Edward Kamau BRATHWAITE – Barbados

Edward Kamau Brathwaite-Barbade-writer


Edward Kamau Brathwaite is an internationally known poet, literary critic and historian. A native of Barbados, he is professor of History at the University of West Indies.


Few publications : 'The Arrivants' (1973) ; 'The Visibility Trigger' (Le détonateur de visibilité) 1986 ; 'Jah Music' (1986) ; 'Trenchtown Rock' (1993) ; 'Born to Slow Horses' (2005) (International Griffin Poetry Prize 2006) ; 'Elegguas' (2010) ; 'RêvHaïti' (2013).



Shar - Hurricane Poem

[published in the Magazine Revue Noire RN 06 & RN 09 in September 1992 and July 1993

Original text written in English]


For the stone of this island to be bombed

by this wind & all this, all this water

O longshore late light duppy Kingston nights


has become so useless, stripped wet,

fragile, broken, totally uninhabitable

with what we must still build

a half-a-million shaved off from the auction block

curled & cut off thier stock

without even that sweet scent of resin on a good day

O Saviour saviour Sav-la-Mar

wasted wasted wasted all all all wasted wasted wasted

the five hundred years of Colombus dragging us here

& the four thousand three hundred years before that

across valley & dune, dry river bed. gully & waddi, slip

scream of sandstorm, salt, mineral, glint, quartz

cutting the soles of my feet, gold

in the harrowed face of the rock, gold

in what will become leaf, branch, eucalyptus, cocoa

pod, odoum, tweneduru, chikichiki, even the evening man,


at golokwati & Pong


the spider arachne Ananse

the sweet of your arms hollowed out at Anum


And that more wind, rip, gust, scissors-howl

copper kettle boiling, boiling

over into your years

would wait, wait, wait like a snap or a flat rat trap in the streets

to freeze freeze frizzle out of your head, where you are hoarding its sound

like a timble of thunder, shuch limitless size in the so little a room

that you own


the wood

of your wails & the fret


the fancy

fence & the humble humble humble hallelujah railling of your chapel,

all shatter. shatter. shattering now with that round saw’s buzz of teeth that

will eat

all the leaves off the trees, most of the wood off their treasuries

even the big ones like cotton & cedar & guango & cut

the branches off short

to a white stubble & trump,

frayed out like the end of a chew. stick or bomb,



Edward Kamau Brathwaite