"Marrysong" by Dennis Scott
Image by geoffrey_philp via Flickr
He never learned her, quite. Year after year
that territory, without seasons, shifted
under his eye. An hour he could be lost
in the walled anger of her quarried hurt
or turning, see cool water laughing where
the day before there were stones in her voice.
He charted. She made wilderness again.
Roads disappeared. The map was never true.
Wind brought him rain sometimes, tasting of sea –
and suddenly she would change the shape of shores
faultlessly calm. All, all was each day new:
the shadows of her love shortened or grew
like trees seen from an unexpected hill,
new country at each jaunty, helpless journey.
So he accepted that geography, constantly strange.
Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find
his way among the landscapes of her mind.
Dennis Scott was born in Jamaica in 1939. He had a distinguished career as a poet, playwright, actor (he was Lester Tibideaux in The Cosby Show), dancer in the Jamaican National Dance Theatre, an editor of Caribbean Quarterly and teacher. His first collection, Uncle Time (1973) was one of the first to establish the absolutely serious use of nation language in lyric poetry. His other poetry collections include Dreadwalk (1982) and Strategies (1989). His plays include Terminus, Dog, Echo in the Bone, and Scott’s work is acknowledged as one of the major influences on the direction of Caribbean theatre. He died at the early age of fifty-one in 1991.
Dennis Scott: Dennis Scott Biography - (1939 –91), Caribbean Quarterly.