Perugia Press
Celebrating poetry by women since 1997

Beg No Pardon by Lynne Thompson
Great Lakes Colleges Association
New Writers Award
80 pages, $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-9794582-0-0
© 2007

Beg No Pardon

by Lynne Thompson

How I Learned Where We Come From

When she wants him for the late meal, she calls
supper soon Kingstown-man, curried goat, sticky-wicket

and he responds, testy, not yet ready, Bequia-woman,
Anglican church, basket with no handles.

We children, we laugh, head for the hills
and the tall sweet-grasses, listen for the lilt

of frangipani tantie. She call come in now
pigeon peas, mangoes, poor man’s orchids —

then we run, for true, and supper is all
cassava root, callaloo, very little sugar cane

and we’re in it all at once: choirsong above
Mt. Pleasant, Port Elizabeth, harp of Paget Farm

till Father, he say no, defends his slipped-on wishes
for Soufrière, Sans Souci, Wallilabou Bay

and so on into the evening, calypso and steel drums,
a little Rasta and Bob Marley for us young’uns

until, finally, we are no longer black ironwood —
wood that will not float.