Rejected Text for a Tourist Brochure

Olive Senior

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“I saw my land in the morning

and O but she was fair”

- M.G. Smith, “Jamaica” (1938)

 

I

 

Come see my land

 

Come see my land

before the particles of busy fires ascend;

before the rivers descend underground;

before coffee plantations

grind the mountains into dust; before

the coral dies; before the beaches

disappear

 

Come see my land

Come see my land

And know

That she was fair.

 

 

2

 

Up here, the mountains are still clear.

After three weeks, I heard a solitaire.

Down there, the mountains are clear-cut

marl pits. Truckers steal sand from beaches,

from riverbeds, to build another ganja palace,

another shopping centre, another hotel

(My shares in cement are soaring). The rivers, angry,

are sliding underground, leaving pure rockstone

and hungry belly.

 

 

3

 

No Problem, Mon. Come.

Will be one hell of a beach party.

No rain. No cover. No need to bring

your bathing suit, your umbrella.

Come walk with me in the latest stylee:

rockstone and dry gully. Come for the Final

Closing Down Sale. Take for a song

the Last Black Coral, the Last Green Turtle,

the Last Blue Swallow-tail (preserved behind glass).

Come walk the last mile to see the Last Manatee,

the Last Coney, the Last Alligator, the Last Iguana

Smile.

 

Oh, them gone already? No Problem, Mon.

Come. Look the film here.

Reggae soundtrack and all. Come see

my land. Come see my land and know, A-oh,

that she was fair.

 

Olive Senior, "REJECTED TEXT FROM A TOURIST BROCHURE" from Over the roofs of the world. Copyright © 2005 by Olive Senior. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Over the roofs of the world (Insomniac Press, 2005)