"Shepherds flock round the manger" by Pamela Mordecai

de Book of Mary



Shepherds flock round the manger

Den some shepherd, seven or eight of dem,
come round, say dem was in de field
wid dem flock and dem get a big fright

when a angel appear out of a great light
so bright likl most it blind dem.
And because dem did know

is Jah-Jah miracle, dem frighten for so!
But angel smile and say dem mustn’t fraid
for de good news him bring

going make people on earth
jump for joy. So of course,
everybody well eager to hear.

Angel say a baby just now born
into David city is Saviour,
Emmanuel, de Anointed One.

And him give dem a sign. Him say dem
going find de baby wrap up tight
in warm clothes lying down in a animal trough.

And same time a big crowd of angel
join up wid de first one. Dem all
praising God and singing,

“Glory to Jah up high in de heavens!
Peace to all down here pon de earth
dat please him!” Talk about a story!

Dem say soon as de angel dem gone
dem set out to look for de baby.
So me show dem my likl boy child,

him face smiling wid sense.
No pikni me know have two eye open so
studying de world right as him born!

All dis while me did glean wid my nose
de liklest shepherd was frighten so bad
him pee up himself. When dem reach,

him did come to de front to look on
de baby, den him hide at de back,
for him shame. So me call him, “Eli!”

(How me know de boy name, Jah to tell!)
“Come, Eli. You want hold de baby?”
When me hand him de child,

him look down on Jesus and him face
catch a fi re like somebody strike it
wid a flint. And same time

sweet algum fill de air
all around and boy and baby flare
in a bright candle glow.


de Book of Mary is now available @ Amazon:



de Book of Mary
 is an epic poem in Jamaican Creole based on the Biblical story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. The first book of a trilogy, Pamela Mordecai's, de Book of Mary covers Mary's life from her early years, through the arrival of the Archangel Gabriel and the birth of Yeshua, to her death. 

A Chorus of male and female voices provides an accompanying commentary. This exciting Canadian-Jamaican retelling, profound and tragic, yet told with humour and gusto, is a major event, continuing Mordecai's project of hybridizing one of the most significant cultural-religious phenomena in world history. The last book of the trilogy, de Man, about the crucifixion of Jesus, was published by Sister Vision Press in 1995 and is now out of print. The poet is currently working on de book of Joseph, second 
book of the trilogy.


About Pamela Mordecai

Pamela ('Pam') Mordecai’s previous collections of poetry include Journey Poem (1989); de Man, a performance poem (1995); Certifiable (2001); The True Blue of Islands (2005), and Subversive Sonnets(2012). de book of Mary, from which “Jesus Takes Leave of Mary and Goes  into the Desert” comes, will appear in fall, 2015. In 2006 she published Pink Icing, a collection of short stories; her first novel, Red Jacket, appeared in February, 2015. 

She has edited and co-edited ground-breaking anthologies of Caribbean writing including Jamaica Woman (1980, 1985, with Mervyn Morris); From Our Yard: Jamaican Poetry since Independence (1987); Her True-True Name: An Anthology of Women's Writing from the Caribbean (1989, with Betty Wilson) and Calling Cards: New Poetry from Caribbean/ Canadian Women(2005). Her play, El Numero Uno had its world premiere at the Loraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People in Toronto in 2010. In spring 2014, she was a fellow at the prestigious Yaddo artists' community in upstate New York yaddo.org. Pam and her family immigrated to Canada in 1994. She lives with her husband, Martin, in Kitchener, Ontario




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