National Poetry Winners

Poetry winnersIndependence has inspired some fine poets to explore several facets of life in Antigua & Barbuda. Below are the five top essays in this year's Independence Literary Competition. Enjoy.







By Denise Smith-Lewis

O Lawd! Ella gal, you did hear de news?

Poor Miss Genie up deh, she so confused.

She tried so hard fo bring up her son;

Working from morning, till night come;

He didn have no Father, so she was the only one.

Now like tree chop from de roots, all her dreams gone dung!

You did know Doctor Bailey? de lady from Gunthropes?.

Well is she las boy, who Miss Genie boy shoot up!

Gal when me hear bout it, me heart nearly drop.

Like everything in me constitution jus come to a stop

And me drop down pun de pavement wid one big plop!

Now police gone with Miss Genie boy, he gone go lock up!

Is wat happen to dem young people in dis here land?

Why deh can’t play like we use to, in a Chin Chin band?

Remember how we enjoy ourselves and frolic in the sand?

Now deh behaving bad, like deh some kinda brigand;

And we, fraid fo straighten them out, wid one back hand.

But you see dem children God give me, me nah mek nuh excuse!

Even if dem international people say, to hit is abuse.

Well deh can say wa dem want, deh can go ahead and accuse;

For de good book says to train the children, and is de rod, dat  we must use.

So nah bodder with dem, fo them counsel you betta  refuse.

O Lawd, my beloved country, so beautiful, so tranquil, so sweet!

I remember how we would hug up we friends, when we meet.

And boy and girl did have dem own special way fo greet!

Now nearly everyday some poor modder crying, de next one buying wreath

Because deh children killing off dem one another in de streets.

But why all these killings, and whe deh get dem guns?

Fo hold up so many people? Everybody even police, on the run!

O me heart is bleeding, for I love my island in the sun,

Where I use to play and play and have so much fun.

Lawd like dem good times gone, like dem good times dun...

O me soul churn up within me for my lovely, little nation!

Too much fighting and killing, and political separation;

We are accustomed to live be loving, and not all this vexation.

But like human decency and self respect gone on vacation;

People we got to rise up and change this bad situation!

We haffu stop all dem rapes! Treat our women with dignity!

For God sake jack is woman, woman bring all a we!

We nuh need de drugs and guns, fa everything is not money

Look the stick that licking you, is the same one licking me;

We betta change or wake up tomorrow, jus like Miss Genie.

So hold you neighbour hand, leh we go mek de wrongs dem right.

We go work fo heal de land , work from morning till night.

For this land a fo awe land, we pride and delight

We mus teach our children well, so their days can be bright

And make we island beautiful, beautiful in our sight.

Oh from you, my beloved country, I would never, ever part;

From de day me modder birth me, me love for you did start.

So leh me play me warri, and ride me donkey cart;

Then drink me lickle bebrige and eat me bun and tart;

For you me darling country, a de pride and joy a me heart.

Sweet Motherland

by Loy L.A. Weste

Sweet Motherland, do you stand proud,

While all your history runs aground,

Your culture dies with a sound,

And fear, when night befalls, abounds?

And does, your heart, as does my own,

Recoil from fallacies long sown,

Of “heroes” such as Ottos, brave

Enough to make our forebears slaves?

Or do you pounder on times before,

When Christopher sailed the Azure,

And stumble on your sandy shore,

To change our lives forevermore?

Perhaps your mind instead absconds,

To think upon your girls and sons,

Who then in 1831,

Rebelled against the Crown and won.

And then at Christmas, drunk with glee,

Poured in the streets in jubilee,

To celebrate the victory,

In dance and song for all to see.

Oh sweet Antigua , tell me now,

For age has crept upon my brow,

Does the night dew spring forth as tears

Of joy and sorrow o’er the years?

And can the waves that lap our shores

Remove our sins forevermore?

Oh Motherland, it’s for the best,

That you should ease my weary chest,

And answer this last bequest,

For many lessons have I gleaned?

From treading on your pastures green,

The scrapes have taught me not to cry,

Your gentle breeze has dried my eye.

Oh sweet Antigua , answer me,

And by your answer set me free,

Dear paradise, can you not see,

That I love you as you love me?

A Gift From God’s Own Hand

By Mary Geo. Quinn

Antigua my country,

My pride: it is of thee

I rhapsodize.

Thy Heav’n-sent bounties three –

Sunny skies, white sand, blue sea,

Are taken collectively,

A special prize.


Dear sweet pineapple land -

A gift from our God’s own hand,

In ages past,

To me you’re  “home, sweet, home,”

And wherever I may roam,

Back to you I’ll always come

Eagerly and fast!

God-blest country, my pride,

To Jehovah Lord and guide,

I commend you.

On this 28th Anniversary

Of your independence, I ask that He

May in His tender mercy

See you safely through.

My country, my pride tell me

How I can best serve thee

While now ‘tis day.

So when all is said and done,

And my life’s race is run

I’ll hear from thee, “Well done!”

“Hooray! Hooray!”

My Land

By: Hilesha Humphreys

Beneath my feet lies my heart and soul

An unwanted bowl

In this world's pawn shop

Where everything is fashion and hip hop

Painted intricacies on me, become nothing

As this heart of mine forgets the calypso it sings

As this soul forgets it's Antiguaness and Short Shirts

White-wash and over-run only with outside alerts.

On my hilltop I shall remain no longer

As it too forgets the time when it was stronger

More than natural beauty but for many shelter

Perfect timing for our 'helter skelter'

On August 4th my heroes die

For the honour untouched by my land's strength, beauty- my people, sand, sea and sky


By Andre Norton

I return

From searching for my self

Amongst the flames of my dreams

To the rotting shakes of history

O Antigua and Barbuda

I return to me!

To stretching miles

Of white sandy archives

Where giant palm tees hug the coastline

In a banner of tropical love

I have settled like a dove!

Where the sun sets

Like a coal pot upon the horizon

And overturns a bed of fire and coal

I proudly behold!

The Dagger Log blooms

As the Antigua Black ripens

The Frigate Bird spreads its wings

I hear the iron ban sing!

From the gun platforms of Shirley Heights

To the hunting slaves’ souls

In the canfields of All Saints

O Antigua and Barbuda

I cherish you as pride reigns!

All across the land

The hearts of natives are steady and

Throb with the blood of buried wounds

I’m tired less in my rounds!

Dancing to and fro

Like a Jack Spaniard on Scots’ Row

And when the Carnival spirits disappear

I cuddle a newborn baby in my care!

Then down on the wharf

I throw back and watch fishermen gut their hearts

While drunk men argue over a game of dominoes

O Antigua and Barbuda

I relish you if the world knows

A rebirth so sudden pure and true

Simmering in a melting pot of great Caribbean spices

Everywhere I turn everyone is pleased to greet me

I am delighted a distant cousin I would meet

Now the cock crows like death from the gallows of time

Now time sets like cobwebs on my head

Now dawn creeps like grief out the dark clouds O my eyes

I see the mango and the palm trees defeated on the frontline

I see their buried cannons now shoot like magic

A banner of leaves across the sky

And the tourists return in flight like white birds

Flapping their wings in paradise

O Antigua and Barbuda

I am the tear cried by slaves

Inevitable bound in your freedom like the great warri I have counted

Inevitable searching from a buried star of fossil and listening I have come!

Hits: 1992

1 Comments In This Article   


#1 Flow » 2009-10-29 04:38

I love the first one by Denise Smith- Lewis

Oh from you, my beloved country, I would never, ever part;

From de day me modder birth me, me love for you did start.


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