Ode to a Bananaquit

Ode to a Bananaquit

Ode to a Bananaquit 2418 1845 Summer Edward
        how I long to be
        as still as you, hiding within

the manchineel tree’s
shadowy green arabesque.

Obeisant bird,
gray-browed cantor
of the salt-earth

        beach, the sea-blessed tree
        your synagogue,
the vines your leaf-cut jaali,

teach me to be
a still-standing prayer,

        to rest as you do,
on supple branches of grace.

Half-screened from the world,
you lift your voice.

Hazzan of antillean shores,
        cloistered muse
        of wind and deep,

unshell my soul with song.

The bitter

manzanilla de la muerte,

sands that shift
        and slip away,

will not stop your calling
to the daughters of Zion.

Bananaquit, let me be
        like you, calling to worship

all the faithful
who go down to the sea.

Summer Edward

Summer Edward holds a BA in Psychology and an M.S.Ed. degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and is the recipient of a Roothbert Fellowship awarded to people motivated in their life’s work by spiritual values. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various literary journals internationally. She is the foundress and editor-in-chief of Anansesem Caribbean children's literature ezine and teaches narrative medicine and humanistic medicine at the University of the West Indies. She has been a contributing writer for Tiny Buddah, FinerMinds, Pick the Brain and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's (DBSA) website, sharing personal stories and using her creative and artistic voice to advocate for mental health wellness, personal growth and a culture of healing. Her website is www.summeredward.com.

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