Episode Fifteen - Guest Author Pamela Mordecai


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?