Sunday, 27 April 2014


BBC Radio Scotland is presenting a series of programmes which are related to the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow this July.  It is called Commonwealth Poetry Postcards where, as the blurb says, there will be "a poem from every competing nation and territory sent to Glasgow for the Games, capturing the essence of who the people of the Commonwealth are today.'

I heard a charming one today [BBC website here] written by Esther Phillips, a retired teacher from Barbados.  The BBC website shows her photo plus her 4.38 minute audio presentation.  Her poem is below.


(on teaching an adult male to read) 

He trusted me to break

the word, crack each segment
open until the mystery expired.

Not so this morning;

he stared bewildered

at the board then back at me:

"I never t'ought dat word
could be so small... F-i-x,"
he mused, "dis word so small."

How could his daily toil
of hammer, saw and nails;
an old lady's reckoning
of last month's window
against the patching
of her roof this week --

how could her life of sacrifice
and his of labour, sweat
and boiling sun
be totalled up
in this small word? 

from The Stone Gatherer, Peepal Tree, 2009

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