Kamau Brathwaite


Today god came to church

like a lame old man on a crutch.


He had fought in the last war

and has ribbons to show for


it; knows Burma, Malaya and has been

to Singapore; gets a small pension


but apart from that

not very much attention.


His children eat dirt,

are pot-


bellied, knobble-

kneed sticks down


to their ball-

bearing ankles;


the drifting sand

ruins their eyes;


they go to school to the head-

master's cries,


read a black-

board of words, angles,



they fall


over their examinations.

It is a fence that surrounds them.


Those that are brown

enough, hobble


into a maimed world of banks, books, insurance, business.

There is not


much thanks from the rest of the hot




And black black black

the black birds clack

in the shak shak tree


the slack

wing'd gaulin swings

through the fishnet air;


the pear

tree ripens, queen of the ring-

ing brambles;


the jack 

bird sings, dream-

ing of jewels, eyes,


shell-less worms; the

sugar=cane screams

swinging under the steel



bless us bless us

cries the shorn rain


cut from its thunder,


ing the cactus;


the drought

tickles the root

of the clammy-


cherry tree; doubt

ripples the fruit

lakes, snap-


ping the bamboo,


ing the blue.

Main Location: