Still wheezing from the smoke of a bushfire
near a golf course in Whittier Village in St.James,
I watched flames leap over the roof of my home
and blacken the walls that guard the Ironshore
We’d prayed for rain in this dry season—
the longest in memory—to get some ease
from the heat; to return green to the mountains
and relief in the evenings with the ocean breeze.
But the wind only brings more bad news
from dying coral in Negril’s disappearing bay
up to the Cockpit Country, where bees once danced
among mango blossoms, and now herds of lean cows
swat their tails at flies, mosquitoes carrying dengue
while they munch brown grass in a dried riverbed.
Geoffrey Philp, a recipient of a Silver Musgrave Medal from the Institute of Jamaica, is the author of “Archipelagos,” a book of poems about climate change, which has been longlisted for the Laurel Prize. Philp’s graphic novel for children, “My Name is Marcus,” will be published later this year.