February 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mervyn Morris!

For MM ætat LXX anno MMVII

I still remember listening to music in your campus home,
the drive up to Munro, your flowing supply of tales,
your patient ignoring at my young poet's vain wails
at plain critique. Across the years my thoughts roam,
days wholly gone, vanished like the last sea-foam,
into pale nothingness. You write of the sharp nails
in Christ's hard hands, you work out the details
in tightest lines. An epigram says much more than a tome.
Your words reverberate with brightly living scenes,
with kindest regards, and yet each honestly chosen
in a brilliant flash, not one embroidered; simple, straight.
We see beneath, we know what each poem means,
we know that the moment has been held and frozen,
each word, each letter, bears its fullest weight.

Fragano Ledgister, author of Class Alliances and the Liberal-Authoritarian State: The Roots of Post-Colonial Democracy in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Surinam, teaches political science at Clark Atlanta University. He has also published poems in Focus 1983 and the Penguin Book of Caribbean Verse in English. The father of two sons, both in college, he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mervyn Morris, who is also the Featured Caribbean Writer, has recently published a wonderful poem, "The Lovers (After Rene Magritte)" in Caribbean Writing Today.

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