More poetry for meditation

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- Sonnet (on his blindness)


Written by Tina Barr

Meditation Process

Dexter says after Independence they left
without teaching the wasps to make honey.
We talk about the tree of good and evil,
how drink or smoke comes to live inside us,
like a duppy. They're hungry so the girls
go down beside the cruise ships and give
themselves for money. He shows me
a walking stick carved with fangs, Marley's
face, a pineapple and the word Jamaica.

First there was only the hut he constructed
from aluminum and bamboo; he sells spin toys
made with chestnuts, maracas filled with coffee beans,
bowls from calabash, necklaces
of brown seeds from flame trees. Now
there are fifteen shack shops; their owners
had babies, and found a way to eat. Resorts
toss the fish heads, the bones from pork roasts. Along the roads,
egrets, riding chestnut cows, eat flies

off their eyes. There are fruit trees all over, papaya,
banana, plantain, ackee that's poison
until it splits open. My eyes take in layers
of teal, turquoise, navy, a streak of green
against a coral reef. The wind blows past
my ears, carrying the voice of a child, the racket
of stays against a mast. Those mountains hid
the Maroons, when the sound of gazelle horns
blew freedom. Under the palm-thatch kiosk

a man sells liquored juices; yellow-eyed
crows sit, small judges in the rafters.
Visitors, beer-bellied, sagging, stumble with drink,
line a sidewalk to gamble on small racing crabs.
Dexter was born in a barn somewhere in this parish.
He says god is around, the way the wind
blows palms. We can't see wind, only its roving
through the fronds, turning the ends, each green
spear threaded on the spindle of the wind.

The Gathering Eye by Tina Barr

Copyright ©2003 Tina Barr.  "Honey" was first published in The Antioch Review, and now appears in The Gathering Eye, winner of the Tupelo Press Editor's Prize. Help support Purchase a copy of The Gathering Eye by following this link to