THE DUST* (For George Lamming)

Evenin’ Miss Evvy,
Miss Maisie, Miss Maud, Olive,

How you? How you?
Eveie, chile?
You tek dat Miraculous Bush
Fuh de trouble you tell me about?

Doan keep so much noise
In de white people shop!
But you tek

Ev’ry night ‘fore uh gets
Into bed.

Uh bet-
‘Cha you feelin’ less
Poorly a’ready!

I int know, Pearlie
Man. Any
Way, the body int dead.

No man, you even lookin’
More hearty!
Then all uh kin say
An’ uh say it agen:
We got to thank God
Fuh small mercies.

Eveie, chile.

Eveie, chile.

An’ agen
I say is amen.

Miss Evvy, uh wants
You to trus’ me half
Pung-a-flour an’two
Cake o’ soap till
Mundee come wid de will
O’ de Lord

Write two
Cake o’ soap an’ half
Pung-a-flour in Olive black balance
Book fuh me, Maisie muh dear
An’ Olive

Is Doan fuhget ‘bout de
Biscuit an’ sawlfish
You daughter Marilyn
Come here an’ say that you wish
To tek out las’ month!
Mundee Dee Vee, uh settlin’
Up ev’ry brass bill an’ penny
That owin’ this shop, Miss
Olive muh dear.

Hey Mary!
You there?
I int see you there
Wid you head half hide
In de dark o’dat crocus bag. How
Darrington mule?

He still sicky-sicky. An’ now
I hear dat de cow
Gone down too. It int give no milk
Since las’ Tuesdee.

Is de pes
Tilence, man.
Same kind o’ sickness,
Like wickedness, man, dis-
Favour de yams.

Is true, Bolinjay,
Spinach, wither-face cabbage,
Muh Caroline Lee an’ the Six Weeks, too,
Greens swibble up an’ the little blue
Leafs o’ de Red Rock slips getting’ dry
Dry dry.

Is de pes-
Tilence, man.
Mister Gilkes say is a test
O’ de times like the nine¬Teen fourteen an’ eighteen
War when they burn out ‘e balls
Wid dat yellowin’ mustard gas.
An’ if you as’
Me, there soon goin’
To be fresh wars an’ rumours Of wars. But is True.

The pes-
Tilence, man. You Int hear
The silence? Pastor
Say las’ night in the Chapel
That the Writin’ Han’ pun the Wall.