Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Celebrating

Published:Sunday | June 21, 2020 | 12:00 AM

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad”, goes an adage, a poignant reminder that merely fathering a child does not make one a father in the real sense. It is about shouldering responsibilities and caring and nurturing one’s children. Today, as we celebrate Father’s Day, this is a tribute to the men who despite challenges and roadblocks have and continue to be pillars of support for their children. To celebrate, today’s edition of Arts and Education is dedicated to fathers across the world. Happy Father’s Day all! Amitabh Sharma, coordinator, Arts and Education.

 

 

Meeting Ground - going an extra mile to be a dad

 

For the 2020 Father’s Day edition, Meeting Ground presents poetry from New Zealand and Jamaica on fatherhood. Happy Father’s Day from the curators, Ann-Margaret (Jamaica) and Shane (New Zealand).

 

Between Two Harbours: Poem for My Father

 

Portage Road stretches between two harbours.

You are here. Sun’s on the face of the deep.

Small green volcanoes rise like tsunami waves.

Clouds darken, rain-slicked, and unreef.

A lizard ladders up a wall. A wing tip turns.

An ant strives along a concrete pavement.

Wind bounces through pinnacles of tall trees.

 

Dazzled traffic waits at lights in trapped shoals,

stopped by red beneath three-masted clouds

that pass fast as bows of racing schooners.

Windscreen wipers fend off rain-slick blur,

but it swims anyway in my green realm.

Showers skip or slide over hulls of cars.

Sea’s an echo sounder for Auckland’s shells.

 

Absolute abba abba, the sun, drowned

into this world, rose, daylight before dark,

to become a ship drawn by the grateful dead,

of whom . . . I swallow this bitter medicine.

 

Saltwater shawls fall. Tears, spray and foam

curl gold and grey to scud as veils of wet,

running down reflections in corroded chrome.

Wraiths I pursue till sightless with my heart.

Your spirit walked north across the brine —

so home the sailor, the airman home for tea.

 

With isthmus for compass, skies are clearing,

full-sail blue, like proud regatta clippers.

Dolphins breach in arabesques to tumble

through bubble towers lit up. Dungeon

torches burn with green flames at depth.

Aureoles crown absinthe’s sorrow.

From seaweed tangles I woke this morning.

 

Flying boat engines chatter their reverie.

White terns are wind-swept in accelerando.

In slow formations of gulls that follow,

I trace your wake on echoes of the sea.

 

David Eggleton (Poet Laureate of New Zealand)

 

 

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For a Son

 

Watching you swell

your mother’s womb, only a crude

connection seemed to make itself.

Watching your mother swell, with having you,

taught tenderness, for she

while growing you was all my care,

happy as she rounded.

Even alive and howling clear

you seemed a thing your mother had.

 

But you yourself I learnt

could make me feel – maybe your laugh,

that warm primordial gurgle, did it:

your personal self enjoined my love,

tying our lives as with the living cord.

 

Be strong my bond and my release

from time. Be tall, stretch separate; and know

the love you’ve nourished though you may not care.

 

 

Mervyn Morris (Former Poet Laureate, Jamaica) Peeling Orange Collected Poems Carcanet: 2017

 

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Coda

(note to self for son)

 

Giggle.

See the joke in spillage.

Elevate the silly.

Exalt the small.

 

Allow the wind its rampage.

 

Assume – but only grandly.

Speak like bravo and gusto

are words in your tongue.

 

August is waning.

Days will lose flavour.

Pepper will be lost.

 

Colin Channer (Jamaican in the US)

( Coda is the last section of the poem Fugue in Ten Movements taken from Channer’s first poetry book: Providential: Peepal Tree Press 2015)

 

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The Flight of Kahu

 

See the black hawk in flight

Watch her ascend into evening

No friend of a company of fools

 

She rocks and rolls her wings of granite

She will spot your thoughts in a second

Then poetic call

 

A cry heard south of the river of ice and grit

She has cast her net and stars appear

I dreamt my father told me

Of the tiny black hawk, Kahu and

How to see it

‘with your eyes’ he said laughing

 

I look at the crimson sunset and say

Tomorrow will be a good day

 

Shane Hollands (New Zealand)

 

My father, Michael Hollands was a musician and inventor, inventing fridge magnets and recording the second electric guitar song in New Zealand. I am a devoted father of two sons who live with me - Shane

 

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Reggae Fi Dada

 

galang dada

galang gwaan yaw sah

yu nevah ad noh life fi live

jus di wan life fi give

yu did yu time pan ert

yu nevah get yu jus dizert

galang goh smile inna di sun

galang goh satta inna di palace af peace

 

o di waatah

it soh deep

di waatah

it soh daak

an it full a hawbah shaak

 

di lan is like a rack

slowly shattahrin to san

sinkin in a sea af calimity

where fear breed shadows

dat lurks in di daak

where people fraid fi waak

fraid fi tink fraid fi taak

where di present is haunted by di paas

 

a deh soh mi bawn

get fi know bout staam

learn fi cling to di dawn

an wen mi hear mi daddy sick

mi quickly pack mi grip an tek a trip

 

mi nevah have noh time

wen mi reach

fi si noh sunny beach

wen mi reach

jus people a live in shack

people livin back-to-back

mongst cackroach an rat

mongst dirt an dizeez

subjek to terrorist attack

political intrigue

kanstant grief

an noh sign af relief

 

o di grass

turn brown

soh many trees

cut doun

an di lan is owevahgrown

 

fram country to toun

is jus tissel an tawn

inna di woun a di poor

is a miracle how dem endure

 

di pain nite an day

di stench af decay

di glarin sights

di guarded affluence

di arrogant vices

cowl eyes af kantemp

di makin symbals af independence

 

a deh soh mi bawn

get fi know bout staam

learn fi cling to di dawn

an wen di news reach mi

seh mi wan daddy ded

mi ketch a plane quick

 

an wen mi reach mi sunny isle

it woz di same ole style

di money well dry

di bullits dem a fly

plenty innocent a die

many rivahs run dry

ganja planes flyin high

di poor man him a try

yu tink a likkle try him try

holdin awn bye an bye

wen a dallah cyaan buy

a likkle dinnah fi a fly

 

galang dada

galang gwaan yaw sah

yu nevah ad noh life fi live

jus di wan life fi give

yu did yu time pan ert

yu nevah get yu jus dizert

galang goh smile inna di sun

galang goh satta inna di palace af peace

 

mi know yu coudn tek it dada

di anguish an di pain

di suffarin di prablems di strain

di strugglin in vain

fi mek two enz meet

soh dat dem pickney couda get

a likkle someting fi eat

fi put cloaz pan dem back

fi put shoes pan dem feet

wen a dallah cyaan buy

a likkle dinnah fi a fly

 

mi know yu try dada

yu fite a good fite

but di dice dem did loaded

an di card pack fix

yet still yu reach fifty-six

before yu lose yu leg wicket

‘a noh yu bawn grung here’

soh wi bury yu a Stranger’s Burying Groun

near to mhum an cousin Daris

nat far fram di quarry

doun a August Town

 

Linton Kwesi Johnson

 

Growing up in England away from my father from the age of 11 deepened my love for my father. I married and became a father aged 18 and therefore matured faster than normal - Linton