POEM OF THE WEEK: SHARA MCCALLUM
Springbank, Great House
Port Antionio, 1796
Place of memory now in ruin.
This point overlooking the sea,
this cliff, this perch, paradise
to none but one who came
imagining he could be laird, could be
unmoored from class and caste.
The way past is always the way
through. Overland, we traversed
Blue Mountain, rocky passages
flanking us, abutted by gullies,
oversized plants casting their shadows.
The horses’ hooves trod and trod
until stone gave way to field,
and we entered the Rio Grande Valley,
approaching the house from behind—
first sight rising still in my mind,
bodying forth its false promise.
Leuk twice or ye leap ance echoes
now, late and fruitless. O, what foolishness
lies in the heart of man, gleaming
wish to be more that waits
for its chance to pounce and savage.
From Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of five books, published in the US and UK, most recently Madwoman, winner of the 2018 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature Poetry Prize and the 2018 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize. The poems in the Summer 2019 issue are from a new book, based on the life of 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns. “No Ruined Stone,” another piece in this issue, is in response to a portrait by contemporary Scottish artist Calum Colvin and in conversation with Colvin’s extensive work on Burns.