Songs of Jamaica (1912)

Taken Aback

Let me go, Joe, for I want go[1] home:
Can’t stan’ wid you,[2]
For pa might go[3] come;
An’ if him only hab him rum,[4]
I don’t know whatever I’ll do.

I must go now, for it’s gettin’ night
I am afraid,
An’ tis not moonlight:
Give me de last hug, an’ do it tight;
Me pa gwin’ go knock off me head.[5]

No, Joe, don’t come!–you will keep me late,
An’ pa might be
In him[6] sober state;
Him might get vex’[7] an’ lock up de gate,
Den what will becomin’ of me?

Go wid you, Joe? — you don’t lub me den!
I shame’[8] o’ you–
Gals caan’[9] trust you men!
An’ I b’en tekin’ you fe me frien’;[10]
Good-night, Joe, you’ve proven untrue.

  1. To go
  2. I can't stay with you
  3. A redundant word, unaccented
  4. If he chances to be in liquor
  5. My papa is going to go (and) knock off my head. The o in "going" is pronounced very short, making it sound like a w
  6. His
  7. Vexed
  8. Am ashamed
  9. Can't
  10. And I've been taking you for my friend


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