Checking Out Me History by John Agard

Dem tell me

Dem tell me

Wha dem want to tell me

 

Bandage up me eye with me own history

Blind me to me own identity

 

Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat

Dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat

But Toussaint L’Ouverture

No dem never tell me bout dat

 

Toussaint

A slave

With vision

Lick back

Napoleon

Battalion

And first Black

Republic born

Toussaint de thorn

To de French

Toussaint de beacon

Of de Haitian Revolution

 

Dem tell me bout de man who discover de balloon

And de cow who jump over de moon

Dem tell me bout de dish ran away with de spoon

But dem never tell me bout Nanny de Maroon

 

Nanny

See-far woman

Of mountain dream

Fire-woman struggle

Hopeful stream

To freedom river

 

Dem tell me bout Lord Nelson and Waterloo

But dem never tell me bout Shaka de great Zulu

Dem tell me bout Columbus and 1492

But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too

 

Dem tell me bout Florence Nightingale and she lamp

And how Robin Hood used to camp

Dem tell me bout ole King Cole was a merry ole soul

But dem never tell me bout Mary Seacole

 

From Jamaica

She travel far

To the Crimean War

She volunteer to go

And even when de British said no

She still brave the Russian snow

A healing star

Among the wounded

A yellow sunrise

To the dying

 

Dem tell me

Dem tell me wha dem want to tell me

But now I checking out me own history

I carving out me identity

Checking Out Me History by John Agard