Poem for my Niece

When Does God Love You?

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When you were born and all brand new
When there were things you could not yet do
God knew your heart and He loved you when
He wrapped you as a gift in your beautiful skin

When you would cry and knit your brow
When your screams and fits went on for hours
God knew your heart and He loved you when
He filled your lungs with living breath

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When you grow tall and your hair grows long
When your feet run miles and your voice sings songs
God will know your heart and He will love you when
You may distrust and not even believe in him

When does God love you Jayla?
Before time began
While the sacrifice was given by the saving lamb
And soon when he comes on glory to this earth once again
He loves you forever, Just as we do,
Our prayer and our hope is that you’ll love him too.

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April PAD 10: Mama’s Garden

MAMA’S GARDEN

That supple ground would stain
your fingers, yet you couldn’t resist

you bend to linger with the earth’s
perfume from the foot of a yam hill

distracted then by a row of new shoots,
new recruits craning towards the sun

you enter deeper, knowing no one
find you here before the day is done

you venture to the path snaking around
tiny plots till you arrive at the family plot

laid before the grandiose apple tree
your roots mingled with its deep anchor

intimidate your futile stance, yet you glance
at the pen and paper in hand and demand

what you came for – the refuge and solitude
from a world in which your words bear no fruit.



Prompt: Write a forest poem/write a tree poem


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Rushing off to a meeting! Glad to write about a childhood experience of being teased for writing all the time. I would hide behind the tombs under the apple tree in my grandmother’s garden to write in my journal because my cousins and siblings were relentless, and sometimes a bit spooked.

November PAD 14: Daring

Today’s Prompt: Write a deadly and dangerous poem.


Today’s Poem:

THE DARE

This is the product of unmanned
children in a church-side cemetery,
in an age where boring rectangular
headstones were not yet in fashion:

We rationed ourselves to the outskirts,
moving slowly and pointing, sucking
the salt from our thumbs and forefinger
as we ate our banana chip snacks.

We knew all about Obeah* and Duppy
stories**, what not to do near a grave,
but soon we investigated the hovering
statues, the smooth tiles, the names.

We began with the simple things:
a hand on a carved angel for five ticks,
singing “Woman in a Churchyard Sat,”
then, proving I was unfazed and unafraid,

I scoffed at the challenge. But
ten seconds is a long time
as fearful, awed faces cringed
above me, begging me to climb

off the cold slab stone grave,
as if I would fall in, as if it was not
just like a step on which one could lie
supine, as I was, like a breathing corpse.

When I closed my eyes to let the
potential nightmare stay inside my head
they screamed and fled and assumed
I had laid too long with the dead.

*Obeah – Jamaican black magic
**Duppy – Jamaican word for “ghost”

Today’s Ponderings: I wrote about a silly event in my childhood because I was inspired by some of the poems on Poetic Asides today. With this, I have discovered the theme of my chapbook: history and lists. More on that soon too come.