Wings of a Dove

Kamau Brathwaite



Brother Man the Rasta

man, 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

hearted, he grumbled,

for theirs is this stealth.


Brother Man the Rasta

man, hair full of lichens

head hot as ice

watched the mice

walk into his poor

hole, reached for his peace

and the pipe of his gangja

and smiled how the mice

eyes, hot pumice

pieces, glowed into his room

like ruby, like rhinestone

and suddenly startled like



And I


in Babylon's boom

town, crazed by the moon

and the peace of this chalice, I

prophet and singer, scourge

of the gutter, guardian

Trench Town, the Dungle and Young's

Town, rise and walk through the now silent

streets of affliction, hawk's eyes

hard with fear, with

affection, and hear my people

cry, my people



Down down


man, con

man, brown

man, down

down full

man, frown-

ing fat

man, that

white black

man that

lives in

the town.


Rise rise


man, Solo-

man wise

man, rise

rise rise

leh we


dem, mock

dem, stop

dem, kill

dem an' go

back back

to the black

man lan'

back back

to Af-






Them doan mean it, yuh know,

them cahn help it

but them clean-face browns in

Babylon town is who I most fear


an' who fears most I.

Watch de vulture dem a-fly-

in', hear de crow a-dem crow

see what them money a-buy?


Caw caw caw caw.

Ol'crow, ol' crow, cruel ol'

ol' crow, that's all them got

to show.


Crow fly flip flop

hip hop

pun de ground; na

feet feel firm


pun de firm stones; na

good pickney born

from de flesh

o' dem bones;


naw naw naw naw.





So beat dem drums

dem, spread


dem wings dem,

watch dem fly


dem, soar dem

high dem,


clear in the glory of the Lord.


Watch dem ship dem

come to town dem


full o' silk dem

full o' food dem


an' dem 'plane dem

come to groun' dem


full o' flash dem

full o' cash dem


silk dem food dem

shoe dem wine dem


that dem drink dem

an' consume dem


praisin' the glory of the Lord.


So beat dem burn

dem, learn


dem that dem

got dem nothin'


but dem

bright bright baubles


that will burst dem

when the flame dem


from on high dem

raze an' roar dem


an' de poor dem

rise an' rage dem


in de glory of the Lord.

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