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POEM: sing me a Haitian song

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sing me a Haitian song

sing mules and horses on the mountainside
          a calabash of river water to wash in
          another to drink

sing to me of the climbing tree
          four uncles on the summit waiting
          for the return of the prodigal nephew

sing me an African rhythm
          drawn from the source of the one true river
          that became the ocean and surrounded the islands

sing to me of proud women with straight backs
          burdens atop their heads as they appear and disappear
          on the peaks and in the valleys

sing me a policeman’s song
          a wide-brimmed hat his badge of office
          his horse weary from climbing

sing me a Brooklyn dance, no music but the drum
          to remake their lost island in an old meeting hall
          filled with vegetable stew and mountain stories

sing me sixty-odd years since then
          the boy once mesmerized by the drummer
          returning to old ground as a man of the drum himself

/ / /

This poem is inspired by an interview I conducted with drummer Andrew Cyrille. You can hear the interview here.

Published in Jazz Music My poems Poetry


  1. Anthony Anthony

    That’s lovely. I came here from the jazz session interview. Your poem captures his story beautifully.

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