Poem introduction

This poem tries to put down on paper another aspect of childhood and it's eating things and drinking and smelling and hearing and all that.

Childhood Tracks

Childhood Tracks

Eating crisp fried fish with plain bread.
Eating sheared ice made into 'snowball'
with syrup in a glass.
Eating young jelly-coconut, mixed
with village-made wet sugar.
Drinking cool water from a calabash gourd
on worked land in the hills.

Smelling a patch of fermenting pineapples
in stillness of hot sunlight.
Smelling mixed whiffs of fish, mango, coffee,
mint, hanging in a market.
Smelling sweaty padding lifted off a donkey's back.

Hearing a nightingale in song
in moonlight and sea-sound.
Hearing dawn-crowing of cocks, in answer
to others around the village.
Hearing the laughter
of barefeet children carrying water.
Hearing a distant braying of a donkey
in a silent hot afternoon.
Hearing palmtrees' leaves rattle
on and on at Christmas time.

Seeing a woman walking in loose floral frock.
Seeing a village workman with bag and machete
under a tree, resting, sweat-washed.
Seeing a tangled land-piece of banana trees
with goats in shades cud-chewing.
Seeing a coil of plaited tobacco
like rope, sold, going in bits.
Seeing children playing in schoolyard
between palm and almond trees.
Seeing children toy-making in a yard
while slants of evening sunlight slowly disappear.
Seeing an evening's dusky hour lit up
by dotted lamplight.
Seeing fishing nets repaired between canoes.


from Only One of Me (Macmillan, 2004), copyright © James Berry 2004, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

James Berry - Children's Poems

James Berry Reading from his poems for children

1Caribbean Playground Song

£0.89

2Jamaican Song

£0.89

3Childhood Tracks

£0.89

4Seeing Granny

£0.89

5Rain Friend

£0.89

6Trick a Duppy

£0.89

7Everyday Music

£0.89

8Seashell

£0.89

9Earthworm and Fish

£0.89

10A Nest Full of Stars

£0.89

11Isn't my name magical?

£0.89

12A Story about Afiya

£0.89

13When I Dance

£0.89

14The Barkday Party

£0.89

15Action Images

£0.89

16Scribbled Notes...

£0.89

17The Adding Up of Birthdays

£0.89

18Somewhere! Somewhere!

£0.89

19Wild Whistling Woman

£0.89

20Skeleton Sisters

£0.89

21The Quarrel

£0.89

22Together

£0.89

23Singing with Recordings

£0.89

24Postcard Poem: Solo

£0.89

25Duppy Dance

£0.89

26Getting Bigger Rap

£0.89

27Mek Drum Talk, Man

£0.89

28People Equal

£0.89

29What Do We Do with a Variation?

£0.89

30Okay, Brown Girl, Okay

£0.89

31Everywhere Faces Everywhere

£0.89

32Teach the Making of Summer

£0.89

33Listn Big Brodda Dread, Na!

£0.89

34Innercity Youth Walks and Talks

£0.89

35The Boy-Don Rap

£0.89

36A Toast for Everybody Who is Growin

£0.89

37Gobble-Gobble Rap

£0.89

38Light Fabric

£0.89

39Bye Now

£0.89

40Goodbye Now

£0.89