Northern Drive to St Lucy

Northern Drive to St Lucy
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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Comments on Exocoetidea


Oft in childhood recollection
of the beach
many pleasurable moments
the mind did reach
roaming the shores
of Half-Moon Bay
naked bodies all splashed
with foaming spray
while on hillsides
donkeys brayed

So many wonders
of the Caribbean Sea
feet all wet
and silver sands
on the knee
as bleachers
and bathers
from far and near
with their kith and kin
the trees of coconut
with water that is very clear

Fisher folks have come
to throw their nets
as agile as ever
with no regrets
to harvest,
these flying fish

floating in hot sauce 
this is Bajans' delight.

They hurled those nets
in frenzy array, so... 
the aerobatics
are on disply in the air
and the flying fish battle rages

Callaloo plays the game
so... unfai!

Cou-cou on the stove top
dripping with okra strew...

Cou-cou done...

Stands on plate
waiting for flying fish
to land
while the wives of fishermen
young and old
are crying every Easter morn
not knowing
what next they must do

 The war of words is too profound
For the gilded heads
so they seek the lustre 
of the ocean bed
in preparation
for...the eminent flight...

They quickly surface
the water
for viewers in sight
leaping like a frog in midair 
then down again
with valour
and power

These grasshoppers
of the sea now disappear...

Resurfaced again without dread...

Their pectoral fins outstretched
they soar like a jet
the down with the nosedive

and they are very wet... 

With submarine topography
on the ocean floor
a thousand feet below or more
such fervid flight incomplete

For now they sleep
in a tropical ocean
that is so very deep

Far... Away... 
from nets
and noise fishermen do keep

 This social commentary poem is written in Free Verse. It is about a fish that has not only broken the ostentatious flying record but has created Flying Fish War of words between two Caricom islands that broke out in 2003. This war is between the “Land of Flying Fish” and the “Land of the Humming Bird”. This fish is from the family of Exocoetidae abundant in tropical and subtropical areas of the Pacific and the Atlantic and Indian oceans. They feed primarily on zooplankton that consists of animals, including corals, rotifers, sea anemones and jellyfish. Zooplankton is primarily found in surface waters where food resources are abundant. The predators of the flying fish are the dolphin fishes, tunas, billfishes, cetaceans and the pelagic sea birds. This species of fish broke the established record of 42 seconds set by fish that can fly in 2008 off the Coast of Yakushima Island when it established a flying record of 48 seconds. However, flying fish don’t actually fly like birds, they glide, but they do have wings. These wings are large pectoral fins that allow them to soar above the water at fast speeds to escape from predators. Flying fish are small fish with the shape of a herring, and silvery-blue seen jumping in and out of the temperate waters of the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Barbados is known as the “Land of Flying Fish” and Trinidad and Tobago is known as the “Land of the Humming Bird”. From the time Barbados became an inhabited island the flying fish was caught in nets by fisher folks in the waters of Barbados and this fish is a Barbadian delicacy. The flying fish is central to Barbadian culture. It’s featured on coins, stamps and menus where one have it baked, fried or steamed. It is purported that Barbadians taught the folks in Trinidad and Tobago the art of how to fillet flying fish in preparation for the dinner table and they in turn taught Barbadians how to prepare roti. The folks in Trinidad and Tobago never really appreciated this fish until their economy hit rock bottom when their oil-booming era collapsed in the early 1980’s. Their economy experienced negative growth of 26 per cent in 1983, 10.8 percent negative growth in 1984, negative 6.5 per cent in 1985, and negative 5.1 per cent in 1986; continued negative growth was estimated in 1987. This decline in their economy caused the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, George Chambers in 1983 to state unapologetically that “the fête is over”. I experienced this decline in their economy while a college student in Trinidad. Since that time I have been a regular visitor to the Twin island Republic and as a CXC Examiner during the period 1980- 2002.

When the oil prices collapsed the economy in Trinidad and Tobago, they sought to revitalize their agriculture and fishing they neglected during their oil-booming years. Trinidad and Tobago turned their appetite on flying fish. So in 2003 this Flying Fish War of Words broke out between the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Barbados. Minister Eastmond from Barbados had the compelling task to resolve the conflict with several meetings with officials in Trinidad and Tobago with intended purpose to bring back flying fish to Cou-cou land from the beds in Callaloo country. He left office in 2011 without being able to bring an end to this fishing conflict still simmering. Now Prime Minister Freundel Stuart in 2013 is still negotiating a proposed fishing agreement with Trinidad and Tobago that would ensure flying fish return to Barbados their true lover. So during the 34th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Port of Spain, Prime Minister Stuart stated “that we should have a protocol in place that sets out the steps to be followed to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is not compromised and that Barbados is not compromised and that fishermen and their families are not destabilized as a result from actions that may from time to time have to be taken in Trinidad and Tobago; we have not had a Fishing Agreement since about 1990. We’ve done not too, too badly without it, but we have to remind ourselves; I think it is very often forgotten that the word agreement means not what one person wants, but what two or more people consent to”. Barbadians are hopefully optimistic that regional integration initiative will solve the Flying Fish War of Words.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Comments on "Errol Walton Barrow, the Statesman"

Errol Walton Barrow, the Statesman

Found island a garden of villages,
Father of Barbados' Independence,
And plantations steep with British linkage.

1950, Barrow with contestants
Campaigned with vigor, for the St George seat
Which he captured, the House felt his presence.

Lawyer/economist was hard to beat
His platform, for progress and for reform;
The other side of the aisle was his meat.

Veteran of WW2 did transform;
The evil laws that ruled this great island;
That flowed with colonial chloroform.

The folds and wrinkles on the land he ironed
Out, left by self-serving occupiers;
From his vineyard, fruits we eat have ripened.

The poor no longer seen as pariahs;
By invaders surfing with blue-box gang;
The poor with the rich now are land buyers.

On his legacy Barbadians cling;
This independence needs no queen or king.

The poem “ Errol Walton Barrow, the Statesman” is about a Barbadian who gave Barbados it own flag, the “Broken Trident” and placed the “Union Jack” on the Barbados Museum’s shelve. He was no ordinary politician, he was a statesman who managed Barbados from a macro level and saw the relevance of Caribbean countries in the evolving geo-politics.

Historical facts revealed that Errol Barrow served in the Royal Air Force during World War II. He enlisted in the RAF on 31 December 1940 and flew some forty-five operational bombing missions over the European Theatre. By 1945 he had risen to the rank of Flying Officer and was appointed as personal navigator to the Commander in Chief, Sir William Sholto Douglas of the British Zone of occupied Germany. After the war he studied Law at the Inns of Court and economics at the London School of Economics concurrently, taking degrees in 1949 and 1950 respectively. He also served during that time as Chairman of the Council of Colonial Students where his contemporaries included Forbes Burnham, Michael Manley, Pierre Trudeau, and Lee Kwan Yew, all destined to become political leaders in their home countries.

He returned to Barbados in 1950 and was elected to the Barbados Parliament in 1951 as a member of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Feeling the fever of anti-colonialism he had inculcated during his student days in London, he quickly became dissatisfied by the incremental approach to change advocated by the party stalwarts. In 1955 he founded the Democratic Labour Party as a progressive alternative to the BLP. He became its leader in 1958 and the party won parliamentary elections in 1961 within his constituency of St. John. Barrow served as Premier of Barbados from 1961 until 1966 when, after leading the country to independence from Great Britain, he became Prime Minister. He served continuously in that capacity as well as stints as Minister of Finance, and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the next ten years. During this period he had lengthy affair with American musician and civil rights activist Nina Simone, who had fled to Barbados to avoid prosecution for tax resistance.

During his tenure the DLP government accelerated industrial development, expanded the tourist industry to reduce the island's economic dependence on sugar, introduced National Health Insurance and Social Security, and expanded free education to all levels.

Barrow was a dedicated proponent of regional integration, spearheading the foundation of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) in 1965. Eight years later CARIFTA evolved into the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), when Barrow, together with Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago and Michael Manley of Jamaica enacted the Treaty of Chaguaramas to bolster political and economic relations between the English-speaking Caribbean territories.

After another landslide victory in 1971, the DLP returned to the electorate in 1976 for a mandate after two years of bitter controversy over constitutional amendments put forth by the government. Barrow, who had invited public comment on the amendments verbally lashed out at those who had been critical of what he viewed as a minor procedural change in the appointment of judges. A general economic downturn which affected most countries in the hemisphere contributed to a shift in public sentiment resulting in the party's election defeat. As an indomitable advocate of Caribbean sovereignty he fiercely opposed interference in Caribbean affairs. As opposition leader in 1983 he spoke out forcefully against the United States invasion of Grenada and he was scathing in his criticism of other Caribbean leaders who kow-towed to Washington in the hope of getting economic handouts:

“Mr. Seaga (Prime Minister of Jamaica, Edward Seaga) thinks that the solution to Jamaica’s problems is to get President Reagan to play Santa Claus. I do not believe in Santa Claus.”

In May 1986, after 10 years in opposition, Barrow was re-elected as Prime Minister in a landslide victory in which the DLP won 24 of 27 seats in the House of Assembly. The campaign was notable for an address he gave at a political rally some two weeks before the election which came to be known as the "Mirror Image" speech. In it, Barrow rhetorically asked Barbadians what kind of a future they saw for themselves when they looked in the mirror; contrasting a life of menial labour as an émigré in the developed world, or staying and building a strong and independent Barbados to rival other small states like Singapore. His re-election served as a catalyst for resurgent nationalism in the region, which by and large had subordinated itself to U.S. aid policy in the early 1980s. Barrow wasted no time in distancing himself from the "mendicant mentality" of his predecessors J. M. G. Adams (who was the son of Sir Grantley Herbert Adams the Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation formed on January 3, 1958 and was dissolved on May 31, 1962) and Bernard St. John. In his first press conference as Prime Minister he referred to Reagan as "that cowboy in the White House". In a British interview he characterized the President of the United States as "a zombie; he's programmed, a very dangerous person".

He chastised Washington for its treatment of not only the Caribbean states, but also of Canada and the United Kingdom, which he described as Barbados' closest allies. His political opponents deemed his attacks on Reagan as "tactically stupid", but for most Barbadians his outspokenness meant that "The Skipper" was back. A year after his re-election, Prime Minister Errol Barrow collapsed and died at his home on 1 June 1987, becoming the second sitting Prime Minister to die in office. By an act of Parliament in 1998, Barrow was named as one of the ten National Heroes of Barbados.  His sister, Dame Nita Barrow, also became a social activist, humanitarian leader and later Governor General of Barbados.

Indeed, Wikipedia has factually depicted the political career of Sir Errol Walton Barrow, the man I have known ever since I was given the right to vote at age 21 in 1964 though I never voted for him because my voting station was in Saint Lucy where the Democratic Labour Party candidate was Sir John Eustace Theodore Brancker who was adored by a substantial number of folks in the constituency of Saint Lucy who kept returning him to the Barbados Parliament for all the years he represented the Parish of Saint Lucy a Democratic stronghold ever since the birth of the Democratic Labour Party. Sir Theodore Brancker, the politician and lawyer fought for black rights, particularly suffrage, while a member of the Barbados parliament from1937-76. Saint Lucy was always a safe-seat for Theodore Brancker as he was affectionately called by the StLucyans.  He was born on February 9, 1909 and died on April 25, 1996.

The illustrious career of Sir Errol Barrow, who was the Leader of the Democratic Labour Party, influenced the creation of this social commentary poem “Errol Walton Barrow, the Statesman”, the First Prime Minister of Barbados. It is written in the Terza Rima format. consisting of tercet verses in iambic pentameter in English poetry. It uses an interlocking rhyme scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, and so on. This poetic form was created by the Italian poet Dante Alighiere in the late 13th century. He organized its structure with  five options [5]. Option five defines the structure of this poem where use is made of a rhyming couplet at the end of the last stanza, with the end-rhymes not rhyming with the end-rhyme of the second verse of preceding Tercet as shown in the excerpt below of the last three stanzas of the poem.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Comments on Errol Barrow Day

Errol Barrow Day

Today is a special day in Bimshire;
Birthday wishes rekindled with great cheer;
Joyful Bajans have all come out to spree,
On this special day filled with lots of glee;
Bells of praises are ringing through the land;
With thankful hearts, Bajans honor this man
Errol Barrow, who wore more than one hat;
A true statesman and a real democrat
Barrow, the Father of Independence;
And yet on his birthday of remembrance;
We speak of him through poems, songs and dance;
Independence for us, left not to chance;
This pilot, Prime Minister naturally;
He brimmed with affections eloquently.

Occasional poetry is often lyrical. Lyric poems typically express personal emotional feelings and are traditionally the home of the present tense. They have special rhyming schemes and are often, but not always, set to music or beat. Poets whose body of works featured occasional poetry that stands among their highest literary achievements include Pindar the Ancient lyric Greek poet from Thebas, Quintus Horatius Flaccus known as Horace who was the leading Roman lyric poet, Pierne de Ronsard, the French poet whom the French called the “prince of poets”, Ben Jonson the English poet, John Dryden the English poet, John Milton the English poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe whose body of works include lyrical poetry, William Butler Yeats the Irish poet and the French poet, Stéphane Mallarmé whose real name was Étienne Mallarmé.

In the 18th century, especially in Germany, occasional poems were often written by women. In the 19th and 20th centuries, news papers in the United States of America often published occasional poems, and memorial poems for floods, train accidents, mine disasters and the like were frequently written as lyrics in ballad stanzas. The most publicized occasional poem in first decade of the 21st century in Western World, was the free verse poem “Praise Song for the Day” composed and read by Elizabeth Alexander at the inauguration of President Barack Obama of the USA in 2009 before television audience which averaged, according to news reports, averaged thirty-seven point eight (37.8) million people.

Poetics of the occasion is where poets use verse to tell of things that have been. This poetic stance is what separates poets from historians who use prose to tell of things that have been. However, occasional poetry must not go too far afield from accurate representation of the facts, but must invest heavily in what immediately and actually occurred, and the onus is on poets to search out the inmost kernel and meaning of an event and most importantly determine the prevailing moral and ethical considerations, a position put forward in Hegelian aesthetics by the German, Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel in his philosophy of Fine Arts.

Occasional poetry whether composed for every day persons in the community or persons holding public office or have held public office, this type of poetry is written to commemorate single events or anniversaries, such as birthdays, founding or dedications.  The poem “Errol Barrow Day” falls into the category of public occasional poem. It pays tribute to the birthday of Sir Errol Walton Barrow which falls on January 21 a public holiday in Barbados. Sir Errol Walton Barrow, PC, QC was born on January 21, 1920 and died on June 1, 1987. His birthplace stands at the Garden a rural cottage on a small plantation which overlooks Maycocks in the parish of Saint Lucy, Barbados. Born into a family of political and civic activists in the parish of Saint Lucy, he was educated at Harrison College. He represented the parish of Saint John throughout his political career in Barbados, his constituents kept returning him as their representative. If any politician in Barbados had a secured seat in the Barbados House of Assembly it was Sir Errol Walton Barrow, the First Prime Minister of Barbados. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Comments on Dragonflies Are Back

Dragonflies Are Back

We know when the sun takes its hiatus
Buckets of tear drops we see pouring down;
Hedgerows get pregnant with beds of cuscus;
Grassy pastures are laced with much cow-down
Firewood amassed for homes not in town;
The gurgling sounds of gully streams pulsate
For all sorts of insects to conjugate;

Country life is a blissful way of life;
It fills serenity's cup to the brim,
From crack of dawn and beyond sunset blithe;
Eden comes in full view with an awesome gym,
Nature's store-house of gifts for us, from Him;
Despite stiff competition we endure,
Nature holds the keys to unlock fate's door.

No blazing cane-fields to cause frustration,
But this scene over the pond to the west,
Caught my attention and adoration;
Aquatic insects hover at their best;
These dragonflies are back at Sunset Crest
Freely mixing mystic power with grace,
And kites with anchors can't keep up their pace.

With devil's eyes disguised, they prey and prey
On wings of light, long before the ice age;
From prehistoric mist, they've come to stay
With varied names to stump an astute sage;
Dreadful names, but do we find cause for rage?
Whether in damsel wear or dragon suit;
Insect hides they tan them in hot pursuit.

Adonately loved by folks everywhere;
They flaunt their beauty, life histories and
Amazing acts while mating in the air;
They search for pond water throughout the land
On which they lay eggs in the vast expand;
Hating mosquitoes’ unhealthy lifestyles
These cute dragonflies feast on them with flies.

All these dragonflies we respect greatly
In the West Indies, and across the sea;
And Japs adore their martial arts daily.
Look at this dragonfly shot Gregg sent me;
Such a perch it poses for all to see
Its bodily colors, flagging rainbow;

And in its perch its frame lights up the show.

Rhyme Royal advocates the use of seven heroic or iambic pentameter verses with the first stanza rhyming ababbcc; other stanzas that follow would have this rhyming pattern where the first and third verses rhyme; the second, fourth and fifth verses rhyme; the sixth and seventh verses rhyme. "Dragonflies Are Back" is structured in accordance with the rules for creating a Rhyme Royal poem.

Poetry archives do show that Chaucer first made use of the Rhyme Royal structure in his long poem, Troilus and Criseyde and The Parliament of Fowles. He used it for four of his Canterbury tales as well. Here is an extract taken from his works:

Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1343-1400)
       Excerpt from The Parliament of Fowls

A garden saw I, full of blossomy boughs
Upon a river, in a green mead,
There as sweetness evermore enough is
With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red,
And cold well-streams, nothing dead,
That swimming full of small fishes light,
With fins red and scales silver bright.

On every bough the birds heard I sing,
With voice of angels in their harmony;
Some busied  themselves birds forth to bring;
The little conveys to here play did hie.
And further all about I could see
The dread filled roe, the buck, the hart and hind,
Squirrels, and beasts small of gentle kind.

 My initial reaction to Rhyme Royal was to think of it as the preferred format for Kings and Queens who wrote poetry. My insight, was not too far-fetch for sure the archives stated that James I of Scotland used Rhyme Royal for his Chaucerian poem, The King is Quaire, hence the name, Rhyme Royal. Other historical icons who have used Rhyme Royal in their poetic creations come to mind; John Lydgate used it for many of his occasional and love poems. Shakespeare used it for the Rape of Lucrece. This form continued to be popular well into the 20th Century. It was used by W. H. Auden in his Letters to Lord Byron. Here is an extract of the last two stanzas of Auden's poem to Lord Byron:

Letters to Lord Byron

I know - the fact is really not unnerving -
That what is done is done, that no past dies,
That what we see depends on who's observing,
And what we think on our activities.
That envy warps the virgin as she dries
But Post coitum, homo tristis moans
The lover must go carefully with the greens.

I hope this reaches you in your abode,
This letter that's already fat too long,
Just like the Prelude or the Great North Road;
But here I end my conversational song.
I hope you don't think mail from strangers wrong.
As to its length, I tell myself you'll need it,
You've all eternity in which to read it.

(W. H. Auden)

The poem “Dragonflies Are Back” is written in the “first person-plural point of view”. The poet or narrator is in conversation with the audience; this is so because of the collective pronouns we, us, our,” being used in this poem as shown in these excerpts from the various stanzas:

“We know when the sun takes its hiatus”
“Nature’s store-house of gifts for us, from Him;
“Caught our attention and adoration:
Dreadful names, but do we find cause for rage?
Dragonfly fauna we respect greatly

Point of View (POV) answers the question poets ask themselves; ‘who shall be part of this conversation’. In “Dragonflies Are Back” The poem’s voice is collectively, that of the poet and the audience. The poem begins with a conversational tone, talking with the audience in a friendly mode, and continues like this to the end. Also there some intimacy between them by way of the poet sharing photo gift of a dragonfly received from a friend with the audience. Clearly in this maneuver, there is a healthy connection between the poet and the audience at a personal level as portrayed in the imagery. Poets tend to take an ordinary experience and change it into an unusual experience for readers, by introducing thoughts which alter readers experience and allow them to see unusual or even unique aspects of the poet’s real life. The mood portrayed is emotional. Not many poems are written in first person-plural point of view from what I have seen, and quite often when they do, they tend to sound didactic in tone. In fact, poets tend not to write in first person persona for this tend to label poets as having  narcissistic tendencies, a label no one in their right mind likes to wear. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Comments on " Dems were Bees were Dems"

Dems were Bees were Dems

Dems were Bees, Bees selected them
the best feeders seeded the bees’ nest
expelled renters kept the whey
flexed knees wheeled self-respect
speech defects depressed the rest
extend the scheme when verses rhyme
Dems were Bees the Bees helped them
Bees were Dems they then vexed them
let see, help me see
Dems were Bees then Bees were Dems
these speechless freezers deflected rejects
see the mess deep stress
when Bees leet leer Dems’ leg byes leery
ledge between Dems when Bees were Dems
we speechless
the eye-lens bent when levee level the ley
Press help repress then secede them
deflected rejects see the mess deep stress
when rebels’ legends wheedled the free press
deeds reflected the embezzlement
they resented the mere rhymes we expressed
never defend them, when leery deeds emerged them
free press smell Dems’ feet between the Bees
plenty Bees see vexed Dems
when nested Bees, never flee
Dems were Bees, Bees were Dems
Bees see themselves entrenched
when the press crested members’ senses
spent sperm less seeds between the trees
the eyes see
hewers’ hex behest between
when Dems bedded Bees they wed
creepy greed
they set the cresset
then creeps’ speedy jeeps deflected 
jeez! they fled

This poem “Dems were Bees were Dems” is written in Free Verse with no punctuation marks or capital letters only when appropriate like names assigned to people or places. Free Verse is poetry characterized by non-conformity to established patterns of meter, rhyme and stanza. It is also referred to as “Open Form” or “Unstructured Poetry”.  This poem has utilized a technique called constraint writing where the poet is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern. “Dems were Bees were Dems” is written in the constraint style called univocalic poetry. I was inspired by two univocalic poets the likes of C. C. Bombough and Christian Bok.

In 1860 C. C.Bombough wrote a univocalic poem where the only vowel used was the “o”. Here is an excerpt from his poem:

No cool monsoon bow on Oxford dons,
Orthodox, jog-trot, book-worm Solomons

The Canadian poet, Christian Bok who I suspect is bilingual speaker (of English and French) used the univocalic structure in his poetry book Eunoia, Chapter E for René Crevel where only the vowel “e” is used in words. Here is an excerpt of his work arranged in prose poetry format:

Enfettered, these sentences repress free speech the
text deletes selected words we see the revered exeget
reject metred verse; the sestet, the tercet – even les
scènes élevées en grec. He rebels. He sets new precedents.
He lets cleverness exceed decent levels He eschews the
esteemed genres, the expected themes – even les belles
letters en vers. He prefers the perverse French esthetes:
Verne, Péret, Genet, Perec – hence, he pens fervent
screeds, then enters the street, where he sells these
letterpress newsletters, three cents per sheet
He engenders perfect newness whenever we need fresh terms.

Prose poetry is characterized with rhythmic, aural and syntactic repetition; compression of thought; sustained intensity and patterned structure but is set on the page in a continuous sequence of sentences as in prose without line brakes.

Constraint poetry in the form of the Univocalic verse caught my attention. I saw it as a way to poke fun at “crossing the floor” trend in Barbadian politics by members of both parties – The Barbados Labour Party (BLP referred to the Bees) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP known as the Dems).The univocalic poem in this regard is called “Dems were Bees were Dems” and the whole composition uses words with the vowel “e” only.

This “crossing of the floor” happened in the Barbados Labour Party as well as in the Democratic Labour Party.  “Crossing the floor” is not unique to Barbadian politics; history has shown that in the British House of Commons Sir Winston Churchill crossed the floor from the Conservative Party to the Liberal Party then crossed back to the Conservative Party. “Party-switching” is the term used in American politics and means any change in party affiliation of a partisan public figure, usually one who is currently holding elected office; and connotes a transfer of held power from one party to another.

In the United States’ dominant two-party system, records show that the switches generally occur between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, although the archives have revealed that there have also been a number of notable switches to and from third parties, and even between third parties. Documented party switches in modern era politics of the United States of America show that the majority of switches came from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the southern most states. In New England, the Great Lakes states, and the coastal states switched from Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Politicians who cross the floor or switch parties would have the people believe that they did so from an ethical obligation, because they feel their views are no longer aligned with those of their current party. Some politicians cross the floor or ditch their party for an opportunistic reason but they wouldn’t say it that way. Those opportunistic politicians usually belong to a minority party and would cross the floor to join the majority party to gain the advantages of belonging to such a party. However, the most important reason why politicians switch or ditch their party is to get elected.

I tend to believe that politicians share common characteristics; they expect absolute loyalty from voters at the polls, and think ceaselessly about the next election cycle. Politicians’ hunting ground opens vehemently during the “silly-season” and their tactics are so very profound – slashing and burning; coaxing and embracing then distancing; hugging and kissing; shame finds no roots during the silly-season and for the most part the populace is hypnotized or drunk, their senses on hiatus.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Comments on "Dee Park"

Dee Park

That bloody park is found across the road
Vagrants exploding in every mode
Mongooses and green monkeys roam
Toads paddle in twisted foam
Tainted colors explode
Where foul scents abode
In land-filled loam
Ants decode
When gloam

(April 2006)

Genre      -               Syllabic Poetry
Form       -               Free Verse
Tags        -               Gothic imagery, decimeter

Comments on - Dee Park

The poem “Dee Park” falls into the genre of free verse but with some conditions placed on it. You are puzzled by this statement, no doubt. It is free verse because it does not comply with rules that apply to fixed form poetry. As long as poems do not comply with rules governing closed form poetry they fall into the category of free verse or open form poetry.

This poem glides along on syllabic count in which each line must adhere to a specific syllable count, and the length of the poem is restricted to ten lines as shown below:

Line       1          =          10 syllables
Line       2          =            9 syllables
Line       4          =            7 syllables
Line       5          =            6 syllables
Line       6          =            5 syllables
Line       7          =            4 syllables
Line       8          =            3 syllables
Line       9          =            2 syllables
Line     10          =            1 syllable

There comes a time when a poet feels compel to write dark poems, perhaps as a way to maintain equilibrium or to confront catharsis. Dark poems not only feed on such morbid images portraying death, suffering, and erosion of society’s moral compass but about anything with a dark twist. Dark poems are cathartic in nature and Gothic by birth. Gothic poetry or Gothic horror merges elements of horror and romance. “Dee Park” is a short poem and falls into the category of a modern Gothic poem. The imagery painted leads the mind to thinking of those obnoxious, pesky creatures bundled with sense of polluted waters and vermin like ants excavating the loam in the dusk for whatever reasons cannot be pretty, for dark deeds tend to be prevalent in the haunting silence of the night. Gothic foot-prints are evident in “Dee Park”. 

Among  my favorite American poets, Edgar Allan Poe  is in the loop and he wrote Gothic poetry as seen in his poem “Alone” shown below.


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.

From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.

Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:

From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,

From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

(Edgar Allan Poe)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Comments on Dreaming


Mighty sot and sweet are those words my love,
Sailing through time on the back of a mouse,
With wings of magnet on a pure white dove.

From somewhere, out there in the galaxy;
Fraught with megabytes f time, on our hands;
We have come with immense expectancy.

Your smiles, cards and roses you have sent me,
In glowing emoticons and siggies;
I understood perfectly, your sweet plea. 

Our love has reached the highest spatial plan;
Two spirited hearts, meshed so very well
In cyber land, that’s where it all began. 

This dream of ours very soon will come true,
As we exit the rolling, blue meadows,
To speak, face to face, the words I love you.

 With internet crashes and weird attacks,
Waiting here on Cloud Nine been mighty long;
Come, come Jack; to Silver Sands to relax.

 Dream all you can until the morning’s wee;
Cyber love is the weirdest of all things;
Catching the real McCoy, you pay no fee. 

“Dreaming” belongs to the poetic class called Lyrical Poetry. When poets write emotional rhyming poems and their themes explore romantic feeling or strong emotions, essentially what they have created fall into the realm of lyrical poetry. Reading lyrical driven poetry, the rhythmic beat has song-like attributes.  In addition to exploring romance as the focal theme, lyrical poetry is written with stanzas of three verses, where the end rhymes have two rhymes enclosing a blank verse. This arrangement has created what is known as an “enclosed tercet” with a rhyming pattern aba; the length of each verse must be in iambic pentameter.  The poem “Dreaming” has met these fundamental requirements as for example, shown in the first two stanzas of the poem:
                                                                        Rhyming Pattern:
Mighty soft and sweet are those words my love,          a
Sailing through time on the back of a mouse,               b
With wings of magnet on a pure white dove.                a
From somewhere, out there, in the galaxy;                   c
Fraught with megabytes of time, on our hands;            d
We have come with immense expectancy.                    c
This rhyming pattern called rhyme scheme insists that the first verse rhymes with the third verse throughout the various stanzas of the tercet poem. A tercet poem has stanzas made up of three verses.
“Dreaming” is a social commentary poem made up of septet stanzas. Seven verses make a septet. The imagery in this poem, points to love being solicited on dating platforms in cyber land. The aura of finding love in space is romantically captured in the first six stanzas and last stanza being the spoiler, as the delusions of grandeur raises its ugly head on these cyber lovers so much in love.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Comments on Daffodils


The long cold days and nights have taken leave;
See those sequin drips of spring on the ground;
The gentle rain upon those buds supply;
They open their eyes; see birds perched on boughs;

Narcissi at my feet blow their trumpets;
So dependable and easy to grow;
They rebuild themselves for the next year spring;
By asexual and sexual means;

Beneath those trees lies a carpet of green;
A cushion and a seat nature brings,
For the graceful drift of daffodils’ hues;
The scenery all around is complete.

These springtime guests do stand nobly in line,
With cheery nodding heads fully aglow,
Filling gardens, vases and those grassy banks,
With yellow, orange and white point to sky.

They herald in the joys that springtime brings;
Their trumpets too signal summertime thrills;
Blooms of daffodils caught my attention;
They flaunt their beauty in blazing sunlight.

As we celebrate our place in nature; 

Daffodils show God's love for all mankind;
And as a symbol of human condition,
Teaching how to be happy and share love.

(April 2006, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

My first experience of spring in the Southern Hemisphere was September of 2004 in North Island, New Zealand. Of course, in the Northern Hemisphere I experienced all four seasons of the year in England, Canada and USA in my youthful days where I buried my head in my studies at College and University. I didn't pay too much attention to plants and gardens as I do now that I'm an Erdiston College Tutor Emeritus. It was awesome to experience sub-tropical climate having been used to tropical climate in my native Barbados. The first flower that drew my deep attention and admiration one early spring day in Orewa, New Zealand of 2004 was the golden daffodil. I have never seen this flower before only its picture that accompanied the poem "Daffodils" by William Wordsworth taught to me as a pupil in Elementary School in Barbados before the island gained independence from the Union Jack.  This trumpet shaped flower has profound beauty and comes in multiple colors, but I adore the golden ones. I was told by a Kiwi that the daffodil is a perennial flower that blooms from bulbs during the spring and that they are the first sign of spring. Though describing this flower as being a narcissus, the point was made that it symbolizes spring, rebirth, new beginnings and friendship. In describing the daffodil it was clear to see nature as a reflection of God. 

During my first spring in Ohio, USA in 2006 the daffodils were every where the eyes could see, so I said to myself why not take pictures of those in my sister's garden with the camera I purchased two years ago from Dick Smith Electronics in the mall at Orewa. So here am I sharing that picture with you here on this blog. Then, as a back-drop I penned this poem that celebrates the daffodils and mused about my connection with natural world using perception and experience. This I did drawing from the skills of a nature poet whose functions are to document the outdoors and interprets what is sensed and experienced. My poem I present to you, though not written in the style of Williams Wordsworth poem "The Daffodils" I gladly share with you. It is written in Blank Verse also known as Blank Form. It uses a regular metrical pattern in iambic pentameter verses with end-stops but no end rhymes. Blank verse and Free verse are often misunderstood or confused.  A good way to remember the difference is to think of the word blank as meaning that at the ends of verses where rhymes would normally appear are "blank", that is, devoid of rhyme; the "free" in Free Verse refers to the freedom from fixed patterns of traditional versification.

Punctuation marks work differently in poetry than in other forms of writing. In poetry, punctuation marks are used not so much for grammatical correctness but rather for effect. The poet selects the type of end-spot that corresponds to the length of pause desired. When a long pause is desired the full-stop is used. When a short pause is desired the comma is used and the semicolon is used for a pause that is longer than comma but not as long as a full-stop. In poetic craft, the full-stop, question mark, and the exclamation mark are placed under the category long pauses, whereas, the comma, semicolon, the ellipsis and the dash are placed under the category of short pauses. The poet is mindful that a punctuation mark, or the lack thereof, can change meaning and add depth to the poem; so that is why the choice of ending is considered with the uttermost care.

The most common forms of end-stops in poetry are the comma, semicolon, question mark, exclamation mark, the dash and the ellipsis. These end-stops are clear pointers of the poet’s involvement in the “stage management” of the poem as it were. The poet tells readers of the poem where to pause and when not to pause. End-stops in a poem slow down the pace in the reading of the poem, whereas the enjambment accelerates the pace. The end-stop is the opposite of enjambment which will influence the reader to move along to the next verse without pausing. 

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Haiti Under Rubble from 7.0 Earthquake

Natural disasters whenever and wherever they occur impact on all of our lives. The Good Book says we are our brothers and sisters keepers lead by the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must do our part when disaster shows its ugly face. Any assistance, great or small, given from generous and loving hearts has equal weight. I'm passing on this information I received that Barbadians can go to First Caribbean Bank to donate to the Disaster Relief Fund for Haiti. The banking information is shown below:

First Caribbean Bank Account--2645374-- Cheques can be written to: HELP #2645374

For more information click on this link

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti.

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