Back Then

From white enamel mugs we drank chocolate and bush tea
There was no McDonald’s, no colonel from Kentucky
We loved our dishes full of fried dumpling, saltfish and ackee
We were not sophisticated but we were more free
We were not imprisoned in lovely homes behind iron bars
Listening to the rat-tat-tat of internecine wars
In dead of night from our back or our front yards
We could contemplate the moon and count the twinkling stars
They say we were backward then
And in some ways we might have been
But we were not afraid to open our doors, our hearts
And let even passing strangers in
Things weren’t perfect, but I’m telling you the truth
We didn’t spend time looking over our shoulders
Or trembling in our shoes
Time moves on and there’s no more how it used to be
In this world, no matter where you might be
But, Lord, I beg this one thing of thee while I’m still here to see:
Even for just one day, return the Jamaica of my childhood days to me!

About the author

Pauline Graham Binder