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January 23 , 2009

Rainbow and the Rose


  NOW that I've nearly done my days,
  And grown too stiff to sweep or sew,
  I sit and think, till I'm amaze,
  About what lots of things I know:
  Things as I've found out one by one –
  And when I'm fast down in the clay,
  My knowing things and how they're done
  Will all be lost and thrown away.

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Playing with Languages

Over several generations villagers of Dominica have been shifting from Patwa, an Afro-French creole, to English, the official language. Despite government efforts at Patwa revitalization and cultural heritage tourism, rural caregivers and teachers prohibit children from speaking Patwa in their presence. Drawing on detailed ethnographic fieldwork…

  There's things, I know, as won't be lost,
  Things as folks write and talk about:
  The way to keep your roots from frost,
  And how to get your ink spots out.
  What medicine's good for sores and sprains,
  What way to salt your butter down,
  What charms will cure your different pains,
  And what will bright your faded gown.

  But more important things than these,
  They can't be written in a book:
  How fast to boil your greens and peas,
  And how good bacon ought to look;
  The feel of real good wearing stuff,
  The kind of apple as will keep,
  The look of bread that's rose enough,
  And how to get a child asleep.

  Whether the jam is fit to pot,
  Whether the milk is going to turn,
  Whether a hen will lay or not,
  Is things as some folks never learn.
  I know the weather by the sky,
  I know what herbs grow in what lane;
  And if sick men are going to die,
  Or if they'll get about again.

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