A towering extinct volcano, shrouded in cloud. Miles of coral sand beaches, bleached white under a tropical sun. Sinuous palm trees reaching towards the sky, home of numerous birds of exotic plume and voice. This idyll of a Caribbean isle, a green jewel surrounded by clear turquoise seas, is described in these 50 poems by Hugh D. Loxdale, a biologist by profession.
He has visited Nevis three times with his wife, and here imparts his sensations and impressions of its natural beauty, its friendly people, and the wildlife of this small, enchanting island.
This book is a true poetic treasure for all those who love Nevis and are concerned about the island's tranquil present, its bright future, as well as its dark and tumultuous past.
Grey Kingbird, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Bat Moths, Black Cat of the Nevisian Night, Goodnight at Charlestown, Four Seasons, The View from Cades Bay, Out There, Coconut Walk to Huggin’s Bay, Eddy’s Restaurant, Fireflies, Hermitage, Frigate Birds, Lover’s Beach, Kingdom of the Lizards, The Waitress and the Straw Hat, La Rue the Parrot, Nevis Peak, Nevis Noon, Music of the Finches, Rhyme and Reason, Pearly-Eyed Thrasher, The Blue Mermaid, The Black Madonna?, Mythical Trees, Tall Ships, Sea Shells, Salute to Redonda, Red-Rum Sun, Sunset, Postcard from Nevis, The Estate Keeper, What happened to the Clarendon?, The Cat and the Hammock, Freddie, Sheila Tequila, Caribbean Swallows, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, Lucky the Lizard Eater, Mosquito Wars, The Night Fly, Raggy Road, The Road Ravers, The Castaways, The Volcano, Visit to Cottle Church, The Bananaquit and the Bullfinch, Tropic Night, White Peacock, Saint Thomas Lowland
Lovers’ Beach, northernmost
Point of this greenest of jewels,
Is beyond the reach of all,
Save but the most passionate soul
Who will bare that love, that life,
Even for a while
And let soft sand
Run between their fingers, their toes,
Fall from their tangled hair…
Once to admit that they were there,
In the arms, the thrall
Of another being, a love,
To share this brief
Snatch of paradise,
Where the lithesome waves
And golden granules
And make reality plausible.
As the sea rocks up and down
On the empty shore,
Below the little sandy cliffs;
As my wife rocks to and fro
In her white, knotted hammock
On the veranda,
I stare into the ocean depths
Amongst the clear waters
To observe a small spiral shell,
Or a forked fragment of broken coral…
And contemplate the nature
Realising that a century
Is a long span
In the affairs of men;
A half-century not much less.
True, my ancestors
Of the distant past
Would recognise these artefacts,
Fruits of the sea,
Just as they would
The island across
The narrow straight,
With its complex of hills and folds,
Valleys and depressions,
Shadows and tricks of the light…
So that there is uniformity, conservation,
Even though, of course,
The greater world beyond
Has changed radically, -
Almost beyond reason.
Then I realise that even this
View may be wrong.
That perhaps the shells have slightly changed;
The coral sticks are different;
The island is not the same.
Through my eyes,
Everything Is transformed
And that I only assume these small uniformities to be so;
To have always had identity.
The Earth is a dynamic place; it evolves,
All ebbs and flows, rocks and goes, and moves on,
The strange and various dinosaurs
Had their day.
But what of the pelicans, the dolphins now,
Us, the shells and corals?
Caught up in the motion of the stars
That swirl…and laugh
Down the ages
A hysterical laugh…
Only its theme is serious.
I shall draw up mythical trees
In search of the Fountain of Youth…
Just as with sex and the birds and the bees,
When a simple story is confused…
And a white swan mates with a beautiful woman,
Centaurs release their bows,
Whilst Pan, half goat and man,
Chases poor Syrinx up hill and down,
Only to cut her into reed pipes
From which much sweet music flows.
Such is the power of the lofty myth
That springs from that happy well…
And which the human mind
Will long dwell…
And indeed oft finds more palatable
Than the sour wine of truth
That grows on that lowly, humble vine.
Yet as the old saying goes, ‘In vino veritas’;
Wine speaks the truth!