Have you heard
What the calypso stirred
Up in the head
Of the West Indian vagabond, politician, street man, and dread?
With words that cut like a knife,
Fomenting strife in life
Wounded by its painful twists.
Or, unable to resist
The rhythm and pulse flooding your hips,
You surrender to sweet, sensual lyrics.
I hear it now, and it transports me
To a place of euphony.
No urn’d deities cavort here,
Or plaintive nightingale notes by which other poets swear.
Only the unique style
Of Sparrow’s delightful guile
Sparking thoughts and images carnal,
While Rudder requests
Mercy for indulgent bacchanal
During public abandon at carnival.
From kaiso and canboulay,
When slave laws held sway,
This revolution genre survives today―
Evoking passions and evolving along the way.
And, the passions always come,
Whether in rural village or suburban town,
Fuelled by song and steel drum
That highlight the path of our history,
Which gave birth to this legacy
Following hundreds of years of forced captivity.
Do you feel it? Do you feel the fire
“War” lament arousing your ire?
Or, Rudder’s genius reflecting the dream
Of returning glory to our cricket team?
You begin to tap a conservative foot,
Then the fire takes root,
And it burns you up, so
You just let go.
Soft, soft, the night
When the mood’s just right
For Baron’s tantalizing croon
Beneath the magic of a full moon.
Where it’s not palsy that shakes the aged or young,
But Baron’s melody sung
In dulcet sweetness
Of words that caress belly and chest.
Has Morpheus beguiled my senses
So I see through sleep-tainted lenses?
Is this a dream
Which I must forsake
When I awake?
No! It’s the calypso black magic in my blood,
Releasing a flood
Of hormones in my mood festive,
Making me a willing captive.