James Berry

Image by Caroline Forbes

Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

James Berry

Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

James Berry

Poem introduction

This poem was almost a kind of confession when on one of the occasions I'd gone back to my village and a man who had grown much older - he was kind of going over his life to me - I had come back from England and the essence of what he was saying was a disappointment about his life and what he had been. I called the poem 'Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Then'.

Words of a Jamaican Laas Moment Them

When I dead
mek rain fall.
Mek the air wash.
Mek the lan wash good-good.
Mek dry course them run, and run.

As laas breath gone
mek rain burst -
hilltop them work
waterfall, and all
the gully them gargle fresh.

Mek breadfruit limb them drip,
mango limb them drip. Cow, hog, fowl
stan still, in the burst of clouds.
Poinciana bloom them soak off, clean-clean.
Grass go unda water.

Instant I gone
mek all the Island wash - wash away
the mess of my shortcomings -
all the brok-up things I did start.
Mi doings did fall short too much.
Mi ways did hurt mi wife too oftn.

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


James Berry

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


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