Songs of Jamaica (1912)

Heartless Rhoda

KISS me, as you want it so ;
Lub me, ef it wort’ de while;[1]
Yet I feel it an’ I know[2]
Dat, as t’rough de wul’ you go,
You will oft look back an’ smile
At de t’ings which you now do.

Tek me to de church te-day,
Call me wife as you go home;
Hard fate, smilin’ at us, say[3]
Dat de whole is so-so play;
Soon de ushal en’ will come,
An’ we both will choice[4] our way.

* * * *

Spare you’ breat’, me husban’ true,
I be’n marry you fe fun:[5]
Lub dat las’ long is a few,[6]
An’ I hadn’ much fe you.
I be’n tell you it would done,[7]
All whe’ come is wha’ you do.[8]

Life I only care to see
In de way dat udders[9] live;
I experiment to be
All dat fate can mek o’ me:
Glad I tek all whe’ she give,
For I’m hopin’ to be free.[10]

  1. Love me, if it is worth while, i.e., if you think it worth while
  2. Yet I feel and know
  3. Says
  4. Choose, i.e, go our several ways
  5. I married you with no serious purpose
  6. Seldom met with
  7. I did tell (told) you it would soon come to an end.
  8. All that has happened is your doing
  9. Others
  10. A free paraphrase will best explain the meaning of these six lines. Rhoda sees other girls marry, and out of pure curiosity she wants to find out what married life is like. So she makes the experiment, -- though this [marriage) is only one of the things that Fate has in store for her. And she takes gladly whatever Fate gives, always hoping (and meaning) to change the present experience for another.


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