Up on hilly pine and across the land,
Cognitive sparks illuminate the mind
Of youth, women and men; they did demand,
Doors, be opened, and windows redesigned;
By sweet enforcement and remembrance tears;
Pray tell, but why must secrets be dug up,
To smear our coral white plastered ears;
This brash brine filled the colonial cup.
We wandered in the forest thoughtfully,
And saw Barwick's limestone head with no crown
As Graham Biggs gave Sam Manning the prize
For dogmas he built by Belleville’s decree.
From coral sands this mansion they did make;
It stood in awe above their serfdom realm
To watch labourers burning at the stake;
While absentee landlords held fast the helm.
Their greed and bigotry smugly bestowed
On every highway, cart road and marl hole;
Their champagne bottles loudly did explode.
Yes, Divine changed your name to Erdiston
So that blooms of knowledge would reign supreme;
Changing minds and dreams to reality;
On your sixty-foot frame, good deeds are done.
On your boughs the birds nestle in their nest;
Una voce at una animo;
Good translation soars beyond Everest;
The plant on the Pine sings this legato
To folks wearing a pedagogic robe
While yielding to nature’s change on their brains
Beyond Constitution River, minds probe;
To effectively weigh the three domains;
Affectively, Mr. Roberts smiles each time,
Throughout your six decades of existence,
As you declare, “no child be left behind”
Brings kudos, when’er those bells and gongs chime.
We explore organizer’s psyche rules;
Generously sharing the knowledge gained,
So that our wards have the proper tools,
Just right for talents uniquely attained.
Erdiston is a pot that makes you grow,
To walk steep paths and to open the door;
Like the lighthouse your beams are all aglow,
Guiding minds in search of the knowledge store;
Your place in the ‘hall of fame’ is assured;
Dear Erdiston, for this we salute you
And your reach of, the sixty-year landmark;
The plant, of our fate, fully matured.
Erdiston is the primer Teacher Training College on the island of Barbados. Its buildings and its location have unique historical significance. To the north it is flanked by Government House, the residence of the Governor General, Sir Clifford Husband. Then interestingly enough, it is sandwiched by Ambassadorial Residences – The Canadian, British and Australian.
Before the great metamorphosis took place with this National Treasure, that saw the emergence of it as a Teacher Training College for Barbadians and their regional counterparts, it was an eighteenth century Georgian Style plantation house. It was built by William Barwick in 1756. Between 1864 and 1887, it was the property of Sir Graham Briggs, who owned Farley Hill House, and who used it as his town house. Erdiston plantation house subsequently became the property of Mr. Sam Manning, a prominent business man, who developed the suburb of Belleville located to the west of Erdiston. Giant Royal Palms planted in rows along the Belleville roads gave an insight into prejudices that once lingered there. These Royal Palms are no longer seen in contemporary Belleville and this too does tell a story.
Erdiston Teacher Training College was opened on January 19, 1948 and its Principal was the late Mr. A. W. Roberts. Today, Erdiston is celebrating its 60th Birthday. This is an institution that has consistently lived up to its mission of “being a high quality organization providing training programmes and related supported services to teachers, other facilitators of learning and the wider public in Barbados and the Caribbean”. This being said, I was motivated to write this celebratory poem in the form and style of the Horatian ode with iambic pentameter verses rhyming: ababcdcdefge.