Halloween Literature (Part II)

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IN a previous article on Halloween Literature, we had a taste of some prose selections taken from local literature. On this occasion, we will sample some poetry selections on that darker side of literature. Poetry seems to add other dimensions to the subject, as in this first piece, titled ‘Ol Higue’, by Wordsworth McAndrew. Ol’ woman wid de wrinkled skin,
Leh de ol’ higue wuk begin.
Put on you fiery disguise,
Ol’ woman wid de weary eyes
Shed you swizzly skin.

Find de baby, lif de sheet,
Mek de puncture wid you teet’,
Suck de baby dry.

Whaxen! Whaxen! Whaxen! Plai!
You gwine pay fo’ you sins befo’ you die.
Lash she all across she head
You suck me baby till um dead?

Whaxen! Whaxen! Plai!
You feel de manicole ‘cross you hip?
Beat she till blood start to drip.

“Ow me God! You bruk me hip!
Done now, nuh? Allyou done!”
Is whuh you sayin’ deh, you witch?
Done? Look, allyou beat de bitch.

Whaxen! Whaxen! Pladai! Plai!
Die, you witch you. Die.
Whaxen! Whaxen! Plai!

There are varying versions of ‘Ol Higue’ by local writers. Here is one by Mark McWatt, from another perspective, and with a mischievous tone.
You think I like this stupidness –
gallivanting all night without skin,
burning myself out like cane-fire
to frighten the foolish?
And for what? A few drops of baby blood?

In this third selection, sound adds to the atmosphere. This piece, titled ‘Moongaza’, by Rooplall Monar is written in Creolese.
Two a’clack ah manin
Moonlight shine
Daag bark
Bow wow wow
Fram de ole loco-line

Memba…
Neighba Stella picknie
Dead blue in she belly
Cause she see Moongaza
Same night dem fowl cack crow
Cook coo roo roo

Memba watchman Djoko?
Drop. Stone dead.
E mule tramp e
Kick e
Mash e
Cause e tek shade foh Moongaza

Me skin raise big!
Ow Moongaza! Moon…Ga…za!
Me picknie! Me picknie!

O Gaad neighba, Lawd!
Moongaza mouth wid blood.

And finally, to add a modern Halloween twist to the macabre, I give you one of my own poems: ‘The Last Moongazer’.
but how can we trap Moongazer,
asked the frightened farmer
of the teenager;
he is so tall
his shadow falls
near and far
and death lies within its shadow.

have no fear,
said the teenager,
we are light years away
from old wives’ tale;
have no fear
said the teenager
pointing to his computer
get with it
the superhighway of IT
would make Moongazer pale
in comparison
and fade away.

(To respond to this author, either call him on (592) 226-0065 or send him an email: oraltradition2002@yahoo.com)

What’s Happening:

•    The current issue of The Guyana Annual magazine is dedicated to E.R .Braithwaite, author of ‘To Sir with Love’. Tributes, reviews of his publications, and related articles are invited for possible inclusion in the magazine. You may also submit poems, short stories and articles of interest. For further information, please contact me at the above telephone number or/and email address.

•    My book, ‘The Balgobin Saga’, was used in the production of a fourteen-minute docudrama, ‘The Legend of Balgobin’. This docudrama was produced by the Centre for Communication Studies, University of Guyana. Copies of the film are available at the Centre; copies of the book can be had at Austin’s Book Service.