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FEATURED POET
Poetry Corner
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THIS PAGE WAS LAST UPDATED ON: 1 AUGUST 2017
LISTEN TO
Terror rains
from the sky
Cities turned
to rubble.
Where will
children play?

HAIKU POEM
ROSALIENE BACCHUS

On that bridge I look and see
The symbol of your justice and equality
Standing tall with her torch of flame
Now I ask what is your aim
You invade Grenada
You invade Nicaragua
You bomb Hiroshima
You bomb Philadelphia
But the eyes of liberty is watching you
Watching all the things you do
The eyes of justice is crying out
What is your democracy all about
The true owners of your nation
Is force to live on a reservation
Now I see you in my land
Making all kinds of plans
Spending billions of dollars every year
To keep us all living in fear
Economical pressure is your game
Liberty reaching with her torch of flame
Yes the eyes of liberty is watching you
Watching all the things you do
The eyes of justice is crying out
What is your democracy all about
Talk of invading Libya
You never talk ‘bout invade South Africa
But you invade the Sandinista government
Using Jamaica as your Caribbean investment
And the Palestinians are your biggest resentment
Terrorism is the order of the day
Where will the children play

You invade Grenada
You invade Nicaragua
You bomb Hiroshima
You bomb Philadelphia

The symbol of true justice and equality
Stands erect for all to see
Making plans for the Haitians
Helping to keep down the Black Americans

But the eyes of liberty are watching you
Watching all the things you do
The eyes of liberty are watching you
To yourself you must be true


SOURCE: The First Poems/The Next Poems, Mutabaruka,
Paul Issa Publications, Jamaica, 2005.

EYES OF LIBERTY
Mutabaruka
WHERE WILL
CHILDREN PLAY?
BABYLON SYSTEM
BOB MARLEY

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MUTABARUKA, born
Allan Hope on
December 12, 1952,
is a Jamaican
Rastafari dub poet,
musician, actor,
educator, and
talk-show host. Born
and raised in
Kingston, Jamaica, his
father died when he
was eight years old.

After training as an
electrician at the
Kingston Technical
High School, he
worked at the
Jamaican Telephone
Company until
quitting in 1971 to
pursue his writing
full-time. He moved
to the quiet Potosi
Hills to grow his own
food, where he lives
with his wife and two
children.

Raised as a Roman
Catholic, the poet
converted to
Rastafarianism in the
1970s when he took
the name Mutabaruka,
a phrase from the
Rwandan language
which translates as
"one who is always
victorious."

Mutabaruka was drawn
into the Black Power
Movement of the late
1960s and early
1970s.

The themes of his poetry
include politics, culture,
Black liberation, social
oppression,
discrimination, poverty,
racism, sexism, and
religion.

His poetry collections
include the following:
Outcry (1973); Sun
and Moon,
with
Faybiene (1976);
The
Book: First Poems
(1980); and The First
Poems/The Next
Poems
(2005).

In 2016, the Jamaican
government awarded
him the Order of
Distinction in
recognition of his
cultural contributions.
Jamaican Dub Poet Mutabaruka
I'm a poet. I'm a poet first. The words is why reggae music  
is big. It's not the music itself. The music is good but it's
because of what it is said in the music. Over the years people
recognize Bob Marley lyrics as a liberatin' music, as a upliftin'
music. So it's really what he was saying ,- what he is saying.
That's why I don't try to sing. I can't sing but I can speak.
And when we speak the poetry we hope that people listen.

Dub poetry is Jamaican poetry to music, especially reggae
music. What we do, we use the music to compliment the
poems. Most of the poems is basically a social, political or
religious commentary. We use the reggae music to express
it. So that is why they call it dub poetry, because Jamaican
music at one time was dub music. Now they would call it
reggae poetry.
~ MUTABARUKA during interview with 1000 Voices of Dissent,
November 2, 2010.

Then we started to put these poems on CDs because in
Jamaica most people they really don’t read poetry and the
people who read poetry in Jamaica that was not the people
who we were catering for. So we decided to make the people
hear the poems. So we started to perform the poems and
then we started to put the poems on records on CDs.
~ MUTABARUKA during USA Book Tour at the Marcus Book Store, San
Francisco, California, April 12, 2005
RASTAFARIANISM
IN THE WORDS OF
MUTABARUKA
The philosophy of
Rastafari has
influenced a whole
heap of people even
though we don’t have
no church or we don’t
have no specific leader
than can carry and say
dis is it…but through
stringently and levity
that we project out
there as a people
dispersed and
domiciled in that
former slave
plantation island
known as Jamaica. We
have been able to
manifest a certain way
of life that has
surpassed the
established system
and has gained
recognition through
something named
Reggae music.
Reggae music is the
only secular gospel
music that we know. It’
s suppose to be
outside of religion but
yet still it profess and
preach more religion
than any other music
that I know...

[B]ut there is one
thing, an aspect of
Rastafari that ‘ave
Jamaican people
really, really weird and
its this idea that
Emperor Haile Selassie
I is The Almighty. A
wake of people cannot
come to grips with that
part of Rasta, which is
really the essence of
Rastafari. Not
accepting that and
sayin’ you a Rasta is
like the Pope come
out and saying look
‘ere I didn’t say I was
a Roman Catholic.
Rastafari is the name
of Haile Selassie
before him was the
emperor of Ethiopia
and in order for
Rastafari to survive, it
must be clear that
Emperor Haile Selassie
is The Almighty.

Excerpt from
USA Book
Tour, San Francisco,
California, 2005.