Image by Caroline Forbes

Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

James Berry


Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

James Berry


Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

I didn't think I shouldn't be hungry
I didn't think of government
I didn't blame my father's husbandry
everything was just as it was

I didn't think a bellyful
of nothing was nothing
I didn't think I didn't deserve nothing
when there was food
there was everything
and there was a lot I knew

I knew we should bow
to the well-rounded people
bow to the best educated people
bow to the whitest faces
go to school breakfast or not
and that was just how it was
and that would have to be right

Our everyday business was havenots' business
and we worked and joked and played games
and laughed often as we could

And fruit-season or famine
or flood-time or drytime
everything was just as it was

And I didn't think that anything
was wrong or anything was right
that education and knowhow should be
a mystery like witchcraft

It was just as it was
and everything would have to be right


from Hot Earth Cold Earth (Bloodaxe 1995), copyright © James Berry 1995, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

James Berry Reading from his poems

1Folk Proverbs Found Poems

2Rough Sketch Beginning

3Just Being

4Spirits of Movement

5My Arrival

6Night Comes Too Soon

7Chain of Days

8A Schooled Fatherhood

9Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

10Defendant in a Jamaican Court

11Villager's Independence: 2

12Haiku Moments: 1

13Flame and Water

14Boolooloops

15Ol Style Freedom

16Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

17Words at My Mother's Funeral

18Haiku Moments: 3

19In God's Greatest Country, 1945

20Old Man in New Country

21In-a Brixtan Markit

22Lucy's Letter

23Thinkin Loud-Loud

24It's Me Man

25Starapple Time Starapple Trees

26On an Afternoon Train from Purley to Victoria, 1955

27New World Colonial Child

28Benediction