Wah Sweet Nanny Goat Run Belly - Jamaican Poem

by Denise Salmon

Wah Sweet Nanny Goat Ago Run Belly
A poem by Denise Salmon
(July 2013)

These words would shine a light ahead for young people
When the older folks saw that their next step was not clear
After a while to many hearts these words became so dear

"Wah sweet Nanny Goat ago run her belly"

These words meant we should be careful or soon we'd be sorry
They said, set your standard high and never forget, you must always try

To build a good foundation for your future
These words are such a wonderful part of our Jamaican culture
when we heard these words we would stop and think
We knew that we needed to stop and taste before we drink

They said all that glittered would not always be gold
And every story would not be fully told
We knew it would not be good for us to party all night
And expect the next day to turn out just right

Sometimes what came after these words could be a bit painful
But we knew the one who spoke, was always faithful
She was there when we fell and we were hurting so badly
She would dust off our clothes and help us to recover so gladly

Even though sometimes we didn't listen to a thing she said
With these words, she would send us to our beds
These were the words she used when she was upset
Because she didn't want our little hearts to be filled with regret

But we knew that sweet things could be bad for us in the end
And long after Granny is gone these words still tell us that she was our friend

She'll never be forgotten because of the words she spoke
Even though we would laugh, we thought it was just a joke

Diarrhoea is not a nice thing to have even now
So we know it is best to listen to Granny because she knew somehow
What the outcome of all that sweetness would be
We now know we should be careful even when we are free

Free to do all that we want to do
But these are the words we still need to take us through

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