Songs of Jamaica (1912)

De Dog-Rose

GROWIN’ by de corner-stone,[1]
See de pretty flow’r-tree blows,
Sendin’ from de prickly branch
A lubly bunch o’ red dog-rose.[2]

An’ de bunch o’ crimson red,
Boastin’ on de dark blue tree,
Meks it pretty, prettier yet
Jes’ as dat dog-rose can be.[3]

Young Miss Sal jes’[4] come from school:
Freddy, fresh from groun’ an’ grub,
Pick de dog-rose off de tree,
Gib Miss Sal to prove his lub.

Then I watch on as dem kiss
Right aroun’ de corner-stone,
An’ my heart grow vex’ fe see
How dem foolish when alone.

An’ I listen to deir talk,
As dey say dey will be true;
“Eber true” I hear dem pledge,
An’ dat naught can part dem two.

De petchary[5] laugh an’ jig,
Sittin’ on a bamboo low;
Seems him guess, jes’ like mese’f
How de whole t’ing gwin’ fe go.

Time gwon[6], an’ de rose is not:
I see Fred, wi’ eyes all dim,
Huggin’ up de corner-stone,
For his love has jilted him;

Left him for anedder man
Wid a pile o’ money,
Dat he carried from his land
O’ de Injin coney.[7]

Wonder whe’ de petchary?
De rose-tree is dead an’ gone;
Sal sit in de big great-house,[8]
Cooin’ to her baby son.

  1. Angle of the house
  2. A dark red sweet-rose
  3. Makes it pretty-as pretty as it is possible for a dog-rose to be
  4. Just
  5. Grey king-bird
  6. Goes on; passes away
  7. England or Scotland, the home of the Indian coney (common rabbit)—pronounced cunny
  8. The principal house on a property is so called


Icon for the Public Domain license

This work (Poems by Claude McKay by Claude McKay) is free of known copyright restrictions.