Monday, October 10, 2005

Translation: Trench Town Shock

Original: Trench Town Shock
By: Valerie Bloom

Waia, Miss May, trouble dey yah,
Ban yuh belly, Missis, do.
Mi Ha' one terrible piece o' news
An mi sarry fi sey it consarn yuh.

Yuh know yuh secon' or t'ird cousin?
Yuh great-aunt Edith Fred?
Im pick up imse'f gawn a pickcha show,
An police shoot im dead.

But a di bwoy own fault yah mah,
For im go out o' in way
Fi gawn fas' wid police-man,
At leas' a soh dem sey.

Dem sey im a creep oba di teata fence,
Dem halla 'who go deh?'
De bwoy dis chap one bad wud mah,
At leas' a soh dem sey.

De police sey 'tap or we opin fiah'.
But yuh know ow di bwoy stay,
Im gallop back come attack dem,
At leas' a soh dem sey.

Still, nutten woulda come from i',
But what yuh tink, Miss May?
Di bwoy no pull out lang knife mah!
At leas' a soh dem sey.

Dem try fi aim afta im foot
But im head get een di way,
Di bullit go 'traight through im brain,
At leas' a soh dem sey.

Dry yuh yeye, mah, mi know i hat,
But i happen ebery day,
Knife-man always attack armed police
At leas' a soh dem sey.


Miss May, Trouble.
Sit down and listen true.
I have terrible news
and I'm sorry to say, it concerns you.

Do you remember your cousin far removed?
Your great-aunt Edith's son, Fred?
He went to the movies
and was shot by the police, he's dead.

But it was his fault
because he went out of his way
to interfere with the policeman
at least, that's what they say.

They said he climbed over the fence,
and they shouted for his name
but the boy cursed an expletive
at least, that's what they claim.

The police said, "Stop or we will open fire"
But you know his thick head
He ran and attacked them
well...that's what they said.

Nothing would have happened,
but, my mind I'm sure you've read,
the boy pulled out a long knife
at least, that's what they said.

They tried aiming at his foot
but hit his head instead
the bullet went straight through his brain
at least, that's what they said.

Dry your eyes, I know it hurts,
but it happens everyday,
men with knives always attack the armed police
at least, that's what THEY say.

Translation: Colonization in Reverse

Original: Colonization in Reverse
By: Louise Bennett

Wat a joyful news, Miss Mattie,
I feel like me heart gwine burs'
Jamaica people colonizin
Englan in reverse.

By de hundred, by de t'ousan
From country and from town,
By de ship load, by de plane-load
Jamaica is Englan boun.

Dem a-pour out o'Jamaica,
Everybody future plan
Is fe get a big-time job
An settle in de mother lan.

What a islan! What a people!
Man an woman, old and young
Jusa pack dem bag an baggage
An tun history upside dung!

Some people don't like travel,
But fe show dem loyalty
Dem all a-open up cheap-fare-
To-England agency.

An week by week dem shipping off
Dem countryman like fire,
Fe immigrate an populate
De seat o' de Empire.

Oonoo see how life is funny
Oonoo see de tunabout,
Jamaica live fi box bread
Outa English people mout'.

For wen dem catch a Englan,
An start play dem different role,
Some will settle down to work
An some will settle fe de dole.

Jane say de dole is not too bad
Bacause dey payin she
Two pounds a week fe seek a job
Dat suit her dignity.

Me say Jane will never find work
At the rate how she dah look,
For all day she stay pon Aunt Fan couch
And read love-story book.

Wat a devilment a Englan!
Dem face war an brave de worse,
But I'm wonderin how dem gwine stan
Colonizin in reverse.


What joyful news, Miss Mattie.
I feel like my heart will burst.
Jamaicans are colonising
England in reverse.

By the hundreds and the thousands,
from rural and Kingston ground,
by the ship-loads and the plane-loads
Jamaica is England bound.

They are pouring from Jamaica.
Everybody's future plan
Is to get a high-class job
and settle in the motherland.

What an island! What a people!
Men and women, old and young
are packing their bags and barrels
and turning history up side down.

Some people don't like to travel,
but just to show their loyalty
they're opening their very own
'cheap-fare-to-England' agencies.

Week by week the volume of
countrymen shipping out gets higher,
all to populate and saturate
the seat of the Empire.

Do you see how life is funny?
Do you see the irony?
Jamaicans are now the ones
with English folks' money.

Once they get to England,
they settle in their different roles.
Some will get right down to work
but some will settle for the dole.

Jane says the dole is not too bad
because they will pay her
two Pounds a week to find a job
that she's well suited for.

I think Jane will never find work
at the rate that she claims to look,
for all day long she sits on Aunt Fan's couch
and reads her romance book.

What confusion and excitement in England.
They faced war, and braved the worst,
but I'm wondering how they will manage
colonizing in reverse.

Translation: Cuss Cuss

Original: Cuss Cuss
By: Louise Bennett

Gwan gal yuh fava teggereg,
Ah wey yuh gwine goh do?
Yuh an yuh boogooyagga fren
Dem tink me fraid o' yuh?

Goh wey, yuh fava heng-pon-nail,
Is me yuh want fe trace?
Me is jus de one fi teck me han
An leggo pon yuh face.

Fe me han no jine chu'ch an me naw
Pay licen fe me mout',
Me wi tell yuh bout yuh--seh yah
Gal noh badda get me out.

Me noh know is wat kine o' chu'ch
Fe yuh mout' coulda jine,
Yuh lip dem heng dung lacka wen
Mule kean meck up him mine.

Gwan, me an yuh noh combolo,
Yuh foot shapeless an lang
Like smaddy stan far fling dem awn
An mack dem heng awn wrang.

Fe yuh foot fava capital K,
Koo pon yuh two nose-hole!
Dem dis big an open out like
Miss Tane outsize fish bowl.

Goh wey, yuh kean bwile sof egg
But still yuh want get ring,
Noh man na gwine fe married yuh
Wen yuh kean do a ting.

Is grudge yuh grudgeful, me kean cook
But me ben goh dah good school,
Me got intelligency yuh
Illiterated fool!

Me sorry fe de man yuh get
De po'ting hooden nyam
When you ackebus him salt-fish
An bwilivous him yam.


Get away from here! you look like a vagabond!
What do you think you're going to do?
You and your ragamuffin friends
assume I'm afraid of you?

Get out of here! You resemble clothes on a stick.
'Tis me you really trying to disgrace?
I'm just the one to use my hand
and let it fly into your face.

My hands aren't members of any congregation,
and I pay no license to communicate.
I will tell you about your -- look here...
You better not get me irrate.

I don't know which church
your mouth could have joined,
your lips hang off your face
like a mule that can't make up his mind.

Go away, you and I aren't friends!
Your legs are shapeless and long
as if someone threw them from a distance
and attached them quite wrong!

Your feet look like a capital K,
and just look at those nose holes!
they are big and wide,
just like Miss Tane's oversized fish bowl.

Get out of here! You can't even boil an egg
and yet you want a wedding ring?!
No man will want to marry you
When you can't do a thing!

You’re too envious. I can't cook
but I definitely go to a good school.
I have high intelligence
you illiterated fool!!

I'm so sorry for the man you get.
The poor soul would never eat a thing
when you 'obliterate' his rice,
and 'illiterate' his chicken wing.

Translation: Back To Africa

Original: Back to Africa
By: Louise Bennett

Back to Africa, Miss Mattie?
Yuh no know what yuh dah seh?
Yuh haffi come from somewhe fus
Before yuh go back deh!

Me know seh dat yuh great great great
Granma was African,
But Mattie, doan yuh great great great
Granpa was Englishman?

Den yuh great granmodder fader
By yuh fader side was jew?
An yuh granpa by yuh modder side
Was Frenchie parlez-vous?

But de balanca a yuh family,
Yuh whole generation,
Oonoo all bawn dung a Bung Grung -
Oonoo all is Jamaican!

Den is weh yuh gwine, Miss Mattie?
Oh, yuh veiw de countenance,
An between yuh an de Africans
Is great resemblance!

Ascorden to dat, all dem blue-yeye
White American
Who-for great granpa was Englishman
Mus go back to Englan!

What a debil of a dump-an-bore,
Rig-jig an palam-pam
Ef de whole worl start fi go back
Whe dem great granpa come from!

Ef a hard time yuh dah run from
Teck yuh chance! But Mattie, do,
Sure a weh yuh come from so yuh got
Somewhe fi come back to!

Go a foreign, seek yuh fortune,
But no tell nobody seh
Yuh dah go fi seek yuh homelan,
For a right deh so yuh deh!


Back to Africa Ms. Mattie?
you know not what you speak!
you'd have to have been there first
before returning from whence you seek.

I know your great-great-great-grandmother was African,
but Mattie, wasn't your great-great-great-grandfather an Englishman,
your great-grandmother's father on your father's side Jew,
and the grandfather of your mother a Frenchman too?

The majority of your family,
that entire generation
was born in Jamaica...
they are all Jamaican.

So where are you going Ms. Mattie?
Why is your reasoning such?
Apart from the fact that
you and the Africans resemble much!

As a matter of fact,
a blue-eyed white American
whose great-grandfather was an Englishman,
should go back to England?

What chaos it would be,
utter chaos in this place,
if the entire world decided
to join their great-grandfathers' race.

If you are trying to escape hard times,
take your chance, go ahead.
But Mattie, be sure where you started
so you can return whence you fled.

Travel, seek your fortune,
but tell no one here
that you are going to seek your homeland,
because you are already there.

Translation: No Little 'Twang'

Original: Noh Lickle Twang
By: Louise Bennett

me glad fe se's you come back bwoy,
But lawd yuh let me dung,
Me shame o' yuh soh till all o'
Me proudness drop a grung.

Yuh mean yuh goh dah 'Merica
An spen six whole mont' deh,
An come back not a peice betta
Dan how yuh did goh weh?

Bwoy yuh noh shame? Is soh you come?
Afta yuh tan soh lang!
Not even lickle language bwoy?
Not even little twang?

An yuh sista wat work ongle
One week wid 'Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have
De jooce fe undastan?

Bwoy yuh couldn't improve yuhself!
An yuh get soh much pay?
Yuh spen six mont' a foreign, an
Come back ugly same way?

Not even a drapes trouziz? or
A pass de rydim coat?
Bwoy not even a golw teet or
A gole chain roun yuh t'rout.

Suppose me las'rne pass go introjooce
Yuh to a stranga
As me lamented son wat lately
Come from 'Merica!

Dem hooda laugh afta me, bwoy
Me couldn't tell dem soh!
Dem hooda sey me lie, yuh was
A-spen time back a Mocho.

Noh back-ansa me bwoy, yuh talk
too bad; shet up yuh mout,
Ah doan know how yuh an yuh puppa
Gwine to meck it out.

Ef yuh want please him meck him tink
Yuh bring back something new.
Yuh always call him "Pa" dis evenin'
Wen him come sey "Poo".


I'm glad to see you're back, son
but I feel you've let me down.
I am highly disappointed,
my pride had hit the ground.

You went all the way to America
and spent six whole months there
and did not return any better
than how you left us here?

Have you no shame? Is this how you are?
After being there so long
you have no hint of an accent,
not even a slight change in tongue?

Your sister, who worked for only
one week with an American,
speaks so nicely now
we can't help but understand.

But you couldn't improve yourself
even though you received all that pay?
You actually spent six months there
and returned to us the very same way?

You did not even get good trousers
or a fashionable coat,
not even one gold tooth,
or a gold chain around your throat?

What would happen if my friend passed
and introduced you to a stranger
as the son I greived over that was
recently in America?

They would both laugh;
I could not bear to say so.
They would think I were lying,
that you were actually in Mocho.

Do not answer me boy, you speak
too badly, shut your mouth.
I don't know how you and your
father are going to make it out.

If you want to please him, make him think
you've brought back something new.
You always call him 'Pa',
this evening
when he comes, say 'Poo'.