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Secondary School

When I started secondary school in Nevis the advice I was given from my older sisters was to get there early on the first day to find a chair and a desk, or I’d spend the year without one, or the other, or neither. But I think there were enough to go around. Nothing was new and everything was etched and scratched with the initials and doodles of earlier students.

Often our teachers took us outside for our lessons, telling us to “bring our chairs and come”. We gathered underneath the Neem trees in the yard where the cool breeze could reach us. I scratched in the ground the sums I could not manage in my head. I listened to Caribbean history watching dust devils whirl, and I remember most vividly my first anthology of poetry; it was called Talk of the Tamarind.

The poems I recall are “The Song of the Banana Man”, “Dawn is a Fisherman” and the one that haunts me the most; “You Can’t Go Home Again”. I look for that book now and cannot find it, and I look for the poem and still no. It meant so much to me not because of it’s foreboding of longing and loss, but because of one single moment in the poem that described sunlight gleaming on the fuselage of an airplane.

Every time I fly I look out the window and my mind wanders from reminiscence to day dreams, writing my own poetry like I am scratching in the dust underneath the Neem trees. Airplane windows are better than school.


Gardening joys

Joys of a garden   I wanted to grow a garden but the rain would not fall. I drew water from the well every day but the ground stayed hard, so I waited for the dry season to pass. Six months went by. When the rains finally came it took two weeks before the hard...

Winged Dragons

When the Winged Dragons Come We live on the mountain, where the cool winds blow and the Zenaida doves fly home to roost. We see pockets of villages and houses scattered across the long sloping green that leads down to the sea. From our elevation it's as...


A spider crawled across the lawn, delicately treading on blades of grass that bent very slightly beneath his weight. Silent as a shadow, but not hard to miss, a fist-sized grey form upon the green, what we call a Donkey Spider. He lives in the ground, in...


We have gremlins in our midst. They are little creatures that like to cause trouble; tinkering with water pipes and chewing on power lines. From the corner of my eye, I have seen them burrow into the garden with mischievous and dirty hands. We do our best...

The Old Pier

The airport runway on Nevis runs directly along the beach, and halfway down the middle reaching off into the sea is an old wooden pier with a rusted crane. The pier is locked in a bay, bound by a reef, and inaccessible by car or by boat. It stands in the...

Jumbie Table

When we returned to Nevis after our honeymoon my wife and I moved into our house with a peculiar feeling of being followed. There seemed to lurk a prickly cloud of cold by the front door. Little things seemed out of place, pictures on the table kept...


We speak our own dialect in Nevis, it is a version of English that is filled with its own rhythm and cadence, and rife with its own sublimated context.  We speak with vagary and ambiguity because in a community of 11,000 it is easy to follow subtle...

Water Fall

We have months of drought, when the earth bakes and cracks. The grass stops growing, turns pale and dry. When the rain comes it falls with an explosive reaction, raising up dust from barren fields and steam from the hot tar macadam until a mist settles...

The Tree of Life

Next to the oldest wooden house in the Caribbean, in our garden grows a sapling called The Tree of Life. It is Lignum Vitae and from it comes the hardest wood we know. It will neither burn, float nor rot. It is a medicine tree that can cure the sick and...

Field Trips

The children had a field trip last week and were taken from their schools down to the beaches to learn about conservation. They were released like a kindle of kittens to tease the water's edge, scattering across the sand while being reminded to keep their...

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