Songs of Jamaica (1912)

Hard Times

DE mo’ me wuk, de mo’ time hard,
I don’t know what fe do;
I ben’ me knee an’ pray to Gahd,
Yet t’ings same as befo’.

De taxes knockin’ at me door,
I hear de bailiff’s v’ice;
Me wife is sick, can’t get no cure,
But gnawin’ me like mice.[1]

De picknies hab to go to school
Widout a bite fe taste;
And I am working like a mule,
While buccra, sittin’ in de cool,
Hab ’nuff nenyam fe waste.[2]

De clodes is’ tearin’ off dem back
When money seems noa mek ;
A man can’t eben ketch a mac,[3]
Care how him ‘train him neck.’[4]

De peas won’t pop,[5] de corn can’t grow,
Poor people face look sad;
Dat Gahd would cuss de lan’ I’d know,
For black naygur too bad.

I won’t gib up, I won’t say die,
For alI de time is hard;
Aldough de wul’ soon en’, I’ll try
My wutless[6] best as ti me goes by,
An’ trust on in me Gahd.

  1. Trying to get money from me
  2. Food and to spare
  3. From McKay's glossary: "mac : shilling, shillings ; short for macaroni."
  4. However hard he may strain his neck. 'Care how'—I don't care how—no matter how
  5. Spring
  6. Worthless : meaning, "I'll try my very best, poor as that may be."


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