Songs of Jamaica (1912)

Me Bannabees

RUN ober mango trees,
‘Pread chock[1] to kitchen doo’,
Watch de blue bannabees,
Look how it ben’ down low!

De blossom draw de bees
Same how de soup draw man;[2]
Some call it “broke-pot” peas,
It caan’ bruk we bu’n-pan.[3]

Wha’ sweet so when it t’ick?[4]
Though some call it goat-tud,[5]
Me all me finger lick,
An’ yet no chew me cud.[6]

A mumma plant[7] de root
One day jes’ out o’ fun;[8]
But now look ‘pon de fruit,
See wha’ de “mek fun”[9] done.

I jam de ‘tick dem ‘traight
Soon as it ‘tart fe ‘pread,[10]
An begin count de date
Fe when de pod fe shed.[11]

Me watch de vine dem grow,
S’er[12] t’row dung a de root:
Crop time look fe me slow,
De bud tek long fe shoot.

But so de day did come,
I ‘crub de bu’n-pan bright,
An’ tu’n down ‘pon it[13] from
De marnin’ till de night.

An’ Lard I me belly swell,
No ’cause de peas no good,
But me be’n tek[14] a ‘pell
Mo’ dan a giant would.

Yet eben after dat
Me nyam[15] it wid a will,
‘Causen it mek me fat;
So I wi’ lub it still.

Caan’ talk[16] about gungu,[17]
Fe me it is no peas
Cockstone[18] might do fe you,
Me want me bannabees.

  1. Right up
  2. The blossom attracts bees, just as the soup made from the peas attracts man
  3. It can't break our burn-pan—a tall saucepan
  4. What is so good as this soup, when it is thick?
  5. Goat droppings—the name of a poisonous plant, somewhat resembling bannabees
  6. Because I haven't yet got my belly full: see below
  7. It was mamma who planted
  8. With no serious purpose
  9. To make fun = to trifle
  10. As soon as it began to spread
  11. When the pod will be formed
  12. Sister
  13. The soup
  14. Did take
  15. I ate
  16. It's not the least use your talking
  17. Congo peas
  18. Red peas, French beans


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