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My Favourite Jamaican Poems

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Like Jamaican proverbs, the Jamaican poems captures the spontaneity of the expressions of our joy and sorrows; our ready, poignant and even wicked wit, our religion and philosophy of life. Many too are deep social commentary.

Arguably, the mother of Jamaican poetry, the late great Louise Bennett-Coverly, through her poems in Jamaican patois, raised the dialect of the Jamaican folk to an art level which became acceptable and appreciated by all in and outside of Jamaica.

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Today, we have a host of modern day Jamaican poets who are helping in their own way to preserve this rich cultural heritage.

The list is long but two that stands out in my mind is the ever effervescent Joan Andrea Hutchinson and the radical Mutabaruka.

Needless to say that most of my favourite poems were written by the one and only Mama Lou (Miss Louise Bennett- Coverly).

They include:

  1. Dry-Foot Bwoy
  2. Back to Africa
  3. Social Climbing
  4. Scandal
  5. Noh Little Twang!

'All a dem nice', but my ultimate favourite is NOH LICKLE TWANG!

This poem bemoans the fact that a recent repatriate Jamaican returned from the United States without a trace of having been there -not even a little "twang"!


louise bennet

NOH LICKLE TWANG by Louise Bennett

Me glad fe se's you come back bwoy,
But lawd yuh let me dung,
Me shame o' yuh soh till all o'
Me proudness drop a grung.

Yuh mean yuh goh dah 'Merica
An spen six whole mont' deh,
An come back not a piece betta
Dan how yuh did goh wey?

Bwoy yuh noh shame? Is soh you come?
Afta yuh tan soh lang!
Not even lickle language bwoy?
Not even little twang?

An yuh sista wat work ongle
One week wid 'Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have
De jooce fe undastan?

Bwoy yuh couldn' improve yuh self!
An yuh get soh much pay?
Yuh spen six mont' a foreign, an
Come back ugly same way?

Not even a drapes trouziz? or
A pass de rydim coat?
Bwoy not even a gole teet or
A gole chain roun yuh t'roat.

Suppose me las' rne pass go introjooce
Yuh to a stranga
As me lamented son wat lately
Come from 'Merica!

Dem hooda laugh afta me, bwoy
Me could'n tell dem soh!
Dem hooda sey me lie, yuh was
A-spen time back a Mocho.

Noh back-ansa me bwoy, yuh talk
Too bad; shet up yuh mout,
Ah doan know how yuh an yuh puppa
Gwine to meck it out.

Ef yuh want please him meck him tink
Yuh bring back someting new.
Yuh always call him "Pa" dis evenin'
Wen him come sey "Poo".

Note! You can get the words of the other four (4) here.
Its an PDF file, so you may need Adobe Acrobat to open it.

If you are looking to purchase her works, you can check this website dedicated to her or do a quick search on

By the way, other notable Jamaican poets includes:

If you are looking to purchase her works, you can check this website dedicated to her or do a quick search on

Other notable Jamaican poets includes:

  • The illustrious Claude Mckay
  • Edward Baugh
  • Lorna Goodison
  • John Figueroa
  • A. L. Hendriks
  • Oku Onuora
  • Roger Mais
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson
  • Oku Onuora
  • Jeremyah Fasi

PLUS, Magazines and anthology of J'can Poems are now all over the internet, just check your favourite online store for more.

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Here Are Poems Other Visitors Have Shared...

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Yeah, Its My Birthday 
Published August 29 2017 Today I celebrate yet another birthday anniversary! I say, To God Be The Glory ! Of course, you know I take nothing …

My Jamaican Tongue (Poem) 
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Recipe For Christmas - My Christmas Wish To You 
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Happy Birthday to .......... me!!! 
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Jamaica Land We Love (Poem) 
JAMAICA LAND WE LOVE by Dee-Andra Webley 2/3/16 From the bosoms of England, Spain and Africa came the birth of a country we now know as Jamaica. …

Di Weather (Jamaican Poem) 
Pain in mi knee, pain in mi back, a blame it on de weather Pappy feel a twinge, a ache, a bite, him blame it on de weather . My daughter vex, har …

Mi Dear Jamaica - Poem 
Mi Dear Jamaica, Mi lang fi cum home yusi! Mi miss de warmth and laughta, And de soun of de rain pon de zinc roof. Lawd Jamaica, things not so …

Good Morning Teacher (aka New Scholar) - Jamaican Poem by Louise Bennett 
NEW SCHOLAR By Louise Bennett from Speech Anhology, JCDC 2011. Good mahnin, Teacher — ow is yuh? My name is Sarah Pool. Dis is fi-me li bwoy Michal …

Naah figet my country Jamaica (Poem) Not rated yet
I'm a jamaican first That's my land. Suh noh ask me who me be, Or wehh me come from. Naah figet my country Jamaica, No day,no way Di ackee n di saltfish …

A burden that lasts for a lifetime (Poem) Not rated yet
Why should one not expressed their feelings? Human they are and not robots, love thou shall feel or life will be a hole. One should open their heart …

Golden rule (Jamaican Poem) Not rated yet
JAMAICA POEM: The Golden Rule You choose to refuse to abide by a rule Dont be a fool long side a mule, follow the Golden Rule One rule could save your …

Nuh fenkeh fenkeh dance (Jamaican Poem) Not rated yet
JAMAICA POEM: Nuh fenkeh fenkeh dance Wen yuh hear di good Jamaican dancehall Yuh betta tek di chance Fi "move yuh body body" like Tiffa Nat nuh …

August Mawnin Come Again - Poem Not rated yet
JAMAICA POEM: AUGUST MAWNIN COME AGAIN Augus’ mawnin come again Jubilation in di air Ankcestors rise up an’ draw near Dem noh ‘ave no fear …

Politrix (Poem) Not rated yet
Politrix Politrix. Oops, I meant Politics. And I thought that trix were for kids; the tricks they pick brainwashes our natural instincts.  'Poli' …

Nice to be back a yaard (poem) Not rated yet
So nice to be back a yaard. This poem is from one of our most ardent fans, friend, and Jamaican enthusiast, Sistren Jen for the UK. She wrote this …

Hero Nanny Poem, by Louise Bennett Not rated yet
Hero Nanny Peom By Louise Bennett We have one Jamaican proverb what say “If breeze no blow, yuh no know say dot fowl got skin.” An lawks, missis, …

Jamaicans, Poem by Christine Laud Not rated yet
JAMAICANS by Christine Laud We are Jamaicans, and we are proud, We stand out in the crowd, Whether it is our dialect or our desire to succeed, We …

Journey Through Time - Poem Not rated yet
Journey Through Time by Barbara King (In celebration of Emancipation) In times of old we lived as kings and queens Able to follow all our …

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