“Been a train crash… An black man didn drive? No. Black man didn drive”.

James Berry (OBE, 1924-) From Jamaica to the UK!

Two Black Labourers on a London Building Site

Been a train crash.
.   Wha?
Yeh — tube crash.
.   Who the driver?
Not a black man.
.   Not a black man?
I check that firs.
.   Thank Almighty God.
Bout thirty people dead.
.   Thirty people dead?
Looks maybe more.
.   Maybe more?
Maybe more.
.   An black man didn drive?
No. Black man didn drive.
.

.

A Story I am in: Selected Poems by James Berry:
NEW and USED: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=12538913206

From: London a History in Verse, ed by Mark Ford.
NEW: http://www.localbookshops.co.uk
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=9186279941

From Wiki with thanks:

Selected publications

  • Bluefoot Traveller: An Anthology of Westindian Poets in Britain (editor), London: Limestone Publications, 1976; revised edition Bluefoot Traveller: Poetry by West Indians in Britain, London: Harrap, 1981
  • Fractured Circles (poetry), London: New Beacon Books, 1979
  • Lucy’s Letters and Loving, London: New Beacon Books, (1982)
  • News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian-British Poetry (editor), London: Chatto & Windus, 1984
  • Chain of DaysOxford University Press, 1985
  • A Thief in the Village and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1987
  • The Girls and Yanga Marshall: four stories (for children), London: Longman, 1987
  • Anancy-Spiderman: 20 Caribbean Folk Tales (for children), illustrated by Joseph Olubo, London: Walker, 1988
  • When I Dance (for children), Hamish Hamilton, 1988
  • Isn’t My Name Magical? (for children), Longman/BBC, 1990
  • The Future-Telling Lady and other stories (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1991
  • Ajeemah and his Son (for children), USA: HarperCollins, 1992
  • Celebration Song (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1994
  • Classic Poems to Read Aloud (editor), London: Kingfisher, 1995
  • Hot Earth Cold EarthBloodaxe Books, 1995
  • Playing a Dazzler (for children), London: Hamish Hamilton, 1996
  • Don’t Leave an Elephant to Go and Chase a Bird (for children), USA: Simon & Schuster, 1996
  • Everywhere Faces Everywhere (for children), Simon and Schuster, 1997
  • First Palm Trees (for children), illustrated by Greg Couch, Simon & Schuster, 1997
  • Around the World in 80 Poems (editor – for children), London: Macmillan, 2001
  • A Nest full of Stars (for children), London: Macmillan, 2002
  • Only One of Me (selected poems – for children), London: Macmillan, 2004
  • James Berry Reading from his poems for children, CD, The Poetry Archive, 2005
  • Windrush SongsBloodaxe Books, 2007
  • A Story I Am In: Selected Poems, Bloodaxe Books, 2011

Awards

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The Tropics of New York by Claude McKay in 2014 Black History Month’s last days.

Image

For love of all hot dusty roads, and our childhood memories, The Tropics of New York by Claude McKay in 2014 Black History Month’s last days. Thinking of Jamaica.

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grape fruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,

Sat in the window, bringing memories
of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical skies
In benediction over nun-like hills.

My eyes grow dim, and I could no more gaze;
A wave of longing through my body swept,
And, hungry for the old, familiar ways
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.