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Paul Keens-Douglas


Paul Keens-Douglas was born in September of 1942 in San Juan, Trinidad, but spent his early childhood in Grenada where he attended Presentation Boys College.

He has been writing and performing his own works since 1974. He holds an Honours Degree in Sociology, diplomas in Radio and Television Production and Broadcasting, and has done post graduate work at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. His awards include the Humming Bird Silver for Culture, and the Zora Neale Hurston Award.

For the past twenty years he has been a leading exponent of the oral traditions in a variety of fora, of which his Carnival Talk Tent has become a landmark. A self-published author, he has to his credit seven volumes of work, twelve albums and three videos. The remarkable thing about his work is its wide appeal, an appeal that covers all classes and age-groups.

As one writer puts it, " Paul Keens-Douglas celebrates our rich cultural amalgam and Caribbean landscapes like nobody else does. With a bubbling well of humour, humanity and heart, he reaches into the innermost crevices of ourselves and our cultures, and brings us back to joy, feeling, to the real sweetness of our societies."

The following poems have been reproduced here with the kind permission of Paul Keens-Douglas and are copyrighted ©. They may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author.

Mrs Cheryl Borde-Johnson represents Paul Keens-Douglas in North America and has  his latest video tapes, books, audio tapes and CDs for sale.You can contact Cheryl per e-mail to get more information on how to obtain those items.

From his  book, Role Call : Medal
©copyright Paul Keens-Douglas

Yu get ah medal ?
Yu didn't get ah medal ?

Yu mean to say yu didn't get ah medal ?

All kind ah people get medal, is God alone know wha' dey do,

An' yu eh get ah medal ?

Ah man like you, who do so much ting in dis place?

Ah cultural ambassador like you ?

Boy, you is ah hero !

An' yu eh get ah medal ?

Boy, dis place wrongside yes ?

Yu mean to say,

Yu eh even get to drink juice at de

President house ?

Well yes, me partner eh get ah medal !

As ah always say,

Good works not enough to get yu

into Heaven.

If yu was ah Baptist yu would ah bound

to get ah medal,

Dey 'fraid religion.

Or ah member of de party.

Is how long ah tellin' yu join ah party ?

It dont matter which one, jus' join !

All now so yu have ten medal.

But no, yu want to be ah artist.

An' yu expect to get ah medal ?

Now, if yu was ah Indian, well yu know

yu medal sure,

Because if is one thing dey fraid is race.

An' look where yu come from, Grenada,

of all places, Grenada,

An' yu expect to get ah medal ?

Now if yu was from behind de bridge,

just ah few feet,

All now so yu would ah have to give

dem back medal.

Behind de bridge is votes,

Yu could bring in votes ?

An' yu expect to get ah medal ?

Wha' is dat yu wearin' dey, dat

not ah medal ?

Is wha' ? Ah Miraculous Medal ?

No wonder yu don't want ah medal !

So yu have me here feelin' sorry for you

an' de government dotish medal,

An' all de time yu have medal ? Well, yes !

So is wha' yu tryin' to say,

yu believe in miracles ?

Yu believe yu could get ah medal

-if yu not religious?

-or belong to de party ?

-or preachin' race ?

-or from behind de bridge ?

Dey should give you ah medal for dat !


























go back up


from his book, Savannah Ghost
©copyright Paul Keens-Douglas

Ae, ae, Mister Leo,
Ah thought yu did dead,

Where yu been so long ?

Yu leave me stan' up here

Lookin' like ah real stupidy.

Everybody watchin' me

Like dey don't know

Where ah come out,
Like ah crash dey fete.

Yu well know dat me ehn know nobody here,

Yet yu gone an' disappear.

An' where de food yu suppose to get ?

Ah thought was dat yu been for !

Wha' kind ah dry fete is dis ?

Where yu goin'?

Yu can't see how de line long ?

An' besides me ehn hungry again

Me appetite gone.

Eh, eh, dats not yu friend Tony ?
An' he suppose to be sick in bed ?

Poor Lynette stay home grinding,

An' watch de criminal, watch him,

An' watch who he wit', ah real "yard fowl'.

Well he better stay right over dey,

Dat is one nigger me ehn dancin' with tonite.

An' ah thought yu say was ah casual fete,
Yu ehn see how everybody dress-up, dress-up ?

Ah girl like me have so much clothes,

Clothes ah ehn even wear yet,

An' yu make me come in pants?

Is true dey is very expensive,

But I very careful how I does go

In strange people fete.

Thank God dey ehn have shirt-jac dress,

Allyu look like allyu in de regiment.

But is where dey get dis D.J. ?
Wha' kind ah music he playin' dey ?

Not even ah lil piece ah reggae,

Like he never hear 'bout top forty ?

He must be playin' for free !

Dey right to put he in de bedroom,

Somebody did boun' to bus' he head.

Talkin 'bout bedroom, where de furniture ?

Dey hide dem in de bedroom too ?

Dey coulda at least leave couple chair

For me to res' me batty on.

But ah guess dey right,

De criminal ah see in dis fete
Ah would ah hide de floor too.

How 'bout ah drink ? eh Leo ?
Leo ! Allyu see Leo ?

He was jus' standin' right here.

Ah tall black fella wit gold teet,

He have ah purple pants an' ah yellow shirt,

An' he wearin' ah red, green an' yellow tam.

He was jus' here ! . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Dancer

by Paul Keens-Douglas

©copyright Paul Keens-Douglas


Poised like a startled dove,

That for a second scans the world,

Then darts away to safety,

You waver in a vision of light,

Shimmering, flowing motion.

Your graceful form brings life

To spaces that were before you empty,

And for a moment I fly with you,

On the wings of your grace,

And seem to touch the outer limits of life,

Feeling the freedom of your body

Coursing through my veins,

And I am one with you,

My eyes binding me like chains

To the very motion of your body,

And when you dance, I dance.

The feeling comes to hold you

To catch this thing of grace,

But some things are of the world,

To blow free in the sunlight,

Bringing silent joy to the many

Who pause to watch and wonder.

So dance, dance, the dancer,

Soar above the troubles of the earth,

And I - we - will dance with you,

And live, for a brief moment,

In the magic spell, the joy

Of your graceful motion . . . . . . . . .