Claude McKay's Early Poetry (1911-1922): A Digital Collection

Cudjoe Fresh From De Lecture

'Top one minute, Cous' Jarge, an' sit do'n 'pon de grass,
An' mek a tell you 'bout de news I hear at las',
How de buccra te-day tek time an' begin teach
All of us dat was deh in a clear open speech..

You miss somet'ing fe true, but a wi' mek you know,
As much as how a can, how de business a go:
Him tell us 'bout we self, an' mek we fresh again,
An' talk about de wul' from commencement to en'.

Me look 'pon me black 'kin, an' so me head grow big,
Aldough me heaby han' dem hab fe plug an' dig;
For ebery single man, no car' about dem rank,
Him bring us ebery one an' put 'pon de same plank.

Say, parson do de same? Yes, in a'dift'ren' way,
For parson tell us how de whole o' we are clay;
An' lookin' close at t'ings, we hab to pray quite hard
Fe swaller wha' him say an' don't t'ink bad o' Gahd.

But dis man tell us 'traight 'bout how de whole t'ing came,
An' show us widout doubt how Gahd was not fe blame;
How change cause eberyt'ing fe mix up 'pon de eart',
An' dat most hardship come t'rough accident o' birt'.

Him show us all a sort o' funny 'keleton,
Wid names I won't remember under dis ya sun;
Animals queer to deat', dem bone, teet', an' head-skull,
All dem so dat did live in a de ole-time wul'.

No 'cos say we get cuss mek fe we 'kin come so,
But fe all t'ings come 'quare, same so it was to go
Seems our lan' must ha' been a bery low-do'n place, .
Mek it tek such long time in tu'ning out a race.

Yes, from monkey we spring: I believe ebery wud;
It long time better dan f'go say we come from mud:
No need me keep back part, me hab not'in' fe gain;
It's ebery man dat born -- de buccra mek it plain.

It realIy strange how some o' de lan' dem advance;
Man power in some ways is nummo soso chance
But suppose eberyt'ing could tu'n right upside down,
Den p'raps we'd be on top an' givin' some one houn'.

Yes, Cous' Jarge, slabery hot fe dem dat gone befo':
We gettin' better times, for those days we no know;
But I t'ink it do good, tek we from Africa
An' lan' us in a blessed place as dis a ya.

Talk 'bouten Africa, we would be deh till now,
Maybe same half-naked-all day dribe buccra cow,
An' tearin' t'rough de bush wid all de monkey dem,
Wile an' uncibilise', an' neber comin' tame.

l Ief' quite 'way from wha' we be'n deh talk about,
Yet still a couldn' help -- de wuds come to me mout';
Just like how yeas' get strong an' sometimes fly de cark,
Same way me feelings grow, so I was boun' fe talk.

Yet both horse partly runnin' in de selfsame gallop,
For it is nearly so de way de buccra puIl up:
Him say, how de wul' stan', dat right will neber be,
But wrong will eber gwon  till dis wul' en' fe we.

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