This is written as a pre-Independence piece, thoughts commemorating the 48th Day of Independence for my country, Barbados. Please enjoy.
I stop and stare while culture sliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiides down societal cracks.
Desperate, I snatch air with clawed fingernails, digging trenches where villages were …
Where values were….
Where neighbours were neighbours and looked out for you,
Even though they were gipsy and always wanting to know your business.
Most of the time you could still go and borrow something you needed,
Knowing that, when their time came, they would borrow something from you in return.
I stop and stare – I scream! – as Bajan ways go the way of the dodo,
Slowly becoming extinct as the natural Bajan landscape
Gets bought over by foreign investments
And as cooking rice and peas, chicken and macaroni pie
Is replaced by going to Super Centre on Sunday (oops … now Massy) and buying ready done meals;
Where my children rather buy chicken and chips than eat pudding and souse,
And where we hear Jingle Bells ring out loooooooooooooooong
Before military shouts on the Independence Day Parade.
(Which, by the way, is being held this year in December… wha’ de bird!)
You would think that, at 48, our country would have a stronger sense of self,
But, we are still picking others’ traditions off the used section – the clearance shelf –
And trying them on for size before going out Trick or Treating.
I stop and stare in horror as Bajan’s friendly faces turn sour
Wondering where the next meal will come from,
Slicing thick loaves of nothing from the breadline…
As we struggle to stand under the strain of financial burden.
And, I wonder why – at almost a half century of age –
Barbados is still paying homage to England’s Queen…
Isn’t this yet seen as repugnant?
But all is not lost – Bajans are still resilient
Though we have the reputation of standing silent
When others would be more vocal – would scream out.
We still are hardworking, broad shouldered,
Enduring to build a better tomorrow.