Two poems

By Jane King


St Joseph at the Music School

The wind sussurating the shak-shak trees
almost drowning the sounds of the sea
and the children performing for teachers
in the building behind me.
My small son suffers his lesson

The perfect turquoise of the bay
a green arm of the harbour with a frilled cuff
where the surf breaks on Tapion rock.

The soothing breeze that shakes the trees
blowing gently round my knees,
grapefruit shine yellow in dark leaves —
it is enough.

It has to be enough.

we heard the archbishop say
Saint Joseph is the patron
of a happy death.

A Turtle Like Zeus

Yelling, presumably:
“Give me Liberty
or give me
in Turtle,
Lana leapt from the balcony rail.

Green Daniel, who had ignored her for months,
went onto a decline.
Wouldn’t eat,
wouldn’t bask,
just sulked in the green water
growing mossy.

They’re all a bit like Zeus, aren’t they?
Either ignoring you or being bossy,
but if you disappear, fearing themselves
at something of a loss.

Could any of them say what they want us for?
If you ask them, they get cross . . .


The Caribbean Review of Books, May 2005

Jane King is a St Lucian poet, author of two collections: Into the Centre and Fellow Traveller. Her poetry has also appeared in several anthologies in the UK, and literary magazines in the US. She teaches literatures in English at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St Lucia.