This helped me to reflect on Jamaica’s sad history, and the sacrifices of our ancestors. It has been in my mind all day, above the platitudes of the politicians and the post-colonial pomp of the National Awards Ceremony at King’s House – this beautiful, bright morning.
The colonel’s face turns to mist, the tasselled-horn trembles in his hand
before he raises it to his lips and hears a goat’s faint wail -
thin like straw grass he blew as a child at the foot of the Blue Mountain.
They will come soon, the old people, to the village centre, with no memories,
mist in their eyes, their mouths parched at the once-a-month ceremonial meeting.
This is how culture dies, the colonel sighs, watching as smoke goes through the leaves,
joining the horn’s call, all one echo; nothing from Cudjoe, or Queen Nanny,
neither long-head Accompong; the smoke is just smoke,
but a flight of blackbirds burst from the treetops.
He lowers the ranking ram’s horn, and says, At least some still runaway.
With permission from the author.
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