Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom
Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom takes the reader on a journey of light, from the flicker of the firefly in rural Jamaica, through the half-moonlight of the limbo of exile in the USA to the point of arrival and reconnection imaged by the eight-pointed star.
It is also a journey of the voice, traversing back and forth across the Atlantic and across continents, pushing its way through word censors and voice mufflers and ending in tongues of fire.
In making this book a Poetry Book Society recommendation, its selector commented: 'Marcia Douglas has the kind of intent but relaxed concentration which ushers the reader into the life of a poem and makes the event - a wedding, a hot afternoon, an aeroplane journey - seem for a while like the centre of things. This is a rich and very welcome book.'
June Owens writes in The Caribbean Writer: 'Some writers leave their creative handprints in dark caves where only later happenstance may, perhaps, discover them. Some writers stamp their entire selves upon the language, upon a culture, upon literature and upon our consciousness in so intimate, singular, well-illumined and indelible a manner that there can be no mistaking their poems and prose for those of another. Such a writer is Marcia Douglas.' Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom by Marcia Douglas
* The title, Cocoa Bottom, is exotic - these people are not used to electricity. * Narrative feel throughout poem.
Then all the children of Cocoa Bottom
went to see Mr. Samuel's electric lights. - God-like, miracle worker, great spectacle They camped on the grass bank outside his house,
their lamps filled with oil, - aware of light, not electricity; artificiality of western world will corrupt them waiting for sunset,
watching the sky turn yellow, orange.
Grannie Patterson across the road
peeped through the crack in her porch door.
The cable was drawn like a pencil line across the sun. - cable scarred landscape The fireflies waited in the shadows, - think they're better than God because even fireflies turn off their light; nature comes to see lights come on their lanterns off. - God turning off his light; kids used to creation The kling-klings swooped in from the hills, - inferior to mankind congregating in the orange trees.
A breeze coming home from sea held its breath; - nature is not regarded the same bamboo lining the dirt road stopped its swaing,
and evening came as soft as chiffon curtains:
Closing. Closing. - something new is frightening|
Light! - nature beautiful, mankind ugly
Mr. Samuel smiling on the verandah -
a silhouette against the yellow shimmer behind him - - seems like God with yellow shimmer and there arising such a gasp,
such a fluttering of wings, - birds frightened
such a swaying, swaying.
Light! Marvellous light! - think nature is marvelling light; brought age - reason, science And then the breeze rose up from above the trees,
swelling and swelling into a wind
such that the long grass bent forward
stretching across the bank like so many bowed heads. - worship Mr. S above God And a voice in the wind whispered:
Is there one among us to record this moment? - nature wins? But there was none -|
no one (except for a few warm rocks
hidden among mongoose ferns) even heard a sound.
Already the children of Cocoa Bottom
had lit their lamps for the dark journey home, - kids corrupted once seen artificial light and it was too late -
the moment had passed. - kids lives, nothing the same again| Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom
Electricity Comes to Cocoa Bottom takes the reader on a journey of light, from the flicker of the firefly in rural Jamaica, through the half-moonlight of the limbo of exile in the USA to the point of arrival and reconnection imaged by the eight-pointed star.It is also a journey of the voice, traversing back and forth across the Atlantic and across continents, pushing its way through word censors...