"Train Ride, Jamaica 2012"

Through cane fields that waved knives,
our train--packed with sinners and sweating,
itinerant preacher, kerchief in pocket  
and Bible in hand, ready to beat the devils

back into the sea--rumbled through hillsides
where his great-great-great-grandfather had rained
war on the heads of wary redcoats, roaming
the limestone realm of the Cockpit Country

to gain favors from dour monarchs
of the Windsor clan. Under a sun that once
stood still at the cry of the abeng,
the engine matched his thunder

against the damned cities from Kingston
to Mobay--for his daughter, who for a dollar,
will stare into the eyes of willing cameras,
to be daggered by strangers in the street.

© Geoffrey Philp

Originally published by The Sunday Observer on June 24, 2012.

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