This week, we’re honoured to welcome Pamela Mordecai reading from her phenomenal performance poem “de book of Mary.” You might hear some birdsong in the background because Pamela graciously invited me into her home to record her. Pamela is a literary tour-de-force, having published five collections of poetry, an anthology of short fiction and a novel, Red Jacket, which was a finalist for the 2015 Rogers Writer’s Trust Fiction Award. As if that weren’t enough, Pamela is also well-known for her poetry and stories for children and is a recipient of the Institute of Jamaica’s Centenary and Bronze Musgrave Medals.
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Mary convinces Jesus to perform the miracle at Cana
(written and read by Pamela Mordecai)
“Listen Jesus! De people dem run
out of wine.” What a crosses!
me thinking in my mind.
“Jesus! Son! You hear what me saying?
Dis party just begin
and de people wine done!”
Me raise my voice loud-loud but Jesus can’t hear
for him on de far side of dis yard.
Me shout louder.
“Son is me! Over here! Is your Ma!”
Him still don’t hear a word!
Make me move likl closer for not even me
can hear myself talking in dis noise.
“Cry excuse! Beg you please
give me pass? Me need to get through
to dat made over yonder, him
wid de beard.” Okay, See me right here
side of him. Him must can hear me now!
“Jesus, me telling you de wine done.
Down to de last dribble. Son, you don’t
Hear what me saying to you?”
“Woman, dat don’t have nothing to do
wid neither you nor me, for my time
don’t come yet.” Well dat one
surprise me. “But my son,
how you can take up dat attitude?
Look how much stranger come
wanting dis, begging dat
and you don’t turn down one?
Look how much time me watch
you peel clothes off your back,
give to strays on de street,
feed nuff hungry belly?
How come you now decide you
not concern wid dis situation,
‘for your time don’t come yet’?”
Him just look on me. Don’t say nothing.
Him plainly in one of him moods, so
me going just do what me have to do.
“Listen, servers. A word, if you please.
Kindly do as dis rabbi instruct. Never mind
what him say, just follow him orders.”
Sometimes me think my son is crazy.
Can’t think why him asking dose fellows
to fill up de big water jar dem
dat wash hand and wash foot.
Is not water dat finish, is wine!
But see here! Is what dat pikni doing?
Now him tell de server to draw
from one of de big jug and take to
headwaiter. Headwaiter take time taste,
den him call de bridegroom.
“Master, how you come so contrary?
Everybody me know when dem throw a party
Share de best wine out first,
bring de bad when de guest dem so drunk
dem can’t tell de difference.
but you keep de good wine
for de last.” De bridegroom well mix up.
Scratch him head. Can’t make no sense of it—
just well glad dem don’t have
to feel shame. But Jah-Jah,
is now I realize why my son
never want to make a miracle dat day.
Someting change from dat hour.
Like a weight descend
and seize him down to de bone.
Oh my son! Why your Ma
couldn't leave well enough alone?