THE DUST* (For George Lamming)

But that isn’t all!
You remember that story Gran’ tell us ’bout May

No! What nother fuss

Well it seem that
They have a mountain near hey
That always smokin’ an’ boilin’
Like when you belly got bile.
What you sayin’, chile!
But is
Now how you
Know! Any
Body live there? You
Know any-
Body from there who Live out near here?
Besides, where
Exactly you say this place is?
That isn’t you biz
Ness! Besides,
Is miles an’ miles
From the peace o’ this
Place an’ is
Always purrin’ an’ pourin’
Out smoke. Some say
Is in one o’ them islands away

Where they language tie-tongue
An’ to hear them speak so
In they St. Lucia patois
ls as if they cahn unnerstan’
A single word of English.
But uh doan really know. All uh know
Is that one day suddenly so
This mountain leggo one brugg-a-lunq-go
Whole bloody back side
O’ this hill like it blow
Off like they blastin’ stones
In the quarry.

Rocks big as you cow pen hois’
In the air as if they was one
Set o’ shingles. That noise,
Jesus Christ, mussa rain down

Splinter an’ spark
As if it was Con·
But you int got to call
The Lord name in vain
To make we swallow
This tale! It int nice,
Olive, man!

It is true!
An’ the Lord God Know that uh sorry.
But it black black black From that mountain back
In yuh face, in yuh food,

In yuh eye. In fac’,
Granny say, in de broad Day light, even de white
O’ she skylight went out.
An’ if you hear people shout! How they can’t find the way
How they isn’t have shelter
Can’t pray to no priest or no leader
An’ God gone ‘an darken the day!
Gran’ say that even the fowls in the yard Jump back pun they coops when the air Turn grey an’ the cocks start to crow
As if it was foreday mornin’.
It went dark dark dark
As if was night
An’ uh fright·
En, you know,
When uh hear thing so
Is make me wonder an’ Pray: ’cause uh say
To meself: Olive, chile, You does eat an’ sleep An’ try to fuhget
Some o’ de burdens
You back got to bear; You does drink, dance.