Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tribute to Miss Lou

Island of laughter

[Tribute to Miss Lou1 1919-2006]


I heard that once there was an island

full of hope, good people and laughter

they worked hard, sweat, smiled and sang.

Poverty and bad politricks kept people down

but you gave them all superiority and highness they needed.

Yes, they say you were the unquestioned queen of that island

showing them the dignity of their doing with a smile and a joke and a laughter.

They say you laughed and cheered in good mood till the end.

From the forties to the new millennium

your rhymez worked its magic

whenever an audience was present

and your voice was allowed to speak out.

How would I love to hear and see you perform!

But no, I am too late.

Yes, too late.

I noticed you too late.

The hint I got is (c)old.

Only a grave I can visit

only a flower I can send

wrapped in cheap paper

and some lines scribbled on it.

And the lines go like this:

All a dem poets

all a dem singer

all a dem rasta

all a dem tella

tell a dem story

bout you

All a dem poems

all a dem songs

all a dem chants

all a dem rants

tell of you glory

Miss Lou

All a dem uman

all a dem man

all a dem children

sing in praise

hands all raise

chants of grace

riddim an pace

to you

All a dem people

all a dem tellies

all a dem stations

all a dem nations

still in praise

of you

Miss Lou

And with a likkle dancehallstyle

and a likkle ranting time

I say hello and goodbye to you

queen of the Island, Miss Lou.

1 Louise Bennet-Coverly was the first Jamaican poet performing and writing in patois and thereby giving rise to the fecund oral poetry from Jamaica to Black Britain, Canada and many other places where a Caribbean community has found new roots.

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