My Will

Son, my will,
albeit premature
when the palm readers
for me an extended
life line.

Besides who knows what
worth bequeathing
I could acquire
before the life line
inches to the darker side
of my hand.

But, for a start,
the gift of song,
this sweet immediate source
of release was not given me
so I leave it for you in the hope
that God takes hints.

Then the right to call
all older than you
Miss, mister or mistress
in the layered love of our
simplest ways,
eat each day's salt and bread
with praise,
and may you never know hungry.
And books,
I mean the love of them.

May you like me earn good
but just to be sure,
love books.
When bindings fall apart
they can be fixed
you will find
that is not always so
with friendships.

And no gold.
Too many die/kill for it
besides its face is too bold.
This observation is the last
I give:
most times assume
a patina a shade subdued
so when you bloom they
will value it.

'My Will' from I am Becoming My Mother (New Beacon, 1986), © Lorna Goodison 1986, used by permission of the author and New Beacon Books.

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1I am Becoming My Mother

2Guinea Woman

3For My Mother (May I Inherit Half Her Strength)


5Letters to the Egyptian

6The Road of the Dread

7Tamarind Season

8Songs for My Son

9My Will

10The Mulatta as Penelope

11'Mine, O Thou Lord of Life, Send My Roots Rain'

12Keith Jarret - Rainmaker

13'I shall Light a Candle of Understanding in Thine Heart Which Shall Not Be Put Out'

14This is a Hymn

15Heartease I

16Heartease II

17To Us, All Flowers are Roses

18After the Green Gown of My Mother Gone Down

19My Mother's Sea Chanty

20Heartease New England 1987

21Recommendation for Amber

22On Becomming a Tiger

23Turn Thanks to Miss Mirry

24To Mr William Wordsworth, Distributor of Stamps for Westmoreland

25Aunt Rose's Honey Advice

26Morning, Morning Angel Mine

27Farewell Wild Woman

28Island Aubade

29Ode to the Watchman

30The Wandering Jew and the Arab Merchant on the Island of Allspice

31Passing the Grace Vessels of Calabash

32So Who Was the Mother of Jamaican Art?


34Controlling the Silver

35Bam Chi Chi La La: London 1969

Books by Lorna Goodison