Friday, November 26, 2010

Love on a Small Island (poem)

Now dis here story is about a young woman
Who I met right here on dis island in de Caribbean.
Her name be Tamara and she pretty as a sultana:
I fell in love de instant I saw her.

By profession, the beautiful Tamara be a dancer
And she was dancing for some tourists de first time I saw her.
She was part of a troupe but she shone like a lone star;
Dere was a smile on her face, a flower in her hair.
Her smooth angelic hands swayed gently through de air
And she tossed her hips around like a belly dancer.
De way her reed skirt swished around set mi body on fire!

That night, I had de most terrible fever:
Either, I had fallen in love or I had caught malaria.
I still hadn’t spoken to Tamara ‘cause I was in a dilemma:
I was wondering how she would react if I told her I loved her.
If she accepted mi, I and I would be in clover
But if she said, “No”, I would explode like a volcano.

Next morning, while listening to de sound of calypso,
I pondered on what strategy to use in order to get Tamara.
I remembered in school de girls liked de love story by Shakespeare
So I decided to re-enact de balcony scene.
Shortly after dark, I appeared under Tamara’s bedroom window,
Completely prepared to lay mi soul bare,
But just then a billy-goat began to bray.
The situation worsened when I tried to shoo it away:
It turned out to be pretty brave and chased me around a coconut tree!
(Tamara just laughed instead of helping me.)

De very next morning, with a poem in my hand,
I went out looking for the queen of my heart.
Mi fever was really bad but I was adamant –
I wouldn’t rest until I had won over this daughter of Africa;
I was King Solomon and she would be mi Queen of Sheba.

I found Tamara and her troupe by the sea
And she looked real good, doing the hoola dance in a bikini
While a reggae band celebrated rastafarian roots and culture.
I took Tamara aside and told her that if King Solomon saw her,
He’d have to write ‘Song of Solomon, Part Two.’
I then proceeded to read de poem I had put on paper:
‘Roses be red, violets be blue…’
But before I could reach, ‘Tamara, I love you,’
I got real sweaty and passed out from de Babylon fever.
(Turns out I really did have malaria!)

Not to worry, mi brothers and sisters,
Collapsing turned out to be Jah’s blessing, not a disaster:
Sweet Tamara now daily takes care of me!
She visits mi every morning and again in de evening,
Checking on progress and stroking mi dreadlocks
As I lie helpless under a life-size portrait of Haile Selassie.
Truth be told, I got cured a week ago but Tamara doesn’t know -
I love de attention so much, I’m not letting her go.
Who says dere is no love in de time of malaria?

(c) Alex N Nderitu

Buy Alexander Nderitu's prose and poetry books at:

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