Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Fredensborg

I heard a story long ago;
Please do not be dismayed.
Of the slave ship called the Fredensborg,
That plied a ghastly trade.

From Denmark to the Guinea Coast
She sailed both far and wide.
But on the coast of Africa,
Her captain up and died.

They took a load of shackled men
And stored them in the hold.
For when they reached the West Indies
Each slave would bring them gold.

They journeyed far across the sea-
To Santa Cruz they sailed.
The Fredensborg fought mighty storms,
And finally prevailed.

But when she reached the Danish coast
A storm came hurtling down.
The Fredensborg was lost at sea,
And every soul was drowned.

‘Twas many years before they found
The wreckage ‘neath the waves.
But by that time the ship had lost
All memory of her slaves.

The story of the Fredensborg
Should once again be told.
For all the lives condemned to die
For sugar, rum and gold!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

L'Aristote de la Mer

L'Aristote de la Mer

Il y a un homme sage dans la mer-
Un homme brillant et extraordinaire-
Un maître de la philosophie d'Aristote-
Une tortue tropique, mon brave compatriot!

Il avait au moins 3 pieds de long-
Et nageait comme un petit Poséidon-
Il m'a tout appris sur ce sujet-
“La nature ne fait rien sans objet.”

Oh, comme j'ai aimé sa brillante philosophie!
“Qu’il n’y a point de génie sans un grain de folie.”
Bien plus qu’une leçon de zoogéographie-
J’ai appris que “L’ignorant affirme, le savant doute, le sage réfléchit.”

Au-dessus de toutes les créatures cet Aristote brillait-
En entendant sa sagesse, je ri et pleuré!
Chaque mot était comme une douce caresse-
"Le doute est le commencement de la sagesse."

Oh, comme je voulais être son ami-
Un étudiant de cette merveilleuse académie-
Mais dit mon ami sage et profonde-
“Ce n'est pas un ami que l'ami de tout le monde.”

Friday, November 9, 2018

There Is a Wise Man in the Sea

There is a wise man in the sea-
A master of Aristotle's philosophy-
A Hawksbill with an intellectual bent-
He was a most extraordinary gent!

He was at least 3 feet in length-
With flippers that showed the greatest strength-
This master of his aquatic domain-
Taught me, “Nature does nothing in vain.”

He had an amber shell and a cunning beak-
Oh, how I longed for him to speak!
Then he turned to me with wizened eyes,
And said: “The secret to humor is surprise.”

I hoped at once we would be friends-
His knowledge would pay dividends-
Said he with wisdom absolute-
“Friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”

Oh, how I wish I could relay-
How much our meeting made my day!
Then the turtle said with brilliance-
“Wit is educated insolence.”

This cunning creature from the depths-
Showered me with his Aristotelian brilliance!
And then he said almost to himself-
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

But when I invited him for tea-
He swam much faster away from me-
Said my erstwhile friend with much aplomb-
“A friend to all is a friend to none.”

The final lesson I shall not forget-
It was the turtle’s best one yet-
He said with his usual artfulness-
“In all things of nature there is something marvelous!”

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Legend of Kong Juni

In 1733, as the legend goes-
In St. John of the Caribbees-
Arose a slave both brave and bold-
Whose name was Kong Juni.

This African, a warrior chief-
With each whipping he endured-
Decided he would never rest-
'Til his Liberty was secured.

Each day he cut the stalks of cane-
The white man’s richest prize-
But the sugar that made their tea so sweet-
Embittered the black men’s lives.

Late one night when the time was ripe-
Kong Juni threw off his chains-
And while the bomba slept nearby-
His Freedom he attained.

He took a musket and some men-
And in the pale moonlight-
Took Frederiksfort in a bloody battle-
The King's soldiers he did smite.

Three cannon shots pierced the darkened night-
The signal they knew well-
The time had come to stand and fight-
And bid slavery farewell.

From plantation to plantation-
The slaves regained their pride-
With gunpowder and muskets-
Luck at last was on their side!

For several months Kong Juni reigned-
Over this harsh and distant land-
With stealth they brought from Africa-
They held this island of the damned.

But soon enough their luck ran out-
When Governor Gardelin took a stand-
Though his angry soldiers never caught-
Kong Juni in the end!

On a quiet beach on the Eastern shore-
In the sight of the Danish ships-
Kong Juni died a happy man-
With the taste of Freedom on his lips!


Monday, September 3, 2018

In Memory of Rachel Faucett (17? - 1768) - Mother of Alexander Hamilton

My soul floats like the clouds
     that circle the earth.
The keepers of lightness
     of sweetness and mirth.
With no tinge of sadness
     to blacken their fleece.
No bolts of lightning
     to shatter their peace.
My soul soars like the dove
     in the tropical sky.
Keeping watch o’er my children
     wherever I fly.
‘Tween heaven and earth
     is where my soul roams.
Forever to wander,
     always alone.
Sailing forever -
     o’er fields of sugar cane
No fortress can hold me -
     no shackles or chains.
In the light of the moon -
     I wander the hills.
Yearning for comfort
     in the old sugar mills.
My voice murmurs softly -
     in the tropical breeze.
Rustling the tamarind
      and flamboyant trees.
The isle of St. Croix
     is where my soul roams.
My journey is over -
     At last I am home!

The Porcelain Rose - A Poem

In the garden of the Caribbees;
Lives the Rose of Porcelain;
A gentle queen amidst the trees;
Of this lush and savage land.

With no courtiers or servants;
To keep her company;
Just thousands of descendants;
To keep alive her memory.

This queen of beauty and of grace;
Hides the sadness in her heart;
When it rains she shows not her disgrace;
Her composure is her art.

Through hurricanes or tropic storms;
Her faith acts like a shield;
And in her arms she offers warmth;
To every creature of the field.