I have a new spade,
a new brand spade
that yearn to plant banana.
All I need now is land.
The spade: him too clean.
Him want dig bad though,
right in that fertile place
between the branches,
the sacred spot
where the roots does hide.
But I wish virgin earth for me novice;
earth that cannot compare him to tractor.
Land that ain been squatted on,
slashed and burnt,
or worse yet,
claimed by some foreigner.
But I not picky.
I only want me own garden.
A place to return.
A place I belong.
I want to wake up and hear the soil singing,
telling me I do me job well.
I only want me own garden
a little patch where I can dig till I silly.
Plant banana morning, noon and night,
Open the hole and put in me fertilize,
fill it with sap
from nighttime ritual and early morning dance.
See, this a real sellers market.
Good, pure native earth so hard to find
Earth that is solid,
land that is worth the time
What no real estate agent can show you.
Me new brand spade restless.
See, him want work!
See, him want dig!
Him want plant this banana sucker deep,
as far as it can go.
Plant it like flag pole.
Look here man!
Give me land where I can climb the hills
and feel them real good.
I want smell the air man,
lick the dew right off the leaves in the morning time
while the banana them ripening.
This what I will do with the land,
that earth that would receive me,
I will treat it well fine
trust me it ain go ever complain.
I not too picky.
•••An earlier version of “The joy of planting banana suckers in your own land” was originally published in Tamarind Vol. 1, the College of The Bahamas Students’ Journal. ••• Ward Minnis was born in Nassau and grew up on the island of Eleuthera. His studies began at the College of the Bahamas studying Fine Art. He obtained a BA in English Literature and Caribbean Studies from York University, Toronto, and now he’s in Ottawa, earning a Master’s degree in History.
I enjoyed this poem, so vivid and full of island memories, it makes me want to go digging around in soil. And the tongue in cheek of ‘I not too picky’ is classic Bahamian!
I love this poem; the breezy language and effortless sequencing of a kind of island sensibility is captivating.
i love this !!!..the imagery….the double meaning….its all there…pure genius Ward!
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