Christmas Eve, Mi Seh

It has been a grey and cool Christmas Eve in Kingston, with a fitful breeze and the smell of rain in the air…What we would call “bleaky.” So far, the Christmas season has been hard to negotiate (which is usually the case for me) but we took a delightful trip downtown on Sunday to see some great art and make a couple of purchases at the Kingston Creative event. I am sorry we could not stay for the jazz! 

Christmas purple at Terra Nova Hotel, Kingston.

This made me chuckle. It’s an original poem from academic and economist Dr. Damien King. He is also Chairman of Recycling Partners of Jamaica. You can find him on @DamienWKing on Twitter. He has no “reblog” button on his page, so I am copying and pasting it, and hope he doesn’t mind. Here is the link.

This is so perfectly Jamaican! I love the dry humor. 

Dr. Damien King (left), Chairman of Recycling Partners of Jamaica, with Dr. Carey Wallace, Executive Director of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, at this year’s International Coastal Cleanup Day – both organizations were sponsors and TEF is a great supporter of the Jamaica Environment Trust, by the way. (My photo)

Christmas Eve, Mi Seh

by Damien King

(with apologies and gratitude to Clement Clarke Moore for “Twas the Night Before Christmas”)

It was Christmas eve, mi seh, and all over di yard

you couldn’t see a soul, not even di guard.

No distant shots; one a di quieter nights,

And inside, a tree, wid trimmings and lights.


Di children had already gone to deir beds,

With little hope of presents as dey lay down deir heads.

Di tings I could afford, dem look too cheap,

So we sekkle down, to ketch some sleep.


Den, out by the gate, there was such a loud noise,

mi spring out a di bed, to cuss di corner bwoys.

ah rush to the window, pull di drape to one side,

by now me well vex, and open di window wide.


Expecting to see, a night dull and gray,

Di moon light up di sky, like seh it was day

When a blink two time, ah frighten fi si,

A old time carriage, and what look like donkey.


Wid a fat old white man, and di red suit, too,

Ah realize right away, is Santa fi true.

Mi never believe seh, is him one same,

‘Til him whistle and shout, and start call out dem name.


“Yow Dasher! hey, Dancer! gwan, Prancer and Vixen!

Yea, Comet! and Cupid! on Donner and String-Bean!

In no time at all, a jump, skip and a hop

Ah hear Santa seh, “is here we ah stop.”


And den, in a flash, dem land inna di yard

Mi fret shot a go bus now, ‘cauz dis area hard.

So ah close di window, to save mi own skin,

When through a next window, mi si Santa jump in.


Him dress up like winter, from foot to head top,

Him mussi never know, seh Jamaica so hot.

A whole heapa present, him have in a bag,

him look like a higgler, a walk and zigzag.


Him eye dem bright bright! dem look like sweetie!

Him face, white like sheet! him nose, otaheiti!

Den him have a pipe, and mi no wah mislead,

But mi know dat de smell; Santa like likkle weed.


Him put so much present, under di tree,

Ah couldn’t believe seh we get dem fi free.

Wid a big, wide smile, him quint him eye,

And before you coulda blink, out di window him fly!


“forward, String-bean”, ah hear him declare

And away dem fly, up in the air.

Den ah hear him shout, as him go outta sight,

“One love, Jamaica, everything’s gonna be alright!”


The Christmas tree at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston. (My photo)

6 thoughts on “Christmas Eve, Mi Seh

    1. Well, my name is not Colin and this poem wasn’t written by a Colin either! But to answer your question, the otaheiti is a kind of apple that grows in Jamaica – a native of the Pacific Islands, hence the odd name.


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