I love poetry. It is the quiet passion of my life. When I was a child my mother read me old nursery rhymes at bedtime and they had the lilt of poetry in them which stayed with me forever. And in our home there were shelves filled with books including wonderfully illustrated verse anthologies in which I began to read my first poems and became entranced. When I was a teenager a great teacher, John Hodge of Queens Royal College in Port-of-Spain, delighted in departing from the syllabus books to tell us about strange poets we had never heard of, and urge us to expand our minds with their beauty and insights – Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, W B Yeats, Sappho, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost. John Hodge changed the angle of how I saw the world. “The complex value of the word was born/…And language took ecstatic wing.”
There is not a day goes past I do not read poetry. And every now and then in a sudden epiphany of discovery in the space of a day or two I happen to come across poems one after the other in which I especially delight and which I therefore want to share.
Langston Hughes was one of the poets not on our syllabus who John Hodge told us schoolboys about. He often read from his ‘Weary Blues’. But he never read this poem by Hughes. I discovered it one day for myself…..