Hurricane Hits England

Hurricane Hits England


It took a hurricane, to bring her closer
To the landscape
Half the night she lay awake,
The howling ship of the wing,
Its gathering rage,
Like some dark ancestral spectre,
Fearful and reassuring:

Talk to me Huracan
Talk to me Oya
Talk to me Shango
And Hattie
My sweeping, back-home cousin.

Tell me why you visit
An English coast?
What is the meaning
Of old tongues
Reaping havoc
In new places?

The blinding illumination,
Even as you short-
Circuit us
Into further darkness?

What is the meaning of trees
Falling heavy as whales
Their crusted roots
Their cratered graves?

O why is my heart unchained?
Typical Oya of the Weather,
I am aligning myself to you,
I am following the movement of your winds,
I am riding the mystery of your storm.

Ah, sweet mystery,
Come to break the frozen lake in me,
Shaking the foundations of the very trees
within me,
Come to let me know
That the earth is the earth is the earth.

from I Have Crossed an Ocean (Bloodaxe, 2009), © Grace Nichols 1996, used by permission of the author c/o Curtis Brown literary agency.


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1To My Coral Bones

2In My Sea-House

3Our Cassandra

4Old Cane-Cutter At Airport


6Footprints of My Arrival


8One Continent/ To Another



11Sugar Cane

12Like A Flame

13Night is Her Robe


15Old Magic

16In my Name

17This Kingdom


19Price We Pay for the Sun

20Praise Song for My Mother

21Like A Beacon

22Island Man


24Wherever I Hang

25The Assertion

26The Fat Black Woman’s Motto on Her Bedroom Door

27The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping

28Tropical Death


30Thoughts drifting through the fat black woman’s head while having a full bubble bath

31Small Questions Asked by the Fat Black Woman

32Sleeping Out


34Sun is Laughing

35Come on Into My Tropical Garden

36Wha Me Mudder Do

37Granny, Granny Please Comb My Hair

38For Forest

39Hurricane Hits England