The Caribbean Writer

For Nelson

Alwin Bully


Farewell my silent smiling friend
my parrot loving
horse riding
snake charming
quiet friend
It was but yesterday we hailed each other cross the street
now your time with us is but one long yesterday
and soundless chasms too deep to cross divide us now


Yet on that hill
mid toutwelle’s coo
and jacko’s screech
and serpent’s silent hiss of pleasure
you’ll live
In their instinctive brains
that tells them friend from foe
your gentle pat
they’ll miss
Your feeding hand
your comforting caress
your calming touch which said
fear not I’m friend
and so much more they’ll miss
and ne’er forget


And we with lively brains will recall
how angry sea one bleak and sultry afternoon
delivered back to us your poor and battered body
and laid it in the market place for all to see
And at eventide next day we came with flowers
and interred it ‘neath the family rock
so grand above our puny selves
so all that stayed of you
was memory in our forgetful minds


Oh cruel, cruel time
that robs this young nation of its precious youth
that nips in the bud those blossoms set to bloom
for country and for self
that takes away from simple men
the little they possess
for purposes unexplained and reasons still unravelled
and leaves us wanting, waiting
at the door of need
and mocks us with a young man’s death
with warning words “take heed”
But for all of nature’s warning
we will not heed
for we do not fully understand
the if’s and what’s and why’s
and how at every young man’s death
a bit of us too, dies


So farewell now my silent friend
my nature loving
peace giving
animal friend, young brother
Your passage here was soft and brief
but bespoke a thundering kindness
the echoes of your forest home
The gentle earth
Your mother


Copyright © Alwin Bully

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