Miss Lou’s Love Letter

Louise Bennett, the legendary Jamaican poet and story-teller, explains how a good Jamaican male proposes

Illustration by Shalini SeereeramIllustration by Shalini Seereeram

Me darlin love, me lickle dove,

Me dumplin, me gizada,

Me sweetie Sue, I goes fa you

Like how flies goes fa sugar.

 

As ah puts me pen to paper

An me pen-nib start fi fly

Me rememberance remember

De fus day yuh ketch me yeye!

 

Yuh did jus come off a tramcar,

A bus was to yuh right,

A car swips pass yuh lef aise,

An yuh tan up stiff wid fright.

 

Yuh jaw drop, yuh mout open,

Jus like when jackass start yawn;

Me heart go boogoo-boogoo,

An me know wha meek me bawn!

 

Do, no scorn me lickle letter;

No laugh after me, yaw —

Me learnin not too gran, so what

Me cyaan spell me wi draw!

 

De ting eena de corner wid

De freckles, is me heart;

An de plate wid yam an salfish mean

Dat we can never part.

 

See how me draw de two face-dem

Dah look pon one anodder?

Well, one is me an one is yuh –

Teck any one yuh rader.

 

Is not a cockroach foot dis,

Is a finger wid a ring!

An it mean me want fi married yuh,

Dis line is a piece of string –

 

Teck it put roun de weddin finger

A yuh weddin han,

Careful fi get de right size,

An den gi it to dis man.

 

De man is me. Now, sweet rice,

Keep swell till ah see yuh nex.

Accept me young heart while ah close

Wid love and bans a x.

— Louise Bennett

 

Reprinted by permission of Sangster’s Book Stores, Jamaica

Glossary

gizada: open tart filled with grated, sweetened and spiced coconut
cyaan: can’t
aise: ears