A poem by the great Derek Walcott:
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer who published her first book The Whale House and Other Stories (Peepal Tree Press) last year. She is one of my favourite local writers, I am sure you will understand after reading the following passage, three extracts from her short story Earl Grey:
Sally is coming to tea, she is not arriving until four but Leah is nervous that she won’t have everything prepared. She has already cut the butter into the flour and is trying to think cool, calm, thoughts to keep her fingertips cold. But in the small kitchen, humidity coats everything with a damp film and causes her hair to stick to the back of her neck. She dips her fingers into the water bowl. The water is icy, the little silver chips melting around her hot fingers. She begins to handle the pastry mixture gently, touching it with the tips of her fingers. She keeps her movements light and soft, imagining a tender, flaky crust as she rubs the butter into a grainy mix. So much trouble for a pie.
[…] She’d never heard of quiche before she met Henri. Her mother baked sturdy pies with tough crusts, the kind that could hold a whole pot of guava stew and not buckle under the weight of the fruit. Pies that did not melt in your mouth but rather had to be cut firmly and chewed with a concentration that brought its own pleasure. She is kneading the pastry gently now but it falls apart, refusing to come together even though she adds little drops of the freezing water.
[…] Suddenly it is 3.30 and the quiche has become a monstrous thing. She ignored the instructions to blind bake the pastry and it bubbled and rose in the oven with a determination that surprised her. She has had to prick holes in the bottom to get it to lie flat in the pie dish. When she pours the egg mixture onto the crust, it seeps through the holes and pools around the edges. At 3.45 she is in tears, the quiche strangely misshaped and uniformly brown.
By John Agard
Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that’s the kettle, mate.
It’s not whether you lose
It’s not whether you win
It’s whether or not
you’ve plugged the kettle in.
May the kettle ever hiss
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation’s dream.
Long live the kettle
that rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.
Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops.
By Vladimir Lucien
The moth that enters
your house at night is a grudge
that someone is holding
against you. It half-sits, bothered
by your light and the roof
over your head. It spreads
its small evening wherever
it lands over the things
you love most. A dark tent
of dark intentions.
Vladimir Lucien is a poet, screenwriter and actor from Saint Lucia, his first poetry collection, Sounding Ground (Peepal Tree Press, 2014) won the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
Trinidad’s fourth annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest is over, but no need to cry! Luckily, thanks to the great Festival Radio team, it lives on online. All sessions were recorded and are available as podcasts for streaming and downloading through our SoundCloud page. There you can find a fantastic range of discussions and readings by some of the Caribbean’s most celebrated and promising writers.
Today I want to celebrate the 2014 winners of the OCM Bocas Prize:
Robert Antoni: Fiction and Overall Winner for his novel As Flies to Whatless Boys
Kei Miller: Non-Fiction winner for his book Writing Down the Vision: Essays and Prophesies
Lorna Goodison: Poetry winner for her collection Oracabessa
Click here to hear them read from their work.
By Derek Walcott
There are so many islands!
As many islands as the stars at night
on that branched tree from which meteors are shaken
like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
But things must fall, and so it always was,
on one hand Venus, on the other Mars;
fall, and are one, just as this earth is one
island in archipelagoes of stars.
My first friend was the sea. Now, is my last.
I stop talking now. I work, then I read,
cotching under a lantern hooked to the mast.
I try to forget what happiness was,
and when that don’t work, I study the stars.
Sometimes is just me, and the soft-scissored foam
as the deck turn white and the moon open
a cloud like a door, and the light over me
is a road in white moonlight taking me home.
Shabine sang to you from the depths of the sea.
“Ana Iris once asked me if I loved him and I told her about the lights in my old home in the capital, how they flickered and you never knew if they would go out or not. You put down your things and you waited and couldn’t do anything really until the lights decided. This, I told her, is how I feel.”
From This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz