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.