Epiphaneia

 
 

Too Full of Vermouth and Cigarette Smoke

 
when I leave I want there to be a carpet of poui
when I leand the scent of fresh dew and longing

rain sweeping into the harbour and over
when I lethe mountains like walls of grey,

my daughters giggling as they are now,
when I leI am too full to be remembered like this,

goodbye comes in the languages I cannot remember,
when I leI cannot understand anymore

how many different ways there are to say harvest,
when I leto feel the coarseness of the seed

on your tongue when the magic of the fruit
when I lehas disappeared with the guinep’s flesh,

how you can spit into dirt and grow something
when I lebeautiful. I know I shall be leaving soon, so

let there be seats for the coffee drinkers
when I le(grounds wet like earth). When I am gone

do not tell anyone I am gone.

 

 

The Learned Pig

 

 

Rituals

 
Come, daughter, we must go now to the hill
where our ancestors strode amongst the tall grass
and worked and worked and worked until

The sun still sets its burning light, it will
still open eyes tomorrow, it will still pass.
Come, father, we must go down the hill

Where your blessed ancestors are still,
buried in this earth, where each stone is cast,
and worked and worked and worked until

This earth can stop spinning, or my eyes fill
with salt, or as long as this day can last.
Come, mother, we must go down the hill

Where the water is, beyond the distant sail,
to hear these voices, the ancestors’ final gasp,
who worked and worked and worked until

The sun sank like a hurled stone and still
we are here, we are still here holding fast.
Come, children, we must go now to the hill,
and work and work and work until.

 

 

 

Richard GeorgesThese two poems are from Epiphaneia, Richard Georges’ most recent poetry collection – published by Out-Spoken Press and recipient of the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher.

Readers can purchase Epiphaneia direct from Out-Spoken Press.

 
 

Image credit: Brandon Jacob Hudson, Palm Lines – As an Answer [detail], 2006
Brandon is a Texas-based artist who turns photography into a hybrid genre using a wide range of mixed media and post-processes. Intrigued by undefined imagery, he pushes his investigations into new bodies of work, which have recently included close-up images of LCD television screens, abstract clay forms and painterly inkjet formations over landscapes and found photographs.
www.brandonjacobhudson.com

 

 

This is part of FIELDS, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring fields as natural and (agri)cultural, invisible and visible, poor and productive, created and creators. FIELDS is conceived and edited by Marloe Mens.

 
 

The Learned Pig

 
 

Richard Georges

Richard Georges is a writer of essays, fiction, and three collections of poetry. His most recent book, Epiphaneia (2019), won the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and his first book, Make Us All Islands (2017), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. His second book, Giant (2018), was highly commended by the Forward Prizes and longlisted for the OCM Bocas Prize. He is a recipient of a Fellowship from the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study and has been listed or nominated for several other prizes, including the Hollick Arvon Caribbean Writers Prize, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. In addition to writing, Richard works in higher education and lives in the British Virgin Islands.