Songs of Jamaica (1912)

School-Teacher Nell’s Lub-Letter

IF you promise to lub me alway,
I will foreber be true,
An’ you don’t mek me sorry[1] I de day
Dat I give myself to you.

How I ‘member de night when we meet,[2]
An’ chat fe de first time of lub!
I go home, an’ den neber could eat
None o’ de plateful o’ grub.

An’ de day it was empty to me,
Wakin’, but dreamin’ of you,
While de school it was dull as could be,
An’ me hate me wuk fe do.[3]

Oh, I knew of your lub long before
My school friends tell[4] me of it,
And I watch at you from de school door,
When you pass to de cockpit.[5]

Den I hear too dat you use’ fe talk,
Say,[6] if you caan’ ketch me dark night,
You would sure ketch me as me deh walk[7]
In a de[8] open moonlight.

An’ you’ wud come to pass 4 very soon,
For scarcely a mont’ did gone
When de light of de star an’ de moon
Shine[9] bright as we kiss all alone.

I can neber remember de times
Ma scolded her little Nell;[10]
All day her tongue wuks like de chimes
Dat come from de old school-bell.

I have given up school-life fe you:
Sweetheart, my all[11] is your own ;
Den say you will ever be true,
An’ live fe you’ Nellie alone.

  1. Make me regret
  2. How well I remember the night we met
  3. I hated the doing of my work
  4. Told
  5. A natural depression in the ground, in the vicinity of the author's home, bears this name
  6. Used to (talk and) say
  7. You would be sure to catch me as I walked
  8. In the
  9. Shone
  10. I cannot count the number of scoldings I have had from mamma
  11. Whole self


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