The smell of night jasmine with its

subtle undertones

of light and dark

is like a sepia photograph 

that makes an indelible imprint

of Bequia.

 

Its smell creates an album

of images

that spill across

my mind, haphazard,

indestructible.

Waiting to get my publishers proposal back from my agent.  I’ve adopted a new strategy of writing short stories as a lead in to my novel.   Reflected all day yesterday at Ravine with various friends who were born here on Bequia about the virtues of private property.   Particular foreigners who come to the island and throw their weight around because they own local land.  There is a story about a nowhere man here who broke all the rules, stole water rights and has now made a fortune selling local land to foreigners.  I met him when he first came here he was a bit of idealist then, a hippy living in a small wooden hut with his beautiful barefoot wife and children.  Now he’s become a rich, reclusive landowner.   Change is hard and sometimes good and always interesting.  Characters emerge in bits and pieces! 

Bequia

On the island of Bequia which is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.   My family has been here for hundreds of years and that is an interesting feeling to connect as far back as great grandparents.   It is a beautiful island and is part of the whole Grenadines chain of islands that include Mustique and Tobago Keys.  Today we went to a beach that only locals go to and this poem below  about that beach is part of an anthology which I’ve written on the island.  Some of the pieces are lyrical and some comment on various aspects of the culture and lifestyle.   I often feel sad since the island is changing as more and more rich foreigners come here to build houses.   It is probably good for the local economy, however it has in some subtle, indefinable way changed the old place.  I remember when Estelle was the only bread baker in town and she did that out of an old oil drum in the harbor.  I remember when the three masted schooner Friendship Rose was the only ferry that came here.  I remember when the few Americans that made it here were the intrepid, those that wanted a simple life without electric power and without the frills and the conveniences of modernity.    Now huge houses loom over the simple landscape with infinity pools and multiple fancy bedrooms.   Change is inevitable, but I can’t help being nostalgic for those old days, and when I hear the newbies chattering I find myself withdrawing into some kind of protective shell, like a snail that wants to stay very still and move very slowly away from them.

 

Ravine

The feel of heat under my feet,

the sky like the underside of a shadow,

the wind moving the sea-grape leaves,

the spume of the ocean pushing up towards the rocks,

the smiling boys I have known all their lives

diving into the surf like sharp arrows

coming up for breath, human flotsam,

no separation between them and the white

and black of the ocean.

 

A tree bent like an old woman

held up against the wind

on a street corner.

 

Silence and the wash of it

lonely and warm,

I clasp my knees in adoration,

salt hair sticking to my lips.