By Austin Mitchell

Ben’s Back

That morning we ran to school
 We had to be early
 The morning was so cool
 We could see clearly

 That Ben was back
 We were glad, we were sad
 To see Quaco get the sack
 We really felt bad

 Oh, how we loved when he was around
 When Quaco was around
 Our recesses were the longest ever
 Our lunchtimes were forever

 But now Ben was back
 And we had to be on time
 No more looking back
 No more endless lunchtime

 We were sad, we were glad
 We knew what we had
 We had to learn our lessons
 For all the right reasons

 No more skylarking,
 Discipline was back
 No more late coming
 Quaco was gone, Ben was back

Lament of the Taino Man

They came to our lands
 Searching for faraway lands
 We gave them food and water
 From our land of wood and water

 Then they returned to take away our lands
 They brought their plagues to kill us
 Their diseases are foreign to our lands
 Their plan was to get rid of us

 We know that was their plan
 Because we heard them talking
 And making plans
 Yes, we heard them talking

 About taking away our lands
 Putting us to work the lands
 To make them rich
 And when they get rich
 They would depart these lands

 They have gotten rid of my people
 Through their plagues and their cruelty
 Our people could not stand their cruelty
 We had no weapons to fight these people

 They’ve wiped us out
 Several generations of us
 Who is to tell our story, but us?
 Sadly, our conquerors have wiped us out

Market Day

Wednesday market up the road
 Saturday market down the road
 Those days were the nicest yet
 Wednesday and Saturday market

 People came from far and near
 Buying and selling their wares
 Some dressed in the latest wear
 Making their strides with care

 From the higglers to the coal burners
 The butchers, the farmers
 The market gardeners
 Bringing to market their week’s labor

 The fish vendors shouting fish, fish
 Doctor fish, king fish
 Other vendors peddling their wares
 Anxious faces moving through the crowd

 Trying to get goods at the lowest bargain
 Laughter spilling out amongst the gathering
 Vendors and their customers haggling
 Some filling their baskets and moving on again

 Others lining up at the soup vendors
 While others lined up at the cooked food vendors
 People coming and going all the time
 Way into evening time

 And finally it was time to go home
 The market was over
 And they’d all pack their bags
 And head for home

Jamaican Sunshine

Oh beautiful Jamaican sunshine
 Where are you?
 I saw you on top of the mountain
 I saw you down in the valley

 I saw you in the east
 I saw you in the west
 I saw you in the north
 I saw you in the south

 But wherever I saw you
 You are the most beautiful ever
 The greatest sunshine ever
 Outshining all other sunshines

 The Jamaican sunshine
 What a beautiful sight
 To behold from anywhere
 In this our beautiful island

Give Us Back Our Language

We don’t understand their language
 They forced us to adopt its usage
 We abandoned our language
 Because they forced us to do it

 What was wrong with our language?
 Why they forced us to abandon it?
 And now we are struggling at it
 To understand their language

 They wanted to fool us
 So they made us use their language
 Because they know we don’t understand it
 So it would be easier to fool us

 And they are laughing at us
 They know what they’ve done to us
 They’ve turned us against each other
 Brother hating brother, sister hating sister

 We can’t turn back
 It’s already too late for us
 We can’t go back
 It’s already ingrained in us

Austin Mitchell has so far written three novels and is completing another. He has written many short stories, a few plays and poems. Several of his short stories have been published in his homeland, Jamaica. He has read hundreds of novels and has read widely on the subject. He has also attended a few writing workshops.

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