Poem introduction

This poem is about my birth. My grandmother, my mother's mother, was at my birth - she gave me my name after her husband who had recently died in a sudden accident.

My Arrival

My Arrival

Showing the creature I landed
I slipped from my mother's womb
flesh connected, laced in a blood-spatter.

My father waited with a bottle of rum.
The moon floated somewhere.
The sea drummed and drummed our coastline.
Mullets darted in wooded steams.

A good night to end our labour - Saturday.
The country-midwife held me up,
'Look. Is yu third boy child!'
My mother asked, 'Him all right?'

'Yes - all eyes, all ears.
Yes - all hands, all feet.'
My mother whispered, 'Thank God.'
My granny said, 'My Jim-Jim.
My husband! You come back?'

I slept.
Roosters crowed
all around the village.

In the sun's hot eye
my umbilical cord was dressed
with wood ash, castor oil and nutmeg
and buried under a banana-sucker.
There, a tree made fruits, all mine.


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

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James Berry

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1Folk Proverbs Found Poems

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2Rough Sketch Beginning

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3Just Being

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4Spirits of Movement

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5My Arrival

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6Night Comes Too Soon

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7Chain of Days

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8A Schooled Fatherhood

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9Early Days Thinking Is Only So Much

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10Defendant in a Jamaican Court

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11Villager's Independence: 2

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12Haiku Moments: 1

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13Flame and Water

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14Boolooloops

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15Ol Style Freedom

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16Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

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17Words at My Mother's Funeral

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18Haiku Moments: 3

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19In God's Greatest Country, 1945

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20Old Man in New Country

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21In-a Brixtan Markit

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22Lucy's Letter

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23Thinkin Loud-Loud

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24It's Me Man

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25Starapple Time Starapple Trees

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26On an Afternoon Train from Purley to Victoria, 1955

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27New World Colonial Child

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28Benediction

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