Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Me and the Kettle

Ah shudda listen the first time mommy call
To come wash the dishes and clean the yard
But with me eyes glue on the tv and me legs sprawl
Me pretend me na hear, and turn to card

As a black woman pickney why me behave hard ears?
And wait on the second call when she voice done change
Ah shudda come out the house with my face showing fear
Instead of the frown and push mouth at such a close range

She grab me by the collar with her face so fierce
Her voice expressing the price I’ll pay
Ah feel the sting as my skin was pierce
From slaps that wipe the frown away

Ah twist and turn until ah get free
Then run down the hill at a fast pace
Ah knew that mommy couldn’t outrun me
So ah figure that was the end of the case

Clung, clung, clung on the coconut tree
Ah kettle bounce off close to me head
Ah mek one duck, ah drop to my knee
Ah said this was it, ah thought ah was dead

 Hahaha me cousin dem laugh out
Oh lard, the kettle nearly out e light
All that time mummy continue to shout
Me still on the ground ah tremble with fright

For months to come is ‘bout the kettle track and field
Me cousin and dem still ah laugh at me
But all me learn ah pickney who na hear ah feel

And next time mommy call, get up and do me duty

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Ah Swallow me Tonsil


 So daddy wake me brothers ah early morning
All the “Rise and Shine” couldn’t stop the turning
With the dew and the coldness, their mouths were push
At the thought of walking through all the bush

By evening time dem had a change in mood
So dey look fi mango, orange and other food
As the sun get hot, daddy send them home
But that was the time they choose to roam

Up and down Missa Bayee land
Dey run and jump to touch the banana hand
Dem know for sure if Missa Bayee did see
He wudda curse and shout and complain to mammie

Yet just for fun Jacob pretend
Look Missa Bayee ah come around the bend
He tek off with one piece ah lightning speed
Sure that Rufus wud follow his lead

Like a road runner he head down di track
Him neva even see the banana tie-back
De piece ah string give him one clothesline,
He fall so hard, nearly bruk him spine

Yet Jacob hold he throat with fear on him face
No longer concern about winning the race
Me brother run to him full up ah fright
Cause Jacob seem ready to read his last rite

Rufus hear a weak croak, when he try fi counsel,
“Call daddy, tell him me swallow me tonsil.”
Rufus eyes light up, there were laughs galore
Him belly starting hurting, he cudn’t tek it no more

This was no joke for Jacob at the time
He was still in shock, thinking he gwine dead in e prime
But this didn’t stop Rufus who was now on the ground rolling
He cudn’t wait to reach home and tell arwe everything


If anything, is me mammie ah blame
If this was public me brother wudder shame
If yo touch up yo tonsil, she put it in we head,
It go fly down we throat and kill arwe dead

For years to come we still laugh at de joke
Even at times imitating Jacob croak
But even though we all find dis story so funny

It just goes to show the influence of yo mammie

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Ah how me grow up

Today me ah hear bout Dragon ballz and peekachu
Nintendo, Play station and xbox too
Apart from that social media in control
Everybody behaving like outside cold

Who na have facebook, Ah tweet and hashtag
Others online buying puss in a bag
D pickney dem kno much about technological device
Concern with brand and quality, but hardly the price

It cause me to reflect on the old time days
Dolly house, pitching marble and paper boat race
Down by the river, we spend a lot time
Catching crayfish, lobsters or simply jus lime

Na talk 'bout the evening when moon ah shine
Ah then we happy, its games or story time
Hide and seek in grassroots was the sweetest game
But ah the jumbie stories, shhhh na call dem name

Ah often wonder if it was cause we poor
No TV in the house, nothing to allure
Even when rain ah come we still outside
Down the muddy hill, we tek turns to slide

None ah we obese, which is a complain nowadays
Nutritionist ah now encourage outside games
So put down the gadgets, ley we play outdoors
Come see if u nah go enjoy yourself more


Copyright (C) 2014

Please leave a comment. If you have a critical eye for poem, a constructive criticism will be appreciated. You can also suggest a suitable title for this poem. For my international readers, the poem is a mixture of English and the Vincentian Creole. 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Two Jack ah Lantans?


 So daddy tell we a story one moonlit night
About a period in life when there was no street light
Two men travelling from opposite directions
They couldn’t see their hands, they were dark in complexion


Briskly they walked, along the long winding road,
No fear for the crickets, the owl or the toad,
But when their head connect and they saw something flash,
They didn’t stop to wonder or see with what they clash,

For they both heard the stories about the Jack ah lantan
That travel at night to suck blood from human,
They didn’t wear no skin, and had eyes like fire,
So no need to halt; who would stop to enquire?

So off they sped in the direction from which they came,
They will sleep at a rum shop with no pain and no shame,
For this situation has left others dead
Not with some bruises and simply a bump on their heads

The next day will come, they would let others know,
About the Jack ah lantan that travel the streets of Mespo,
But what are the chances, said one man to another,
That these men stories are so similar to each other?

Could it be that they were both very drunk?
And the flash appeared from when their heads clunk?
Though reasoning was sound, convinced were the men,
It must be two jack ah lantans, we nar walk that road again





Monday, 1 September 2014

Gun Shooting Reinvented

Me na dead, me na dead
My cousin Jack often cried
The bullet na catch me,
‘Cause behind the tree I hide

The shooter was angry as he tried to explain
I see you clear, clear, clear
You move from the tree into the plain
But the issue remained impossible to resolve
With no proof of wound, who can say
Who was right or wrong

So up came an idea into another’s head
Let’s reinvent the game, let’s use green banana instead
No more pow pow pow with sticks call guns
We will sail a banana and knock you down

Truth be told, it was more about the ouch and pain
If you get hit by the banana, who can complain?
For sure yo will dead now, Jack the shooter express
Ah go mek sure the banana stain left pon’ yo chess

So the new gun shooting start with a bang
Every man line up with green bananas in their hand
It was game for the athletic and those with no fright
Banana ah sail to the left and to the right

Murder oye, you hear a man shout
Everybody know say Johnny Brown out
Jack was grinning, ah kill um dead
Ah bet he na say, he na dead he na dead

Others laughed though they hid behind trees
Gun shooting reinvented, was a done deal,
A game that continued till the last man stand
With a grin on his face and a green banana in his hand


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Jumbie Stories Sweet

Three small picknies sit by the outside kitchen
Not sure if them ready fi the story to begin
Daddy tipped the flambo with a smirk on his face
The light was now bright, but still our hearts race

Our eyes tear opened as he started the first
About the river bridge in Mespo whey people say curse
With no electricity during those times
The pitched black night was when the ghost chose to shine

In a long white dress, she often appears
No man too big for her to instil in them fear
We jumped a little as daddy screeched out her sound
The place was so silent we can hear our hearts pound

Go bring me the salt mummy shouted to my brother
The silence was broken as we looked at each other
Daddy started to laugh at the look on his face
But mommy was upset and started to pace

Why you does frighten the pickney them, she shouted at him
Na dem want hear jumbie stories, he replied with a grin
Go follow him, he said, all three ah you go
Nothing na dey in the house to frighten aryo

We took a lighted candle and headed in the house
Nobody talking, we quiet like a mouse
Our toes were being mashed by each other’s feet
No one wanted the back, no one wanted to lead

We shuffled along till we got to the table
The shackle of fear no longer had us disabled
For as my brother grabbed the salt we all rush for the door
Although Jumbie story sweet, we never want hear no more

A second will come, but on another night
Once we get a good rest and sleep off the fright
Maybe next time we go hear about Jack o’ Lantern
Frog with bow tie or the Obeah man


Copyright Rose-Ann Smith 2014


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Power of "Pull String" or Networking in Job Hunting

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140523152349-336067-networking-a-novel-approach
There is a thing that Caribbean people call "pull string", which is where you get a job because someone you know in the institution sets you up. Pull string has been used in a somewhat derogative manner as often times, we believe that persons get jobs that they are not qualify for, while others who may be highly qualified are left at the wayside. Hence, I choose to use the term networking to describe how relationship with others may help you advance in life. 

I reflect back on my second job. I was in church I think, when my sister in the Lord, who know that I was job seeking, told me that a teacher is needed at a school and I must call this lady. I called the lady and was told to come in for an interview the following day. I did not write a cover letter or a resume. The next day, the interview was more of an introduction to the school, the classes I would be teaching and the staff. The job was mine. How many of you are in a job position, not necessarily based on your job application, but more so your connection with others?

Networking is highly significant in our modern economy when it comes to job hunting. It is not enough to advance yourself academically and then send in some random applications hoping that someone will hire you. While this may work, you will find that most of the times, you get a reply saying, "No job available at this time, but we will keep your application on file". Keeping your application on file means little because hardly ever would someone look through the great number of applications on file to contact you should another vacancy becomes available.

Connecting with the right people and a large number of people provides several benefits. You can get knowledge of job positions that becomes available in an organization and are known several months in advance before they hit the newspaper. You can have persons recommending you to job providers based on their relationship with you. You can obtain a job simply through the recommendation of another with your resume and cover letter accepted just for formality. 

So while you may be an introvert, know when to burst that shell and become a extrovert. Do not burn your bridges. When you leave an organization, leave in peace regardless of the reason you left. Your boss may just know another boss who you are about to come in contact with. As much as you can, take advantage of workshops, conferences and social events, which will help you to increase your circles. However, while you are doing all these improve your qualifications and make yourself more marketable. By doing this, you will feel content to know that when you get that job, it is not just simply a "pull string" based on a position with no qualifications, but one based on a position for which you are highly qualified. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Ah Way me Come from....Me nar figet me history: Tribute to Me family

Ah long time, me want to write ah blog about me history. Ah long me what tell somebody say, me nah figet me history. And me going start off by saying me love me family.

Recently, me start to ponder on me family, me think about who ah pastors and pastors wives, who ah lawyer, who ah medical doctor and nurse to be, who ah accountant, who ah teachers etc etc Yes all ah dem in me family and all ah we young.

You know how we get there...by the sweat ah we parents brow. You see we ah country pickney who grow up poor and when me say poor, me na mean the ppl dem who lift themselves out of poverty, but can't seem to drop the word poor from dem vocabulary.

Wen me say poor, me ah talk about the following:

If you never had current and have fi beg fi ice or buy ice to put in ah yo juice. Yo black and white TV, if you happen to lucky, use to wuk with battery and sometimes the darn battery die when you in the midst of a good movie.

We droge water from stand pipe night and day to fill up the drums, buckets and jug. We even had fun doing it at times, racing to see who fah yard fill up the drum the fastest. Of course, me could ah only carry jug, but me remember some cousins ah try fi carry the biggest bucket because it hold more water, but by the time dem run reach home, only half the water in ah e bucket (good times)

Me member when we use to go to shop and the owners ah watch we like we going thief. Dem had a right cause some we family did thief, but na all ah we. Me think dem even use to give me back too much change, just fi say way me go do, dem lucky me bin honest, but me had dem in ah me mind. So me just kno that one day me ah step in that same shop with a title under me name... dem things motivate we

Me remember we use to bathe ah river, but that ah after we done wash we basin ah clothes and hang them out to dry. And den me cousins and I bathe in ah d deep hole or catch crayfish fi the pot later. Me love the deep hole and dey nuff ah we learn to swim (some with we eyes closed under water till we reach from one side to the next ...we butt up, but that ah how we know we out ah the deep part). Den days bin sweet cause we even bathe in we panty and jackey alone and no one watch we, but dem days dey done. After we go home and some ah we, like one cousin me now haffi go bathe again by he mother. But even though others ah we foot white like a kettle ashes as my mother wudda say, all we do ah grease down and we good to go.

If yo poor, den yo must know bout latrine. D worse part was night time when d frogs and cockroaches come out and long time me na see ah latrine and nuff ah we now live in ah wall house with flash toilet. At first it take a little getting use to with water an splash pan yo batty, but it better than the past wars with the cockroaches looking fi bite off yo batty.

Me remember how me use to love when rain come at night, just hearing it pound on we galvanize. Me never know bout house fi seal, a roof over we head was all we need. At times we haffi shift we bed or rain wet we up fi all who dead...yes shift we bed, the scraps ah cloth we spread, but we never mind, in fact we enjoy weselves. Me remember the sweetest times was when we parents lift we by we grandma to go to fete, all ah we just spread out on the ground, till some use to fight fi under d bed...let me pause (me remember me cousin Rochelle who loved under the bed, die very young at only age 18, may her soul rest in peace)

Life wasnt a bed of rose, but we build good memories. We never walk barefoot like we parents to go to school or did we have to come home from school fi lunch and can't go back cause land haffi wuk. We poor, dey bin poorer, but dem mek sure dem do all dem can fi we reach where we r. Sacrifice me nah figet.

So when me say me cousin ah lawyer or doctor, accountant, technicians, pastors, mason or carpenters and when me say me brothers ah teachers , me sis soon come nurse and me soon get me PhD, celebrate with we. If you see any ah we today, don't jealous we, don't covet we. Just member where we come from and continue to pray fi we.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Virtuous Spouse: Are you?

Source: http://threesidesofcrazy.com/a-z-challenge-v-virtuous/



There are so many of us who claimed to be a virtuous woman, quoting the scripture from proverbs 31, but are we really. Now I believe I am a good wife and each day, I aspire to increase in virtue, but when I re-read the scripture, which I had read many times before, I found myself asking, Am I really virtuous? Today I ask you the same thing, are you virtuous? Let's take a look at what makes you virtuous according to Proverbs 31 and may be we can say if you satisfy at least 5 of the requirements, you are on the path to virtuosity.
  • Trustworthy: She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good.
  • Business-minded, Efficient and Conscientious: She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not.
  •  A Good Manager: She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 
  • A leader: She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her.
  •  A Cheerful Giver: She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 
  • Wise, Loving and Kind (Not Gossipy): She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 
  • God Fearing: Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 

  • A Warrior: She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. (SOURCE: http://www.biblegateway.com/)
Now that you might have become a little bit more aware, do you consider yourself to be a virtuous woman or growing in virtue daily? When you look at how some wives behavior towards their husbands and household, you really have to ask where is the virtue? 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Post Pregnancy- My Body/My Child

Source: http://siklusair.com/pregnant-with-7-babies-keepingkidssafenow




There are many things about pregnancy that people talk about (the birthing experience, the pregnancy glow, the baby etc), but there is one thing that persons might not elaborate so much about and that is the post pregnancy body. Now I have to share something because my pregnancy caused some transformations in my body that I did not mentally prepare for. For one thing, I was so excited, body and looks were the last thing on my mind. Secondly, I really did not think it would happen to me. It was my first child and my skin seems really good. Most of all though, I really thought that after the baby, with a few exercises and dieting, I will get right back to where I was. After all, I looked at some my friends, spoke to a few people and it is like they didn't even have a child. I mean after a few months, they went back to their original state. So believe me when I say I got a surprise of a lifetime and it put me in a state of mind, where I constantly have to speak positive things to myself. Let me tell you my story....

As soon as I found out that I got a confirmed pregnancy from the doctor, I purchased my olive oil and shea butter and I started to grease/oil down like a pig. I remembered a friend of mine told me that her mother-in-law said that  this was what she did throughout her pregnancy and she did not see one stretch mark. Well in spite of all the oil, I oil down, when I entered the latter part of my second trimester, I started to see some tiny lines. I thought to myself, that was nothing. By then, my nose had already gone up a size, my skin was probably 2 shades darker (it went up) and pimples had taken over much of my neck, chest and back. I was not worried or did I care. I was pregnant. I remembered saying to my husband, it did not matter what this child did to my body, We are having a baby! So when I weighed the last time and realized I was over 200lbs, it did not bother me. I hate seeing unnecessary fat and so I knew I'd get it off (or so I thought). When my feet became swollen and I remembered a teacher friend said to me a few years  back, expect your foot size to go up one foot after a baby, it still did not bother me. My feet were  small (7/7 1/2) so what was one size up. Then I had the baby and time began to pass, but the impact of the pregnancy was still upon me.

I began feeling depress. I felt ugly and unattractive. The weight gained went down drastically with breastfeeding, except in the tummy (where it matters most). The fat there is sooo stubborn. As I did a c-section, I could not "tie down" within 3 months or start any exercise until I was granted permission from the doctor. Still, even when I was given the go ahead to exercise, my schedule was so busy with the new born that I could not fit it in. When I lie on my back, my belly skin shake like jello. After months of stretching, there was excess, stretched marked skin. Then there was the navel. For 'umteen' years, ever since I know myself, I had an inverted navel. I loved it. It was what we referred to as sexy navel....the type fit for a bikini. Well my bikini days have ended, over, done. So I revisited my doctor. I wanted to know how soon after a baby, your navel went back in ( it was already passed 3 months for me). I found out that normally it goes back in almost immediately, and that I had a hernia. I was told I need to do a minor surgery  to repair the hernia (I was tired of surgeries...I had one for the fibroid, one for the baby and now needed one for the hernia). I said to myself I'll wait a little and I am still waiting, but I found out that an inverted navel does not just look good when exposed, it also presents certain benefits when covered, like not poking out of your skin-fit dress or shirt. So I really do miss my navel.

It really is not easy. However, each day I gained strength by looking at my daughter. Every time, I would asked myself, would you have preferred a sexy body over your child, which I know with all my heart, the answer to is no! With that, I would smile. It does not changed the fact though that many of us women are struggling with our post pregnancy body. Some of us have even been driven into post pregnancy depression because of an inability to come to grips with and rise above our physical image. Recently, I looked at a video about post pregnancy bodies and I know that as women we need to support each other. Here is the link that I think will make you feel a bit more comfortable with yourself... http://www.upworthy.com/this-photograph-sparked-mothers-to-show-us-what-their-post-baby-bodies-really-look-like?c=ufb1

Now I am still a work in progress and as soon as I can schedule my time effectively, I intend to get cracking with some directives to achieving an acceptable body image for myself. It might not be sexy according to the media or would it be my original state, but I would be able to look down at me and say Yesss! I did it!


Saturday, 17 May 2014

When you love your friends more than God...

Now there are some people on Facebook who are confusing me and I am convinced that they are the way they are because they choose friends over God. Have you ever read the status of persons, observed their statuses and what those they liked and it seems that one minute they are living for God and the other minute they are not? Are they as confused as you are with their life's directions? Does it seems to you that they seem to like statuses based on the relationship with those persons and who the persons are, rather than the status itself? I mean how can you agree with the statuses of your Christians friends who shared critical truths relating to the word of God and then with the same breath like the statuses of unsaved friends who are saying things contrary to the word of God?

Now I have no problem with persons having unsaved friends. I mean how else can we reach people if we shun them for most parts, except when we want to witness to them 
then we want to be buddies and are pretending that we have so much love to give. However, I believed that if you are truly living for God and you have a friendship with anyone who are living contrary to God's will and somehow they are influencing you into negative things more than you are influencing them into positive things you need to evaluate and 'simmer down' that friendship for the betterment of your life. Look at persons who backslide, do you think it is always a conscious choice...ohh Christianity aint have nothing to offer me, I am done... Rather, many of them follow friends. Strange enough, at times the friends are not even trying to influence you. They are just doing their thing and might even respect you for standing up for what you believe in, but you just choose to follow. You remember the saying, those who knoweth the right and doeth the wrong shall be beaten with many stripes (in fact I believed it is taken from the scripture Luke 12:47), well there is truth to it so when you make a choice of choosing friends over God, then be prepared to face the consequences.

It is a sad thing when we are afraid (it happened to me many times) to rebuke persons with their negative, filthy, pull down speeches because we do not want to affect our friendship with them, yet we are sick of what they are saying, know it is wrong and totally disagree with it. It is even worse when we smile with them in agreement and sometimes even support them in words and then later feel terrible within ourselves because we know what we did was wrong. In fact, it makes us highly hypocritical!!!

Monday, 24 March 2014

KEEP UP YOURSELF SO MI MOMMY SAY

When I was younger, I remembered hearing my mom spoke about how some of the girls in the community 'keep up themselves.' Whilst some may not know what it means, I am sure that many have heard it before. Essentially, if you get pregnant in your teens, you didn't keep up yourself. That would mean that you studied too many boyfriends and they not pay attention to your books. Once you pass 20, you are in a better light, but if with that age, you are educated and have a job, you have done well keeping up yourself. In fact, when my mom spoke, if you get pregnant after getting your subjects and having a job, while in your 20s, you keep up yourself, regardless of whether you married or not.

Keep up yourself, it would seem, comes with a mental focus on career, education and marriage. While in high school, you will hear a lot about getting pregnant, hardly little about sex, although implicitly, when you hear about keep up yourself, it really means 'don't go have no sex.' However, sex education  is not something I think a lot of Caribbean parents sit down and discuss with their child. In fact, I kept thinking how uncomfortable it would have been if my mother had ever sit me down to talk about it and I am glad that I understood clearly what she meant by keep up yourself without having the actual 'talk'. 

As you become more mature, your focus on keeping up yourself is more so for you, rather than disappointing your parents. You may start thinking about education and career and wanting to be totally independent. For me, my motto was, "me na go depend pon no man fi nothing." Maybe it was because of all the things I heard my mother said, for example, "man nah give nothing, fi nothing." Whatever the case, my dream was to have a good career (which I am still searching for) own a big house on a hill (which me na get yet) and never married (which me done do). Still, for most parts I am extremely content with what I have accomplished today, how my life has changed and would arguably state that "Keep up yourself" is a good phrase to live by.

Recently however, I began thinking how, so often, we can forget about certain aspects of our lives by focusing extensively on one thing. I realised that hasn't it been for my health issues, I would have still been childless, trying to finish my PhD before making that decision. I heard stories about persons who when they were ready for other parts of their lives to fall in place, it was, in some cases, impossible because they waited to long. I started wondering, can you keep up yourself too long? Maybe not, but I came to the conclusion that in everything we do there must be balance. Do not find yourself too much to the extreme of certain things. Do not put yourself in the position to live with regrets. Therefore, I say to you these two two things:

Firstly, there is a time for everything under the sun. If you are in high school, stay focus on the goals at hand

Secondly, Strike a balance, but make good choices. If you are in a career or at college/university, consider the other parts of your life. It might be the need for a spouse, a home, a family, a child etc Whatever the case, put a plan in place because one thing I know, age does not stand still while you seek to accomplish the different things in your life. Do not have all the degrees in the world, the best job and maybe even riches only to live a life of regret by later realizing one less degree accomplishment, one less career success would have been much better if  it would have given you time to have a family.