Day14: Double Homage Bailey/Pollard

Double Homage – Bailey/Pollard


like a dream once under a time

there I was fingerless and my eyes

were cloudy with cataract to the rhythm

of a home culture and its stubborn stamping feet

its tuning fork in my spine

against the surface of things


as an observer and also the spider

long dressed in dancing black I vowed

to mesh him if ever I did ketch him


wheel… wheel!

wheel and come again Selector!”


like a doctor with a noisy bag

of medical tricks, came the jester

but their trade is never their fun

as underneath the bells and whistles

and mbiras and rain sticks

was a potion to grow out phalanges

hold the pencil you poet!

another spell reeking of unknown herbs, and

can you not see the core so damn clear?

there are no rules!


the circles drawn in cosmic dust

the grounding due, no overdue

and a pocomania pounding of feet to raise

what had died, and kindle like kumina

grinding hips from ash

for a potion, for a thirsty sip


until blood rushes to cheeks

then hairline… down back to heels

with a kneading stop at the swelling crotch

and breast – this is the juice of life

and what poetry does best


Velma draws another circle

when she reads Fly on the Devon House lawn

and I can listen in both times

the then and the now


now is overflowing with ink

and technicolour images piled in disorder

under the reach of any paper

the shaman takes up his wooden flute

and is the piper


with his roseapple spells and mosquito biting words

thank you for all dis – ah mi fi tell you

all dis ah you


and us

and us

and us waves continue

as poets slamming our wet salty souls

on every dry sandy shore




Saffron – April 2020



Think about your own inspirations and forebears (whether literary or otherwise). Specifically, I challenge you today to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. These could be poems/poets/people that you strive to be like, or even poems, poets, and people that you strive not to be like. There are as many ways to go with this prompt as there are ways to be inspired. 

I write here as an homage to the two poets who most inspired me. The first, Velma Pollard – I read her poems before I began writing myself and when I was far away from my culture. The second is Mbala, a magical poet who midwifed my inner poet back into breath and helped me learn trust my spirit and my art. I am indebted to and have much affection for them both.

7 thoughts on “Day14: Double Homage Bailey/Pollard

  1. I looked up pocomania and kumina I was able to really appreciate your poem. A lovely piece of writing. The link to Jamaica from those two words makes your last lines even stronger! It gives a sense of place to the “wet salty souls”.

    Liked by 1 person

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