court recep-
tions, honours lists and colourful conventions,
to inspire respect among Negroes for their race bro-
thers; to eulogise black men with black hearts. If it
was part of human nature for men to look up to other
men, then it was fitting that Negroes find nobility
among their own. The historical trend of Negroes
honouring white men had to be reversed. If Africa was
to be great then it would have its own leaders and
chiefs. The Knights of the Distinguished Service Or-
der of Ethiopia, Ashanti and Mozambique together
with the Dukes. Earls and Viscounts of the Nile, Con-
go, Zambesi and Niger were intended to help alter the
existing impression of Africa as a continent of savagery
and unrelieved primitiveness. Short of being ridicul-
ous to Garvey's followers, these titles symbolized a
new and proud self-image.

This over-all adulthood of the Negro race was anti-
cipated to burgeon into political form. "The ground
work of the political emergence of a people must be
preceded by clearing away the uncertainty and doubt
in their minds as to their origin and status", Garvey
asserted. "In the long run those who now decry
racists will become proud of the Negro blood in their
veins, when the foundation of racial uplift produces
the superstructure of political freedom", he predicted.
The prosperity of the Negro race could only be assur-
ed when they could compel respect and justice through
their connection with a strong Negro government. It
was a matter of "making the race so strong as to strike
fear". For Garvey, nationhood was the highest ideal
of any people and was considered as the only means
of protecting not only the individual but the group

A prerequisite to any kind of pervasive national or
racial spirit was race unity. Garvey spoke of the Negro
race "standing together as one man". To effect this,
the Negro had to become international in outlook.
The U.N.I.A. protested United States occupation of
Haiti thus setting the stage for the next generation of
Negroes who currently entertain a lively concern for
African and Caribbean affairs.

The concept of a distinct coloured economy
throughout the world was the keystone of Garvey's
strategy. He insisted that the coloured minority in the
United States depend on the West Indies and Africa
for racial prestige and backing at all times. The econo-
mic advantages of reciprocal trade between these socie-
ties was a familiar theme. Further, he felt that the
emergence of Africans and West Indians towards na-
tionhood would automatically enhance the standing
of the American Negro, in that he could look toward
a "Mother Country" of people like himself.

The extent to which American Negroes would
participate in the struggle to make Africa independent
was the source of much confusion for Garvey and his
followers. No purpose is served by attempting to prove
Garvey consistent in his thoughts on this subject.
Whatever the merit of his final position, Marcus Gar-
vey entertained many impractical and worthless
schemes regarding Africa during his period of promin-
ence. It is not necessary to ignore these incidents of
tortured logic in order to establish the overall worth
of his philosophy.

Despite the solution to the American Negro dilem-
ma which he envisaged in reciprocal trade and univer-
sal unity among black men, there is evidence that
especially in the earlier stages of the movement, Gar-
vey completely despaired of the Negro ever establish-
ing his dignity in the United States and counselled
returned to Africa for as many as possible. His plan
of salvation for the coloured United States citizens
was obscured continually by his notorious and often
inconsistent repatriation schemes. The distinction be-
tween the two alternatives of cultural nationalism on
the one hand and repatriation on the other, was never
clear in Garvey's speeches.

At the 1921 convention, Garvey is reported to
have told a New York Times reporter that "we have
much to accomplish before the time is ripe for mass
migration, but it is bound to come". He spelled out
the problem to Southern whites in this way: "If you
do not want him to have a country and a nation of
his own, if you do not intend to give him equal
opportunities in yours, then it is plain to see that you
mean that he must die, even as the Indian, to make
room for your generations".

Yet at another time, in a somewhat different vein,
the aim of Garvey was stated to be a demonstration
to a skeptical world the ability of coloured Americans
"not only to fight for their rights in the land of their
birth but to venture forth to Africa, build and man
their own democratic nation and prove that they had
served their apprenticeship well".

This muddled thinking is continued in a compari-
son of Garvey's statement in 1923, "we do not want
all the Negroes in Africa; some are no good here and
naturally will be no good there", with his 1927 cle-
mency appeal to President Coolidge where he claimed
that an overwhelming majority of Negroes were in
favour of repatriation and went on to outline a pro-
cess whereby American industry would not be un-
duly troubled by the loss of Negroes in the labour
force. He went so far as to requisition the use of idle
navy ships for the return "middle passage" across the

Even if the American Negro remained in the Unit-
ed States this was not to compromise his loyalty to
African freedom, according to Garvey. "Each and
every race outside of its domestic national loyalty has
a loyalty to itself. ..We can be as loyal American citi-
zens or British subjects as the Irishman or the Jew and
yet fight for the redemption of Africa and complete
emancipation of the race", he contended. This fight
had to be waged principally against the colonial pow-
ers. "We are going home after a long vacation and are
giving notice to the tenant to get out. If he does not,
there is such a thing as forcible ejection", Garvey de-
clared in one of his more forceful claims to Negro
ownership of Africa.

In 1922 and 1929, the U.N.I.A. presented petitions
to the League of Nations recounting the sufferings and
exiles of the Negro from the fifteenth to the twentieth
centuries and urging that the League turn over the
German colonies in Africa for colonization by Ameri-
can Negroes. The questionable success of the Liberian
experiment did not deter Garvey's own ambitions. In
the long run, he looked forward to the eventual estab-
lishment of a united and powerful African empire. He
predicted that unless his demands were acceded to,
the next world war would bring to the fore his basic
goal, the acquisition of political power in Africa by
"Africans at home and abroad".

For his own contemporaries it was difficult to ap-
preciate the full weight of Garvey's black nationalism.
As he and others of his organization articulated the

philosophy, it appeared to be a deductive process
fraught with much confusion and many inconsisten-
cies. The importance of the Negro's identity and the
instrumental role of Africa in establishing this were
determined before the logic and tactics to achieve
them evolved. Black nationalism was to be a way of
life for Negroes and would profoundly affect their
relationships with other races. With such all-inclusive
characteristics, Garveyism stood apart from any pre-
vious social movement with which America of the
1920's was familiar. Negroes were attracted to it not
because they understood what it entailed but rather
because of a feeling that finally an organization exist-
ed which was facing the problems of their lives with
refreshing intensity and straight forwardness.

Marcus Garvey's reappearance in Jamaica in 1928
introduced a new phase of Garveyism which, although
of less immediate relevance to the Negro in America,
constituted a radically important effort in securing an
identity and civil rights for Negroes in the British
Empire. Garvey devoted the next seven years princi-
pally to the causes of social legislation and self-
government. His plans reflected his earlier diagnoses
of the Negro as well as much of his earlier thinking.
Most significantly, he remained faithful to his belief
in the essential unity of all Negroes everywhere.

Not only were local conditions different but also
the failure of his African colonization plans turned
his whole attention to an amelioration of the Negro's
condition in the New World, retaining, as mentioned
earlier, the emphasis on the supra-national unity of
the black race. In this respect, Garveyism had matur-
ed considerably. While in early Garvey thinking, the
existence of a U.N.I.A. sponsored community in
Africa would have given substantial moral and per-
haps economic strength to Negroes in the Western
world, when this plan proved to be impractical, the
movement switched its concentration to the parallel
development of Negroes in Africa, the United States
and the West Indies. In contrast to the sometimes
confused thinking of the earlier period regarding the
nature of Negro nationalism, post-1928 Garveyism
reflects a clear conception of the Negro nation as a
spiritual, cultural and economic entity, divided into
three geographical units, Africa, the West Indies and
the United States, each with similar interests, drawing
ultimately from the same historical tradition but re-
taining separate political structures.

The Agenda of the Sixth Annual Convention of the
U.N.I.A. held in Kingston in 1926, shows that while
the aims of the Association still encompassed all Ne-
groes, little or no further mention was made of Negro-
es separating themselves physically from the Ameri-
cas. The reports of the delegates emphasized the
role of their divisions in fostering Negro community
development and in putting into effect the ideas of
self-help and black solidarity which they had learned
from Garvey. This convention which was to be the
last really spectacular gathering with delegates from
Negro communities throughout the world called for
the social and political freedom of the entire Negro

race and declared in favour of linking Negroes in the
three units, by the founding of three Negro Univer-
sities as well as by fostering reciprocal trade relation-
ships. The ill-fated idea of a Negro Shipping Com-
pany was once again broached. Various Negro
communities were urged to press for the development
of agriculture and industry to guarantee permanent
employment to the chronically underemployed Negro

The fact that these policies encouraged Negroes
to dedicate themselves to racial uplift within their own
communities and to think of Africa and Blackness as
unifying symbols rather than stimuli for impractical
migration indicated the change and intellectual deve-
lopment of Garvey which had taken place since the
immediate post-war period. It is interesting to spe-
culate on the fate of the massive U.N.I.A. had this
conception of the Negro's future been accepted by the
movement and understood by its opposition before
Garvey's imprisonment and deportation. Much of the
anti-Garvey sentiment had centered around his plans
for "monkey land", Africa. This had been the most
obvious and forbidding stumbling block to the accept-
ance of Garveyism in the United States. The possibi-
lities of a grand alliance between the integrationist
and black nationalist sectors of the Negro protest
movement would have been great if the areas of com-
mon ground which were apparent at the 1926 con-
vention had been evident at an earlier stage.

The possibility of Marcus Garvey contributing
practically to the development of the West Indies there-
fore foundered on his past record. In their failure,
his supposed back-to-Africa programmes were perfect-
ly suited for ridicule. For the same reason, all hopes
for the rebuilding of Garveyism as a progressive reform
movement minus its emigrationist trappings ended. If
he had succeeded, it was Garvey's intention to make
his People's Political Party a regular adjunct of the
Universal Negro Improvement Association. Once hav-
ing gained a power base in Jamaica, he had visualised
promoting his political structure in the French and
British Caribbean colonies as well as in Haiti. Political
activism was to become a unifying characteristic
among Negroes in the United States, Africa and the
West Indies.

Peter Abrahams has suggested that the ideas and
approaches of the Garvey movement in Jamaica "were
not attuned to the prevalent mood and need of the
times. Jamaicans did not think of themselves as
Negroes... let alone Universal Negroes". This evalua-
tion is not borne out by the character of Garvey's la-
ter philosophy as differing from his earlier African
nationalism. He addressed the West Indian Negroes
as a socially and economically downtrodden class. A
major avenue of their deliverance was to be co-opera-
tion with their race brothers. Garvey did not succeed
at the polls not because he had failed to strike a respon-
sive chord with West Indian Negroes but because the
existing political situation did not allow those whose
thinking had begun to be emancipated by Garveyism
to express themselves and because he discouraged

extra-legal activities as a substitute means of expres-

As he conceived his role, advocacy of West Indian
freedom was quite consistent with the best interests
of Negroes in Africa and the United States. Ultimate-
ly the independence of the Caribbean would reflect
favourably on the potential of Negroes elsewhere. To
whatever extent John Hope Franklin is correct when
he speaks of the concern of the Federal government
in recent years to correct some of the racial practices
in the United States in order to win the friendship of
the uncommited Negro states of Africa and the Carib-
bean. Garvey's contention is proved true. Although
his activities were restricted to the West Indies, his
dedication to the universal Negro community remain-
ed constant.

Professor Abram L. Harris has suggested that Gar-
vey's emphasis on Negro nationalism and an all-black
religion was a device to arouse support for some of the
sounder but more prosaic features of his programme,
for example, co-operative housing and co-operative
business ventures in the United States,and certainly
for his programme of social legislation in Jamaica. This
evaluation is typical of the attempts of even those his-
torians sympathetic to Garveyism to explain the move-
ment's pre-occupation with Africa and Negro separa-
tism. Edmund Cronon, Garvey's biographer, provides
a similar short-sighted view of black nationalism when
he states that although the "Back-to-Africa programme
provided an easy escape for weary and hard-pressed
Negroes.. it was no real answer to the problems that
beset the Negro world, since few New World Negroes
were seriously interested in a return to Africa".

It is only when one considers Garveyism as a whole
that a logical thought pattern emerges, for Garvey's
black nationalism and Negro social uplift within the
Americas were entirely compatible philosophies of
race redemption.

Unlike earlier programmes, Garvey's Negro nation-
alism as it involved Africa was not a means of escape
but a pilgrimage of promotion, a crusade for African
development, intimately connected with the struggle
for racial dignity in the Western hemisphere. As much
as a geographical unit to which an undetermined num-
ber of Negroes would migrate, a developed Africa was
also to be a spiritual and ennobling symbol which
would unite and enrich the lives of all Negroes living
in the Western world.

A Frenchman

looks at

Jamaica in 1706
edited by Dr. David Buisseret
In the Ayer collection of the Newberry Library,
Chicago, is a manuscript of the greatest interest to
Jamaicans. It was drawn up (in French) by the sieur
de Malherbe at Martinique in 1714, and describes his
experiences in Jamaica eight years earlier. Translated,
it runs as follows:

Jamaica is about 50 leagues long from east to west,
and about 20 leagues broad from north to south.1
There is an east-west chain of mountains which divides
the island into two roughly equal parts; the southern
part is the largest, strongest and the most populous.
This island has several counties, of which the most
important is that of Saint Catherine; here is the town
of Spanisong (Spanish Town), the headquarters of the
English general, and the seat of the nobility. This
town was called Saint James in the days of the

The county of Saint Andrew is chiefly remarkable
for Port Royal, town and stronghold, and the city of
Kinstong (Kingston) which are both in it. The other
counties are Clarendon, Saint John, Saint David and
Saint Elizabeth; the rest are not very well-favoured
and indeed very scantily populated, as they lie far
away on the north coast. 2 Port Royal is the main
commercial centre; ships not only discharge and load
goods, but are also careened there. On entering the
harbour one sees to port several sandy islands, off
which the larger warships are normally anchored so as

to be ready to set sail with a favourable wind. To sail
into the harbour you have to leave these islands to
port, and sail as close as possible to the land to star-
board, coming so close to the fort3 that you almost
touch it with the ends of the yards. The channel has
perhaps a width of 100 fathoms across from the fort,
and 8 fathoms depth; the port side is dangerous as
there are shallow sandbanks which are exposed to low
tide. As soon as you have passed through these narrows
opposite the fort, you sail into a fine broad channel
which is 12 to 15 fathoms deep, and from there it is
easy to enter the bay.

The bay is beautiful and easily navigable, perhaps
8 leagues around and 2 broad. There are in the bay
several different harbours and places where vessels of
all sizes can be moored. The largest of them is Port
Royal, which extends from the fort at the entrance to
the tower4 at the end of the town. There the warships
and India Company ships are moored, and there too
they are careened on two pontoons in an inlet near
the town and fort. Throughout the harbour there are
7 to 10 fathoms of water at 20 fathoms off the land.
Across the bay lies the port of Kinstong, which is
large and spacious; it normally receives private vessels,
which can moor in 5 or 6 fathoms at 20 or 30 fathoms
from the shore. The other ports are only for private
business, using vessels drawing only 15 or 16 feet.

The bay of Port Royal is closed to port as you
enter by a peninsula, and by an adjacent island; to
starboard there is another tongue of land, and then
an island which was formed by an earthquake, shaping
out a channel 30 fathoms wide and so joining the two
seas.5 The sloops and other small vessels pass through
this channel, where may still be seen the traces of
houses which collapsed here and were submerged; the
town and port of Port Royal are on this island. The
town of Port Royal, or rather what remains of it, is
built of brick, with streets which are fairlystraightbut
rather cramped, except for the main street which is
long, spacious and crowded with shops, inns and caf6s.
On the sea side it has a good strong masonry wall six
feet thick, which stretches from the canal to the fort.
This wall has three batteries with four guns each;
18-pounders, to cover the beach and prevent a dis-
embarkation. The fort is a long square with irregular
little bastions flanking it; these bastions and the con-
nection curtains have casemates, giving upper and
lower batteries. I counted 38 cannon there, 30 of
them cast-iron.6 In the lower battery facing the
channel there are 6 36-pounders, and in the upper one
6 24-pounders; the 24 others are 18 and 12-pounders
distributed around the fort. At the other end of the
town, on the canal which I mentioned, is a masonry
tower with 12 18-pounders, and I was told that in the
magazine there are 12 more to go in the empty em-

The town of Kinsong is at the end of the bay,
opposite the spit of land on which Port Royal lies.
This town has been built since the earthquake, and it

is here that the richest and best-known merchants live.
It is planned as a regular square, half a league long and
the same distance across, with 8 main streets, 4
stretching from north to south and 4 from east to
west; there are other minor streets which cut up the
16 squares formed by these main streets.7 In the
middle of the northern side of the town is a large
square, with an Anglican church, or temple; here
there are 4 guns, 6-pounders mounted on mobile
carriages. The other square is on the south side,
opposite this northern one; on it there is a large and
splendid magazine for ammunition, arms and equip-
ment. Here too there are 4 6-pounders mounted on
mobile carriages, and opposite the magazine on the
quay are 4 12-pounders, also mounted on mobile
carriages, on the right as you come into the port on
the hospital road. There is a similar number of smaller
calibre at the right-hand end of the town, which is the
left side of the port as you come into it. All the streets
of the town are well aligned and the houses are all of
brick and the same height and design; all have glass
windows just as in Europe.

In the bay opposite Port Royal is the disembarka-
tion-point for Spanistong, which is a village of 28 or
30 houses with a little fort or battery and a garrison
to man the 4 8-pounders.9 From this point it is two
leagues to Spanistong, on a fine, broad, flat road, with
woods on one side and houses on the other. The
road goes alongside a fine river to the right, never
getting more than a gunshot away from it; this same
river runs through Spanistong. About a cannon-
volley from the town there is a turf battery by the
river with 2 12-pounders to cover the approaches
from the disembarkation-point and also the river.
Opposite this battery, on the left as you approach the
town, there is a fine plain, on which are the remains
of a turf citadel. I was told that this was a structure
put up by the Spaniards, which has been neglected.9

NB. When I was at Kinstong in 1706 the town had no
fortification, but only a long entrenchment to the
north of the temple square, with a ditch 3 feet deep
and 10 feet wide. By means of this entrenchment on
the one side, and the houses on the other three sides,
the square formed a kind of strongpoint.

The town of Spanistong is a wholly irregular square,
more than half a league both long and wide.10 The
town-centre is fairly well-built, mostly by the English
except for the palace which the Spaniards constructed.
The latter also built the square, which is very large
with the palace on one side, the magazines on another,
the public prisons and taverns on the third,
and on the fourth, facing the palace, private
houses, well-built with gardens going down to the
river. Opposite the palace, which is where the English
general lives, are four mobile 6-pounders, with two
others of the same size outside the magazines. There
are no fortifications around the town, except for a
small entrenchment with space for four batteries. One

I- _

r --- S- i, Il| '--- r .

Plan of Spanish Town published in 1786 [Institute of Jamaica]

day as I was crossing the square and the magazine was
open I glanced inside; there seemed to be at least 30
cannon, all mounted. Spanistong has a masonry fort,
on the left as you enter the town, behind the Anglican
church or temple. It is a fairly regular square flanked
by four brick towers with very thick walls. In each of
the towers are 3 18-pounders, and there is a garrison
which lives in the covered way between the ditch and
the glacis, since there is room in the fort only for the
officers. In front of the gate there is a kind of ravelin
or half-moon, blocked only with a wooden gate. 11
The town remains very rustic, with various houses
built by the Spaniards still visible in the outskirts,
though most are falling into ruin.12 This rather spoils
the look of the town, which has a most delightful site,
in the middle of a broad flat plain watered by a river
whose water is the best and healthiest of any in the
island. This town concentrates all the wealth of the
country, for the nobility which is normally resident
here keeps its agents at Kinstong and Port Royal,
where the business is done, and yearly receives the
profits which have been made in trade and in insuring
the fleets. In February 1706 when I was prisoner in
Jamaica,13 limited because of my wounds and the
word which I had given to an area of detention cover-
ing Kinstong, Port Royal and a mile around these
towns, at the end of the month there came word that
the fleet led by Chavergnac and Iberville was due at
Martinique,14 and for fear of invasion the island took
up arms. I noticed that in less than eight hours they
were able to bring up 600 footsoldiers, 200 horsemen,
all well equipped, as well as 30 fully-supplied gunners.
Going into the lower magazine with the rest of the
crowd, I saw that there was an abundance of excellent
small-arms which were well-maintained.

What I learned from an engineer
As I was free to go into town I got to know a

French engineer who had been obliged' to leave the
realm after a duel and now passed as a refugee. But
as for the past six months it had been noticed that he
was a Roman (Catholic), he was no longer esteemed,
even though he had held the post for the previous six
years. Consequently he was willing to confide in me
that he wished to leave this people and go to the
Spaniards, since he dared not return to France. I
helped him escape to Cartagena, and having told him
of my desire to get hold of a map of Jamaica, and learn
of its strength and other particulars, he met me in a
little wood between the town of Kinstong and the
hospital and gave me the plan of which a copy is
attached.15 WhenI spoke to him about the things
mentioned above he was able to correct and add to
them as follows:
Apart from the three towns mentioned
above, there are 30 batteries around the
coast, well furnished with supplies and men.
These batteries are sited to cover the ports,
bays and shallows where it might be possible
to make a landing. My informant scarcely
knew anyone living at Port Royal, but he
had been to Port Morant (where M. Ducasse
landed)16 and had there worked on three
batteries, each 4 12-pounders, two on an
island in the bay, and the other to the left
of the island on the land; these batteries
were good and all three gave each other
supporting fire. All the same, 3 or 4 ships
of the line could destroy them in less'than
two hours. Along the road from Port Morant
to Port Royal are three houses built on
hillocks,17 surrounded by a good wall and
apparently armed with good cannon. But
it is hard to know the number or size of
these cannon, which cover a defile half a
league long.

The magazines of Spanistong and Kinstong are well
provided with all kinds of munitions, and enough
material to arm 3,000 foot and 1,200 horse, as the
country had done in 1703 at its own expense. The
country could also provide about 3,000 foot and 600
horse itself; apart from these forces there are about
1,000 other foot-soldiers available in time of war, -as
well as 2,000 sailors who normally trade around the
island. There are 20 companies of regulars each of 30
men, 5 in the town and fort of Spanistong, 7 at Port
Royal, 4 at Kinstong, two at the hotel (?) and one at
theSpanistong embarkation-point. The country had
asked Her Majesty for 30 more companies, whose up
keep it was willing to meet as long as the war lasted;
these would be stationed around the island and so
relieve the militia, whose members could return to
their plantations. There is a company of 60 gunners
commanded by 6 artillery officers; half these officers
and men serve at Spanistong, Kinstong and Port Royal,
while the other half are dispersed to the coastal
batteries. All told there are 7,000 meh capable of
bearing arms in the island; so, to conquer it would be
needed a sufficiently large fleet, with transports to
carry the troops, and ketches as bomb-boats. Then
this force should sail straight to Port Royal, sending
ahead one of the largest and least seaworthy ships,
which should be well protected against artillery-fire
and itself carry heavy cannon. This ship should fetch
up against the fort so as to attract all its fire; mean-
while all the others could slip by into the bay. Once
the army was inside it should be disembarked by the
fort, and the town and fort requested to surrender.
The fort would probably hold out, but the town would
no doubt surrender in order to avoid destruction.
Then the fort could be attacked from the sea, and so
heavily bombarded that it could not survive 24 hours.
If any vessels were damaged they could always draw
off for long enough to be repaired. At the same time
care should be taken to bombard the tower, which can
only oppose ships with 6 18-pounders. If the ships
suffered in the engagement, there would be enough in
the magazines to repair them in the way of masts,
sails, ropes and so on.

Once Port Royal was taken, to conquer the rest of
the island frigates should straightway be sent to cruise
round it, letting all the country parts know of the fall
of Port Royal. The security of the inhabitants' lives
and goods should be guaranteed, provided that they
were willing to swear allegiance and pay the same taxes
as those formerly paid to the English. As the inhabit-
ants of the island are very much attached to their
goods, it is certain that they would lay down their
arms if they were sure of not being ruined. If this
policy of conciliation were not adopted, it would take
more than ten years to master the island, for it is large
and has many ports from which the inhabitants could
withdraw to New England, and in which they could
receive help. Even if enough troops were available to
undertake an expedition into the interior, it is certain
that the enemy would form a band and retire up into
the mountains, whence it would be very hard to dis-
lodge them, since they know the ground well and
fighting stubbornly in defence of their goods would

wear down the opposing soldiers.

If France succeeded in making herself mistress of
Jamaica, she could from its revenues support 4,000
soldiers, and once she had strengthened the fortifica-
tions, with the help of Santo Domingo so close she
could hold the island against any attack. The capture
of Jamaica would in its turn safeguard the French
part of Santo Domingo, since the Jamaicans would
very much like to conquer that territory, and indeed
offered the queen 200,000 piastres as their contribu-
tion towards an expedition. They are eagertodo this
because then they would not have to mount so many
tedious guards, and their ships would not suffer so
much from the corsairs.

The island has more than 200 sugar-estates, 112
indigo-works and 230 cotton-plantations; the rest of
the inhabitants are employed in shipping, fishing,
hunting and in cultivating tobacco, ginger and ground
provisions. In 72 hours 4,000 men could be assembled
from the area 8 leagues around Port Royal, but it
would take 15 days to get the rest together, not only
because of the distance involved, but also because of
the difficulty of the roads, and the numbers of rivers
to be crossed, which remain raging torrents for two or
three days after the rains have ceased.

That then is what I learned from the engineer, who
a few days later passed over to Cartagena, disguised as
a sailor on board a boat which went there to trade in
spite of the war between Spain and England.

At Martinique, 30 April 1718 Signed de Malherbe

S A league was the equivalent of about three miles.
2. For these "precincts" see plate 1.
3. Fort Charles; see the plan and plate 2.
4. See plate 2, which clearly shows an octagonal tower at
the east end of the town.
5. See the plan, taken from a map of about 1704.
6. This figure for guns is remarkably accurate, coinciding
exactly with that given in an account of 1693; Calendar
of State Papers, America and West Indies ("CSP"), vol.
xiv, article 635. The Fort Charles described here is the
old one, built about 1666 and reconstructed (to about
the present shape) in the early years of the 18th century.
7. Plate 3 shows a plan of Kingston published in France
about 1760.
8. See "Passage Fort", marked on plate 4.
9. It is more likely that these earthworks formedpartof the
defences erected by governor William Beeston in October
1701; as he wrote to England, "we are now...intrenching
the town of St. Jago with a good trench, regular works
and bastions...": CSP, vol. xix, art. 963.
10. See plate 5, which is a plan of Spanish Town made about
eighty years later.
11. In his A voyage to... Jamaica (2 vols., London 1707-25),
p. lxv, Sir Hans Sloane makes no mention of this fort;
he noticed only "some few palisadoed houses defended
with guns".
12. This was also noted only not by Sir Hans Sloane, but
also by Richard Blome in his A description ofthe island
of Jamaica (London 1672) p. 36.
13. England and France had been at war since May
14 Henri-Louis, marquis de Chavagnac, and Pierre Le moyne
d'lberville; their fleets in fact attacked St. Kitts and Nevis.
15. Alas, this copy does not seem to have survived.
16. Jean-Baptiste Du Casse landed at Port Morant in June
17. Perhaps at Castile Fort, on the site of what is now
Harbour View housing estate.




by Ronald L. Vanderwal

It has been said that as many as 60,000 Indians
lived in Jamaica when it was discovered by Columbus
in 1494. As we will see, this is a very unrealistic
estimate. It has also been asserted that the north and
south coasts of the island were connected by so-called
"Arawak trails" used in prehistoric travel across the
island. Evidence I have collected over the past three
years does not support such an interpretation. The
same evidence which enables me to refute the "Ara-
wak trails" hypothesis, allows some interpretation
about the social structure of the aboriginal Jamaicans.
Turning first to the problem of population density
of prehistoric Jamaica, let us attempt to realistically
examine the situation. 2
The island's total land surface is 4,400 square
miles; a population density of 60,000 people would be
13.7 people per square mile. However, the great
majority of prehistoric sites are found within 6 miles
of the sea, the interior being too rugged and mountain-
ous to be usable by a people of the level of cultural
achievements exhibited by the prehistoric Jamaicans.
This orientation to the sea is clearly associated with and
explained by their food economy based on marine
resources, augmented by the nocturnal rodent known
as the Jamaican coney and the few other land animals,
and the cultivation of cassava and possibly maize.
This means that not more, and probably less, than
one quarter of the land, or about 1100 square miles,
was occupied. The density has now become a phenom-
enal 54.6 persons per square mile a figure which is
comparable to the modern Jamaican community.
In Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which
were populated by people with a technically more
advanced culture, the density was not more than 2
persons per square mile. 3' 4

The wooden figure shown here is in the Museum of Prim-
itive Art in New York and is said to be Jamaican. Another
figure in the British Museum has the following catalogue
information: "1757. May 20th. A wooden image brought
from Jamaica and supposed to be an American idol; presented
by James Theobald, Esq., (some years ago given me by a
gentleman who has a considerable estate on the island of
Jamaica, in searching a deep cave in the hills for runaway
slaves, found two of these figures at the inner end. ") It may
be that the figure in the Museum of Primitive Art is one of the
two found in 1757.

Rouse mentions that the estimated density for
aboriginal North America north of Mexico was even
lower than this. It is well known that more advanced
cultures are capable of supporting more people in a
given area than the less developed cultures; therefore,
it is reasonable to suggest that Jamaica could not have
had even as many as 2 persons per square mile. This
figure will, however be used for the sake of convenience
and easy calculation. Density figures, inclusive of
uninhabitable areas for an area of 4,400 square miles,
show that Jamaica could have had a population of no
more than 9,000.

At the present time there are approximately 150
known prehistoric sites in the Island. It is virtually
impossible to find all sites in a given area. I would,
however, suggest that a total of perhaps 200 occupa-
tion sites is a reasonable estimate. All of these sites
could not have been occupied simultaneously for
various reasons: "fishing-out" an area, decreased
agricultural potential and diminishing lands in the face
of difficulty in clearing away scrub bush and possibly
the desire to escape an increasingly overwhelming
stench created by accumulating rubbish (some of the
larger sites were sweetened by periodically covering
the rubbish heaps with thick layers of marl), are causes.
Entire communities would move to a place where fish
and shell fish were plentiful, the soil fertile, and land
could be cleared merely by slashing large trees and
burning the remains (slash-and-burn agriculture). A
community could remain at one locality for perhaps
as many as 20 years before agricultural lands within
easy walking distance of the community would have
decreased in fertility and become choked by under-
growth. This process would not have taken very long.
Cassava cultivation requires land that is dry; the very
hills these people inhabited provided such land. But
as hill-top areas are rather small, a relatively short
time would elapse before all land had been utilized.
A single cleared plot would be at its most fertile for
the first three years after which it would provide dimin-
ishing yields. Over a twenty year period, perhaps as
many as five sets of plots would be consecutively

It may require 50 years of more for denuded land
to reach a climax again, that is, when a forest canopy
has formed with subsequent elimination of much of
the undergrowth. It would then again be relatively
easy to slash the trees and burn off the land. Thus,
seventy years or more may elapse from the first
occupation of a site to the time when it could be
re-settled. Approximately three moves would be
necessary before the site could again be occupied.
This means that only some 66 of the estimated 200
occupation sites would tend to be used at the same
point in time.

With an estimated island population of 9,000 each
village would probably consist of about 135 people of
which many more than half would be children. The
small size of many of the known sites suggests that
they were occupied once and subsequently never used
again, but on the other hand, some were very exten-

sive, suggesting a large population which re-occupied
these sites time and time again. With this in mind, I
believe an average village of 135 people is a reasonable
assumption. 5

The population estimate of 9,000 given here for
Jamaica at the time of European contact is based
largely on information guess-work. I am confident,
however, that this estimate is more realistic than the
60,000 figure given previously.

The next problem is that of the north-south popula-
tion movements. The discoveries of inland ceremonial
and burial cave sites have been used as evidence for the
existence of overland trails. I have never been con-
vinced of this. My studies of the ceramics found on
the various sites suggest that regular contact was not.
maintained between the north and south coasts of the

With the exception of about half a dozen sites at
which red pottery is found (a-d) (this ware has been
dated in Jamaica at about A.D. 650) all other sites
have pottery whichvary in colour from dark reds to
buff browns. The people who made the buff brown
ware arrived in the island about A.D. 900. Decoration
consists of various forms of handles and lugs, often
serrated along the edges; (e-l) there are affixations on
the sides of vessels either in straight or corvilinear
ribbons which are also serrated along the edge (m-n)
and various incised patterns may occur on the sides of
vessels. Ceramics on both the north and south coasts
have all these characteristics but the incision patterns
differ. On the south coast incision is infrequent and
is usually applied to a vessel between its rim and its
shoulder. The pattern almost always consists of
alternating oblique lines. Those who made this
pottery are called by Archaeologists the White Marl
People because pottery found at the White Marl site
typifies that found elsewhere on the south coast.

On the north coast incisions are frequent in several
different patterns. Predominant in the west are wide,
deep lines which are horizontally, vertically and
obliquely oriented on a wide collar of a vessel (m-v)
the purpose of the collar being to strengthen the rim.
Incisions are also found quite commonly on the upper
surfaces of ribbons affixed to the shoulder of a bowl

As one travels east along the north coast, the
upper surface incised ribbons disappear; however, the
other incised patterns persist but are placed differently
on the vessels. On the rims the same patterns are
found but they are smaller in scale, and often there
is no collar (x-ff). Oblique, alternate-oblique, and
diamond motif patterns are found between the rim
incisions and the shoulder of the vessel. Occasionally
the latter are found in isolation without'rim incisions.
Those who made the pottery found on the north coast
are called the Fairfield people after a site near Montego
Bay. The differences in pottery on the north coast
are referred to by calling them eastern aspect and
western aspect of the Fairfield complex.


0 1 2 3





The virtual restriction of these incised patterns to
the Fairfield people suggests to me that little or no
contact was maintained with the White Marl people.
If there had been regular communication one might
reasonably expect that some of the Fairfield pottery
would be found on the south coast, and visa versa.

There are good reasons why contact was not
maintained by means of travel around the east and
west coasts of the island. No occupation sites are to
be found in the entirety of the parish of Portland for
a number of complex reasons which, for lack of space,
cannot be discussed here. The final cause, however, is
lack of food. There is also documentary evidence, for
Mendez (Columbus' officer sent to Cuba when the
was stranded on the north coast of Jamaica.) relates
that he..."asked the Cacique (of Melilla) which may
be the Rio Nuevo site in the parish of St. Mary to
give me two Indians who should go with me to the
end of the island, in order that one might carry the
hammock in which I slept and the other the food"'6

The west end of the island is sparsely occupied.
The long distances between villages would constitute
a barrier to communication, although admittedly not
as stringent as imposed by the environment found
along the eastern end. Only two vessels and no sherds,
of the Fairfield complex have been found on the
southwest coast. They were associated with burials,
which suggests rather special circumstances, not the
normal pattern of life. Therefore, if regular contact
between the White Marl and Fairfield people did
exist, it certainly is not reflected by the ceramic

The ceramic evidence outlined above shows that
each coast was virtually isolated from the other and
helps to interpret the social organization of these
people. Sources on the historic Arawak of the West
Indies suggest that inheritance was matrilineal -
through the line of the mother. 7

If this was true, it would be expected that post
marital residence rule would be matrilocal (sometimes
called uxorilocal), i.e. the husband would go to live
with his wife in his wife's mother's village. I do not
believe this was the case in Jamaica. 8

For, if we assume that the women of the Jamaican
village made the pottery and this I believe to be a
valid assumption they would most probably have
been taught the art by their mothers or other women
from generation to generation. And since each coast
- the north and the south kept to a similar basic
design and construction within its respective area,
those learning the art of pottery making would have
had access to a similar store of knowledge. If this
criterion was not met, the pottery found in each sub-
area would differ. The obvious way by which this
great similarity might have been accomplished would
be for the females to move from their home village to
another where they would in turn pass on their
pottery-making techniques to younger unmarried

It therefore seems that the people of Jamaica
practiced the patrilocal post-marital residence rule,
i.e. the wife would go to live with the husband in his
village. With a series of interconnecting links, one
village with several others, knowledge of pottery-
making techniques would be dispersed, thus account-
ing for the homogeneity of decoration on the south
coast. This might mean that with village exogamy
(a man must find a mate from some other village then
his own), perhaps combined with other marriage
restrictions such as lineage or clan exogamy ( a man
must not marry his mother's brother's daughter),
men seeking mates may have had to go far afield.
With greater population density on the north coast, it
was perhaps easier to find mates close by, thereby
accounting for the regional clustering of decoration
noted in the eastern and western aspects of the Fair-
field complex. It should be made clear that the
interpretation presented in the last paragraph is largely
guess-work, but rests firmly on known rules governing
social organization. These are suggestions for social
organization in prehistoric Jamaica, which might
account for the observed facts.

Much more work needs to be done on the pre-
history of Jamaica. I have merely shown the kind of
interpretation possible by a detailed examination of
available data. Future research may show that the
population of the island was more than 9,000, but I
do not believe it can be shown to be much more.
There are certainly more sub-groups of villages than I
have indicated here, but again only much more inten-
sive work can define them. No doubt, pictures of the
social organization will undergo revision and will be
clarified in future.

1. Susan Lester, "Jamaican Treasures in London" The West Indian
Review, V. 4, no. 30, p.ll, 1953. Kingston.
2. Frederick A. Ober, "Aborigines of the West Indies" Proceedings of
the American Antiquarian Society, pp. 13-14, 1894. Washington.
Bartolome de las Casas (1542) gives the figure of 600,000 as a
population estimate for Jamaica and Puerto Rico combined, which
has sometimes been applied to Jamaica alone; In Samuel Purchas
Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes Containing a History
of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by English menand
Others, p. 98, 1906. Glasgow.
3. Irving Rouse, "Porto Rican Prehistory" New York Academy of
Sciences, Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands,
V. 18, pt. 4, p. 570, 1952. New York.
4. Irving Rouse, "Archaeology of the Maniabon Hills, Cuba" Yale
University Publications in Anthropology, no. 26, p. 154, 1942.
New Haven.
5. Ibid. For the Maniabon Hills, Rouse estimates about 100 people
per site.
6. Diego Mendez, "The Testament of Diego Mendez" (1536), In
Cecil Jane, Select Documents Illustrating the Four Voyages of
Columbus, V. 2, p. 126, 1933. London.
7. Irving Rouse, "The West Indies" In Julian H. Steward, ed., "Hand-
book of South American Indians, the Circum-Caribbean Tribes", V.
4, pp. 495-565. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bull. 143, p. 529, 1948. Washington.
8. Ibid., p. 531. Rouse does nbt think it true for the Greater Antilles
as a whole.


"A Caymanian Iguana"

history ofe JAMAICAN FAUNA
by J.D. Woodley

Jamaica today is a very different place
from the forested island discovered by
Columbus. Agricultural development in
the succeeding four and a half centuries
has brought about great changes in the
flora and fauna. Spanish and English
settlers not only deforested large areas,
but treated the island like a tropical
gardening-plot and imported plants from
all over the world. All our important
crops, many of our familiar trees, nearly
all of our grasses and ornamental shrubs
have been introduced by man. Moreover,
most of our conspicuous animals are also
recent introductions. This is obviously
true of the domesticated animals, cats and
dogs, cattle and goats, and of that cos-
mopolitan pest, the rat, and his cousin
mice. It is well known that the mongoose
was introduced in the last century. But
this is also true of the great toad or "bull-
frog" which lurches through the garden
after dark; it is true of the "whistling
frog", whose clear call fills the night in

the suburbs of Kingston, at least in the
wet seasons and it is true of the nasty
common cockroach. Probably the only
native animals which one commonly sees
are certain other insects, lizards and birds,
though even some of these have been
brought here by man. However, there are
many curious and interesting animals na-
tive to Jamaica and hundreds of them are
unique to this island. What are they and
where did they come from? How have
they been affected by the enormous
changes due to the development of agri-
culture; the cutting and burning, digging
and draining, shooting and fishing? How
have they reacted to the introduced ani-
mals? And is there any need for conser-

I shall not attempt to discuss the
whole fauna of Jamaica but chiefly the
vertebrate, or back-boned, animals; al-
though there are far more invertebrates,
such as worms, snails, spiders and insects.
When Dr. T.H. Farr wrote in this Journal

* A subsequent article by another author
uwill Aaal -uf hirMl-

about Jamaican insects (Vol. 1 No. 1), he
estimated that there might be about 6000
species of insects here. In contrast, there
are only about 280 native terrestrial or
fresh-water vertebrates. These figures may
sound high, but in a continental area at
same latitude, such as Guatemala, there
would be thousands more insects and
hundreds more vertebrates. One of the
reasons for the comparatively small num-
ber of animal species in Jamaica be-
comes apparent when we analyse the
figures. That total of 280 is made up of
about 10 freshwater fishes, 15 frogs, 30
reptiles, 200 birds and 24 mammals, 22
of which are bats. The majority (80%) of
these animals can fly and apart from birds
andbatsthereare only 57 native vertebrates.
The fact that the most numerous animals
are those with exceptionally good powers
of dispersal suggests that Jamaica has been
isolated for a long time, and that it was
only by rare accidents that the ancestors
of our non-flying vertebrates came across
the sea to settle here.

Twenty million years ago, in the early
Miocene period, what is now Jamaica was
probably completely submerged and the
uppermost levels of the White Limestone
formation were being laid down in the
sea. Then it was heaved up and became
an island. Although there were more
great changes in sea-level it did not sink
again, but has remained'as an island, or
group of islands, ever since. The ancestors
of all our native animals and plants must
have come here since then, from various
parts of the mainland; swimming, flying,
drifting on the sea or in the wind.

It is easy to imagine birds, bats or
flying insects being blown out to sea by
some storm and making landfall in Ja-
maica. It is easy to imagine salt-tolerant
fishes or crocodiles, perhaps swept out to
sea by a flood, brought here by the cur-
rents and making a new home. Some
seeds, the spores of ferns and fungi, and
various microscopic animals are easily
carried great distances by wind. But what
about land animals such as snakes, lizards,
frogs and the Coney, many of which can-
not swim or would soon be killed by
immersion in salt water? They must have
arrived clinging to floating trees or brush-

I ^^..**'f--^^

wood, like shipwrecked sailors on a raft.
Sometimes, when mainland rivers flood,
great chunks of matted vegetation are
torn loose and whirled away; floating
islands with standing trees have been
sighted many miles from land. Of course,
such occurrences are rare, and the chances
of bringing any animals to a safe landfall
are very small, but it does not have to
happen very often. In fact the coloniza-
tion of a new barren habitat can occur
remarkably quickly as we know from the
famous case of Krakatoa. This volcanic
island in the Pacific blew up in 1883 and
destroyed every living thing on its slopes.
The nearest land was 15 miles away, but
after a year or two plants and animals
began to appear there. 25 years later, a
visiting expedition found over 200 species
of animals; after 50 years there were
nearly 900 species, mostly insects, but
also 6 reptiles and 4 mammals.

The further away from land that an
island lies, the slower will be the process
of colonization. Jamaica, though only 90
miles from Cuba, is today over 400 miles
from the mainland and direct crossings
must be rare. But there have been times
in our recent geological history when the
mainland was nearer. For instance, during

some of the glacial periods, perhaps only
a few thousand years ago, the sea-level
was much lower than it is today, partly
because so much water was trapped as ice
in the enlarged polar ice-caps. The map
shows that if the sea were only 150 feet
lower, Honduras would be 100 miles
closer and large islands, now submerged
as the Roslind Bank and Pedro Bank,
would lie between it and Jamaica. This
suggests that immigration by "island-
hopping"wouldbe verylikely at that time.

It can be seen from the map that there
are four possible routes involving only
short sea crossings; the one just described,
from Honduras; from Yucutan through
Cuba; from Florida through Cuba; and
from the mainland of South America up
the Lesser Antilles and throughHispaniola.
By checking where the nearest relatives of
Jamaican animals are found, it is possible
to guess by which route they came to us.
It seems that we have received our fauna
from all directions, but there is no doubt
that the majority came from Central
America. For instance, the "Pond Turtle",
Pseudemys terrapen, is found in all the
Greater Antilles, but is very similar to a
Central American form. Those quaint
little birds, the todies, are restricted to

"Map of the Caribbean indicating sea areas less than 150 feet deep "

the Greater Antilles, but their closest
relatives are the Central American mot-
mots. Some immigrants apparently got
no further than Jamaica; a fossil monkey
has been found here, but none is native to
any other West Indian island (Trinidad
does not count; it is effectively part of
the South American mainland). Con-
versely there are, or were, animals in the
islands to the north which apparently
never reached us, such as toads and ground
sloths. But of course we receive a regular
annual invasion of migratory birds, like
the warblers, from North America. It may
seem strange that most of our animals
came to us from the South-West, when
today the prevailing winds and currents
set from the East. I imagine that the sea
passage from the Eastern Caribbean is so
long that few animals survive it. Even
a passage by "island-hopping" requires a
succession of many unlikely events, but
there is a genus of South American frogs
(Leptodactylus) which has spread all the
way up the Lesser Antilles into Puerto
Rico and Hispaniola.

Central America may be the immediate
source of the bulk of the fauna, but that
area is itself the site of a great mixture of
faunas from North and South America.
The two continents were separated for
most of the Tertiary period (that is, the
last 70 million years), Central America
being no more than a chain of islands.
North America shared a common fauna
with the Old World, to which it was con-
nected at the Bering Strait, but in South
America a peculiar fauna evolved. At
various times when the broken land bridge
nearly closed, some forms trickled be-
tween them, but finally, at the end of the
Tertiary, the connection was established
and the two faunas mingled. Animals from
North and South came into direct com-
petition and many died out, especially in
South. Today, the mammals of South
America are a mixture of recent immi-
grants, such as cats, bears and llamas, with
old unique residents, such as sloths, ant-
eaters, armadilloes and opossums, as well
as some local groups of intermediate age
such as the New World monkeys. Central
America and the West Indies also have a
mixture of Northern and Southern ani-
mals, although the islands do not have a
very rich share of it. For example, the
Jamaican Coney belongs to a rodent group
of South American origin, but the Jamai-
can Rice-Rat (which has been extinct for
about 90 years) was a rodent related to the
Old World hamsters.

Animals on islands are particularly
interesting to biologists because, in their
isolation, they have often evolved into
forms distinct from those on the main-
land; just as happened, on a much larger

scale, when South America was an island.
Isolation is relative; it depends on the
distance from the mainland and the
mobility of the animals in question; the
development oflocal(endemic*) forms also
depends on the time since the stock was
isolated. An island like Trinidad, just off-
shore from a continent, is continually
receiving new immigrants from the main-
land, and the resident stock has no chance
to diverge, because of the continual supply
of "mainland" genetic factors. Moreover,
it is likely not to have been separated for
very long. The further out to sea it is, the
less the chance of frequent re-colonization
and the more likely that the fauna will
include peculiar forms, especially if the
island has been isolated for a very long
time. The Galapagos and Hawaian islands
are well known for their endemic birds and
other animals. Jamaica and the other
Greater Antilles are not so isolated as
these oceanic archipelagoes, but many of
our animals are forms unique to this island,
especially in the less mobile groups. This
is true of all our native frogs, most of our
lizards and snakes, all our terrestrial
mammals. But only about half of our
bats are endemic, and 12% of our birds,
while good swimmers like the Crocodile,
Pedro Seal and Manatee are, or were,
found throughout the Caribbean.

Not only have many of our animals
become distinct from their mainland
cousins, but they have diversified here.
There are at least twelve Jamaican species
of the little Eleutherodactylus frogs, per-
haps evolved from only three or four in-
vaders. They have divided the island up
among them; partly in terms of East or
West, North or South, but more striking
are their preferences for different altitudes,
and thus for different climates. E. luteolus
is known from sea-level to over 4000 ft.
E. cundalli, named for the late Secretary
of the Institute of Jamaica, has a similar
range, but is generally found on vegetation
above the ground, whereas luteolus is
commonly found under stones. E. pan-
toni, one of the largest Jamaican frogs of
this type (body about two inches long),
is found throughout the island between
2000 and 4000 ft. It is named for Mr.
E.S. Panton, a great Jamaican naturalist
who contributed articles on natural his-
tory to the "Gleaner" for many years.
Between about 4000 and 6000 ft. in the
Blue Mountains, common under stones
and logs at Cinchona, is E. nubicola
("dweller in the clouds"), whereas the
highest peaks are occupied by E. alticola.

Just as isolation from the mainland is
necessary for the development of a dis-
tinct island form, so it is necessary for
some geographical factors to further sub-
divide the isolated stock, before it can
diversify into separate species; that is to

*Found exclusively in one place, unique
to one habitat.

say, forms which will not interbreed.
What constitutes an effective barrier
depends on the mobility and behaviour of
the animals concerned. In the case of the
frogs, some forms may have differentiated
in Cuba (or the Pedro Bank!) and re-
invaded Jamaica. Or the mountains, and
the climatic differences they present, may
have been sufficient barriers to dispersal
within the island. But also, at some times
in the past the sea was higher (or the land
lower) than it is now, and various hills and
mountains were separate islands; Jamaica
was a small archipelago. Isolation in this
way may have been important in the
differentiation of the Tree Lizards (Ano-
lis) which are the chamaeleons of the New
World, so familiar about houses and in the
bush. We have six species, two of which
show very distinct races, or subspecies, in
different parts of the island, where they
have adapted to the differing conditions.
A. lineatopus, the common brown liz-
ard of Kingston and the dry parts of the
South coast, exists in forms which can
change to green in the western and central
mountains, and in eastern Portland and
St. Thomas. The green and purple lizard
of Kingston, A. grahami, has a much
greener, bluer race, quite distinct, in the
latter area. That eastern end of the island
is, of course, the wettest part, and other
distinct forms of animals live there. For
instance the Streamertail or Doctor Bird
there has a black bill, in contrast to the
red-billed form found elsewhere. In con-
trast Portland Point, Clarendon, is one of
the dryest parts of the island, perhaps
receiving only thirty inches of rain in a
normal year. It is almost a separate desert
island, and distinct subspecies of lizards,
snakes, and a frog, have been described
from it. The birds, which are potentially
such mobile animals, show very little
differentiation into separate forms within
the island, compared with the lizards or
frogs. On the other hand, some of our
fresh-water fishes may now be restricted
to particular river systems, such as the St.
Elizabeth Minnow in the Black River. But
for restricted dispersal and consequent
high diversity, no vertebrates can match
the Jamaican land snails. To build its
shell a snail needs a lot of calcium carbon-
ate; for this reason many kinds are closely


"JAMAICA land shells"

confined to limestone areas. There are
numerous outcrops in Jamaica, isolated by
streams, by alluvium, bauxite or other
rocks, and hundreds of separate snail
populations have developed into apparent-
ly distinct species; our land and fresh-
water snail fauna is second in diversity
only to that of Cuba.

One reason for the diversification of
immigrants in this and other islands was
the lack of other inhabitants at the time
of arrival. This meant that various roles
in the community were unfilled; there
were, one might say, vacancies in many
trades. There has not been enough time
to fill all these gaps and the fauna remains
impoverished. As a result, it is possible
that animals here are not as specialized in
their feeding habits as their relatives on the
mainland. For instance a bird which, in
Guatemala, has three competitors, may
specialize on seeds of a narrow size-range.
But if the same species in Jamaica has
only one competitor, it may be able to
take a greater variety of seeds. This might
cause it to have a bill of a different shape
and to occupy a wider range of habitats.

One set of "niches" which remained
unfilled in Jamaica were those of terres-
trial carnivores such as cats or raccoons.
Because of this we formerly had a few
interesting ground-living animals which
had no need to fear any predators other
than snakes and the occasional bird-of-
prey. The Dodo of Mauritius, a huge
flightless pigeon, evolved in a similar situa-
tion. None of our forms was as remarkable
as that unfortunate bird, but many of
them have shared its fate. Filling the role
of a terrestrial herbivore (unusual in a
lizard) was the Ground Iguana, Cyclura
collei. It was one of a group of lizards
unknown on the mainland, but formerly
represented on many Caribbean islands,
where they had no natural enemies. The
coming of man, his dogs, and later the

mongoose, changed all that. The "guana",
a fierce-looking lizard up to 4 feet long,
used to inhabit the south-eastern part of
Jamaica and, in Spanish times, gave
its name to the Liguanea Plain. A group
of these spectacular reptiles may be seen
at the Hope Zoo but they are Cayman
Islands species, for the Jamaican Iguana
has gone.

Some Native Animals
Many of our native vertebrates have
interesting habits. Earlier, I mentioned
the widespread little frogs of the genus
Eleutherodactylus. All of these are re-
markable for their breeding habits. Else-
where in the world, typical frogs lay their
eggs in water where they hatch into swim-
ming larvae, the little pollywogs or tad-
poles. But in these mountainous islands,
with so much porous limestone, still water
is very rare. The mountain streams are
torrents in the wet seasons but may dis-
appear altogether in the dry; tadpoles
could not survive either condition. So the
Eleutherodactylus frogs have eliminated
the free-living tadpole stage; they lay
clutches of large yolky eggs in damp places
on land. These develop directly into tiny
froglets, passing through a tadpole-like
stage entirely within the egg. This adapta-
tion has enabled them to colonize areas
which ordinary ground frogs could not
inhabit. There is one Blue Mountain
species, E. orcutti, which does inhabit
rocky streams, particularly in the upper
reaches of the Yallahs valley; it is the only
one with webbed feet. Its breeding habits,
which might be interesting, are not yet

There is another group of frogs native
to the island; four species of the tree-
frog genus Hyla. These have solved the
problem of accommodation for their tad-
poles in a different way. They lay their
eggs in the Wild nes (Bromeliads), in the
little pools of rainwater trapped between

"Arawak drawing of a tree-frog. Mountain River rock shelter, St. Catherine"

the leaf-bases. Dr. Farr, in his article,
described some of the animals that live in
or visit these little communities. How-
ever, the pools are indeed small, and the
tadpoles confined in their vegetable womb
find themselves short of food. So they
turn cannibal and eat any unhatched eggs
of their own or other species, and perhaps
some growing individuals younger than

Most famous of the Jamaican frogs is
Hyla lichenata, one of the biggest tree-
frogs in the world, second only to H.
vasta of Hispaniola. It lives high up in
hollow trees in the central and western
hills, but is very rarely seen. Its call,
usually compared to a loud snore, may
gain in resonance through being delivered
from inside its lair. Although it is mostly
soft-skinned, the top of the head is
armoured with a bony "casque" which, it
is said, is used to block up the hole which
it occupies.

So much for Jamaica's largest frog;
our largest resident reptile is, of course,
the crocodile, which still lives in the
swamps and lagoons of the south coast.
It is usually called "alligator"; the differ-
ences are slight, but it is a fact that our
animal is more closely related to the Afri-
can crocodiles than to the American alliga-
tors. But for many years the creature which
is the crest in Jamaica's coat of arms was
"an alligator proper" rather than a proper
crocodile. The name has been used here
since the seventeenth century, when I
expect it was taken from the Spanish (el
lagarto: the lizard). Curiously, the cro-
codile is more closely related to dino-
saurs and birds than to lizards!

In historical times there are only known
for certain to have been two native
terrestrial mammals and only one of these,
the Coney or Jamaican Hutia, Geocap-
romys brown survives today. This rodent,
about the size of a rabbit, is rarely seen,
even at the Hope Zoo, because it is mainly
nocturnal. It inhabits wooded hills,
occupying crevices in the rock. The
Arawaks used to hunt the Coney with
their dogs and it is clear from the num-
ber of its bones in their middens that it
was, in those days, abundant and wide-
spread. Today it is restricted to remote
areas such as the Hellshire Hills and John
Crow Mountains. It is still hunted,
although it is completely protected by

Human interference has greatly re-
duced the range of the Coney, and it may
die out. Yet such changes cannot all be
blamed on man. The Jamaican fauna has
probably never been static. Not only has
it grown and diversified, but later immi-
grants, competing with their predecessors,

"A Jamaican Crocodile. One difference from an alligator is that the big tooth on the
lower jaw remains visible even when the jaws are shut"

may have replaced them. Others may
have flourished for a while and then died
out. Finally, the composition of the fauna
may have changed in response to differ-
ences in climate. The evidence for such
changes in prehistoric times is scanty, for
the few terrestrial fossil deposits are all
comparatively recent, mostly found in
caves. I have already mentioned the fossil
monkey; a unique species, known only
from a single jawbone. There are also
fossil rodents of extinct families, including
a "giant rat". Some of the cave deposits
are believed to have been formed from the
pellets of fur and bone regurgitated by
roosting owls. Among them are the bones
of a lizard about two feet long, perhaps
the extinct Galliwasp, Celestus occiduus.
Since the Barn Owl and the Jamaican

Brown Owl might have had difficulty in
capturing an animal of such size this may
be evidence for the existence in the past
of a much larger owl.

There are fossil remains of many bats
in these caves, but the species are found
in different proportions at different levels
in the deposits and some of the earlier
forms were apparently replaced by close
relatives. Unfortunately, the deposits can-
not be easily dated, but the past pre-
valence of a bat which nowadays prefers
a cooler climate may indicate the effect of
a recent Ice Age. One family of fruit-
eating bats has apparently been represent-
ed successively by three forms. The
earliest of these is extinct, the second
(Ariteus) is endemic to Jamaica but is now

rare; the third (Artibeus) is a recent
immigrant not yet differentiated from con-
tinental forms, and appears to be in the
process of replacing Ariteus. In some
deposits which are known to be post-
Columbian (because of the presence of
rat bones) the native Ariteus is still
commoner than the immigrant Artibeus;
so its decline is comparatively recent and
may well be related to the enormous
changes wrought by man in the flora of
the island.

Much of our information on the
changes which occurred in historical times
is obtained, of course, from historical
sources. A succession of visiting and
resident author naturalists have left us
glimpses of the natural history of Ja-
maica in their day; Sloane (1687-8),
Browne (1756), Long (1774), Gosse
(1844-5). They write about some of the
animals we have lost and describe the
occurrence of others in places where they
are no longer found. No less interesting,
they give details of the introduction of
some of our imported species. At first
these were useful, domestic animals such
as horses, cattle, goats, and chickens. The
Spanish, as was their custom, released
hogs into the bush, there to run wild, and
also tortoises, which have not survived.
But from the beginning there must also
have been accidental introductions; ani-
mals which came un-noticed in odd cor-
ners of the ships or in the company of
domestic animals. Among the first to
come ashore were rats, both black and
brown, which multiplied exceedingly.
House mice and perhaps other small
rodents arrived unannounced with the
ever-increasing traffic. Many new insects
such as lice, fleas, and some cockroaches
came. Attached to the imported cattle
were ticks, whose larvae are the irritating
"grass-lice", which spread in the pastures.
It is probably no consolation, as one
scratches one's ankles, to know that none
of our seven species are native to Jamaica!

-. r

rr i7I
'a -

"Jamaican Coneys"

The rats were recognized as great pests.
Sloane remarks that they "are too com-
mon all over the island, both in Houses
and Lands where they destroy the Sugar
Canes, by eating some and barking others."
By 1789 it was estimated that they often
destroyed a quarter of the cane crop. The
efforts of orthodox rat-catchers were of
little avail, and in the first half of the 18th
century attempts were made to control
them by the introduction of carnivorous
animals. The European Ferret did not
become established; nor did the creature
introduced by Sir Charles Price about
1750 (and known as the "Charley Price
Rat") which might have been a South
American "ferret" or an oppossum. The
"Tom Raffle Ant" was brought here from
Cuba "to rid us of the accumulated pest
of rats and vermin, and to become a more
intolerable a scourge than all the other
plagues put together", though it no longer
seems to be so.

The giant toad, Bufo marinus, native
to Central and Southern America, was
transported from French Guiana to Mar-
tinique and from there to Barbados, in an
attempt to control the insect pests of
cane. In Barbados they were believed to
eat young rats, and in 1844 some were
brought to Jamaica and liberated in St.
Andrew for this purpose. They have
spread throughout the island but seem to
have had little effect on rat populations.
However they certainly eat many insects
in the cane fields, although they also
attack ducklings from below, biting their

Finally, in 1872, 9 specimens of the
small Indian Mongoose, Herpestes auro-
punctatus, were set free on Spring Garden
Estate in Portland. Within six months
damage by rats on this estate was much
reduced. Mongooses were then trapped
and sold to planters all over the island and
their effects became widespread. Within

ten years it was estimated that the intro-
duction was saving the sugar industry
nearly 50,000 per year. But, the mon-
goose was already having other effects.
A terrestrial predator such as had never
been in Jamaica during the island's twenty
million years of existence, it found a wide
range of ground-dwelling prey. Snakes,
lizards, ground nesting birds and their
eggs, began to suffer. More noticeable to
man were the attacks on his poultry, and
public opinion began to swing against the
mongoose. "Whereas formerly the raising
of poultry was easy and profitable it is
now next to impossible. . Hence it is
that a great source of income to the
peasantry of ordinary working people and
of very poor persons, particularly poor
females, has been destroyed" (1890).
Moreover, the mongoose was blamed for
an apparent increase in the number of
ticks, said to have been caused by the des-
truction of so many lizards; and anyway,
rats still seemed to be numerous. However,
although the rats were not exterminated,
they had been largely driven from the cane
fields, to the great benefit of the sugar
industry. Today, the rat population has
adjusted to the presence of the mongoose;
they have become more arboreal and more
strictly nocturnal.

Most other ground-living animals are
greatly reduced in number, and several
have become extinct. We can get some idea
of the fauna before the mongoose by read-
ing Gosse's account of his visit in 1844. He
tells us that a stranger must be struck with
"the abundance of the Lizards that every-
where meet his eye"for instance the"Wood-
slaves" (Mabuya spilonotus) are seen bask-
on road-side walls "at every turn". This
lizard is a skink, glossy bronze with snake-
like scales, and is now very scarce. The
Black Snake (Alsophis ater) Gosse des-
cribes as "frequently met with in all local-
ities that I am familiar with lying coiled
up among the dead leaves. . or gliding

swiftly through the herbaceous weeds...
hanging half out of the loose walls. .
gliding along the branches." It was active
by day and so must soon have encountered
the mongoose; none has been seen for
many years and it is presumably extinct.
Most of the other five species of Jamaican
snakes are now rarely seen. None of them
is poisonous, as the Tourist Board will
readily confirm, and most are quite small.
But the Yellow Snake (Epicrates subflavus)
which is a relative of the Boa Constrictor,
would reach a length of ten to twelve feet
if it were allowed to. However, it is the
immediate reaction of most men to kill it
on sight, though if we are to believe
Sloane it was not always so. For he points
out that rats "are taken and swallowed
whole by the snakes, for which good
Service these last are not molested." To-
day, man and mongoose between them
ensure that the Yellow Snake is confined
to the less accessible mountainous country.

The adult iguana may have been too
big to fall to the mongoose, but its eggs
and young were taken. It seems to have
been quickly eliminated from the main-
land, but survived for half a century more
on Goat Island, near Old Harbour. Finally,
some mongooses were released there by
fishermen and the iguanas were gone by
the end of the last war. Rumours that
they still survive in the Hellshire Hills have
not been confirmed.

I have space only to mention some
other ground living animals whose extinc-
tion might have been influenced by the
mongoose, such as the Jamaican Rice Rat
and the Water Partridge or Uniform Crake.
The large Galliwasp has not been recorded
since before the mongoose came and
possibly the draining of swamps in which
it lived was the fatal blow.

Although the mongoose can be blamed
for much of the disruption of the Jamaican

"A West Indian Manatee, about 9 feet long"

fauna (and there must have been many
changes which we know nothing about),
man himself has directly destroyed some
forms, such as the West Indian or Pedro
Seal (Monachus tropicalis) named after
the Pedro Cays. Columbus found them
plentiful here but sailors eagerly killed
them. They were the subject of profitable
fisheries in the 17th and 18th centuries;
in the 19th they were almost exterminated,
and there have been only scattered records
since. The last recorded in the Caribbean
was taken in Jamaican waters in 1952.

The sea-cows are marine mammals
which, in their degree of adaptation to
life in water, fall mid-way between the
seals and the whales. But they are about
as active as sloths, lying in shallow water
to graze on aquatic vegetation. They are
huge harmless beasts whose only defence
against man is their extreme shyness.
Today they are represented by the Du-
gongs of the Indian Ocean and the Mana-
tees of the Atlantic, including the West
Indian Manatee, Trichechus manatus.
"This is sometimes taken in the quieter
Bays of this island, though rarely now a
days; they have formerly been frequent,
but are, by the multitude of People and
Hunterscatchingthem,destroy'd." Sloan's
comment is true today, except that the
Manatee is now protected by law.

Due to the direct or indirect inter-
ference of man, the future is gloomy for
most of Jamaica's larger animals, except
the mongoose and the John Crow. Could
the others be saved, and is there any reason
for doing so I do,not want to have to
argue the last point; it seems to me self-
evident that the earliest inhabitants of
Jamaica should be conserved for the enjoy-
ment and interest of the present and
future inhabitants. In addition, some of
these animals could be useful in at least
two ways; as a source of much-reeded
protein, and as an attraction for tourists.

The flesh of manatees is said to be
good eating, like veal, not at all fishy.
Could they live up to their name of sea-
cows and be managed like cattle, providing
sea-beef? It is an attractive idea, because
there are thousands of acres of sea-grasses
off the south coast which are otherwise
barely exploited. But before any such
scheme could be considered, the manatees
must be made safe and allowed to multi-
ply. It has for many years been against the
law to kill them, but they are very sensi-
tive to disturbance of all kinds. It is
particularly important that they should
have access to secluded shallow waters for
breeding and, if they are to be saved,
suitable areas must be set aside where they
can be guaranteed non-interference from
land or sea.

The three species of sea-turtle which
lay their eggs in our beaches each year
need similar protection. How many of
these eggs are ever allowed to hatch? A
turtle fishery could be re-built by rearing
and releasing young turtles, perhaps hatch-
ed from imported eggs. This is already
being done in other parts of the Caribbean,
including the Cayman Islands.

Such places might be situated within
coastal nature reserves of wider interest.
One day, for instance, reserves must be
established for the crocodile, if our na-
tional animal is to survive the develop-
ment of the south coast; particularly if
tourists are still to be given the chance of
shooting them. Inland, the majority of
our Forest Reserves are also Game Sanc-
tuaries, where guns and dogs are pro-
hibited, and it is forbidden to injure any
animal. In remote areas much wild life
remains, perhaps little molested, but else-
where hunters regularly pursue the wild
hog and take coneys as well. I am sure it
is right to make use of pork from the

bush, but it is wrong, first: to allow hunt-
ing unsupervised which could reduce or
eliminate the stock, and second: to allow
the Wild Life Protection Law to be broken
so often. An unenforced law is worse
than none at all because it encourages on
the one hand complacency, and on the
other disrespect for the law. In this case,
the Forestry Department has not the men
or the time to deal with the problem.
Here and elsewhere, the Law is broken
daily; hunting in Game Sanctuaries, kill-
ing conies, fishing with dynamite or
poison, taking the eggs of sea turtles.
Enforcement of the Law is the task of the
Police and the honorary Game Wardens.
The latter are given wide powers by the
Law; powers of entry, search and arrest,
but in most cases it would take a very
bold citizen to assert these privileges.

Whatever suggestions are made about
improving this situation (and perhaps we
need some professional Game Wardens in
certain areas), it is certain that we must
also try to influence public opinion in
favour of the conservation of nature.
Education must instil the idea of manage-
ment of natural resources, such as hogs
and sea-turtles; must arouse interest in
our plants and animals, and a desire for
the conservation of some wild places with
their native forests and all their inhabit-
ants. This is a task for teachers and
journalists, but the re-establishment of the
Natural History Society would make an
invaluable contribution. So, too, would
the establishment and advertisement of a
few striking nature reserves. The recent
proposal of Goat Island is an excellent
example; it would be comparatively easy
to eradicate the mongoose, to re-introduce
iguana, yellow snake and coney, and to
design some interesting "nature trails".
This might be a first step towards wider
public enjoyment and understanding of
the Jamaican countryside and its natural

Painting by Colin Garland

Festival 68 Prize-winner


by George P. Proctor


Aquatic plants are those that normally
grow partly or completely immersed in
water. Some thrive in streams or ponds,
or even in the sea, while others rejoice in
the muck of swamps. Aquatic habitats
can be considered of two main types, salt-
water and fresh-water; areas of inter-
mediate salinity are termed "brackish".
For the most part, plants that flourish in
one type do not grow in the other, but
plants of brackish situations often have a
rather wide tolerance. In the present
article, only fresh-water plants are con-
sidered, though some may occur in more
or less brackish places.

In these days of water shortages, it
seems almost ridiculous to discuss the sort
of plants that not only cannot withstand
drying, but must be constantly more or
less bathed in the precious fluid. However,
although the overcutting of forests has
severely affected the flow of water in
many streams and springs, the present
urban shortages are based more on in
adequate storage than any other single
factor. In short, although suffering periods
of drought, Jamaica is not about to run
out of water! There are, in fact, hundreds

of streams still flowing (mostly lower than
normal); likewise numerous natural pools
and ponds still exists, especially in certain
districts, each with its particular assem-
blage of vegetation. In spite of the ant-
like scurryings of marl-trucks, devastation
by unchecked fires, and the insatiable
munching of cows, we can still find un-
filled, relatively unravaged swamps, al-
though many seem to be disappearing

It is probably safe to say that swamps
and marshes do not rank high in popular
favour. Most people tend to think of
them in terms of muck, miasmas and
mosquitoes, and feel no sense of loss
when they are destroyed. But botanists,
who (though rare) are also people, take a
somewhat different attitude. Their point
of view has a dual focus: a practical view
that considers a swamp to be a sort of
natural reservoir which helps to maintain
water-tables and performs other useful
service; and an idealistic attitude that
regards a swamp as a very special habitat,
teeming with fascinating plant life, much
of it finely adapted to aquatic or sub-
aquatic conditions, and all of it deserving

of respect and protection as part of the
heritage that makes up our natural en-
vironment. In short, we like swamps!

It would seem, then, that a wide
"attitude gap" exists toward swampy
habitats. But there is a common meeting-
ground, a convergence of admiration,
toward many individual kinds of plants
that inhabit wet places. Water-lillies and
water-hyacinths, for example, are con-
sidered attractive by most people, though
the latter can be a pest in irrigation ditches
or other water channels. In the present
article I would like to draw attention to
these and some of the less-known aquatic
plants found in Jamaica. Many of them
have definite horticultural value. If you
have a small pool, water garden, or wet
spot, you may wish to try some of these.

Some aquatic plants float freely on or
beneath the surface of water, while others
are rooted in soil with their foliage
immersed, floating or emergent. Truly
floating aquatics are rather few in number;
most are of small to medium size, but
included among them are the smallest of
all flowering plants. The tiniest, the so-

called "Water Meal" (Wolffia), makes up
in vast numbers what it lacks in size; an
individual plant (with flower or fruit) is
no larger than the head of a pin, but the
entire surface of a small stagnant pond
may sometimes be covered by countless
millions of these plants.

Among the less than a dozen Jamaican
floating plants are two ferns. One of
these, misleadingly called the "Mosquito
fern" (Azolla), apparently occurs only on
certain clear streams in Westmoreland.
The whole plant is less than half an inch
across and is usually more or less red in
colour. Within its small ambit this odd
fern has several rather intricate branches
and numerous tiny leaves. It also has the
property of "unwettability", its upper
surface texture effectively repelling water!

Our other type of floating aquatic
fern (which may occasionally be rooted
in mud) is simply called "Floating fern"
(Ceratopteris), and is represented in Ja-
maica by two not very distinct species.
Both are rare, and until recently neither
had been seen here for more than 50
years. A colony of C deltoidea has now
been found growing along the margin of
the Milk River in Clarendon. Floating
ferns are sometimes grown in aquaria,
though rarely available commercially.

No account of floating aquatic plants
should omit mention of Bladderwort
(Utricularia), who rootless feathery branch-
es are always submerged, but whose
bright yellow flowers are held above the
water-surface on sturdy stalks. Our
largest species (U. foliosa) is common in
the Black River region of St. Elizabeth.
Certain ponds near Fullerswood, for ex-
ample, are covered with hundreds of blos-
soms during blooming periods. But the
most interesting feature of Bladderwort lies
not in its flowers, but in numerous tiny
outgrowths ("bladders") occurring under-
water on the branched, hairlike leaves.
These bladders, resembling minute plastic
bags, and scarcely more than 1/16 inch
long in U.foliosa, are in fact traps of a most
astounding degree of mechanical delicacy;
their fineness of structure and presicion
of action are scarcely equalled anywhere
else in the plant kingdom. Their function
is to capture minute insects and other
animals as food to nourish the plant. They
accomplish this end by luring their prey
by means of sweet or otherwise attractive
secretions, then suddenly sucking them
into the trap when a tiny trigger is touch-
ed. Once inside, the doomed creature is
unable to escape because the bladder is
closed by a valve which can only open
inwardly. It then dies and is digested.
The same trap can reset itself many times
to provide the plant with successive meals!

Bladderwort makes an interesting aquar-
ium plant, so long as you are not trying to
rear baby fish.

Probably the most ornamental of float-
ing aquatics, and the one most often
noticed, is the Water Hyacinth (Eichhor-
nia) Often mistakenly called a "lily",
this native of Brazil has long been natural-
ized in Jamaican streams and ponds. In
certain areas, especially the Black River
Morass region of St. Elizabeth, consider-
able sums of money have to be spent
every year to clear water channels of this
fast-reproducing plant.

Another interesting floating aquatic
is the Water Lettuce (Pistia), related to
the ornamental Anthuriums, but with
very tiny pale green spathes in the centre
of the leaf-rosette. It is quite popular
in pools; its dense fringe of submerged
floating roots offers a safe refuge to small
organisms and therefore it is useful to,
breeders of aquarium fish.

Turning to soil-rooted aquatic plants,
we find a much longer and more varied
list. The most striking, with large, showy
blooms and more or less ornamental
floating leaves, are the Water-lilies, of
which our white-flowered native species
(Nymphaea ampla) is a good example.
Several other introduced, cultivate species
can be seen in private or public lily-pools.
The most handsome are usually fragrant
as well as beautiful to look upon. In fact,
the conspicuous virtues of these plants
may cause many persons to overlook the
large variety of other native aquatic plants
suitable for ornamental use.

Among the most striking of these is
the Jamaican Lotus (Nelumbo jamaicen-
sis). Although perhaps not distinct from
its North American counterpart (N. lutea),
our Lotus presents several points of
interest. Of course the related Oriental
Lotus, well-known for its use as a decora-
tive motif by the ancient Egyptians, has
been widely cultivated for thousands of
years, chiefly as an ornamental. But the
yellow-flowered lotuses of the Western
Hemisphere have chiefly been prized as a
source of food by the aboriginal in-
habitants. The fleshy rhizomes, which
creep in the mud of ponds, were important
for their edible starch, while the hard,
seed-like fruits (among the most long-
lived of all living things many will still
germinate after several thousand years)
contain a tasty, nut-flavoured kernel.

Our Lotus grows wild only in certain
ponds near Great Pedro Bay, St. Elizabeth,
where the local people call them "Pancake
Roses". During the fruiting season, the
little boys of the district harvest the nuts
and go around with pockets bulging with

these delicious "snacks". The Lotus has
large, round, unwettable leaves that are
held above the water surface on long
stalks; the pale yellow many-petaled
flowers, up to 6 inches or more in dia-
meter, are likewise long-stalked. The
fruit-receptacle resembles a shower-rose
(in the holes repose the nuts) and when
dry can be useful in certain types of
floral arrangements. The Jamaican Lotus
is at present in danger of being exter-
minated and should be protected.

There are two aquatic plants in Ja-
maica whose roundish floating leaves
resemble those of a small Water-lily, but
whose flowers are quite different from
each other. One of those is the Water
Snowflake (Nymphoides), with delicately
fringed white flowers that appear to be
floating on the water surface. The other
is the Water Shield (Brasenia), whose small
purplish flowers are rather inconspicuous;
its stems, petioles, and undersides of the
leaves are thickly coated with a gelatinous
slime. An odd feature of the stems is that
they have an unusual elastic quality: they
can be slightly stretched, and when re-
leased will snap back to their original

A visitor to the vast, swampy sea-level
tracts in St. Elizabeth will, if observant,
notice several interesting aquatic plants
not usually to be seen elsewhere. The
most conspicuous of these is the white
Swamp Lily (Crinum americanum). It
grows from a rather large bulb embedded
in swamp muck, producing a loose, some-
what twisted rosette of straplike leaves
and a stout, hollow scape crowned by a
cluster of large flowers. Although called
a "lily" (a much-abused name!), Crinum
belongs to the Amaryllis family. I have
never seen this species successfully cul-

Associated with the Swamp Lily, and
also to be found in many other wet
habitats in Jmaaica (mostly near sea-level),
are at least two species of Arrowhead
(Sagittaria). The largest and commonest
of these is S. lancifolia, whose lance-
shaped leafblades may be as much as two
or three feet tall. Its rather small flowers,
each with three delicate white petals, are
sparsely borne on an erect elongated
scape. This is another distinctly orna-
mental plant that no one seems to
appreciate. A smaller, slenderer species is
S. intermedia, with truly arrow-shaped

Aside from the salf-water Mangroves,
one does not usually think of trees as
being aquatic. But our nearly-vanished
swamp forests contained a rich assortment
of tree species, and these can still be seen
in a few places. Among the most out-
standing are the Boar-gum (Symphonia),

of stately habit and with a yellow latex
in its bark that is alleged to have healing
properties for cuts and wounds; the
graceful Morass Royal Palm (Roystonea
princeps) and its smaller cousin the Long
Thatch (Calyptrogyne); and the Anchovy
Pear (Grias), whose great strap-like leaves
add a lush, exuberant note to many wet
habitats. Extensive thickets of Grias still
grow in the Black River Morass; this tree,
which is related to the brazil-nut, bears
an edible nut-like fruit along the main
stems below the leaves. These follow the
creamy, fragrant flowers which are prac-
tically stalkless and grow right out of the

Marsilea Polycarpa In certain quiet ponds in the western
part of Jamaica one can see numerous
floating rosettes of small rhombic-shaped
leaves, crowned in the centre by one or
two bright yellow flowers. This is Lud-
wigia sedoides, which so far as I know
has no "common" name. There are about
a dozen species of Ludwigia in Jamaica,
several of them with attractive yellow
flowers. Some are completely aquatic,
often growing submerged in deep, clear
springs, while others merely prefer damp
soil. None is more charming than L.
sedoides; why, then, is it never cultivated?

There are many other Jamaican
aquatic plants that deserve notice, more
than we have space to describe here.
There are odd ferns like the Water Clover
(Marsilea), numerous grasses and sedges,
and the creeping mosslike Mayaca with
its delicate pink flowers. There are the
species of Pennywort (Hydrocotyle) and
A Pond in St. Elizabeth several unusual species of Hibiscus that
Below like to grow with their feet in water. In
streams and rivers one finds Potamogeton,
Cabomba, and Ceratophyllum, whose
virtues are perhaps more evident to a
botanist than to a horticulturist. There
are the Heterantheras, with tiny but
attractive lavender-blue flowers. There is
the feathery Water Milfoil (Proserpinaca)
and in a few places Elodea, the latter a
useful aquarium plant as it generates much
oxygen. Surprisingly, there is even a semi-
aquatic begonia (B. patula), found so far
in just one pond in Jamaica (in West-
S moreland), but also known to occur in
Cuba and Central America.

From the incomplete list given here,
I hope to leave the impression that not
all of Jamaica's treasures are terrestrial or
monetary. The value of undisturbed
nature as a necessary part of the human
environment is seldom appreciated until
destroyed. The plants of aquatic habitats,
and the swamps, streams and ponds that
support them, are fast disappearing direct-
ly as a result of human destructiveness.
I suggest that their absence will make us
poorer, and that after it is too late to
save them we shall be sorry.

by Jean D'Costa


It is significant that before Brathwaite
the poet comes Brathwaite the historian.
Only a historian could create so intimately
and fully the world of Rights of Passage
and Masks. This world is one we know
well: that of the negro in the western
hemisphere. But while others like Cesaire
and Baldwin have treated this world frag-
ment by fragment, Edward Brathwaite
attempts a synthesis of a splintered,
shattered area of experience, and manages
to bind together in a single poetic vision
both Louisiana and Brixton, the Golden
O Stool of the Asante and the slums of
Harlem. In Rights of Passage we are
shown the panorama in time and space of
the exile and wanderings of the negro. In
Masks, which completes our understanding
of Rights..., we are shown the world from
which the transported slave came: a

world which he now regards with some
romanticism, some indifference, and much
ignorance. Both books consist of lyric
poems which develop a central theme,
each poem an essential link in the argument
of the whole. Such is the forcefulness of
Brathwaite's vision in these thematic
poems, that one is quite unable to set
either book aside without reading to the
end. This is not to say that the writing is
all equally good, but that one is compelled
to go with the poet through a series of
interpretations and visions, and to pass
judgement on the whole.

Rights of Passage introduces us first
of all to the African homeland in the days
before the slave trade. Brathwaite invokes
a setting and a mood with Virgilian sharp-

1 -0O



I I I I I I I 1 11 k I I I I % I I I I I I i=

Drum skin whip
lash, master sun's
cutting edge of
heat, taut
surfaces of things
I sing
I shout
I groan
I dream

Dust glass grit
the pebbles of the desert:

In tracing the path of the exiled negro
through time and space, Brathwaite is
doing the same as Virgil in the Aeneid.
Like Virgil, he evokes deep race memories,
associations with a culture long past, yet
still active in the present. The homeland
which is recalled here is no sentimentalised
paradise, nor is it a clear-cut, well-docu-
mented thing. Cruelty, death, betrayal are
all known. Hardship is familiar. What is
suggested is a mood, an echo of a life of
which the conscious memories are lost,
and only the subliminal remain:

Grant, God,
a clear release from thieves,
from robbers and from those that
plot and poison while they dip
into our dish.
................................ Flam e,
that red idol, is our power's
founder: flames fashion wood; with
powder, iron. Long iron
runs to swords,
to spears, to burnished points
that stall the wild, the eyes, the
Flame is our god, our last defence,
our peril.
Flame burs the village down.

A variety of symbols work upon the two
underlying themes: death and regenera-
tion. In all stages ofRights.. these balanc-
ing symbols recur. In a sense they make
the agony of transportation and depriva-
tion more acute, for returning life is a sore
trial to a broken and diseased organism:

for our blood, mixed
soon with their passion in sport

in indifference, in anger,
will create new soils, new souls, new
ancestors; will flow like this tide

to the star by which this ship floats
to new worlds, new waters, new
harbours, the pride of our ancestors
with the wind and the water
the flesh and the flies, the whips...

The death and rebirth of natural forms
parallels and emphasises man's subjection

to the same forces: "So many seeds/the
cotton breeds/so many seeds/ our fathers
need.." This constant balancing of positive
and negative poles gives both passion and
a kind of honesty to the mythical world
of Rights.. Assonance, alliteration, and
the unexpected internal rhyme point the
movement of feeling and argument.

In the section "New World A-Comin'"
the psychology of exile and enslavement
is explored. There is a neat suggestion of
the incompatibility of the cultures of
slave and slaver in the lines

.. we journeyed
to this place
to this meeting
this shock
and shame
in the soiled

The moral problem implied here will
haunt us through the whole book. Tom,
a symbolic figure introduced later in this
section, becomes the focus of the problem,
and the centre of conflict in which the
forces of death and regeneration meet.
The nostalgia for the lost homeland is

transformed into a new nostalgia for a new
land which can never replace the other,
and yet gains a hold on the exile that can-
not be denied. The emotional crisis of the
homeless is stated in a manner which
stresses the nature of the amputation:

for we who have achieved nothing
who have not built
who have forgotten all
and dare to remember

the paths we shall never remember
again: Atumpan talking and the
harvest branches, all the tribes of
Ashanti dreaming the dream of
Tutu, Anokye, and the Golden
Stool, built in Heaven for our
nation by the work of
lightning and the brilliant adze:
and now nothing


so let me sing

From here we move on to the changed
attitude of later generations, Tom's child-
ren born in the land of captivity, knowing
no other. The hope expressed for them by
him "hoping my children's eyes / will
learn / not green alone / not Africa alone
/ not dark alone / not fear / alone...", this
evaporates in the compromises of a new
era. The slave and slaver are now face to
face, each inevitably corrupting the other,
neither able to understand nor escape from
the consequences of the situation:

Boss man lacks pride:
so hides his
fear of fear and darkness
in the whip.

Boss man lacks pride:
I am his hide
of darkness. Bide
the black times, Lord, hide
my heart from the lips
that spit .

This is the bitter statement of slavery at
its height. It is presumably what Wilber-
force and Lincoln fought against, though
it is doubtful that they could have had
much real insight into the nightmare they
opposed. The humiliation and degradation
are stated through the persona of Tom, no
longer the floundering, founding father,but
the enigmatic witness of corruption:

They laugh and the white
man laughs: each
wishing for mercy, each
fearful of mercy, teach-
ing their children to hate
their skin to its bitter root in the

In these passages there are echoes of the
spirituals, and of the Biblical language
that is so much a part of the English-
based negro creoles. At its best the lan-
guage is evocative of that stage of negro
culture which is being rapidly swallowed
up by late twentieth century values.
Sometimes the mood is jarred by a weak-
ening of the language, or a lowering of
intensity. Occasionally a note of banality
creeps in:

'But to hell with this, nuncle!
You fussy black Uncle
Tom, hat in your hand!

The pressure builds up again as we
follow the wanderings of the Negro in the
days after emancipation. These are the
days of migration to Panama, Cuba, New
York and the northern industrial cities of
the United States. Their pathos and futil-
ity are captured in the lines

....... In my small hired
room, stretched out upon the New

York Herald Tribune, pages
damp from dirty lots, from locked
out parks, from gutters; dark, tired,
deaf, cold, too old to care to catch
alight the quick match of your pity,
I died alone, without the benefit of

Now the exile is an infinitely complex
thing, embracing journeys to any country
or state that seems to offer security. No
place is home, and everywhere varieties
of sorrow and sickness show themselves.
The later generations of our century, our
grandfathers and fathers, adapt in various
ways. Negro art becomes fashionable;
negroes are acknowledged great sports-
men and great musicians (jazz only). A
multitude of neuroses develop, and beneath
all is the restless homelessness expressed
in the poem 'Journeys'.

The many cultures of the West Indian
islands, of the Deep South and the
northern urban ghettoes are explored in
the latter poems. Here, bound together
by a common theme of bewilderment and
frustration, are the people of the shanty
towns of Kingston, Port of Spain, and
Harlem. Social alienation produces its
hallucinatory compensations; and the

.... beard full of lichens
brain full of lice
watched the mice
come up through the floor-
boards of his down-
town, shanty-town kitchen,
and smiled. Blessed are the poor
in health, he mumbled,
that they should inherit
this wealth. Blessed are the meek
heard, he grumbled,
for theirs is this stealth.

The Rasta passage rings true as a sample
of the linguistic and mental processes of
that group. Some of the other passages in
different dialects are less successful. This
may partly be the result of poetic com-
position in an unfamiliar dialect, and the
use of poetic transformations which do
not match the vernacular on which they
are based. The last poem in Part II is full
of these minor linguistic weaknesses, which
yet do not interfere significantly with
our grasp of the spiritual and social dis-
location they express.

Irony and satire, the weapons of con-
temporary negro society, are explored as
Brathwaite looks at the life of the calyp-
sonian, the Brixton migrant, the bank
clerk on the make, the Black Muslim, and
the small shopkeeper. The poem in Bar-
badian dialect attempts something akin to
the satire and humour of Louise Bennett.
Still the themes of regeneration and

death, of despair and hope, persist,
though submerged. It is this balance of
opposites which keeps Rights of Passage
above the level of raw propaganda, and
denies the reader any easy sentimental
escape. In 'Postlude Home' is a statement
of the climax of the journeys, the con-
fusion, the fear, the bitterness, and be-
wilderment which marked the last three

For we
who have cre-

ated nothing,
must exist

on nothing;
cannot see

the soil:

earth, God's
earth, with-

out that fixed
locked mem-

ory of love-
less toil

Now the beginning of it all it just an echo
I is find meself
wondering' if

Tawia Tutu Anokye or
Tom could'a ever

have live
such a life.

The epilogue does more than recall the
beginning of the cycle of history. It closes
with a statement which draws together
the contraries that have been expressed
throughout, and makes of them both a
promise and a threat, a beginning and an
end. The final couplet of the book reads

There is no
turning back.

There is that inevitability of develop-
ment in Rights ofPassage which all success-
ful art must have. One is carried along in
spite of one's self, and in the end one can
look back on a journey of the mind, which
has transformed and illuminated the
commonplace and the known. There is no
easy label for this kind of poetry. If such
a writer could emerge to unite in a single
vision the disasters and divisions of the
Vietnamese people or the confusions and
conflicts of the people of Red China, then
one might feel that the disunity of the
past was ending, if not that of the future.
Brathwaite's ability to see the many
journeys of the last three centuries as a
related whole more is than the freakish

vision of one man. Poets seize upon what
is real, but latent and formless in their
times, and give these things voice and
brightness. Myth-makers, they bring
before the conscious mind dreams and
notions that have been shaping in the sub-
conscious of generations. They cannot
create richly without that gestative past in
which countless men and women have
lived, ahd felt, and done what is now
memory and tradition, and the substance
of myth.

The spirit of Rights of Passage is
carried over into Masks, as the prefatory
quotation suggests:

"Only the fool points at his origins
with his left hand." Akan Pro-

We are plunged at once into a celebration
of West African culture, as it is lived and
felt from within by those native to that
area. Instead of the symbols of exile,
fire, disease, springing vegetation and dry
sand, there are the many musical instru-
ments and their parallels in nature. The
animism of West African culture is boldly

There is a quick
stick grows in the for-
est, blossoms twice year-
ly without leaves;
bare white branches
crack like light-
ening in the harm-

But no harm
comes to those who live near-
by. This tree, the
elders say, will never

There is a sense of the unity and inter-
relatedness of all things, a linking of the
quick and the dead, which cannot be
satisfactorily expressed by the term
animism. West African cultures have
shown in a variety of forms this sense of
the interdependence of things. In "The
Gong-gong" it is not a philosophy, but a
living reality:

God is dumb
until the drum

The drum
is dumb
until the gong-gong leads

it. Man made,
the gong-gong's
iron eyes

of music
walk us through the humble

dead to meet

the dumb
blind drum
where Odomankoma speaks.

As inRights... the spirit of each generation,
each group was evoked by varieties of
language and dialect, so the richness and
variety of the life set out in Masks is made
real by a telling use of West African lan-
guages and names. Brathwaite has a
sensitive ear for the rhythms and melodies
of language, and his use of terms from the
Akan dialects is elegant and exciting:

Odomankoma 'Kyerema says
Odomankoma 'Kyerema says
The Great Drummer of Odomanko-
ma says
The Great Drummer of Odomanko-
ma says
that he has come from sleep
that he has come from sleep
and is rising
and is rising

like akoko the cock
like akoko the cock who clucks
who crows in the morning
who crows in the morning

There is much more to the music of these
exotic terms than one might at first expect.
As we are taken, poem by poem, into the
depths of West African life, we find that
the language creates an insight into past
and present, showing the limitations of
the Western negro returned 'home', and
the blend of strangeness and familiarity in
his experience.

It is the strangeness that strikes one
first. The land has forgotten the exiles,
has lived on past their going with other
thoughts. The series 'Pathfinders' brings
to us the vastness and variety of the life of
West Africa. The exiled negro seems a
small thing in the endless reaches of
forest and desert, river and lake. In it all
there is the muted theme of the smallness
and greatness of man, building, destroying,
breeding, dying, planting, and reaping.
'Chad' sets out in cold, clear terms the
enigma of existence:

This sacred lake
is the soul
of the world;

winds whirl
born in the soul
of this dark water's world.

This lake
the wars of the world;

no peace in this world
till the soul

knows this dark water's


In this world strife and disorder have a
prominent place, and the butterflies of
decay and rebirth appear to emphasise the
basic oneness of this world with all others.
The bitterness of Rights... is absent, and
in its place instead is a futility all the
more pernicious as it has no overt focus:

..... the gold returns
to dust, the walls

we raised return again
to dust; and what sharp winds,
teeth'd with the desert's sand,
rise in the sun's day

brilliance where our mosques
mock ignorance, mock pride,
burn in the crackled blaze of time,
return again to whispers, dust.

The Arab element in West African culture
appears, a feature alien and exotic to
the non-native. 'Volta' sums up the alien-
ness, the vastness and the little-known
tragedies of West African history:

For miles the land was bare and dry
for miles clear sky

and rock; three days we travelled,
dreaming; heavy tongues dumb,
soles and our ankles numb,
foreheads shocked with heat.
The land was empty and the

rainless arch of nothing stretching
stretched straight on.

The writing in Masks has little of the
vernacular intimacy of Rights of Passage.
This is inevitable, for the experience of
Masks is that of the observer, not that of
the member of the group. In the section
'Limits' we traverse the length and breadth
of West Africa, and are made to sense the
qualities of space and change which make
it what it is. This is essentially an exam-
ination from without, and it is also an
experiment on many levels. In 'Volta'
quoted above, the tension and labour of
this part of West African life are made
real in the rhythms and assonances of
the writing. The strong musical rhythms
of the opening poems express the values
and joys of a culture alien to us. The
experiment brings us into the heart of
things, and shows how close and yet
remote that heart is. There is the danger
here that the very alienness of the culture
threatens the verse with obscurity, yet the
forcefulness of the imagery, the symbols
of water, river, journey, labour, forest,
field and family sustain the flow of argu-

Real tension comes in 'The Return'.
This is Asante country, from which oral
tradition claims that most of the West
Indian negroes came. This is the classic
sentimental journey, the search for another
self who preceded the present self. But
the mirror is blank, and no familiar face
looks back from its surface:

I tossed my net
but the net caught
no fish

I dipped a wish
but the well
was dry


Oddly enough, the writing loses something
of its pungency and certainty in this
section. But even so the urgency of the
theme dominates even the weakest pass-
ages, and the hypnotic quality of the verse
expresses the feeling of unreality, of fail-
ure, of bewilderment:

I travelled to a distant town
I could not find my mother
I could not find my father
I could not hear the drum

Whose ancestor am I?

This is the turning point of Masks. The
true search is now over, and from this we
must move on to looking at the homeland
as it now is, in itself, in its own right, -
a thing completely apart from the return-
ing stranger. The poem 'Masks' tells the
real sorrow of that world, a sorrow which
the stranger shares because he is of the
family of man:

Your tree
has been split
by a white axe
of lightning;

the wise
are di-
vided, the
of our elders
are dead.

Estrangement, exile, division are man's
lot: the section ends with a statement of
the universality of oblivion and loss.

The last two sections of Masks are
'Crossing the River' and 'Arrival'. Like
Bunyan's Pilgrim, the exile has looked at
his world, and at his imagined home, and
must face both himself and his true
environment. The rhythms of invocation
and dance are very marked in the last two
sections. The writing takes on a ritual
quality, as it strives to express the hope of
reconciliation and healing. The image of
water the cleanser, the healer, the life-
force, expresses the nature of this final
stage of the search. Water in Asante cul-
ture has many symbolic values, and the
word 'nsuo' is the base form for terms
such as milk, blood, fish, and river. The
poem 'Sunsum' (spiritual blood, literally
su nsum) sums up the meaning of the
return to West Africa: "Welcome your
brother now / my trapped curled tongue /
still cries". But the hard truth is that
there can be no answer to the plea for
welcome, and whatever hope there is
must exist in spite of the unalterable facts
of alienation and oblivion:

The years remain
silent: the dust learns nothing
with listening;

.............................. .
the termites' dark teeth, three

hundred years working,
have patiently ruined my art.

Death, loss and despair are the themes of
'Sunsum' and 'Tano', and we are made to
feel even more acutely than in Rights of

Passage what is the real meaning of home-
lessness, of rootlessness and isolation from
family. In 'The Awakening' only the
basic forces of life remain to offer hope
of help: the earth, the light of day, and
those spiritual energies symbolised in the
Divine Drummer. As in Rights of Passage
there "was no turning back", so in Masks
the essential power of man to be himself,
to find himself, is stated as a duty, sacred
and inevitable:

so slowly slowly
ever so slowly

I will rise
and stand on my feet

slowly slowly
ever so slowly

I will rise
and stand on my feet.

Like akoko the cock
like akoko the cock

who cries
in the early dawn

akoko bon'opa
akoko tua bon

I am learning
let me succeed

I am learning
let me succeed .......

Final Note: Kyerema: [clrema] the initial
sound is between ch and sh.


Akoko: [akoko] The final
vowel as in clock.
nsuo: [nsuo] Nasals are
often pronounced as
independent. Syllables, e.g.
final sound in 'button'.

Market Scene Festival 68 Prize-winner
by S. Alexander


Bath, St. Thomas by J.B. Kidd

by Dennis Scott

Today, work It's a new house
waiting, I make poems. But I live from, suddenly guest.
the room's too small to turn I rest often not writing
words in. On an impulse of rain between the wind's idle,
open the windows, hoping idle, familiarising trees
this itch and dry of images will change. as worn as dictionaries,
I re-arrange desk to the air, learning still the phonemes
shifting my chair. And of a bird's trill.

suddenly, the eye
examines wet leaves, pencilling Never knew
their fragile paper weight such world or such dimension
on the lawn's green, fluent lizards possible as poems woven
writing their sentences of joy, from simple things
a green bud's stamp changed in their weaving
posted on twigs, myself It's all there, all.
a flower's mail-box-red, Next time I shan't wait
effortless fall for the rain to fall.

Hill Country
by Olive Senior

The sun etches out the minutes of my days
under my dark eyes. The train, our only
regulation, shakes down the hours, stakes out
the limit of our lives
on this, my harsh and gentle island...

My ring finger tingles as my machete
flints on a stone. Hear
my wife pounding cassava in a cracked mortar
singing a cracked tune:

0 the futility
of crop cultivation in this place
the census-takers never come. To whom
shall I marry my daughter?

Sons, too young to help, too old
to be not-born, too precious
to have seedlings feeding on your dreams.
Fist this red clay in your hands,
hold the red gold, I tell them.
But I look into their eyes
and no gold comes, no dreams
arise. And I know,
this is merely the red clay
of a broken hillside and the parakeets
sit on the cedar stump

waiting for the young corn
to ripen.

The sun cuts an arc on the housetop
the day goes by
My thoughts tremble on the edge
of something undesirable
My wife sings still
the sunbaked questions of our lives...

The sun marks the minutes, the train
the hours. Among the yam vines
and the trumpet trees we need
no clocks, no timepieces, no time
For the hunger in our bellies tell us
which way a clock's hands would go.

The train pulls home the day
draws it in to citylights on two
black parallels. Later
when my sons discover the agonies
of leached hillsides
it will draw them too.

0 weigh down
these memories
with a stone.

Both Festival 68 prize winners.

Jamaica Natio ance

Theatre Company
by The Artistic Director

- probably the most
popular work in the
Company's repertoire. It
tells about the eternal
triangle and the dominance
of Woman over Man.
Choreography is by Rex
Nettleford. The work is
one of the most challenging
and has been the province
ofsome of the most
accomplished dancers in
the Company.

Photos by Maria LaYacona

The National Dance Theatre Company
of Jamaica has just completed its annual
Season of Dance. It is its seventh since
the formation of the Company in 1962
at the time of Jamaica's Independence
when out of the dance-show "Roots and
Rhythms" emerged a group of trained
and serious dancers drawn from the major
dance schools in the Corporate Area. The
dancers were all of the conviction that
there was need for a Company which
would provide a vehicle for well trained
dancers who wish to perform and create
works of excellence. Some wanted to
further experiment with dance forms and
techniques of all kinds but were pledged
to the task of developing a style and form
which would faithfully reflect the move-
ment patterns of Jamaica and the Carib-
bean area. This followed in, but gave
sharper meaning to, the movement in

which Ivy Baxter creative-dance pioneer
and choreographer had played such a
pivotal role. The link was provided by
NDTC co-founders and co-directors Eddy
Thomas and Rex Nettleford who had
worked along with Sheila Barnett, Joyce
and Shirley Campbell, Barbara Requa,
Monica McGowan, Ronan Critchlow,
Rosalie Markes, Gertrude Sherwood, and
Audley Butler in the Ivy Baxter Dance
Group at different stages of the life of
that group. But the Faye Simpson School
of Ballet was to provide for the fledgling
Company Yvonne daCosta (now ballet
mistress and a most accomplished dancer,)
Pansy Hassan and later Noelle Chutkan.
The Soohih School of Dance run by
Madame May Soohih gave to the Company
two fine dancers in Maureen and Bridget
Casserly while the Glen Gordon-Doris
Rumsey school produced Mavis Lai-Stoppi.
To round off this early and important
membership the Eddy Thomas Dance
Workshop founded by Eddy Thomas in
1958 provided Bert Rose and Barry Mon-
crieffe. Good fortune and special circum-
stances brought many of these dancers
working with Rex Nettleford under one
roof, first in three LTM pantomimes -
"Jamaica Way", "Carib Gold", and "Ba-
nana Boy" and secondly through the fact
that Nettleford was called upon to direct
and keep alive both the Ivy Baxter and
Eddy Thomas groups in the two year
period immediately preceding Independ-
ence when both dance-teachers were away
from the island. It meant that for the
first time, there were opportunity for
corporate concentrated work among most
of the island's well trained dancers in the
same endeavour.

It was against this backdrop of hope
for the future of dance-theatre that Eddy
Thomas fresh from New York where he
had trained at Martha Graham on a Ja-
maica Government Travel Award and Rex
Nettleford whose experience in local
theatre stretched back to boyhood days
in Montego Bay and were extended in
England, co-directed the Independence
show Roots and Rhythms. The forma-
tion of the Company then followed,
immediately receiving the blessing of the
Ministry of Development andWelfare(now
the Ministry of Finance and Planning).
But there were other blessings those
which sprang from the dedicated work of
pioneers like Hazel Johnson whose classi-
cal ballet performances reflected discip-
line, taste and seriousness. Further
blessings were to come as well from many
of her students like Ivy Baxter herself
who first gave form and purpose to
Jamaican dance-theatre with the help of
devoted followers, Barbara Fonseca who
maintains the high standards in classical
ballet training by, promoting RAD exam-
inations annually, Fay Simpson and Betty
and Punky Rowe who are listed among

NDTC's courtesy tutors today. We can
add to this the work of Anatole and May
Soohih and Eyrick Darby, and the invalu-
able contribution of the summer schools
organised by the University of the West
Indies (Extra-Mural Department) since
1955. Through those schools the Jamai-
can dance movement has had periodical
injection of concentrated training and
lasting exposure to established and high
quality techniques as well as to the crea-
tive work being done in other West Indian
territories. Beryl McBurnie of Trinidad
and Lavinia Williams of Haiti, particularly
the latter, come quickly to mind; but so
does Neville Black, the Jamaican from
Port Antonio, who independently went
to the United States, studied dancing,
built up a creditable career as a Modern
Dance teacher in Chicago, and returned
home annually for some years to share
his talent. He is now a Choreographer
and Artistic Adviser of the NDTC teach-
ing classes in Kingston, Mandeville and
Montego Bay, full time.

The National Dance Theatre Company
can then be said to be the positive ex-
pression of all the valuable work that had
gone before much of it maintained and
since developed, little of it wasted. This
has been made possible by a team of
dedicated dance artists, creative techni-
cians and persons in the related arts all of
whom pursue work in the NDTC as a
part-time activity, with no expectation of
remuneration and always committed to
the responsibility of achieving sustained
levels of excellence because they feel that
the Jamaican experience has in it universal
values that can be given dance-expression
for the greater enrichment of the people
of the country. Chauvinism has never,
however, assumed importance over the
need for intrinsic artistic merit and the
NDTC has been the topic of discussion as
to whether it is "national", "Jamaican
enough" or even "relevant". Yet it still
stands as the most disciplined group
among theatre groups, and certainly most
broadly based as dance groups go, since
it carries the name of no one person and
is organised and run not to satisfy exclu-
sively the personal indulgence of any
single artist but as a vehicle for all dance-
theatre artists with a seriousness of
approach and with talent. Its amateur
status (in the sense that no member is
paid) has not prevented its attainment of
professional standards and critics, local
and foreign, have given it its due. The
Company has earned an international
reputation with its appearances at the
Stratford Shakespearean Festival (1963)
the Commonwealth Arts Festival (1965),
Expo 67 (1967) and minor tours to
Nassau and West Germany. "It was the
distinguished British dance journal Dance
and Dancers which declared that "the
dancers are well trained: some could take

their place in any of the world's important
companies" and Ballet Today predicted
that the Company would go on developing
at a rapid rate, while a London critic
insisted that "the NDTC at the Scala was
the most delightful and most thoroughly
entertaining dance group seen in London
in some time". James Kennedy of the
Guardian predicted that the NDTC could
"produce a whole new school of dance"
and the "discipline" and "inconsiderable
talents" of the Company have come in for
high praise not only in Britain but also in
Canada and the Bahamas. Here in Jamaica
critics have been sometimes generous in
their acclaim though in their own uncer-
tainty they either err blatantly about the
NDTC's intentions or remain silent on
points which need comment and sharp
critical appraisal. But at least one foreign
critic admitted that while the NDTC was
entertaining, valid and convincing, he
found it difficult to "define the NDTC
of Jamaica".
This is understandable for the Com-
pany's repertoire is varied as life in Jamaica
itself. As a Gleaner editorial summed it
up two years ago "the repertoire looks
into the past at the plantation revelries
without rancour, embraces pattern dances
of the era;includes old legends represented
in up-to-the-minute terms. It looks at the
present in its amusing treatments of local
life. It extends to what is termed "pure
dance" in such items as its exploration of
the eternal triangle or in lively inter-
pretations of the musical scores chosen.
It comments in a light-hearted way on
such grave problems as the dangerous
rivalry between powerful nations". The
above refers to such dances as Legend of
Lovers Leap which deals with master-
slave relationships and is based on a
legend popular in the parish of St. Eliza-
beth and elsewhere. The slave period of
Jamaica's history received lighter treat-
ment in the 1963 production of Plantation
Revelry with dances based on nineteenth
century plantation rituals and customs.
Here country dances, the traditional buck-
ing fight, calembe, set girls (blues and
reds) and John Canoe are placed in aset-
ting of gaeity and abandon. Miss Amelia
a free coloured scion of the plantocracy
returns from finishing school in England
to the joyous welcome. The literary and
pictorial records in the Institute of Jamaica
were invaluable for the creation of this
work. Costuming by Eddy Thomas is
among Mr. Thomas' best in a long list of
accomplished designs for NDTC's works.
Jamaican folklife is depicted through-
out the repertoire. There are Country
Wedding, Parade, Kingston 13, Pocomania
(a staged ritual), Afro-West Indian Suite
and Folkform (depicting the sheer joy of
movement in the folk tradition), Jamaican
Promenade, Night Shelter and Kas Kas
which depicts the humour that is to be


found always in a Jamaican urban back-
yard. It is one of those backyards which
have reason to keep the police at arms'
length or to get them to yield to the
temptation of drink and feminine flirt-

In 1964 the Company essayed into
serious treatment of Jamaican life in
Two Drums for Babylon. Its point of
take-off is the Jamaican cult of Ras Tafari
and it made its point in respect of class
conflict and value contradictions which
abound in the island today. It is a young
middleclass boy who is attracted by the
"phantom forces" of the Rastafarian cult.
His young betrothed pursues him into the
camp followed by her three attendants -
middleclass ladies of quality, all. The
Rasta Chief is a kind of father-figure to

the boy who has second thoughts when
she enters the camp and becomes involved
with the Cult leader.
The ballet was recently filmed(in
colour)by the JBC-TV for international

'Jamaican' content in the NDTC reper-
toire is not always as obvious as is shown
in the works above but the relevance of
those works to the society cannot be
gainsaid. Games ofArms takesitstheme
from the global arena of power politics
but the mixture of sophistication and
innocence in its conception and portrayal
gives it a special Jamaican feeling. It is
the Jamaican schoolyard experience which
gave the choreographer his point of
departure. The futility of the global arms
race and journey towards annihilation

could well be Jamaica's point of view
among the coterie of small nations whose
commitment to survival is a real thing.
Dialogue for Three like "Games . .."
transcends territorial borders immediately
but it is a distillation of experience relevant
to us. Though it is usually lauded on the
superficial level of a simple intriguing
affair between a man, his mistress and his
wife (and this is everywhere) the ballet
seeks to underscore the dominance of the
woman in Jamaican society. The domin-
ance is rooted both in matriarchal power
over husbands and sons and in the under-
standing that women seem to have be-
tween each other in the matter of loving
the same man. The need for a child a
cultural necessity in a country where to
be barren is to be cursed is important
to the unfolding of the dance-drama in

- a dance-study of the penalties of
power choreographed by Rex
Nettleford and depicts people's
need for messiahss" and the
inevitable fate of such leaders.

of Jamaica is done by the
Company in collaboration
with the Ministry of
Finance end Planning
(Jamaica Film Unit) and the
Jamaica Festival Office. Picture
shows the NDTC's artistic
director (Rex Nettleford)
the ballet mistress (Yvonne
daCosta), and the Festival Dance
Officer (Joyce Campbell also a
NDTC dancer) along with
Bruckin Party traditional
dancers in Manchioneal.

OMEGAN PROCESSION dance-drama created by
Eddy Thomas on the population explosion problem.
The opening passages allude to the story of the Creation
in the Bible. Picture shows Adam and the Temptress.

RASTAFARI CULT peculiar to Jamaica
is portrayed in the dance-work
"Two Drums for Babylon ".
Choreography by Rex Nettleford.

LEGEND OF LOVERS' LEAP a 19th century Jamaican
legend is the theme of this work choreographed
by Eddy Thomas with original music com-
posed by Jamaican musician Oswald Russell. It
was an early work with Mr. Thomas designing decor
and costumes. Most of the costume designs which have
won high praise at home and abroad are the work of
the multi-talented Mr. Thomas


RING HUNT a probing into the
male-female relationship by Sheila Barnett.

Photo J.I.S.



KAS-KAS a dance-portrayal of
life in a Jamaican urban backyard...
Choreography by Rex Nettleford.

GAMES OF ARMS a satire on the global
Cold War situation. Chor graphed
by Eddy Thomas, it has keen
praised for its wt -and
sophistication. Original music is
composed by Oswald Russell, the
Jamaican concert pianist, and composer.

POCOMANIA staged ritual of
the Jamaican religious cult. Choreo-
graphy is by Rex Nettleford.

DANCING IN CHURCH was introduced by
the NDTC at Easter 1968 to the Kingston
Scots Kirk where it participated with the
St. Andrew Singers in an Act of Worship.
Neville Black choreographed the work "Ave
Verum" shown in this picture. Other works
presented in the church were the "Bach
Chorale" also by Neville Black and the
"Missa Ciolla" created by Rex Nettleford
for the 1967 Season.


"Dialogue . .". Masques of God de-
velops much of the theme introduced in
"Dialogue". Here it is not only matriarchy
but the feminine nature of Jamaican
society which is dealt with. The flight
from responsibility (in this case, from
family responsibility) by the young man
in "Masques" is something, if not peculiar
to Jamaica, too well known for furth-
er comment, so are the Anancy figure
(clown) and the frustrated spinster. No
less contemporary is the treatment of the
population explosion problem in Omegan
Procession. The opening passage has its
inherent plastic virtues in pure-dance terms
but it is the garden of Eden the myth
of Creation which Christian Jamaica
knows and believes in. The final curtain
catches the process of pro-creation start-
ing all over again and above the goings-on,
unborn foetuses struggle for survival
through an ornamental coil. This past
Season saw the creation of The 'King'
Must Die a ballet about the penalty of
power the logic of people needing
"Messiahs" (leaders), enthroning them,
then killing them in one form or another.
It comes directly out of the Jamaican
experience but has its universal appli-
cation particularly in respect of the qual-
ity of violence in the contemporary world.
If the dancers danced as well as everyone
said they did, it was probably because of
the direct relevance it has to us as a people
in search of leaders as well as the devel-
oped gifts of NDTC members.

Religion is something central to Ja-
maican existence. The NDTC repertoire
responds naturally. Pocomania is danced
not as a send-up of subculture cultism
but as a serious religious experience. And
It Came To Pass is the story of the Nati-
vity. Misa Criolla is a choreographed
ritual of the religious experience (this time
the Passion). Although it draws its sub-
stance from Roman Catholicism (which is
in Jamaica) and South American rhythms
it has a relevance in the common ground
it shares with all forms of religious wor-
ship. And the spirit of the creation drew
much on Pocomania indeed! Some critics
felt it was not reverent enough if only
because the conventional European sym-
bols were given vigour and brought to
earth. Its creation was inspired as much
by a desire to give form to the experience
of rejecting conventional modes of wor-
ship as to highlight the basic similarities
in all worship. It had the honour of being
performed along with the Bach Chorale
and Ave Verum in the history-making
church service at the Scots Kirk, Kingston,
at Easter of this year.
The 'Afro' content of works in the
NDTC repertoire is something of obvious
sociological and psychological import.
Happily it offers the kind of interest and
quality that makes dance-theatre vital and

stimulating besides being relevant. African
Scenario seeks to dig up much of our
roots and to celebrate many rhythms
which are extant in Jamaican dance-lore
e.g. Kumina, pocomania, John Canoe, etc.
and burroo. When it was first performed
it evoked favourable responses from many
Jamaicans though some people felt that
middleclass restraint had imposed itself on
the bodies of the dancers male and
female alike. At least one viewer walked
out of the Little Theatre in disgust all
that 'belly-rolling and back-to-Africa non-
sence'. A few complained that the drum-
ming was too much for them.
The matter of the drum as a dominant
musical accompaniment to the NDTC has
been one of concern among some Jamaican
members of our audiences. The NDTC has
been fighting since 1962 the prejudice of
some of our people against the "unsubtle
instrument" the drum. Others, as if to
ease the conscience, insist that the NDTC
dancers dance best when they dance to
drums. There is something in the pro-
clamation! For NDTC dancers do dance
well to drums, as they ought to. One
should hope that they dance as well to all
sounds which are relevant to the Jamaican
experience. As a hybrid people we do
have a capacity to respond to much that
meet the ear. This probably explains the
propriety and artistic success of Darius
Milhaud's "Suite Provencal" and Joaquin
Rodrigo's "Guitar Concerto" for And It
Came To Pass and Dialogue for Three
respectively. The musicians are French
and Spanish but the Jamaican choreo-
graphers found a community of spirit with
them. This is the validity of art, or is it?
The ideal is of course to have Jamaican
composers creating to the pulse and tonal
experience of Jamaica. We came some-
what near to this with the music for
Legend ofLovers Leap and Games of Arms
being composed by Jamaican Oswald
Russell. As it happens, Mr. Russell has
been brought up in a strong tradition of
European music. But he found common
cause with the NDTC because he, too, is
dedicated to discovering relevant forms.
His collaboration was an important begin-
ning cut short too soon by his departure
for Europe where he now lives. Since
Mr. Russell's departure the hunt for music
suitable for choreographing "serious"
themes about Jamaican life takes us more
often than we care to admit, outside of the
society. Experiments have indeed been
made with local limited resources. The
musical scores for Two Drums for Babylon
and for Liza (variations on a Jamaican
folktheme) have been worthy but not
altogether satisfactory, for example. The
Jamaica School of Music is probably too
young to provide the stuff that is needed.
Well trained musicians are in relative
abundance in the society but they seem to
prefer to perform and teach rather than

plunge adventurously into the frightening
unknown of creativity. The NDTC is very
conscious of this major problem and is
taking steps to correct it within its own
limited resources.
As a dance Company the NDTC con-
cerns itself with developing its vocabulary
in terms of such dance-concepts of space,
time, rhythm, dynamics and form. Foot-
notes in Jazz, Concert Suite, Dance And-
ante, Rites, Waltz Suite,Sonata, Foiled
Encounter, Liza, Homecoming all explore
in some way movement for its own sake.
This is a valid and necessary exercise for
any serious dance-artist. Works like Rites,
Liza, Homecoming go beyond this in their
own theatrical eloquence but they, along
with the others, present the dance-artist
(performer and creator) with challenges of
expression and range which can be pressed
into the service of the more "relevant"
works. This past Season added richly to
the repertoire Neville Black's Legendary
Landscape and Bach Brubeck and Com-
pany (a jazz work) as well as Sheila Bar-
nett's Ringhunt. They tell their own
stories in terms of dance dealing with
themes of life and death, the development
of jazz form, and the inescapable commit-
ments of the male-female relationship.
They add or deepen the Company's voca-
bulary in pure-dance terms and "Legend-
ary Landscape", done to an electronic
score, may be said to be a truly important
contribution in the development of
NDTC's life. Fables (based on stories by
James Thurber) adds a dimension of acting
which is essential to the dance-theatre
artist and though some critics insist that
Anancy stories should take precedence
over Thurber's tales, the exercise presents
challenges to the dancers as artists and
gives enjoyment. Such works will continue
to be created and should continue if
only to provide fodder. Otherwise the
NDTC will be left hanging with the ob-
vious, the superficial and the facile.

Superficiality and the threat of artistic
aridity are not the only problems that
could face NDTC. There are others now
facing the Company with the dancers
attaining professional status, problems of
security and choice between vocations can
become very real. Migration to dance-
centres where opportunities are likely to
be greater, even if marginally so, already
cuts down on the volume of work that the
NDTC can do at home. Lecture-demon-
strations around the country and inter-
Seasonal presentations have become less
and less with so many male dancers on
study leave abroad. They return every
Season but there is always the chance of
engagements elsewhere. The answer lies
in the development of a proper National
Dance Theatre School, broadbased and
accessible to talents of all walks of life
who can enrich the dance-corps, and with

a team of varied teachers. This will pro-
vide dancers of talent and long service
with opportunities for lucrative teaching
and for developing their choreographic
and other talents. The professional dance
performer in Jamaica seems doomed to
northcoast offerings in limbo and fire-
dances, unless Government decides to
follow the example of Mexico, Russia and
Denmark and create civil servants out of
dancers or some rich patron fanatically
embraces the cause of the NDTC. The
problems are understood by most of the
dancers who will give their services for
some time yet to keep the dance move-
ment alive. Of course, the free and volun-
tary work of others in the Company can-
not be underestimated. George Carter has
been the lighting director from the incep-
tion and has made all the major tours
possible. So has photographer Maria La-
Yacona who has brought a new dimension
to the Company's work by creating an
awareness among dancers of themselves as
artists. Set and costume designers Moira
Small and Howard Parchment receive no
remuneration for their work over the past
three seasons nor did painters Eugene
Hyde and Milton Harley in the past.
Marjorie Whylie is developing her talents
as Musical Director and gives dedicated
free service to the cause, and Ronan
Critchlow, a brilliant dancer of early years,
continues as a master drummer with
Carl Messado as an able apprentice.
Freddie Hickling and Felix Barnett are
the stage managers and one of the most
difficult and time-consuming jobs is taken
by Barbara Kaufmann, the Wardrobe
Mistress. Joyce Lalor leads a group of
singers for work with the Company. All
these people are willing to go on serving
the NDTC managed by a Committee head-
ed by barrister Joey Cools-Lartigue with
Verona Ashman as his Secretary. A fund-
raising Committee through the device of
"friends of the NDTC" is organised by
Maurice Stoppi and Pat Rousseau to help
raise the necessary funds. Others on the
Committee are LTM's Greta Fowler and
UWI's Noel Vaz.

The problem of money plagues all
dance and drama companies everywhere,
whether professional or amateur and the
NDTC is no exception. Thanks to a
number of Jamaican firms, past Seasons
have been mounted with welcome finan-
cial assistance but there are times like the
most recent Season when the funds have
to be raised by individual subscription.
The Government of Jamaica gives the bulk
financing for major tours but a steady
Government grant for work at home is
still something hoped for than actually

Despite the problems there is hope for
the Company. The past Season is generally

regarded as the best and most accomplished
in the Company's career. It came at a
critical point of the NDTC life. With one
Artistic Director the Company now em-
phasises teamwork as much as, if not
more than, before. Artistic advice on
choreography, decor, lighting, staging is
provided for in the system of Artistic
Advisers the first three of whom are
Neville Black, Sheila Barnett and Eddy
Thomas (co-founder and past co-director).
They, along with the Artistic Director
Nettleford, are the official choreographers
to the Company. They each bring their
different qualities to give the NDTC
repertoire the textured element it has.
Yvonne daCosta has been elevated to the
position of balletmistress to join with
Audley Butler who has been balletmaster
for two seasons now. Their work concerns
the mental notation of the dances created
over the years as well as teaching and
organising rehearsals, and both did much
to make the recent season the artistic
success it has been. The Season was well
served too by the developed talents of the
dancers who show considerable improve-
ment in technique and mental awareness
over the past two years. This has been
achieved in more ways than one. Hard
work and dedication are not the least
among them.

A number (mostly the men) have taken
opportunity of further study abroad on
scholarship in New York recognized as
the world's dance-centre. First it was
Bert Rose, Barry Moncrieffe and Derek
Williams. Then Audley Butler, Thomas
Pinnock, Frank Ashley and Patsy Ricketts
followed. Derek Williams is now a trainee
with the Harkness Ballet which is no mean
achievement and both Bert Rose and Barry
Moncrieffe have worked with small com-
panies in New York.

Bert Rose has developed greater matu-
rity in style and performing and is a good
teacher with ambitions for choreography
and design. Barry Moncrieffe, a dancer's
dancer, has developed great strength and
speed as well as technical assurance ,was
on top last Season. Audley Butler has
had his weight redistributed and has
improved all his assets strength, and
presence-as well as sharpened his sense
of style and dynamics. Patsy Ricketts
who emerged two Seasons ago has shown
tremendous improvement: there is greater
assurance, cleanness of line and real under-
standing of whatever she does. They
brought back to the Company added
strength without loss of style and inten-
tion as understood by the NDTC. The
Company still offers some of the best
opportunities for performing to these
returning dancers.
Style and intention depends on con-
stant work at home. Over the past year

this has principally been under the direc-
tion of Rex Nettleford, Artistic Director
and Neville Black, Choreographer and an
Artistic Adviser to the Company. Dancers
who help in the development have them-
selves shown special qualities which are
vital to NDTC's work. Yvonne daCosta,
balletmistress, created important roles this
past Season in works by all choreographers
who make demands on her varied talents
for dramatic interpretation, for pure dance
and mere wit. Her wide range remains a
model for many NDTC dancers. Gertrude
Sherwood, Carol Miller and Dennis Scott
have all extended their range and have
developed great strength, speed and sharp-
ness as was seen in their work last Season.
Bridget Casserly showed new interest in
her portrayal of the wife in "Dialogue for
for Three" and Barbara Requa maintained
her elegance and sharpness in the same
work. Dennis Scott has created one of
the major roles in "Legendary Landscape"*
Carol Miller also created some new roles
last Season and has improved her improved
her performance techniques since last year.
Joyce Campbell, Shirley Campbell, Mavis
Stoppi and Monica McGowan all took
substantial parts in new and revived works
with Joyce and Shirley Campbell extend-
ing their range into the field of jazz.
Mavis Stoppi after two years of absence,
resumed her role in "Rites" which she
created some years ago.

The new recruits who have been work-
ing with choreographers Black, Thomas
and Nettleford between Seasons had a
chance to exhibit their skills in witty
souffles, pure dance and dance drama.
Cheryl Ryman and Beverly Kitson have
special performing and technical attributes
among the new full members who include
Jean Binns, Fredericka Byfield and Madge
Broderick. Provisional dancers are Doro-
thy Sanguinetti and Jackie Guy who are
dancers in preparation for full member-
ship next Season.

Through the work of the NDTC and
its dancers dance has developed new and,
one should hope, lasting dimensions.
Standards of presentation and execution
in dance have definitely improved all over
the country and the work in the annual
Government Festivals has also benefited.
One now looks forward to the day when
the young, through schools, will get the
opportunity of embracing an artform
which is as old as life itself, is fundamental
to human existence, and depends for
achievement and excellence on sustained
and dedicated application.

*He also cut his teeth as a dance-creator
on a ringnette called "Break".

Illustrations by Ras Daniel Heartman


by: Marcella Martinez and Tessa Dow

Mr. Boo sat on the bank and watched
Dogleman the Rasta come down the road
toward him. It was a cool sitting-place.
Sometimes he sat there for ages and lis-
tened to the creaking of the bamboo
stems, watching the feathery clumps nod-
ding, waving, swaying in the gentlest
breeze. If he sat very quietly, a mongoose
might come out and play on a tree-stump.
But only if he was very quiet.

Dogleman was talking to himself or
so it seemed and Mr. Boo decided to
stay right where he was, very quietly, un-
til he could make out what his friend was
saying. The Rasta was tall, lean, dark.
Long haired and bearded, and with an easy
walk. He wore a faded shirt with 8th
SBritish Commonwealth Games stamped on
the front. Mr. Boo listened.
"My country got its Independence
In scenes of joy and resplendence.."

said Dogleman, pronouncing each word
very carefully. He carried a cutlass in his
hand, and now swung it outward in a
princely arc. He was looking up at the
Festival '68 sky, and did not seem to notice the small
Children's Story boy in the shadow of the gate-post. He
Gold Medal Winner. continued slowly and thoughtfully.
"Six years now, and still we urge,
Hoping poverty to... scourge...

S. No. Something wrong with that." He
stopped in the middle of the road and
frowned and scratched his beard with his
free hand.

Mr. Boo stepped from his hiding-place
and interrupted him.
"Morning, Dogleman," he said politely,
"What you talking about?"

"Is a poem, my friend. You ever hear
about the National Festival."
Mr. Boo had not. He asked what it
"Every year they offer a whole heap of
money for the best poem on a patriotic
theme you know, all about how you
love your country. This year I going to
try my luck. I composing my poem two
weeks now, and it not going so well. It
better when I walk and think, so today I


walking and thinking. It going a little

Mr. Boo wondered whether this was
the right time to bring up his own prob-
lem, but Dogleman seemed to be waiting
for him to say something, so he decided
he would.

"Look here, Dogleman. There's this
lizard in my room, you see. He lives on top
of the dresser, and he goes away to catch
flies and so on, but he always comes back."

"Lizard, eh?" Dogleman said thought-
fully. "What he name?"

"Don't know. We have to call him any-

"He must have a name already. The
thing is to discover it, boy. Is a man-
lizard or a woman-lizard?"

"Well, when he's out to catch flies he
blows out a yellow coloured piece of skin
under his throat."

"Is a man-lizard, then," Dogleman
declared. "The thing under his throat
called a gill. He name Son-Son."

The boy considered this. "The thing
is," he said, "I think he's lonely. No other
lizards are inside our house for him to
play with."

Dogleman agreed, knowingly. More
than once he had himself been called in
from the road or the yard to pick a switch,
and drive out some lizard daring enough
to venture in.

"Mostly, Dogleman mostly, he just
spends his time on the back of my hair-
brush and watches himself in the mirror.
You think he thinks his reflection might
be another lizard? It's the way he tries to
talk to him, sort of. He winks, and the
other one winks back. He blows out his
gill, and the other one blows out his own.
I mean to say, he's going to get vexed if
this goes on."

"You right, young friend. We have to
find him a lady lizard."

Mr. Boo waited to hear more, but
Dogleman was looking up at the sky again
and already beginning to move on. As he
disappeared round the bend in the road
Mr. Boo could hear him reciting -

"In spite of ills, this blessed isle
Continues still to sing and smile.."

so he decided to think about doing some-
thing for the lizard on his own.

First of all, he thought he would try

and capture a lizard. He picked one of the
long, thin leaves from a low-hanging coco-
nut branch and stripped away the green
part, leaving the tough vein down the
centre. This he made into a sort of lasso.
He lassoed lizards all morning, creeping up
silently behind them as they sat in the sun
and slipping the noose over their heads so
that when they tried to escape they only
trapped themselves more securely. He got
completely carried away by the sport, but
after adding the tenth ground-lizard to his
catch-box, he suddenly remembered why
he was catching lizards in the first place,
and knew that not one of them would do
for Son-Son.

Son-Son was a house-lizard, slim and
delicate and pale brown. These were all
big bullies thick-skinned, some crested,
the sort that slither rapidly under stones
when you walk down the road. They
looked evil. Not only would Son-Son be
petrified, but imagine Auntie Millie and
Auntie Maggie! The idea pleased him
enormously, the more he thought about
it. He seriously considered emptying the
whole boxful into the bath before the
Aunties went to get dressed for the after-
noon. The lizards would never be able to
climb up the slippery sides of the enamel
tub. He reluctantly gave up the idea; he
had enough experience to know that the
punishment would outweigh the fun of the
crime. So he opened the box and stood
back while the ground-lizards slithered
away to find cover under stones and in
long grass.

Son-Son had moved from the dresser
to the window sill, and was sitting there,
his sides moving in and out, in and out, so
slightly you could hardly notice it, his
bright, tiny eyes fixed watchfully on some-
thing outside. Mr. Boo walked up to him.

"Son-Son?" He tried out the name
tentatively. The lizard looked up as if he
recognized it, so he thought he would
keep on. "Son-Son, would you like a lady-
lizard to play with?"

The gleam in Son-Son's eyes seemed
to grow brighter. He turned around to
face the boy.

"Right. I'll go and make one for you."

Son-Son wondered what that might

All that afternoon Mr. Boo experi-
mentedwithplasticine. IfSon-Son couldn't
find a lizard in the house or the yard to
play with, he would have to provide a
substitute. It would be better than a re-
flection in the mirror. He wondered why
no lizards ever came into the house. Per-
haps they were put off by Auntie Millie
and Auntie Maggie, Auntie Millie and

Auntie Maggie really hated lizards, he re-
flected, especially Auntie Millie. They
marched against any one that did happen
to venture inside, heavily armed with
folded newspapers and fly-swats. If Dogle-
man was anywhere in the neighbourhood,
they sent for him to pick a guava switch
and kill it. But Dogleman didn't really
like to kill anything, so he usually just ran
it out of the house and reported back to
the Aunties, "Him dead, ma'am."

Son-Son himself paid no attention to
the Aunties. But although he must feel
that he and Mr. Boo were good friends,
sometimes he did long for a lizard com-
panion, just as Mr. Boo might occassion-
ally think that it would be nice to have
another boy to play with. He modelled
the clay carefully, but it was hard to cap-
ture the delicate lines of the tiny creatures.

Just before he went to bed that night
he put the plasticine lizard in a prominent
spot on the dressing table. Son-Son was
nowhere in sight.

Mr. Boo woke early the next morning,
just in time to see Son-Son sidle up to the
plasticine lizard.

He knew at once that it had been a

But why?

Sensitive creature that Son-Son was,
he clearly disliked the smell of the intruder.
He rudely thrust out the bright fold of
skin under his neck, held his delicate front
paw over his nose and jumped off the
dresser. Mr. Boo was disappointed. He
picked up the model lizard and sniffed it
curiously. Perhaps it was an offensive
smell to live with. He sighed.

"Auntie Maggie," he said at breakfast
"you're very artistic. I know you are be-
cause I heard you say so." He could see
that Auntie Maggie was pleased at this.

Could you tell me, Auntie Maggie, if
you wanted to make someone a special
present, a vase or a or a pin-tray,
say, what would you make it out of?"

"Papier-mache,of course.That's French
for mashed-up paper," she explained,
rapidly spreading honey on a johnny-cake
and gobbling it up.

Auntie Maggie, show me how to mash
up paper, please?" So after breakfast, she
showed him how to tear up strips of news-
paper and mix them with a flour and
water paste to the right consistency for

The new lizard was beautiful. She
smelt sweet and gluey. Mr. Boo sniffed at

her with pleasure as he put the finishing
touches, laying on a second coat of paint
to hide the last traces of newsprint.

He gently placed the new lizard on the
back of his hair-brush, said his prayers and
got into bed. He waited, straining his eyes
through the darkness to see Son-Son
appear. He waited and waited and waited,
until his eyelids drooped and finally sleep
stole over him.

He dreamed gently all night along.
Early-early next morning before anyone
else in the house was astir he awoke
from a very mysterious, rather exciting
and very life-like dream. He opened one
eye and then the other. He softly raised
his head.

There on the dressing-table Son-Son,
slightly shyly, was conversing. . "Miss
Adinah ma'am, you really welcome, you
see. The fly-catching round here not bad
at all, and the mosquitoes are. first-class.
Very fat and juicy."

She smiled, very shyly too. "You are
very kind, Mr. Son-Son," she said.

Mr. Boo just nodded his head wisely.
He felt very good, and somehow not so
surprised at what he saw and heard. "After
all" he thought "old-time people always
say that is perseverance make you conquer.

He dressed quickly, saying casually,
"'Morning, Adinah Son-Son," as he
pulled on his shirt, dragged on his jeans
and slipped on his flip-flops. He climbed
through a window and up a nearby mango
tree for a pre-breakfast snack.

Suddenly there was a great commotion
and confusion. Auntie Millie and Auntie
Maggie had, it seemed, discovered Adinah.
There was a short scream and swatting

sounds, and then the Aunties rushed from
the bedroom, stumbling over each other
and gasping.

"Dogleman! Where's Dogleman? He
must be here by now. I heard him say he
was coming to pick off the bottom guinep
before he even had his tea this morning.

A dignified figure strolled around the
corner, and greeted Auntie Millie and
Auntie Maggie with a slight bow.

"Two, Dogleman. Two lizards now!"
wailed Auntie Maggie. "It's more than
flesh and blood can stand."
Auntie Millie was more practical. "Go
and cut a guava switch," she said to
Dogleman. "They're inside the north bed-
room on the dresser."

The silent listeners, Mr. Boo from his
tree branch and Son-Son and Adinah in-
side the room, heard and held their

Dogleman did nothing more than slight-
ly incline his head, to show thathe under-
stood the position. From everyone's point
of view. For he knew perfectly well that
everyone concerned was seeing and listen-
ing. He went out.

In Mr. Boo's room Adinah scuttled on
to the back of the hair-brush as if it were
the only remaining place of safety. Her
head swayed from side to side.

"Son-Son," she whispered, "I'm afraid.
How will we manage?"

Son-Son was despondent as he watch-
ed Adinah trembling on the hair-brush.
Adinah's tears plop-plopped on to the
hair-brush and overflowed on to the dress-
ing table, and even splashed on to a grate-
ful fern below.


Wet fern.

Cool, wet fern.

Son-Son was siezed by a sudden long-
ing, then by an inspiration, then by huge

Fern Gully. Yes, Fern Gully! He and
Adinah could get married and go and live
forever in the cavernous coolness where
huge creepers, tree ferns and ginger-lilies
protected moss-covered boulders and rocks
and the narrow trees reached up forever to
find the sky.


"'Dinah," he whispered. "Adinah, stop
fretting and listen."

As he unfolded his plan Adinah's tears
stopped; her eyes started to shine.

"Quickly, Son-Son. Let's find Mr.

They found him in the garden, silently
watching Dogleman, who was making elab-
orate and perfectly unnecessary pre-
parations to cut the guava switch. The
Rasta was pulling down one guava branch
after another, carefully measuring each
one against the length of his cutlas and
then rejecting it. He did not seem to
notice Mr. Boo, who was standing a good
bit away under a mango tree, but he
paused from time to time to pick a parti-
cularly juicy-looking guava and put it in a
crocus bag which lay on the ground beside

Son-Son and Adinah hopped up on to
Mr. Boo's shoulder and told him their
plan. He was delighted. He was so excited
at the thought of saving Son-Son and
Adinah that he didn't stop to think how
much he would miss them around the
place. And the idea of a wedding was
even more exciting. Everything Mr. Boo
had ever learned about weddings had been
overheard from the Aunties, and he had
formed an idea that they were wonderful
affairs like Christmas, only more so.
With Son-Son and Adinah still on his
shoulder he hurried over to Dogleman
and told him.

"Exactly how my own mind had been
working," Dogleman said, as for the first
time it began to work; and very fast




A little business in helping out his

"I arrange the whole thing," he said.
And paused, and thought fast for a mo-
ment more. "But stop, Mr. Boo, man. Is
How you going to get them to Fern Gully
how you going to get them to Fern Gully?
Is a long ways, you know, man. Even for
a lizard."

Mr. Boo had not thought of this. His
eyes grew very big and his mouth grew
very small, and he looked at his friend and
waited for a solution. He knew Dogleman,
and if there was a way out, Dogleman
would find it.

A new idea had occurred to Dogleman
Someone in town had told him the day
before that if you wanted to get into the
finals of the Festival you ought to leave
the city and send in your entry from one
of the country districts. It seemed that
there were too many poets in the city. It
was easier to make your mark when there
weren't so many other people trying for
the same prize. So he said, very carefully!

"I tell you what, man, I might have to
go to the ocuntry myself for a few weeks.
When people going to Fern Gully they
take a country bus with all the luggage
and things tied up on the top. But the
people that run the bus wouldn't want
lizards to come in like passengers. I would
have to hide Son-Son and Miss Adinah in
my pockets, and then I could get off at
the stop near Fert Gully and leave them
off up there."

"Lord, Dogleman, you would really do
that?" Mr. Boo wasdelighted.

Dogleman hesitated and looked trou-
bled, as though a hitch in the plan had
suddenly occurred to him.

"Is only one thing, friend. You have
any money? Say about a pound? You
have to pay before they will let you on the

Mr. Boo had four and sixpence. The
only people who might have as much as a
pound were the Aunties, and although
Dogleman seemed to think they would
provide it, Mr. Boo wasn't so sure.

"Don't worry about it, "Dogleman
reassured them. "I will fix up everything.
If we don't get it from them one way,
they will give it to us another. You take
Son-Son and Miss Adinah up to the wash-
house where nobody will notice them.I
have to go and think."

He retired beneath a large Bombay
mango tree which was one of his favourite
places for thinking, and began to go
through his pockets. In one of them he
found a wad of entry forms for the
National Festival, Poetry Category. He
looked at them and muttered, "Invite. It
must have a poem to invite the poeple."

From another pocket he extracted a
stub of well-chewed yellow pencil. Propped
up against the trunk, he began to write.
The morning went by.

Auntie Maggie found the invitation
wedged neatly between the guava jelly
bottle and the jar of hot peppers. It was
carefully and painstakingly written in a
large, round handwriting that got smaller
toward the end of each line, and it was in


"To the Lovely Ladies of the House
& All Other Respectful Guests of


R. S. V. P.

"A matrimony is an occasion of joy,
Which earthly evil may not destroy.

It is right that animals so should do
For it's written, THEY CAME IN TWO

Son-Son and Adinah will plight their troth
Which you should greet with smiles, not

We strike the bridal harp tonight
And to this Feast we you invite."


"What is all this about?" Auntie
Millie wanted to know, before Auntie
Maggie had even finished reading it out
aloud. "Who are Son-Son and Adinah,
and who wrote this anyway?" She turned
on Mr. Boo. She seemed rather put out.
"Do you know anything about this?"

Mr. Boo was rather afraid. He tried to
explain about the lizards and about Dogle-
men and Fern Gully and the country bus
and needing a pound, but Auntie Mille
was looking at him as though she thought
he had done something very wrong, and
the more he tried to make her understand
it all, the more he realized that he wasn't
making very much sense. And the worse
it all got.

Auntie Millie got up with an angry
face. "I'll deal with you later," she said
to Mr. Boo, "but not while those wretched
lizards are still alive". She walked to the
door, opened it into the backyard and
bellowed "DOGLEMAN!"

But Dogleman did not hear her, for he
was way down the road already, on his
way to the village to look for Beulah. Beu-
lah was his friend, and she was in the pro-
visions business. He had to find her, and
as he went along, he considered the
possibility of sending in several entries for
the Festival, from several different coun-
try districts, under several different names.
It was an exciting thought.

"Come with me, Maggie!" said Auntie
Millie. "If we can't find that jinnal Dogle-
man, we 'll kill the lizards ourselves".
She turned to Mr. Boo and said, "You go
to your room. Auntie Maggie and I are
going tinto the kitchen to make some
mango chutney."

Mr. Boo didn't believe that for a min-
ute. He stood close by the kitchen door
and listened with his ear to the crack. He
heard scrapings and mutterings, and draw-
ers being opened or closed, and water
running, and he could not make out just
what was going on inside. But he had an
awful feeling that he knew.

In far less time than it takes to make
the simplest of mango chutneys the door
opened. Mr. Boo pressed himself very
flat against the wall, so that the opened
door hid him from the Aunties. He

They were stalking out of the house.
They were going toward the wash house.
Auntie Millie was carrying a sardine can
full of a sticky white liquid.

Condensed milk.

Poison !

Mr. Boo went cold and sick with fear.
He knew that you killed cockroaches by
mixing poison in condensed milk and
setting it for them. They loved sweet
things; they gobbled up the condensed
milk and they died. But this was not for
cockroaches there were no cockroaches
in the wash house. This was for Son-Son
and Adinah.

Mr. Boo did not know what he should
do. Common sense told him that if he
were to be caught out of his room after
being told to stay there, it would not go
well for him. But Son-Son and Adinah
were there in the wash house hungry
because they had not eaten from morning
trusting, because they thought every-
thing had been settled careless, because
they were too wrapped up in their own
happy plans.

He would follow the Aunties at a
distance, keeping hidden. When they left
the pan of milk, he would try to get there
in time to warn his friends. If he were
caught he would not think about that.

He crouched close to the ground at
the corner of the house, peering around
at the Aunties, who were standing at the
door of the wash house trying to find the

Suddenly, the hedge parted beside
them and a figure stepped out.


Mr. Boo held his breath and waited.
He could not hear what was being said,
but Dogleman seemed to be doing most
of the talking. He seemed to Mr. Boo, for

the very first time, a strangely command-
ing figure, with the shining blade of the
cutlass swinging easily back and forth as
he spoke.

He spoke for what seemed a very long
time. Then Auntie Millie handed him the
sardine can. Dogleman looked at it with
interest.He turned around and disappeared
through the hedge. Mr. Boo breathed

Later that afternoon when he had
been let out of his room with a few
strong words.on the matter of telling lies
- which he hadn't really done he found
Dogleman lying on the ground under the
mango tree composing his poem.
"What did you say to them, Dogle-
man?" He was dying to know.

"Lord, man didn't have to say much
I just talked to them reasonable like and
the whole thing fix up. A few good words
of the Holy Writ soften up the hardest of
of hearts. He smiled.

"The good book sayeth is His will,
Even lizard thou shalt not kill."

And Mr. Boo had to be content with

In the kitchen he found the Aunties,
in quite a different frame of mind. Auntie
Millie was bustling about getting jars and
pans and bottles. Auntie Maggie was read-
ing the invitation over again, holding the
paper very close to her face and pointing
out each word to herself. So he went to
summon Dogleman, and Son-Son and

When they returned the kitchen door
was closed. Inside there were chopping
noises and tasting noises, and all the time
whispering and jar-rattling. At first the
whispering was soft, but it gradually got
louder, and it became clear that other
things than cooking were being discussed.
Outside, they all listened, hardly daring
to move or breathe at all; the busy sounds
continued and the voices of the Aunties
rose almost to their normal level.

"A wedding. What a lovely idea,
really . ." came Auntie Maggie's voice.
"I'll wear my embroidered dress that I
bought at the Self-Help and my pink
hat with the orchids on it ... and .."

"That is MY hat!" Auntie Millie ob-
jected. "I bought it on King Street when
the Queen was coming."

"You gave it to me in exchange for
the pink blouse with the sequins!" a
loud wail of distress. "How can you say
it's yours when you GAVE it to me?"

Mr. Boo thought it was perhaps time
to enter and change the subject. He was
worried that if the Aunties got too
annoyed at each other they might turn
against the wedding itself. So he cleared
his throat and asked very earnestly, "What
do you think we ought to give them for a
wedding present?"

It worked.

"I think perhaps your little rosewood
pin-box, don't you, my dear?" Auntie
Millie suggested pointedly. "Adinah could
use it for packing up her things."

"My precious little pin-box that Uncle
brought me from England? Never!"
Auntie Maggie was adamant. "Why not
something of yours?"

"I think perhaps we ought to give
them money," Mr. Boo remarked. Dogle-
man thought it would be the best idea,
seeing we don't know what they'll need
in Fern Gully. He thought a pound would
be about right and he said that since
neither Son-Son nor Adinah has any poc-
kets, he could keep it for them till they
all get there. Then they can buy some-
thing they want."

They all agreed that this was the best

Although that night was rather dark,
there was quite enough light in the clearing
where the party was to be held. First,
there was a bit squashy mango moon,
partly hidden by a mass of clouds. And
then all amongst the trees in the mango
walk, hundreds and hundreds of winkies
flitted and winked, winked and flitted in
unison, as though they were being switch-
ed on and off. Last of all, Dogleman had
provided three or four kerosene-oil torch-
es, with very smoky, flaming wicks.

The company assembled. Mr. Boo
with Auntie Millie and Auntie Maggie;
Dogleman with his friend Beulah, who
had fixed up curry-goat and rice and peas
and gizzadas enough to feed an army.
(The coconuts and indeed, all provisions
- had been gradually spirited away from
the Aunties' kitchen and garden, of
course.) Naturally, too, there was a cake
with icing-sugar effigies of the bride and
groom on top.

Down the path came the happy couple:
Son-Son, head high in air, with the blush-
ing Adinah on his arm, modestly looking
down at her bouquet of orange blossoms.
The ceremony began .....

"Is Dogleman going to marry them,
then?" Auntie Maggie asked Auntie Millie
in a stage whisper. Dogleman heard her,
but chose to ignore her. He stepped up

very grandly to the couple and addressed
them while Beulah muttered admiringly
in a low voice, "But what a man that
Dogleman is, eh?"

Dogleman looked from Son-Son to
Adinah. He began:

"Tonight we come together here
To see unite this happy pair ... "

but he couldn't think how to put the next
part of the ceremony in verse and he
wasn't sure anyway if it was quite the
thing to do so he simply asked Son-Son
if he would take Adinah to be his lawful
wedded wife. Son-Son said, "Yes, man!"
Adinah's eyes were filled with tears of joy
and there was a lump in her throat, but
she managed to say that she would take
Son-Son for better or worse. Auntie
Millie dabbed at her eyes with a lace
handkerchief she had brought for that
very purpose.

Dogleman brought the ceremony to its
close. He said, still very grandly, "Then I
now pronounce you man-lizard and wife-

May bliss your wedded life enhance
And now commence the feast and
and dance!"

Even Auntie Maggie had to admit that
it could not have been a more moving or
impressive wedding.

Beulah, as she saw that everyone had
eaten well, and that the Aunties were


sipping great quantities of pimento dram
("Just a little to settle the stomach, Auntie
Millie), started to pluck and bang her
mirimba box, and Mr. Boo took up the
gay tune on his penny-whistle. Son-Son
and Adinah danced and swayed joyfully.
Dogleman took Auntie Maggie by the
hand and whirled her round and round
until she was so giggley and giddy that
Auntie Millie quickly pushed her into a
chair and took over. How Dogleman and
Auntie Millie whirled and twirled while
the others rocked and clapped!

At last, Adinah and Son-Son were
ready to leave for Fern Gully. They ran
up on to Dogleman's shoulders and blew
kisses to the assembled wedding party,
but especially to Mr. Boo. To be truthful,
had it not been for the great piece of
eating Mr. Boo had done, not to mention
the laughing and dancing, he would have
been feeling much sadder at the parting.
As it was, he was much too sleepy to feel
anything at all. "'Night, Adinah Son-
Son. Walk good, Dogleman," he said,
supressing a yawn as he took a hand each
of Auntie Millie and Auntie Maggie. He
was as prepared as they were to go up the
path to bed. The Aunties yawned and
yawned too, and scarcely noticed the

envelope that Dogleman had slipped into
the capacious pocket of Auntie Maggie's
dress, before striding off with the honey-
moon pair.

It was only next morning at breakfast
that they remembered and opened it. It
was Dogleman's bill:

4 doz. gizzadas 10. 6d

Curry goat and rice 10. 6d

Pimento Dram 10. 6d

Wedding Cake 10. 6d

TOTAL 17.6d
No charge for service from your faithful
servant, Dogleman.

# h`

c. i

\ i/
3~a___ -*xk

by Edwin Todd

In 1928, when John Dunkley came
from Panama, the path of art in Jamaica
changed not a whit. Jamaica was not
ready for the naive or so-called "primitive"
type of painting that Dunkley practiced.
Everyone liked pretty, naturalistic land-
scapes and portraits, and when Dunkley
began displaying his work, the art-con-
suming public whipped up a veritable
paroxysm of apathy. Only the very poor
were interested in and liked Dunkley's pic-
tures and when news got aroundthat Dunk-
ley had produced another picture they
would flock to his barber shop to admire
and criticise. Some years later a foreigner,
working at the Institute of Jamaica, show-
ed enthusiasm for Dunkley's work and
called it to the attention of Mrs. Edna
Manley, Robert Verity, etc. Then others
began to say "Here, who's this?!"

Dunkley had begun painting in Panama
through the stimulus of his room-mate,
an amateur artist. Upon his return to
Jamaica at the age of nineteen he found
time on weekends and during periods
when his barber business was slack to
continue his painting. Completely self-
taught, Dunkley devised methods to suit
his needs. It was his habit to observe
something which interested him, mull it
over in his mind for a while and then in
the next day or two begin to. put down
the results of his mullings. Sometimes, as
in the "Parish Church Tram-Cars" scene,
(possession of the widow) he would go
back to observe details, but not to draw
on the spot. This method, essentially one
of distillation, coupled with Dunkley's
unique imagination, resulted in a product
rather different from the commonplace
scene which had originally provoked his

When looking at a Dunkley painting
various adjectives come to mind: fantastic,
multi-suggestive, menacing (at times),
morbid (sometimes),etc. Amateur psycho-
analysts could have a wonderful time with
them and their surrealist overtones. Not
only do the pictures have recognizably
symbolic objects in them, but in general
they seem dream-like and phantasmagoric.
One of Dunkley's favourite motifs was a
curved and severed tree trunk or limb, and
in psychoanalytic jargon these would be
termed "post-phallic" symbols. And
spider webs, and spider web-like trolley
wires, scenes receding into spooky dark-
ness, reptiles and underground rabbits,
overlush tropical growth, murky colours.
Perhaps we can discount the dull colours
ith by John Dunkley to some extent, since Dunkley used house-

paints which in those days were not noted
for their fastness and have since darkened.
(This reminds us of Van Gogh's famous
yellow a rather morbid mustard yellow
- which Van Gogh actually did not invent,
but which resulted from darkening of the
cheap chrome yellow he used.) However
it is said that Dunkley never used much
colour, even in such pictures as "Setting
Sun" (collection of the widow).

One of the many things that can be
truly said about John Dunkley's paintings
is that they are the only original paintings
produced in Jamaica. This may be saidof
all naive painters since they are theoreti-
cally self-taught, but most of them today
cast a venal eye in all directions (one
thinks of Tabois, Kapo and Ras Dizzy)
and are only too eager to go in for one-
upmanship over other "primitives." This
is not meant to decry these artists nor
their. "progressiveness." But in Dunkley's
day he was a pioneer. However, we must
qualify: in Jamaica Dunkley was the
pioneer of this kind of painting, untutored
and unsophisticated vis a vis the world of
art in general.

The first well-known "naive" painter
was the Frenchman Henri Rousseau (1844-
1910), popularly known as "le Douanier,"
(the customs officer) a "Sunday painter."

Rousseau did two kinds of paintings:
copies of photographs of persons, and
imaginary exotic scenes. His copies of
photographs never turned out like the
photographs, since his fresh naive imagina-
tion always transformed the persons in the
photographs to suit his imagery. Two of
his most famous exotic pictures are typical
of the rest "The Dream" showing a
naked girl reclining on a chaise longue set
in the middle of a very lush (but tidy)
jungle with a toy-like tiger creeping about,
and "Sleeping Arab", showing a gypsy-
like person lying stiffly asleep on a mat in
the desert on a gorgeous moon-lit night.
A stuffed-looking lion sniffs him. Rou-
sseau's paintings were large, three feet by
five feet, whereas Dunkley's are smaller.

Today Kapo, Ras Dizzy, Tabois, A.
Smith of Montego Bay, etc., would also
be classified as naive painters. Some
persons insist on calling this genre "primi-
tive" painting, but such a term contains
too many erroneous implications. And
"child-like" also carried misleading con-
notations for many individuals.
Artists, however, are not original or
outstanding because of naivete alone.
Dunkley has many trumps left when that
one is played. His king was of course the
fresh imagination which transformed all
common objects into something of a fairy

tale sometimes bordering on the maca-
bre as do many fairy tales. But his ace!
That was his penchant for designing for
the picture area. No matter what the shape
of the painting square, tall or very long
- Dunkley designed his works so that the
whole of the picture and not just the
centre was well-filled and unified. And
some of his paintings are about eight times
as long as they are tall. What is more, the
boundaries of the pictures exerted such a
strong influence upon Dunkley that the
forms are sometimes distorted so as to
parallel the borders, or be changed in
direction by the borders. This results in a
tight-knit continuity, like the cross-section
of an onion, that one seldom sees even in
art-school trained artists. The enclosing
rectangle with the curving of its covers is
all-important to Dunkley, to the extent we
can give another symbol to the amateur
psychoanalyst the enclosure of the
womb. (Only one other artist's work in
Jamaica has this characteristic, that of
A. Smith of Montego Bay.)
One of Dunkley's favourite forms of
composition was the zig-zag, as shown in
"Flat Bridge" (collection of Edna Man-
ley), "Scene with Path" (collection of
Norman Rae), "Summer Resort" (Mrs.
D's collection), etc. This form is admir-
able as it produces a liveliness at the same
time it unites various areas. Furthermore

The Dream by Henri Rousseau "le Douanier"

Dunkley's tendency to curve the corer
areas of his pictures educes a centripetal
feeling which is overpowering.

We must admit: there is one "primi-
tive" trait which appears occasionally in
Dunkley's paintings "horror vacui,"
fear of open or untrammelled space. Just
as children cannot bear to see a virgin
expanse of smooth sand on the beach and
must trample it, (and similarly with snow
in northern climes as boys we used to
pee our names in it) Dunkley frequently
could not resist the urge to fill every
square centimeter of the canvas with
something interesting: crabs, lizards,
gates, etc. Only occasionally would he
escape this obsession as in "Sea Shore,"
and "Parasetic Plant" (Mrs. Dunkley's
collection). This complete filling of the
picture area may be good design a la
Jackson Pollock and Mark Tobey, but it
does fot necessarily jib with our present-
day need for areas of peace to combat the
ever-present over-stimulating decibels,deci-
mals and visuals, where the medium is
massaging us ad nauseum. One has only

to look at the paintings of George Rodney
to see how peaceful, Zen-wise, are large
areas of nothing-doing.

Another remark one can make about
Dunkley he was not afraid to experi-
ment. In some of his paintings, now in
Norman Rae's collection, are efforts to
get plastic relief by using different thick-
nesses of pigment, admittedly difficult
with tins of house-paint. Another special
effect was achieved by applying (gluing?)
sand to the canvas and then painting over
it. The cubists in France were doing the
same thing but it is unlikely that Dunkley
could ever have seen any of Picasso's or
Braque's work (nor have been very
interested if he did.)

The parenthetical remark made just
above leads us to another facet of Dunk-
ley's art. Dunkley was basically and
primarily a "pictorial" thinker. This may
seem a nonsensical thing to say, or redun-
dant, like "widow-woman," but if one
reflects about it a bit one will see that
although all paintings are pictures, not all

Flat Bridge by John Dunkley

paintings are pictorial. No, that's not such
a good way to put it. Perhaps we should
say that some pictures are symbolical,
some conceptual, etc., etc., and some are
really pictorial. The paintings of the
ancient Egyptians were not pictorial even
though they depicted scenes from daily
life. In those scenes a person would be
shown in profile view from the waist
down, to depict the typical aspect of the
buttocks and feet. The shoulders would
be shown front view, the head in profile
but the eye front view. In other words, a
conceptual depiction of a person. Sim-
ilarly with Picasso's late cubist heads, with
their mixtures of views. On the other
hand the paintings in Seya Parboosingh's
recent show at Bolivar Gallery are not
pictorial for another reason. One paint-
ing has gorgeous big curving shapes but
when one gets up closer one sees a cute face
in the middle of one of the circles, and
the face is barely delineated only a few
sparse lines and dots, just enough to get
across the idea of a cute face. Yes, it is
symbolical and not pictorial. Huie's paint-
ings are not pictorial nor are Carl Parboo-
singh's since the subjects of their paint-
ings are not so much selected for them-
selves as something with which to make a
pretty picture; just as a theme in itself
meant little to Beethoven for the most
part, but only as material for him to use
and develop. Schubert, contrariwise, lov-
ed his themes and melodies for them-
selves. Dunkley is like Schubert. He
might distort the objects in his paintings,
but they were all-important he was not
just playing around with them. Dunkley
once told Philip Sherlock, "When I do a
painting I am taking a walk," and one can
see how true this is from all the multitude
of little details Dunkley lovingly included
in each painting. When sometimes a per-
son says, "Picture to yourself so and so.."
Dunkley was trying to do exactly that
kind of picturing. Salvador Dali also does
this, but the items in his paintings are
obsession affairs, not chosen solely because
they appeal to him pictorially. Tabois
does it, and Karl Abrahams, the early
Huie and many of our painters in their
early stages.

Strangely enough Dunkley was not
much interested in painting human beings.
For this reason "Diamond Wedding" (col-
lection of Leslie Murray-Ainsley is a
rarity. Dunkley's interest in depicting the
smiling faces of this old couple (was it an
actual occasion?) was so great that he
abandoned his usual type of composition.
The arms are only minimal and arranged
in such a way, along with the faces, as to
form a central kernel, but a horizontal
line replaces the usual diagonal and there
is none of the customary gloom.

Speaking of gloom reminds us of
Dunkley's special type of perspective.




-1 U'

Evidently Dunkley was intuitively aware
of receding lines going to a vanishing
point, but he never allowed this phe-
nomenon to "punch holes" in his paint-
ings or to lead the eye out of the picture.
His habit was, instead of the usual practice
of making objects lighter in colour as they
are farther away from the viewer, to make
them darker and darker until they are lost
in gloom, as though the atmosphere were
filled with black smoke instead of clear
air. This peculiar kind of perspective can
be plainly seen in our colour illustration
(from Sir Philip Sherlock's collection), to
some extent in "Flat Bridge" and in the
well-known "Parish Church with Tram-

Cars," where the tram-cars seem to dis-
appear into a tunnel of smoke. In fact, it
appears that Dunkley started with a black
canvas and just picked out a few high-
lights here and there on the objects, but
he did not actually work this way. This
again tends to make a very tightly knit
composition, so that if one makes the
usual test of good modem composition -
turning the canvas on its side or upside
down the elements in the picture are
still perfectly balanced.

Dunkley seldom shows a horizon line,
but when he does, as in "Setting Sun" and
"Seashore" (Mrs. Dunkley's collection)

the horizon is very dark and the sky not
much lighter, so that we have a unity of
tone from bottom to top.

This artist not only shows us a scene
he is interested in but he forms a small
enclosed world that we may enter into,
walk along with him, and peer around at
all the phantasmagorical objects: jerboas
(whenceforth jerboas?), crabs, parasetic
(Dunkley's spelling)plants, fences, stumps,
truncated limbs and all, sharing with him
the innocent wonder of this marvelous

"This requires reflection on the notion of translation itself. Where
the meaning of the original work is not external to its language,
translation can no longer be conceived as the reproduction of mean-
ing in a more or less transformed linguistic setting. With the ab-
straction of meaning from the particular universe in which it con-
stituted itself, the meaning is no longer that which it was.."

(Samuel Weber)

Edoh... edoh. edoh. oh oh oh oh!
House an' land a-buy family on!

Edoh you no hear me on,
Me no have nobody on!
House an' land a-buy Fam'ly oh!

(A Jamaican folk-song, whose theme is exactly that of Lorca's origi-
nal play.)

3EW Sf The introductory essay to
Sylvia Wynter's adaptation of
the well known play La Casa
EDITOR'S de Bemarda Alba by Fed-
NOTE erico Garcia Lorca, points to
a possible direction for the
Jamaican theatre. The adapta-
tion The House and Land
ofMrs. Alba represents a conscious effort to draw freely, on,
and interweave, cultural influences from Europe, Africa, and
Jamaica. In our present situation, the.experimental sometimes
has difficulty in finding either a theatre or group prepared to
experiment. Jamaica Journal therefore offers this essay, and a
brief extract of the adaptation, as an example of a direction at
present being explored by a Jamaican writer.

Garcia Lorca and Bertold Brecht, one a Spaniard, the other a

German, are two of the foremost twentieth century playwrights.
In addition Brecht was the first great technician of the theatre.
His Novum Organum can be termed the Theatre's twentieth
century Magna Carta. Sylvia Wynter has adapted Lorca's play
making use of Brecht's theories. In addition she has made use
of a legend of the Amazulu peoples of Southern Africa to
create the character and the speech of the Old Woman in the
extract given. She has taken her title from a Jamaican Maroon
folk song, whose theme is the same as the original Lorca play
- One needs a house and land to 'buy' a husband and family.
The Spanish of Lorca has been translated into Jamaican English.
In this, Sylvia Wynter continues an experiment which she begun
when she adapted another Lorca play Yerma for the
B.B.C.'s Third Programme, using Jamaican folk songs in place
of the original Spanish music and songs. This adaptation how-
ever carries the experiment a stage further from a free
translation, to a more thorough adaptation into a Jamaican
setting. In the essay she tells us why ....

The adaptation sets
out to make corres-
pondences clear. Not
A N E AB UT to translate the play
ADAPTATION from one language
into another. It is an
attempt to solve an
almost insuperable
difficulty that of making Lorca's play 'live' in an English
version. So far, there have been two types of translation of the
Lorca drama. One, the most widely used, translates the Spanish
of the original into a realist urban language. Although actable,
these versions capture only the surface events of the play, and
leave their audiences puzzled as to what all the fuss is about.
What's this Lorca kick? is the immediate reaction of many a
theatregoers after seeing an English version of any of the plays.

Much of the power of Lorca resides in his language. His choice
and use of language respond to a difinite intention that of
writing plays immediately reachable by the most educated and
the most illiterate of Spaniards. Lorca was born in theSduth
of Spain and grew up amidst a rich folk tradition. He took
part in the investigation and research into the folk poetry and
folk songs of Spain, and in his plays recreated rhythms and
cadences of speech familiar to the people. With this type of
language he was able to deal with problems at once familiar and
obscure- sexual frustration, fear of change, family ties that
were as stifling as they were necessary. He did this not through
realist reportage but with a lightning poetic intuition.

Lorca wrote for an audience still involved in an oral tradition.
The associational impact of his language and imagery struck
sparks from the unconscious level of response. The sun, the
rain, drought, flood, are understood by the people of a tradi-
tional unindustrialized society, as economic forces. Their
living depends on these forces. Natural forces, in the imagery
of the people and of Lorca, play something of the part of an
all powerful Fate. The people to whom such imagery is mean-
ingful tend to accept the nature of their society as something
decreed and comparable to the irrational inevitability of
drought or flood.

To the man in the city, on the other hand, rain or drought is a
mere inconvenience, water comes from the tap,bread from
grocery store. The city itself, and the industrial process con-
stitute an assault on the concept of an all powerful Nature.
is no longer inevitable. Language in such a society loses some-
thing of its elemental quality; it becomes a processed affair
instant, ready mixed. To translate a Lorca play into this kind
of English is, in a way, a negation of translation. One has merely
put certain English phrases and sentences in the place of
Spanish phrases and sentences. Substituted a one dimensional
prose for the total response of Lorca's poetry.

Roy Campbell, on the other hand, has made some excellent
poetic translations of Lorca's plays. But in his translation the
plays are poetry, not drama. Like the realist translations the
poetic translations transfer Lorca's plays into a world where
English is spoken, but a world which exists in a vacuum.
Neither of these two types of translations transfer Lorca's
plays to an equivalent world where the language spoken is
determined by equivalent conditions and circumstances.

I have therefore made this adaptation somewhat along modified
Brechtian lines. That is, I have examined the play in the
original in order to identify the social, historical and economic
determinants of the characters and their society. I have then
put the play back together in a Jamaican locale and period
where the determinants are roughly equivalent to those of the
original play. In the 1930's when Lorca wrote his plays, Spain

was, in relation to the rest of Europe, a traditional under-
developed country. Wealth was still substantially based on
land, agriculture. Yet the landowners were threatened with
change, with industrialization,political democracy, the rise of
Trade Unionism, Communism, Socialism, Republican and
Anarchist ideas. The society of the Albas is on its way down.
The crisis of the daughter's lack of suitors is an economic
crisis; it shows that the landowning class is short of cash.

In a traditional society the daughters have no 'option' of a
'career' or a role outside marriage. The tragedy of their situation
lies in this fact. In the ordinary translations it is difficult for
modern audiences to understand the lack of an alternative life
for these girls. Too often then, the character of Mrs. Alba can
seem mainly perverse. When in fact, she too is conditioned by
economic and historical forces. Her class is in the grip of their
long dying. Industrialization is on the march.

To make the conflict explicit and possible I have placed the
adaptation in a Jamaican locale in the early nineteen-
twenties. Jamaica was then (and still is to a certain extent) an
underdeveloped static agricultural society. Its stagnant colonial
society is equivalent to the Spanish provincial society. I have
used some of the elliptical qualities and cadences of the Jamaic-
can dialect speech. A speech whose rhythms are still largely
molded in the context of an oral tradition.

In the adaptation I have imagined Mrs. Alba and her family
to belong to the Jamaican plantocracy. This plantocracy is the
descendant of the rich sugar barons of the eighteenth century
when Sugar was King and Jamaica an extremely profitable and
highly prized colonial possession. This class started its slow
decline with the British Sugar Duty Act of 1846 which repealed
the special position of Jamaican sugar on the British market.
A few landowners still hang on to their land and the remnant
of their power, but its all rather moth-eaten. The society
suffers the economic stagnation of all colonies. Things have
not changed much, but with the First World War come and
gone, the beginnings of change hover on the horizon.

As with Lorca's society, so with the Jamaican,- relations
between Mrs.'Alba and her servants are still largely feudal.
Yet the servants are beginning to express their resentment of a
power which no longer seems to them as absolute as before.
The landowning class is beset with falling prices. The land is
losing its value and they face the erosion of their economic
dominance, and therefore of their prestige. The values of their
class, once underpinned by their economic supremacy, are no
longer valid. They fight to maintain a facade. They brandish
their outmoded values like banners, but their defeat is immin-
ent. They and their values can no longer justify their existence.

Mrs. Alba then is depicted as, to borrow Lukacs term, a
'world historical individual'. Her personal intransigence, her
exaltation of the past, are gestures, not of an individual, but of
an entire class. At the same time I have retained something of
the peculiarly Spanish outlook. I have made the Alba family
descendants of refugees who fled to Jamaica from Santo
Domingo during the nineteenth century. Jamaica has been a
traditional place of refuge for exiles from Haiti, Santo Domingo,
during the nineteenth century. Jamaica has been a traditional
Cuba,.. Many of these families remain in Jamaica today.

They assimilated quickly to their equivalent class- the
planter class. In the static colonial society of the twenties the
badge of the planter class, is the witnesss of skin" which it
shares with the occupying Colonial power. Since there is little
economic or social mobility, whiteness of skin becomes the
status symbol. It is the visible symbol of the planters' power
and glory. As the power vanishes and the glory with it, the

symbol gets an even more desperate value placed upon it. To
remain,'white' is to assure oneself that nothing has changed.
That the plantocracy is still in the saddle. Pride of caste in the
original play is made more complex by pride of colour in the
Jamaican context. Both spring from similar roots.

For the original Bemarda, a sense of honour is the patri-
mony of the well born. One fulfils, the duties and traditional
obligations of one's traditional class. One acts up to one's
accepted value of oneself. The Jamaican equivalent of 'honour'
is the Victorian respectability which lingered much longer in
the colonies than in Britain. Respectability is the mark of
anyone who is not of the lower order. Virginity before
marriage is the badge, sine qua non,of this respectability. A
professed sensuality is taken to be the 'curse' of the lower,
orders, the 'black people', the 'common canecutter'. Respect-
ability, like colour,was taken to be an end in itself. It marked
out the 'chosen' from the 'damned'; separated the sheep from
the goats.

Today in our more mobile society, the automobile, educa-
tion, a degree, a profession, the house in the suburb, clothes
bought in Miami, conspicuous consumption, honours awards
are the status symbols. But respectability', (i.e. saying, the
expected platitudes) and 'colour' are still valued as means to
reach the room at the top. What is more dangerous, the pre-
supposition that the 'top' is white, and the 'bottom' black is
still widespread. This confusion of values acts as a divisive
force. It represents a dead value system which remains like
yesterday's hangover. Our apparently easy and permissive
society is shot through with private personal tragedies that
spring from a confusion about colour, sex, a sense of identity.
Yet there is little open dialogue about all this. In fact, there is
a compulsive secrecy. A compulsive fear. To admit that these
tragedies exist is to admit that there is something wrong with
the system. To admit that there is something wrong is to take
the first step towards changing it. And our society is gripped
in a common post-independence paradox, the paradox of a

The adaptation is, of course
influenced by the theories of
Brecht. It accepts his view
A NO E ON that there is no such thing as
THE CONCEPT a 'fixed and unalterable Hu-
OF man nature'. That in fact
PRODUCTION, human consciousness is deter-
SETS, ETC. mined by social being, a social
being that each individual
helps to create. He helps to
create this social being by his
acceptance of, or revolt against, the particular economic and
social arrangement of society which exists at the given period
in which he has his being. He is himself conditioned by this
arrangement of society. But he has free will to change the
arrangement which conditions him. With the development of
technology, as Brecht points out, this is even more true.
Science 'is in a position to change Nature to such an extent as
to make the world seem almost habitable, man can no longer
describe man as a victim, the object of a fixed but unknown
environment. It is scarcely possible to conceive of the laws of
motion if one looks at it from a tennis ball's point of view'.

Man, can use science to change the nature of his society,
and the nature of his social being, and the nature of his con-
sciousness. Because for various reasons he is reluctant to do

people who having made certain fundamental changes in their
way of life, are reluctant to push these changes to their logical
conclusion. So they hang on to the recent status quo.

Our fear of dialogue is most marked when it centres about
the confusions of colour and shade. We have taken political
power away from the plantocracy. But we have not negated
their value system in regard to the supremacy of a white skin.
In that way we have not been able to free ourself from the
legacy of the past. Because we are not free from the dead
wood of the past we have not been able to utilize what was
good and useful in it. We have remained then in an uneasy
relationship to our past and to the remnants of this plantocrat
class that remains. We secretly resent their presence at the
same time as we worship their exploded values..

We make a convenient division into 'them' and 'us'. They
are the descendants of the oppressive slave-owning class, 'we'
are the descendants of the oppressed. We ignore that in the
present arrangement of society, we carry in ourselves the
oppressed and the oppressor, the exploited and the exploiter,
the settler and the colonized, the master and the slave. The
contradiction can only be resolved when we decide to change
the present, to eliminate the difference. Once this decision is
taken then we can look at the past and accept jointly the guilt
and the glory. The victim is no less responsible for oppression
than the oppressor. One oppresses, the other accepts his
oppression. Both are joined together by a common landscape,
speech, country, by a common set of historical circumstances.
By the personal tragedies that afflict us through our acceptance
of these circumstances. Our fear of examining them. Our
refusal to change them.

The function of the theatre is to explode fears by bringing
them out into the light of day, Lorca's play tapped the roots
of the frustration of his Spanish audiences. It is to be hoped
that this adaptation can perhaps reach through to the deeper
areas of conflict of our own.

so, he takes refuge in the outmoded and dead belief in the
fixity of human nature determined and predestined by unseen
forces. He relinquishes his free will in order not to respond to
its challenge. He must therefore blind himself with illusion, in
order to refuse to take that path from bondage to freedom,
from ignorance to consciousness which is the central challenge
of the century of technology. The theatre of the past, and
even of today, Brecht insists, with its accent on 'naturalism' is
one of the avenues which Man uses to escape the truth. The
theatre then, both in production and writing must seek to
escape this flight to an illusion. As Brecht puts it:

'Too much heightening of the illusion in the setting, together
with a magnetic way of acting that gives the spectator the
illusion of being present at a fleeting accidental 'real' event,
create such an impression of naturalness that one can no longer
interpose one's judgment, imagination, or reaction, and must
simply conform by sharing in the experience and becoming
one of 'nature's objects'. The illusion created by the theatre
must be a partial one, in order that it may be recognized as an
illusion. Reality, however complete, has to be altered by being
turned into art, so that it can be seen to be alterable and to be
treated as such.

And this is why too we are inquiring into naturalness; we
want to alter the nature of our social life."

More than that, in writing and in production and in acting,
the theatre must seek to uncover the prevailing laws of motions
of the society which causes the individual to 'be' what he is -
whether he accepts this 'being' or 'rebels' against it. The
theatre of the past tended to see things only from the tennis
ball's point of view. The theatre of today must make explicit
the forces which puts the tennis ball in motion. Naturalism in
the theatre sets out to describe every tiny movement of the
tennis ball. Therefore when it loudest proclaims truth, then it
is being most untruthful. The movements of the tennis ball
only have real meaning when it is seen in the context of the
other tennis balls, and in the context of the society in which
the tennis balls have their relative being. The society too must
be seen in the context of the forces which keeps it in motion.

The alienation effects which Brecht advises then, tend to
this particular purpose. To go behind the apparent surface of
windmills to the deeper truth which lies behind. As he says:
'.. .whereas in relatively stationary, quiet, periods, artists
rmay find it possible to merge wholly with their public and to
be a 'faithful embodiment' of the general conception, our pro-
foundly unsettled time forces them to take special measures to
penetrate to the truth. Our society will not admit of its own
accord what makes it move. It can even be said to exist purely
through the secrecy with which it surrounds itself.'

The main changes in the adaptation of the play have been
made in response to these ideas. The social relationships of the
characters, so magnificently brought out by Lorca, have been
made more explicit. The social circumstances, the economic
arrangement of the society which condition these relationships
are shown as a partial agent which causes people to act and re-
act in a certain way. Because of this the actions themselves
explore and throw light on the relationships not only in the
microcosm of Mrs. Alba's house, nor in that of the island, but
in the larger concept of the change over from an agricultural to

The material objects
in Mrs. Alba 'house
A SUGGESTION are the reality, the
human beings the
ABOUT SETS props. Yet the ma-
terial objects must be
shown to be made
and manipulated by the human beings in the first place. To
show this, or to intimate it rather I have imagined the acting
area of the stage divided into three parts. A vestibule area, a
Central living room area, at a raised height if possible, a pantry
area. The vestibule area in which the play opens has the
suggestion of an altar. When the area is lit up the objects of
veneration of the Alba family, are crowded and piled on top of
one another in the centre, pushed there whilst the servant

These objects are a rococo mirror in a heavy gilt frame, a large
elaborate Hope Chest, and an antique chair. But although the
objects are themselves solid, more solid than the people, al-
though they are supposed to represent the solidity of the objects
of those whose wealth and power come from the land, one
must at the same time show that they are created by man; and
received their value from the value he attaches to them. If
they dominate his house and his life it is because he wants them
to. Because of this, instead of a real mirror, a painting of such
a mirror and a stand on which to hang the mirror are seen for
what they are. When the Servant cleans and puts up the stand

an industrialized society, from the value system that springs
from the ownership of money.

This is the main aim of the build up of the past by Poncia and
the Servant in Act One. Through them we establish the history
of the economic and social forces in which the Alba family now
finds itself enmeshed. For here, in the adaptation it is these
forces that are imagined to play the part of Fate, Mrs. Alba is
tragic because she is ignorant of the economic forces which
have entrapped her daughters. But she is also ignorant because
it suits her self-interest to be ignorant. Thus, at one stage in
the play when Poncia suggests to her a course of action which
would avert the tragedy i.e. that she should take a mortgage
on her house and land as dowry for Adela she insists that
'that is the way things are'. That is, she accepts predestination
because it suits her self-interest to accept predestination. Later
on when Adela argues that the pearls in Angustia's engagement
ring signifies tears she insists that 'things turn out the way we
want them to turn out'. Herein direct contradiction she insists
on 'free-will' because it suits her self-interest to do so. She is
then blinded by her own self-interest in an out-moded value
system, and in an economic arrangement of society which stifles
her daughter's lives. She accepts society and her own actions
as given. She has and wants to have no idea of the effect of her
actions and decisions on her daughter's lives. She prefers an
illusion to true consciousness of circumstances that are to her
unpalatable. She holds on to a past that has vanished but a
past in which she was able to exercise an egotistic power. In
the name of this ritual she sacrifices her daughters. Her blind-
ness is none the less tragic because it is wilful. Modern tragedy
springs from the wilful blindness of individuals to the respon-
sibility that they have for events. A refusal of the conscious-
ness of one actions, is a refusal of this responsibility. Modern
tragedy springs from self-interested ignorance. From the refusal
of a society to 'admit what makes it move'; since it owes the
prevalence of its arrangement to the 'secrecy with which it
surrounds itself'.

and hangs up the mirror as she talks, we see the household
gods being put into position and manipulated by one of their
victims. Her acceptance of their dominance is then seen. She
is implicated by a sin of omission in their tyranny.

In the central Living Area, the portrait of Don Bernardo in its
gold Frame is equally a painting of a painting. And in this
painting the gun which he holds can be outsize and out of
proportion to the rest of the picture. The gun then and the
cane can be real. But the importance given to the gun in the
painting* is to suggest the implication of a fate that springs
from the structure and organization of an ex-slave colonial
society whose law and order must rest on the gun as its final
authority. The gun with which Don Bernardo defended his
power and wealth in Santo Domingo is the gun which leads to
the death of his great-granddaughter. Built on violence, the
family is destroyed by self-inflicted violence.

When we first see the living-room area, too, the furniture and
painting and the stand on which it is to hang is pushed to the
centre of the room and covered with a dust sheet. As Poncia
tells of the past, she replaces the furniture, hangs up the
painting and creates the present living room as she creates the
past that led up to it.

*An outsize paper mache gun in the manner of a modern
painting which makes use of real, discarded objects stuck on
to canvas.

The use of doors and windows are important to the set. But
the important thing in this production would not be the walls
which can be imagined, but the key door in the living room
area, through which MISS JOSIE tries to escape, and one
jalousie window which Bernarda opens and closes. These can
be isolated. A pantry window too in a frame from which they
look out can be used, but is not necessary. What must be
conveyed is the very insubstantial quality of the house which
so substantially dominates their lives. The claustrophobia can
be suggested by the use of lighting to avoid the apparent truth
of walls and reach for the deeper truth. The walls that close
them in are not of wood nor stone but of a value system.
Which its prisoners accept and to which they subscribe.

These are of course only suggestions. There are many more
ways in which sets and production can be conceived. The
point is to avoid in production as in acting that effect which
Brecht describes as:

'a complete fusion of the actor with his role which leads to his
making his character seem so natural, so impossible to conceive
any other way, that the audience has simply to accept it as it
stands, with a result that a completely sterile atmosphere' tout

comprendre c'est tout pardonner' is engendered as happened
most notably under Naturalism'.

Although then, I have kept closely in my adaptation to the
original Lorca whose poetry achieves some of what Brecht's
theories outline, I have made additions and changes. It is these
additions and changes that compel a new approach to the usual
Lorca production- a new approach which can keep in mind
the guiding principles formulated by Brecht and along which I
have attempted, however tentatively, to base my adaptation.
These are: 'My whole theory is much naiver than people think.
I wanted to take the principle that it was not just a matter of
interpreting the world, but of changing it and apply that to the

"The modem theatre mustn't be judged by its success in
satisfying the audience's habits but by its success in trans-
forming them. It needs to be questioned not about its degree
of conformity with the 'eternal laws of the theatre' but about
its ability to master the rules governing the great social pro-
cesses of our age; not about whether it manages to interest the
spectator in buying a ticket- i.e. in the theatre itself- but
about whether it manages to interest him in the world"

In order of appearance














In her thirties. Thin. Black.

Old enough to be almost beyond age. Black.

In her fifties. Sambo colour. Formidable her will to power more subtly dis-
guised than her mistress'. A devious malice underlying her identification with
Mrs. Alba and her family.

Pre- 1914 young women. They make brief appearance. Roles can be doubled
by the three young women who come in as mourners.

In her late fifties. White with some admixture of Negro. The harsh weather-
beaten face of the tropical plantocracy. A most formidable woman.

Almost thirty. White. The daughter by Mrs. Alba's first husband.

Range between white and near white in the familiar Caribbean spectrum of
shades. In their sixties.

Somewhat darker shades than the old ladies but managing to appear white with
powder etc. in their twenties. The mourners.

The second daughter of Mrs. Alba. The first by Mrs. Alba's second husband.
Magdalena and her other three sisters are clearly darker than Angustias, with a
Lena Horne colouring. Twenty seven years old.

Twenty five. The third daughter, insignificant.

Twenty four. Hunchbacked. Sallow. Thin.

Twenty. The beauty of the family.

The lead singer and the chorus of the canecutters. A labourer. The crowd.

Early afternoon. Half an hour later. One month later. Late One week later. Mid
The house of Mrs. Alba. Same place. afternoon. Same place. evening. Same place.

The play is imagined to take place in the house of Mrs. Alba in a backswoods parish
of the backswoods island of Jamaica in the early nineteen-twenties.

Short Summary of the Plot of the Play
After the funeral of Mrs. Alba's second husband, Angustias, the only
daughter of Mrs. Alba's first marriage and the only one to have a
considerable dowery, receives a proposal of marriage from Peter Ro-
mans, a handsome but impoverished fair young man. The jealousy of
the four daughters of Mrs. Alba's second marriage, and particularly
the love of the youngest daughter, Adela, for Peter leads to Adela's
tragic death. Mrs. Alba hypocritically hushes up the 'scandal' and
refuses to admit the tragedy of the situation.

The lights go up on the vestibule acting area of the stage. The
chest is in the centre of the acting area. On the chest is piled,
the stand, the painted mirror. The straight backed chair is
pushed up beside the chest. The effect is that of furniture
piled up in the centre of a room, whilst the room is cleaned.
There are brooms, a bucket with water, and several rags and
dusters scattered about.

THE SER VANT is down on hands and knees shining the floor
with a coconut brush. She is tall, thin. Sexless, in a shapeless
frock, her hair tied with a faded rag. Barefeet. She works and

SERVANT: This is Mrs. Alba's house. She takes up
the mirror. Outside is Mrs. Alba's land.
(She gestures with a sweeping gesture)
Everywhere your eye fall on. Every corn
stalk, cane stalk, guinea grass blade! Hill
and gully, ruinate and cultivate. Every-
where your eye rest on, attach by law to
Mrs. Alba's name. She hangs the mirror
on the stand. This mirror with its gold
frame is one of her household gods. She
pushes the chest to stand under the
mirror. And this mahogany chest in which
her daughters guard their hope. Like dead
flowers pressed in a book. She positions
a chair. And this is a chair. An antique
one. Too good for the likes of me to rest
my worn out body on.
She kneels. rubs a piece of beeswax on
her brush:
I am Mrs. Alba's servant. You see me
often enough in my cap and apron. Or like
this in my few rags when I clean. But as
far as you are concerned you don't see me.

moves with the weariness of one who suffers from chronic
malnutrition, yet she shines the floor with a piled up rage and
resentment. Her face is set in a constant grim complaint even
when she is alone. Her eyes are bitter, but veiled by the
hypocrisy of the forcibly subservient. Mrs. Alba and the
system affects them all with the quality of cruelty.

She is shining the spot where the mirror and chest is to go.
She finishes and gets up, putting her hand to her back and
groaning as she does so. She takes the stand off the chest
and places it erect: she talks to the audience as she works:

You see a servant. You don't know my
name. As far as you are concerned I don't
need one. I am a servant and my name
lies in my purpose. To serve Mrs. Alba's
house, attend her gods. And when I die
manure her land.
She bends over and begins to shine the
floor. Off, church bells toll for a funeral.
The bells are cracked and tinny. The OLD
WOMAN enters R. She is about ninety.
Dressed in a collection of disparate rags.
Bare dusty feet. Small wizened face and
body, grey hair sparse and loose, the
expression on her face between ecstasy
and despair. She is an old beggar woman,
yet not a typical old beggar woman.
Grotesque not picturesque nor folksily

Her shadow falls on the floor. The ser-
vant looks up and kneels back on her
ankles. Her face is harsher, about to enjoy
her display of power:

























What you want? Who call you in here?


I am hungry.

I am hungry too. That don't say I can
walk into people's house as I have the
mind. Look how you track up my polish
floor with your dirty foot!

I am on a long journey ...



Then what you stop for? Keep on. Move!

I am tired.


There 's a grass bank outside the gate.
Help yourself. But get out of Mrs. Alba's
yard before I loose the chain and set the-
dog on you.

I am a stranger here.



Go back to where you come from then.

Its so long now I forget where ...

Ask God. He will tell you where ....

She rubs more beeswax on her brush, her
reactions automatic:

I cant find Him anywhere.

Find who?





I go up and down. To where the earth
end. I ask and I ask. Nowhere I can find

Then what you want to find him for?
What business you have with him?

I want to ask him the meaning ...

Which meaning? She sucks her teeth,
then sticks her finger in hermouth, prizes
out something from her teeth wipes her
finger on her dress, then leans over and
continues shining the floor.

I wasn't always as you see me now. Long
time back it wasn't so my life situate.

Long time back, long time gone.

You should a-see me then.

I don't even care to see you now.

I did have a piece of land. Narrow but it
long. And a man. And children to care
my old age. And a neighbour to give me
good morning. To pass the time of day.
A breadfruit tree. Coco leaf. Fat in the
rain. St. Vincent and mosella yam. Till
one day God lift his Hand.





The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh
away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
(She has been waxing her brush. Now she
leans over and begins to shine the floor.)

One by one God lift His Hand. One by
one I bury them. Till the ground full
right up with the grave of my dead.

(Sings as she shines) Oh death where is
they sting?
Oh grave thy victory?

(Angry) Where I was to plant and sow?
I was to eat bread that grow from their
bone? Grief and hungry put it in my heart
to find out..

To find out what?

To stand face to face with God and ask
him say: Why you do it? What reason
you lay your hand heavy on me. Take
away my generation from me-my sons
of my sons? You leave me here, an old
woman. Alone. With the pain in my
back. The ice in your wind, the nail in
your sun. Death to come catch me with
not a soul to shut my eyelid, to weight
them down, to hold a wake and mourn

And you ask Him?

I start out to ask Him. I cut down trees
and piled them on top. I climb up and up.
All I see is johncrow wheel- a wheel their
shadow over me. All I see is that.

You cant miss that. Life is a dungle. Man
is garbage. I can tell you that for a fact.
And free of charge.

But I climb down back. I fall down. I
faint. My head spin like a top. But I hold
on. And I walk and I walk to the end of
the earth and to where the sea stop. And
all the walk I walk, I ask. And all the ask
I ask for God, not a soul could tell me
where God was. I ask all the people and
put my case. And all the people say:
Eh, eh! Who you think you is that God
should answer you, when he don't give
answer to the rest of we? You think you
know grief? Just listen to this. And this
.. (Pause) What you waste your eye water
for old women? What make you different?
So much time you bruise your mouth on
the slammed door, you don't learn your
lesson yet? Old woman, the All Besetting
One sits on the back of all us. (Pause)
And we cannot shake him off.

You didn't have to go the end of the earth
to hear that. (She straightens, kneeling
and puts more wax on her brush)

I never obtain my desire. I never find
God to answer my question. And the
answer that man give break my heart.













I am old. And alone.

Dogs are alone. And they manage.

Your heart is hard.

Life is hard. What's more I have my
work to do. So just come off my polish
floor, get out of Mrs. Alba's yard before
I fling the bucket of dirty water over you.

The old woman goes. The servant takes
a cracker from her apron pocket, picks
pieces of fluff from it then pushes it
whole into her mouth. She chews with
the gesture which comes from the relation-
ship of a constant hunger to food. As she
chews and shines the floor she talks to

Damned mad woman! As if God have
time to wast with her. With her damn
fool question. No wonder black people
always down and out. Look at Mrs. Alba.
The only time she give God good morning
is when she go to Church to marry,
christen, bury or bow down before the
Golden Calf of her house and land. Only
black people sing psalms on Mount Zion
with their naked back out of doors. Is
only one answer God have for black
people and is only one answer he should
give them. So let me shut my mouth and
break my back cleaning Mrs. Alba's floor.
Until the day Death release me from
bondage as he just done release the old
wretch husband! (Pause) Want to find
God! God!

She puts a hand to her forehead and
groans with a deep grievance. Then she
catches sight of Poncia who comes across
from the pantry.
Poncia sambo- coloured. In her fifties.
Long black dress, old fashioned cut even
for the period. She wears a Jippi Jappa

Die then. Its easier.

No. Not till somewhere in the world I find
a man to answer my question.

And if God cant help you, is man you
going turn to?

Only he I have. (The servant goes back to
her polishing) Only he know my condi-
tion. (The servant polishes with more
vigour) I..dont taste bread to my mouth
since. since I don't even know when.

I don't taste none to mine neither, God
see and know ...

Even a bread crust to mash between my
gum, bring spit to my mouth..

Any bread crust I have is for my girl-
pickney. She have to live. She young.















hat with a black band. She has a hunk of
bread and a large piece of saltfish in her
hand. She tears at these with a sharp
hunger. She looks at the servant with an
ironical eye. The latter is at once sub-
servient, quick to excuse herself

Its those bells Miss Poncia. They beat
like a hammer in my head.

The funeral should be over in the next
half hour. And Miss Bernarda will be on
spot. So go on. Try!
She seats herself on the antique chair and
eats between spurts of talk:

The church service went on and on. That
long mouth parson beat his lip up and
down. As soon as I saw my chance I
slipped out. A big funeral though. The
church look pretty with all the wreaths,
the bunches of flowers. And pack!
People from all over!

White people?

Or as near as they can manage. Plenty
old women. Their skin crease and yellow
like linen that fold away in a drawer and
forget come out to sun themself like
lizard. Cry into their handkerchief for
the occasion. And the old men them.
(Pause) Their few white hair paste on
their brown skull. Prop over on their
stick and flinging their spit as they sing
the hymn and warm their old eyes on the
young women's breasts. Mourn for the
old days that no power can bring back ...
She kicks off one shoe then uses her foot
to ease the shoe off the other. The ser-
vant shines away.

Another funeral. Another old family
gone. Another planter pass on without a
son to come after to'carry on the land.
And the mortgage that the land stumble

They have land to mortgage. We have

We have a hole in the ground. Six feet

The only land we'll ever have.

We have our hands. We can eat bread by
the sweat of our brow.

And how much so bread we get?

Enough. We wash it down with sweet
water. Not with aloes. And sleep sound.

On a bed of bones.

With a man to warm our back.

Then walk off leave us with children to
put food in their mouth.




But at least we know what it feel to hold
our own flesh in our hand. (She has
finished eating,brushes crumbs away from
her mouth, takes off her hat) All those
high and mighty young ladies, drive up
today in their broken down buggies, you
think they will ever know how it feel to
hold baby to their breast? You should
see them kneel in church.? Their hands
clasp under their dry face, their eyes open
wide to search for a husband.

They find?

Find what? Which of the planters not
married, ugly, old, bald or fat? Which of
their sons don't run away from the land
and the mortgage that the land carry like
a hamper on its back? Which of them
don't go away to England these days,get
their education and never set a foot back?

The lights go down on the vestibule area
until Poncia and the servant remain in the
half dark. The lights come up on the
living room area. The vestibule area is to
the right corner of the central living room
area which is on a height. Three steps lead
up from the vestibule to the living area.
The pantry area is on the same level as the
vestibule area and in the left hand corer,
directly opposite to the vestibule. The
exits and entrances from vestibule and
pantry are imagined to lead, from the
vestibule to the front gate, from the
pantry to the kitchen and the back gate.

In the livingroom areaa doorcatacorered
upstage R is imagined to lead unto a front
verandah. This is the door which signifies
freedom to Miss Josie, the door through
which the mourning guests enter. To the
R. further downstage is the jalousie win-
dow, which is imagined to give on to the
verandah,unto the street, and the outside
door. Another door catacorered upstage
left leads to a long passage, the bedrooms.

When the lights go up on the central
living area all the props and furniture are
piled up centre and covered by a dust
sheet. Poncia comes up on to the living
room, takes out a small table, and a small
old fashioned gramaphone which she puts
on the table, winds, opens, and puts the
needle on the record. The record is
cracked. It plays, but not too loudly
soldier's voices singing 'Its a long way to
Tipperary' Poncia hums the tune as she
comes to sit on thjtep which leads from
the living area to the vestibule. The
servant continues her polishing:

How many of the planters's sons
Went off to fight in France?
How many of them?
How many of the young gentlemen?
To put the Kaiser in his place
To see that only British trade
Followed the British flag?
To guard the land ... ?



Three young ladies dressed in 1914 styles.
finery and fluttering ribbons from their
hats run gaily into the living room area.
They carry Union Jacks in one hand, and
knitted bags dangling from ribbon straps
in the other. They wave the Union Jacks,
then flutter it like a handerchief at a
departing ship. The music plays on:

The day that they left
The band played on ...
The Gleaner newspaper
Praised them as heroes ...
The young ladies waved them off
From the wharf...
Their fiances were off
To the wars...
Glory filled their eyes
With salt. !

The young ladies dab at their eyes with
their Union Jacks, then go and perch
primly on the dust sheet.

Determined they would
Do their part
To keep the home fires burning,
They rolled bandages ..
The young ladies rip their Union Jacks in
two, then roll them into bandages.

Until one by one, the telegrams
Rolled in...
The young ladies take telegrams from
their bags. Open, them, weep into the

The commanding officer
Sent his regrets
For a gallant young gentleman
Who would not come back
And sent back his effects
And a photograph
He had taken in France
Just before his death ..
The young ladies take out framed photo-
graphs of young soldiers from their bags.
They are draped in black crepe.

For the young ladies
To drape in black
And dust with the Union Jack ...
The young ladies dust the photograph
with the bandages, then kiss the photo-
graph. The lights go entirely off the cen-
tral living area, and come up on the ves-
tibule where the servant polishes with her

How many of the young gentlemen
Went off to fight
For King and country?
To keep the world map
Red with blood
To guard the land?
How many of the young gentlemen
Stayed on
Under the mud.
The servant is squatting back on her heels.
Rubbing wax on her brush.


Jamaica Festival 1968

Age of Innocence by Errol Smith

Orphans by Mrs. G. Murray


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