As a child I have always had a fascination with nature- I would look to the horizon for the rising of the sun, then follow it till the sun sets. I watched the moon come out in pieces and full, and collected the stars in my imagination to form my own constellation. The rainy season was the best time to look at patterns being formed by clouds. We only have two seasons on the Island of St. Lucia; wet or dry. Here’s what I found in an old exercise book – a few poems related to my experiences with the earth.
O Rain Fall was an ode poem that I wrote begging in a prayerful manner for the rain to fall.
One day in a particular year- I can’t remember the exact year, but it was most probably when my two sisters and I were about 10-14 years old respectively.
The government declared that there was a possibility of a drought and that everyone had to conserve water. For days no rain fell, the stand pipes for government free water dripped for long agonizing minutes, and carrying water as a young girl was not my forte; climbing up and down hills to haul buckets of water on our heads or to carry two buckets in each hand was a sure killer, and most times my sisters and I had to carry enough water to fill up a medium or large size metal drum or barrel.
The many trips were grievous, and so to make it lighter, we would pause to pick mangoes, steal guavas from the neighbor’s yard, or try to open dry coconuts which had just fallen.
Special Mark is a bitter-sweet relationship with an aspect of nature- a poem which I wrote a couple of years after my sister got a gash in her flesh which left her with the most unique natural tattoo on her upper-backside. The mud was our playground, especially after the fresh rain. We took countless showers when the rain was at its heaviest: we played in it, we danced in it, and we made mud toys from it. Our mud was clean and beautiful brownish or reddish clay-so it was no surprise that children growing up in my era, especially in my yard- took the pleasure to embrace the mud during and after the rain. In a few days after the rain stops, and the cloud cleared off completely by the blazing sun, the mud would turn creamy and then really hard causing different kinds of creativity. One day while we were teenagers, my third sister and I decided to take part in mud slides. First, you had to get a strong branch that would carry your weight down the hill, or if you were fortunate like other kids you got a piece of shinny and smooth old vinyl carpet that someone threw out to skate on. During one of our mud skating expeditions, my sister sledded off what she was skating on and landed on a sharp rock or root that cut her deeply on her backside, tattooing her for life. (Wish I can show a photo here.)
Before the Rain Came was my perception of how I saw and felt the rain coming.
I loved looking out to the horizon. Fortunately, the house my mother rented was on a hill which overlooked the harbor, and we saw on a daily basis when the fishermen boats would go out and come in; when the cruise lines, yachts, or ships came in and of course, left. We heard the bellowing sounds of the great ships when they were harbored. The word horizon was part of my vocabulary ever since I remembered describing mountain tops, or the sun rises in the east or sets in the west. It seem to have been the famous word among the fishermen too. The clouds, I was told, can give indication as to whether the sea was laden with fish or not; otherwise, was it worthwhile that the fishermen go out to sea. Will there be gentle rain or torrents? Is a storm or hurricane boiling somewhere? The older people read the clouds like meteorologists, they knew. And what’s that smell?-No one could have described the smell of the rain before it came, but yes, we smelt it! I felt that I could’ve eaten the rain before it had fallen.
O Rain Fall
O Rain fall.
Fall like you’ve never fallen,
Fall that our tears may flow with your many waters.
O Rain fall,
Fall that the mountains be drenched in your power,
Fall that the valleys be overwhelmed in your abundance.
O Rain fall!
Fall that mankind may see beyond their inner mind that you
Are supernatural, fulfilling their everlasting desires;
Without you they shall creep into the dust:
Searching, pounding, wishing, that he had just one drop
Of your strength,
Then can he learn to save you.
O rain your time to fall is beyond his time;
You are supreme, so burst those clouds
Now, rain fall
So our tears may flow with your many waters…
jjf (c) 2016
Before The Rain Came
A silver lining stretched itself upon the calm sea
The setting sun reflecting like a mirror
Upon portions of the deep blue water
The clouds drifted like a phantom with pale expressions
While lazy ships drifted into the harbor with all precaution
No hustle or a bustle
While the small heads of the fishermen can be seen in the distance
They are coming to port for the fish had stopped flying
One glance and the palm trees no longer swayed gently
The ships were gone
The fishermen were in
Beyond the dull horizon; beyond the pale sky and grey sea
Clouds descended like un-scrubbed aluminum
Once more the force of the rain penetrated the calmness of the sea
Moving fast, drenching the entire Island in one colossal coat
The only music heard was the cacophonous sounds of the objects
Beating under its drops
Once more the eyes were closed to sleep.
jjf (C) 2016
Can you remember
The times that you played beneath the sugar apple trees
Skating on its golden leaves
Crushing them into the dry thirsty earth
Eating of its fruit which kept you filled for a day
Can you remember
The times you played beneath its greenly shade
Jumping on its delicate leaves
Deeping them into the creamy mud
Wishing it bore your favorite fruit
Of course you remembered!
The season was not yet
Even when you gazed up high
And then waiting became a game…
Only your tears flowed to water the pain
You bore from the teeth of the earth
Which left you with a special mark of childhood
Edited & written by jjf (c) 2016