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Catullus 101

Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus

Carried through many nations and over many seas


advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,

I arrived, brother, for these wretched funeral rites


ut te postremo donarem munere mortis

So that I might present you with the last tribute of death


et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem.

and speak in vain to silent ash,


Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.

Since fortune has carried away from me you in the flesh


Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi,

Atlas, poor brother, unfairly taken away from me,


nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum

now in the meantime, nevertheless, these things which in the ancient custom of ancestors


tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,

are handed over as a sad tribute to the rites


accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,

receive, dripping much with brotherly weeping.


atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

And forever, brother, hail and farewell.



Adonais written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Tribal Beat of Distant Drums
















The smiles
Of the sun
On the island
Is awesome
On the silvery sands
Beneath our feet on beaches
We like to roam

Westward ho

The chain of island gems
Set in the Atlantic Ocean
And in the blue Caribbean Sea

Barbados is one of them

My homeland I love
The Bussa statute reminds me
That we are free
At last, to find our destiny

But now and then we do hear
The beating of African drums
Distant drums, ancestral drums
Enticing us, the forsaken ones
To come

Home

To mother

Africa

You tell us to come home
But how can we
To a foreign land
Its language
And culture
We don’t readily
Understand

Our journeys amid
The trade winds
Centuries ago
In the prime
Of our lives
Stripped us
Of our usual behavior
Our roots
And self-respect

You sent us far,

Far, far away
Across the sea
Into bondage
And slavery

We with broken spirits
Sailed away
In ships commandeered
By pirates and buccaneers
For a life we knew not
What to expect
But loneliness
And uncertainty

This tribal beat
Of distant drums
Do tell us what it means

So we toiled day and night
In fields so sweet
The sap we turned into sugar
The economic base
For the privileged class
With our bare feet
And tortured fingers
Amid the prickly trash
And heat

This tribal beat
Of distant drums
Do tell us what it means

Those cotton-picking fields
And the steep hills
We climbed
With crocus sacks
And burlap bags
Upon our backs

The wrinkled brows
Bore not a frown
For fear of shouts
And blows

The sweat rolled down
Crystals of salt
Like threaded beads
Around the neck
Became the irritants
For opened cuts
And bruises

We endured
Such brutal acts
From men
With hearts
Almost like stone

Much work
And homage
We slavishly gave
In exchange
For a place
To rest our weary heads

Our journals full
Of pain and gore
Made us wished silently
For a miracle and a cure

We are now, proud people
With children of many colours
Like the rainbow in sky
The eternal sign
Of the promised hope
For all mankind
That is tall and free
In a new land

An independent land
Of Barbados
And the blessed West Indies

Yes, we do hear those drums
The ancestral drums
Of Africa

But please drum for us
In a language
We can understand
Like the steel pan
The calypso rhythm
And the soca beat

Come, come, and visit us
You must
Dear Africa
For our friendly hugs
We give to you.

© Paterika Hengreaves
Composed February 2006 in Ohio, USA

This poem points to the time when people from Africa were forced into slavery in America and the islands of the Caribbean (West Indies). After slavery was abolished in 1834 the black population of Barbados took advantage of the superb education available and weaned themselves away from the sugar plantations the symbol of their oppression. The much progress made in the era of emancipation caused a statue to be erected in Barbados at the round-about at Haggatts Hall in 1985 to mark the 150th Anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Barbados. The statue is that of a slave with hands outstretched symbolizing the breaking of the chains of slavery and the head of the statue is thrown back as though in proud victory. the statue is is known as the "Bussa Statue" but most Barbadians prefer to call it "The Emancipation Statue" because it goes beyond the physical act of slavery and includes the freeing of the mind from institutionalized slavery.

In recent time, there has been this call by some Barbadians to return to Africa (The Back To Africa Movement). However, the love of their new found land and by the majority of Barbadians is much too strong. They opined that the dilemma of having lost their true African identity by way of culture, language and customs any type of repatriation could prove unbearable and could easily be turned into yet another form of slavery. As a matter of fact, this dichotomous situation is artfully celebrated in the poem, "The Tribal Beat of Distant Drums".

1 comment:

Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
I am stunned! I have no words other than I am proud to have connected with you. I read your poem again and again.
Aroha,
Robb

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In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride was sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood



Chorus:


We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate




The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.



Chorus


We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

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National Anthems of New Zealand

Anthem 1

Māori Version

E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Aotearoa

Ōna mano tāngata
Kiri whero, kiri mā,
Iwi Māori, Pākehā,
Rūpeke katoa,
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē
Māu e whakaahu kē,
Kia ora mārire
Aotearoa

Tōna mana kia tū!
Tōna kaha kia ū;
Tōna rongo hei pakū
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai
Ngā tutū e tata mai;
Kia tupu nui ai
Aotearoa

Waiho tona takiwā
Ko te ao mārama;
Kia whiti tōna rā
Taiāwhio noa.
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau;
Waiho i te rongo mau
Aotearoa

Tōna pai me toitū
Tika rawa, pono pū;
Tōna noho, tāna tū;
Iwi nō Ihowā.
Kaua mōna whakamā;
Kia hau te ingoa;
Kia tū hei tauira;
Aotearoa

English Version

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country's spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations' van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

Anthem 2

God Save the Queen

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save The Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save The Queen.

O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save The Queen.

Note: The second verse of 'God Save The Queen' is commonly omitted.

Edmund Hillary

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