December 17, 2012

"A Family Man" by Dennis Scott

Dennis ScottDennis Scott

A Family Man

At night when the ordinary loves have settled
like dust drifting a little in my son’s cough, my wife’s
                 breath, my daughter’s sigh,
I call them in. From the dark side of leaves,
from the countries of desire, from the cracks in the road,
from the places I went to and never gave back
at the border, the faces I wanted and never forgave
for dying, from the dark side of leaves, they come
softer than smoke, shadows on paper,
like dust drifting a little in my wife’s cough, my son’s
                 sigh, my daughter’s breath.
They make hoarse journeys in my head. They cry
at the lamp’s white pain. I silence them.
They orbit, tongueless. They die like stars; they cool
to ash. I trace their stain on paper, and sign it.
                Watch them
wind my life down like small, burnt moons. Watch them
like dust drifting a little in my daughter’s cough, my wife’s
                 sigh, my son’s breath.

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.


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Rethabile said...

Thank you.

"They make hoarse journeys in my head. They cry
at the lamp's white pain. I silence them."

Geoffrey Philp said...

Dennis was so good at this kind of verse...more coming in the month of Love.

clarabella said...

Geoff: Such a formidable talent Dennis had! Poet, playwright, actor, dancer, teacher, formidable friend...
So much missed! pam

Geoffrey Philp said...

Yes, he is missed.So Much...I was telling my daughter, it would have been good to see him now...71...what a different world we would have.