Helen and Her Sister Haiti A theological re ection on the social, historical,
economic, religious, political and national consciousness with a call to conversion.
"Father St. Rose's collection of poems captures the rich, vibrant African and European heritage of the Caribbean culture and landscape. Part I of the collection pays homage to the beauty of his native St. Lucia in a praise song to Helen. e collection proceeds to chronicle the development of the nation from the post colonial era to independence and ends with the protest poetry genre which captures the problems of developing Caribbean societies in the twenty- rst century. He weaves a ne tapestry of Greek mythology, and religious imagery infused with Creole folklore and poignant social commentary. e collection explores timeless themes of West Indian identity, independence, neocolonialism, politics and modernization. His use of poetic form with its strong emphasis on repetition, the cadence of the speaking voice and the powerful protest poetry genre re ect the pulsating rhythms of the society and the poet's undeniable passion for his art and the Caribbean community."
Contributed jointly by:
Laurima Jacobs Assistant Lecturer, Department of Language and Communication, Sir Arthur Lewis Community College Ria St. Ange Bachellor of Arts (English Literature) MA Human Resource Management, Barbados
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)|
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Helen and Her Sister HaitiA theological reflection on the social, historical, economic, religious, political and national consciousness with a call to conversion.
By J. Lambert St Rose
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 J. Lambert St Rose
All right reserved.
O Helen, Spartan's princess,
goddess of trees and of nature,
glamorous and gracious woman,
spouse of Menelaus,
O treacherous spouse,
a stony heart possessed you.
You conceived thy princess death.
Yea! But beauty and majesty seduced your soul.
Turned your heart from stone to flesh,
A princess' life was spared.
Her beauty and majesty
have conquered your soul.
May Helen of the West
share your beauty and majesty,
and may these seduce her Spouses,
wrench their stony hearts,
melt them into hearts of flesh.
Let Helen live!
Let Helen live for ever!
Helen glided onto the stage.
Her majesty drew the audience to its feet.
Thunderous applause filled the room
And continued persistently.
Echoes and shouts of appreciation of Helen's beauty
drowned the existence of the world outside.
The ethos of the drummers' beat ebbed away like puffs of smoke.
Helen was the center of attraction.
The drums rolled!
Helen swirled around;
She captivated her audience at every turn.
From the depth of their souls she unleashed
a quest for more of her beauty.
The ethos of Helen permeated with unspoken clarity.
A presence impossible to ignore,
and worthy of deep admiration.
Her headgear like the majestic piton
perched like a crown over her forehead.
Like a reflection of the rainbow over the pitons
punctuates the ascent of her face.
Her gold earrings hang like chandeliers,
glittering in the light of night,
bedazzling even the silhouettes lingering in the dark.
Her red lips parted like a sliced apple
revealing her radiant and glittering teeth,
her smile throws the audience into convulsions of desires
her dark, glowing eyes bid everyone welcome
as if to say, 'Hospitality, my virtue.
Come! Bask in my warmth and sunshine,
immerse your being in crystal blue waters.'
Draped in her madras
she is no less than a reflection of the noonday sun
in a pitch blue, cloudless sky.
Her extended arms like parasols,
her robe, like a canopy, spacious enough to house everyone.
Helen's beauty charms those both young and young-at-heart.
Within her domain they overtly yearn to be,
forgetting the God-forsaken freezing cold of
and the East.
On her shores they'd love to live
basking in her sun and sand.
to sing her songs,
and dance her dance.
To the rhythm of the drums her body quivers in anticipation
her feet, as nimble as the pen of a scribe.
Like an angel she swirls around embodying every beat,
Name it, Helen is queen of the dance
she is queen of the beat.
Helen is truly the queen of beauty,
the queen of the West Indies.
I am a Caribbean woman.
I am not Spanish
I am not French
I am not English,
I am a luscious Caribbean woman.
My womb has borne sons and daughters of many nations
I am a metropolitan woman of the Caribbean,
a woman of a special flavour
unique in character and temperament.
A Caribbean woman.
Created in the Caribbean for the Caribbean
Paradise of the Caribbean,
A priceless gem, a jewel of the Caribbean.
Baptized by Spain
Surnamed Sainte Alouzie
Married fourteen times,
Divorced fourteen times
Seven times married to France;
Seven times married to England
Surnamed St. Lucia,
Seven times English,
Seven times French.
My pet name is Helen.
My name is Iouanalao Helen Sainte Alouzie-St. Lucia.
Everyone says I am "simply beautiful."
Lucian at Home
I love my identity.
I love my nationality!
I was born with the right to my identity!
I was born with the right to my nationality!
God's gift to a people,
not the bestowal of the colonists,
those predators of unsuspecting nations.
So too is my identity.
Do not rob me of it.
For I am proud of them both:
my identity, my nationality.
My country gave me birth,
she is my mother,
she nurtured me,
she fed, clothed and housed me
her name is my nationality.
It is to her, I owe honour and loyalty,
it is for her that I must shed my blood.
It is for her I must give my life.
It is her name I must bear,
like her seal on my heart.
My mother, my patria, péyi mwen.
My mother's tongue, you have treated
You have dreamt dreams of its demise.
But alas! It has survived every onslaught of history,
the onslaughts of colonialism, old and new.
Like a hero she has survived!
she is celebrated!
Kwéyòl la, i la pou wété,
anyen paka twjé'y.
Sa sé tjé manma nou.
You chastised my song
my dance, my music,
my costumes, my celebrations,
my acts of worship,
all for you were
mere acts of vulgarity and barbarism.
You have robbed me of my national symbols,
stripped me of my festivals,
my ancestral traditional religion too,
culturally dislocated me from my ancestors
and have imposed your own traditions,
your own culture.
My language you have desperately attempted to disfigure
and you belittle my intelligence if I speak her tongue.
You have stripped me of my self-esteem,
my identity, my nationality.
But, my soul can never be disfigured.
For you can rob the poor of his nothingness,
deprive him of his purse, and enslave him.
But can never imprison his consciousness
never limit the power of his soul of its traditions.
Kwéyòl sé langa manman mwen.
Sé Sent Lisi mwen fèt.
La mwen batizé
la mwen fè pwèmy Kominyon mwen
Ko masyon mwen
lékòl mwen osi.
Twadisyon mwen, kilti mwen,
sé kilti Sent Lisi.
Did you say, British?
I am Lucian!
I was born here;
not in Britain.
A citizen of the Caribbean.
Forget what passport say;
England is not my mother,
she did not breastfeed me,
no, instead England sucked my ancestors' breasts,
she milked them,
but never nursed them.
You brainwashed colonists:
Do not steal my honour.
Do not steal my identity,
Do not steal my nationality.
I have the right to my freedom;
the right to be independent,
the right to be St. Lucian,
Wheresoever I may roam,
I will love my Island home.
Helen's little Siberia
Doused with verdant mountains
She wears the relic of her womb
like jewels in her crown.
And when the snow birds fly again,
Their nests they add as jewels too.
Like an abandoned queen,
From riches to rags reminiscing her days of glory
In a decaying kingdom
So is Helen's Valley of corrugated steel
Tainted, brown, grey
Shadowing skeletons of a dying kingdom
A Termites' Paradise
the last vestige of a dead kingdom.
A cleric sang her final requiem,
Witnessed her burial,
expedited her resurrection,
erected a temple-like tomb upon her throne.
Outside her tomb
A lone Chaudière serves as her epiphyte.
Now a victim of nature's saline spew
Her estate, her heirs
Are at the mercy of this saline spew
Tanning them into Schwarzeneggers
Their candid friend and foe
My first pastorate, my home
Five years, not of exile
But of holistic pastoral and social development
An open university of rites and rituals,
Of love, toil, sweat, laughter
and tears never to be forgotten.
A place I will carry always dear to my heart.
I remember Agatha stumbling up Flora Villa,
always inebriated, mumbling:
"Mewn ka hope Fadda pa la,
Si I la mwen asiwé mwen pakay wivé
an kay la épi ti kawozine mwen-a."
Agatha was both blessed and cursed
with a marshmallow conscience,
one that was too easy to pry into.
Lost in her drunken stupor.
Lost in her illicit love affair.
Oblivious of her environment,
at the most vulnerable moment
I asked: 'Why was the motochristio squeaking last night?"
Without a thought she said:
"Fadda ou wété jis ici-a èk ou tann sa.
Mwen té di Aback pas fè sa paski mounn kay tann nou"
Notorious for the extra length
of her flying missiles, always at large.
Under the influence of her toxic brew,
they never missed a beat of the village rhythm,
flagging their way through the air.
One evening she was being prayed for
and her name reverberated through the village.
Without a second thought she bolted into the Church
'Fadda look me. I am present.
Bondyé, Fadda when I hear "Mary Tété," I jump,
I say look God looking for me.
Fadda, what I do, eh?'
A public confession followed:
Mwen té Kabwé-a èk mwen tan Mary Tété
Mwen lajé vè rom-a èp pwan pati kwi.
Ki sa fè an?
Jack, the village misogynist and chauvinist beyond compare,
He passionately begged his victims to tremble,
do not cry, do not shout.
Others for his flirtiest pleasures, he rode them like mules
and named them Jahliners, endearing mules.
His wife's last farewell, a beating which made onlookers
Say: "Bouwo, ou oblijé mò mal."
Their prediction came swiftly;
He met his untimely demise by fire.
Chade, Piper and Tutumar:
The villager worriers
Chade's mother had threatened
He would never see land again the day he stepped into a canoe.
For several years, they swore to remain on dry dock.
Then one fatal day they took their final sail.
The task was mine to celebrate their final requiem.
Chade spoke the Queen's English with a passion
deadlier than any man of letters.
Mrs. Malaprop, I argued, must have been his mother.
Piper was the pirate of the gang
Tutumar, the Chinese of the lot.
His eyes slim and narrow,
he never spoke a word, smiling always eyes shut tight.
Raymond The trembler
Stumbled into my office one afternoon,
just to say hello, I guessed.
Fidgeting, biting his lips,
His eyes darting like rockets,
swaying like bamboo in the wind.
All under the compulsion of the toxic brew, I guessed.
Which made him think I had magical divine powers
Ou jis konèt Mary Tété
É é Fadda ou oblijé sé an gadè
Koumanyè ou sav mwen ka wété épi Mary Tété?
Oops! It was an unprovoked confession, I swear.
The Women's Alcoholic Association
Asosiasyon Sé Kukumayok-a
At the first sign of agony or unconsciousness,
members gathered like vultures.
Their ritual was quite simple: a silent vigil.
Praying for Bazil's arrival before the night was over.
The most invincible group of people I've ever met.
They expected everyone else to die,
but never a member of their association.
They lived to celebrate death.
But the roll was called up yonder
and Ti Mawi's number was called:
panic struck at the very heart of the association.
At the funeral,
members venerated the coffin;
they knelt one after the other, all,
and whispered a secret word to the deceased.
I thought Good Friday was celebrated that mid-July afternoon.
The next morning, Macvay,
a member of the association crumbled into a coma.
Agatha came pelting down Flora Villa,
dodged into a shortcut
and landed at the main entrance of the church.
Her arms raised up to heaven,
She cried out aloud:
"Lord, help we; yesterday a sister died,
today another one is dying. God preserve us."
I was summoned to anoint Macvay.
Other members had preceded my arrival.
They all greeted in unanimous chorus:
"Fadda, help we non, please.
Ask God to protect we."
Macvay was anointed.
Minutes later Macvay regained consciousness.
About mid-morning Annette was intercepted
on her way to the Kabwé.
I asked her,
"Where are you going to?"
She answered in a pure Bajan accent,
"De sister doh dead again,
I goin' and freshen up."
When Macvay recovered, I invited her
to church to thank God for her recovery.
"Ou té twop kopawézon.
Mwen pa té mandé pyeson pwédyé ban mwen.
Ek lè mwen mò pa fè pyes lètèman ban mwen;
mwen pa biswen Bondyé."
She died insisting the same
and her wishes were granted.
Excerpted from Helen and Her Sister Haiti by J. Lambert St Rose Copyright © 2011 by J. Lambert St Rose. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsTable of Contents....................v
List of Sketches....................xi