Jamaican English

Recorded by Warren Grant


Put yuh ears to di grung-
an ear di shouts ah rottin skin,
Di clash ah smihit an wheel right,
twist an stretch ah di rope maka.
Yuh eye dem ah guh sting wid di scent
Ah wood smoke, run wid di bite
Ah ammonia from foetid wee wi.

Long unda all ah dis runs
Di mark ah Boudicca’s revenge
inna di tin, red slice ah bun iron;
splitting a line ah ash an clay
layered inna di stones and tiles,
wood, old fires and bones.

Now squeezed by Nawt and Sout
Inna it mud-soft lined canal;
Di river once nurtured Neanderthal,
Homo Sapiens; lonely itinerants
drifting by fi half a million years.

Di fuss hut 15,000 years ago,
now tun city ah a myriad tongues
Dat ten on all who come –
hunta, fama, an di dispossessed.

Jamaican English. Translated by Kelvin Minot

© Anthony Fisher March 2016