Under the Tamarind by Royston Emmanuel

By Wasafiri Editor on January 19, 2015 in

Royston Emmanuel is a teacher trainer at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, St. Lucia, specializing in digital media, technology in education and Literature.  He is inspired by the writings of Caribbean poets Mervyn Morris and Kamau Brathwaite, particularly the ability to use language in unique ways and to break away from the strong classical traditions that have defined literature in the region. In his own writing, Royston brings life to simple feelings, activities and traditions within the St Lucian context.  Most of his work explores his childhood in Castries, not so much with the intention of elevating those experiences to art, but simply as a way of helping him make sense of the things that made him.

I remember mornings when my father sat

under the tamarind tree trimming

feathers, as he whistled

Sunday tunes coming from inside.

On those mornings I would peer

through frosted louvre panes

as he nursed those fowls

in ways only a doting parent

could. And I would think

my mother right.

That man love those animals

more than his own children.

I remember him feeding them

things I’d never seen and examining

every inch of their reddening bodies

making marks and bruises go away

with iodine and a gentle rub,

which he never did for us.

But for all the time he spent

with them and not with us,

for all the care he showed them,

I never blamed him.

I learnt somewhere

that each man had his love.

He loved those animals.

I loved books, and him.