Shadow on the land

Better a little rhyme for a great man than a flood of tears for his land

ONE good thing about music, Shadow, when it hit, you feel no pain/Music better than any drugs, to keep young people sane/But Trini music, in my teens, went only to the vein/Made feet and hips start dancing wild but stopped before the brain

Sparrow & his sa-sa-yea and Kitch’s tourist dame/Jimi Hendrix’ one guitar put them both to shame/Dance music, to me, who couldn’t dance, just sounded lame/ And if Bob Dylan did kaiso better, Breds, it wasn’t me to blame

Dylan and Desolation Row were more natural companions/Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper, more for-me-dab my champions/Led Zep, in blue jeans, made a far more upright stanchion/ Than even Kitch, great musician, in his Rainorama mansion

Dylan put calypso above TS & Ezra Pound/At age 14, I searched kaiso but my meaning wasn’t found/When all-man-Jack was jumping up and jumping all around/ If not for Simon & Garfunkel, Y’boy here woulda drown

Even before Andre Tanker played lead guitar for me alone, it seemed/I was hit, bowled over, spun round-and-round by the Bassman that you dreamed/Not soaring lead but thumping bass, made a foundation supreme/A musical flow, at last, in which my consciousness could stream/And now your light has been put out, like the cat who thief the cream/Now somebody, anybody, everybody, scream

Not to diss King David, Stalin or that magic-man, Maestro/Chalkie, Duke, Relator, Explainer, so-and-so/The first conjurer to show to me this thing, ourselves, we call kaiso/Was you, the man who made me plumb the depth of a Shadow

Whole Lotta Love, Jimmy Page guitar exploding like a bomb/Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane, Sabbath’s Sweet Leaf, all that rock barre chord aplomb/Deep Purple smoking on the water, all them riders on that storm/Not one of them could reach to touch your bom-bom-bee-de-bom-bom

Is my belief, my weird feelings, it must be some God’s plan/That a nation that so aches to be should somehow lose a man/Who laid for them, and for so long, a musical foundation/In the same week they literally lost their footing on the land

Is the hardest of hard rains that were ever a-gonna fall/That wash ‘way fridge, couch, bed, TV, Michael-wave and all/Stuart Young and them boys did their best, they backs against a wall/Them plastic chairs on people’ roof did make Y’boy blood crawl

What to make of a plague of rain, if not a divine curse/Still, believers believe more fervently, the more bad things get worse/Is not a coin from Satan’s purse, just Mother Nature’s course/Take levee dirt for kitchen garden, Nature’s levy falls to be enforced

Was not Obeah, not Judgement Day, no Jumbies Looking for Horn/Is swim they had to Swim the Thing, Dat Soca Boat foregone/Shift Yuh Carcass in Ecstasy and Keep on Wailing until dawn/Keep Off the Dope, Cook Curry Ochro, Mash Yuh Brakes and just keep on/ Everybody is Somebody until Pressure Shift Yuh Carcass so forlorn

Catastrophe come pelting down like manna, yes, from Heaven/Survival Road is hard to walk, from now, 24-seven/Pray all you want, is rain like peas, take that in all-you pweffen/Them who doesn’t hear must feel, this one goes up to 11

Kamla, Keith, Colm and Them, choking in their ties & suits/Stuart Young, best of the Mimic Men, passing falsehoods, too, for truths/Is not their fault, is not ours either, this thing grows from our roots/ No gentlemen to call our shots, best hope for gentle brutes

But something good could come from this, even at this eleventh hour/Is always darkest before it dawns on us that we could use our power/Not the force of suffering making water more than flour/ When Poverty is Hell round here, even richness does turn sour

It’s not darkness from God’s hand/It’s our shadow on the land/

Your rabbit hop, you didn’t stop, and go plant peas in ‘Bago/You saved me then, come save us now, from Nature, that virago/If I could, I would, I should, play one song on all radio/And make us all recall the lesson of the Shadow

If money flooding out the place washed out all of our sublime/And brought with it the detritus of resentment, hate and crime/Then a lack of it may rescue us, this Once Upon a Time/And One Love may yet lift us all right out of our own slime.

BC Pires would like to see/A world of unity/Equality/Love humanity


"Shadow on the land"

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