Jah live, children, yeah
—Bob Marley


We, too, will not accept the fictions
arriving from abroad. The emperor
our precious little man, the incarnate,
the hand of wrath, miracles
and hope; the surrogate father
for the fatherless and the fathers;
the armour over us; righteous Quixotic
slayer of giants; the stone the builders
refused; the conquering lion;
the tiny island that is tallawah;
the pebble rushing into Goliath's head;
the grace of Africa; the bearded man
with eyes of eternity; he with many names,
is dead? All messiahs
will walk through their Gethsemane,
face the treachery of Judas,
stir rumours of unlikely death;
but the mystery of conquest over death
is the right of all messiahs.


Not even rumours of death
must pass the lips of the dread.
Now we know the lies
of Babylon will know no bounds;
now we know that the descendants
of King James and his diabolic
scribes will continue to debase
all truth; now we know
that the dead must bury
the dead, but Jah liveth
itinually, Jah must live.


If Jah didn't love I . . .
Would I be around today?
Would I be around to say . . .
—Bob Marley

Faith multiplies itself
and swells like yeast
in the heat of Kingston.
Our man, our little warrior,
why must they defame you,
why do they try
to confound the prophets?


But I and I know
dread it shall be dreader dread.
—Bob Marley

Here in Kingston the disciples
gather in the upper studio
and wait for the k'ibat
of the holy Ghost which comes
in a simple liturgy of proverbs:

Fools say in their heart,
Rasta, your God is dead . . .

Turn to the alchemy of dub,
make from the detritus
of the poor the golden hope
of reggae; the poor will
believe beyond the rumour.
Rasta liveth; our little man
cyaan dead, our little god.

by Kwame Dawes

Other poems of DAWES (25)

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