She eat somebody White Fowl?
Last week ah tek ah ride pon Lord Kitchener’s back wid his Master Piece of ah Calypso: “De Carnival is Over!” Dis week ah riding pon Patches back, ah hope he ain’t mind, but ah got to use de chorus of one of his many Master-pieces“Ah Ain’t teef/eat yuh darm white fowl.” De chorus lines went something like dis: “Ah ain’t Teef yuh Darm White Fowl, leave me alone! Yuh always picking on me, ah ain’t sitting on yuh Throne! Patches actually made Calypso Finals dat year and was placed 11th. What or who was Eye-rn-ache was de MC in making de announcement, said: “And coming in at de cellar position of No 11 is Patches!” But dey were only 10 contestants.
So what did dis “White Fowl” have to do wid Patches. Well Patches is known foh his lead role in de Struggle foh Freedom, Equality and Justice foh de less fortunate, de Voice-less, even those wid voices but ‘fraid to speak. His principled positions all time comes out in his Calypsoes, he sings nothing but Social Commentary. So he “spared no one” in White Fowl, ley me correct dat line, he “speared everyone” in White Fowl. Was nuff licks foh de ‘Powers dat be’ foh his bad-treatment, foh de numerous, too many cases of Victim-I-say-shun, injustice, Nay-put-is-him in de country. He even had ah few lines foh de Judges foh treating him unfairly year after year when he sing. No wonder de Judges placed him 11th out ah 10!
So what is all dis bout “White Fowl?” Sir Richard Allsopp in his book on “Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage” says dis bout “White Fowl”: “A White hen or cock (of significant value in survivals of African belief systems).” He continues: “To eat or thief somebody White Fowl, is to do dem some serious harm or injustice, to endanger dey well being.”
Ah uses to raise chickens, meat birds, White Fowl. Only Creole Fowl meat sweeter dan White Fowl. Luckily, ah doh recall eating anybody White Fowl; if ah have to eat White Fowl ah going by C.K. Greaves and buy ah Fowl done plucked… cleaned it looks White, but originally it could ah bin Red Fowl, Black Fowl or White Fowl!
Ah sure readers wondering way ah going wid me Article dis week. Well ah was happy to read dat Andrea Keizer, who is married to my cousin Lennox Bowman, was appointed SVG’s Ambassador to Tie-One. So who is Andrea Keizer? She is de maternal Grand-daughter of ah “House Slave”; hey we go again wid another ah Patches Calypso: “House Slave!” Her maternal Grandmother uses to “wash and iron” foh rich people and her mother Norma Keizer broke de chains of slavery, impoverishment and Illiteracy, she won ah Town Board Scholarship, went to GHS, den to UWI and way ever, and became Headmistress of GHS. Norma and I were as close as two people could get in ah business and professional Organ-I-say-shun. Norma would ah never indulge in eating anybody White Fowl, nor give her children anybody White Fowl to eat. Ah remember like yesterday, when she was Editor of Searchlight, Norma uses to tek money from her purse and give to disadvantage children who passed Common Entrance but could not afford to buy school books, clothes and supplies.
Norma, unlike many of us, never forgot way she came from. She uses to tell me: “Bassy, my people were really, really poor yuh know.”
Her good and kind deeds are like showers of blessing on her children and ley me put it softly, dey did not eat dey School Fees! Andrea, sorry, Ambassador Bowman wid her Masters degrees in Language and Literature and a postgraduate certificate in Education was Headmistress of GHS; she retired at 55, and was lecturing at de Community College when she was appointed dis country’s Ambassador to Tie-One. No one is impeccable, but she is clean, she will not put dis country’s name in scandals. Ah will not swear foh her and say dat as ah Diplomat, she will not Box down her husband Lennox and mek police come to rescue him, But den again if Lennox qualifies foh ah Box, cousin or no cousin, let him have it Andrea. Ambassador Andrea will not tolerate “Sexy Pastor-like behave-yah”; she will not be caught passing thru Customs wid Drugs bringing dis country’s shady name into further disrepute. She is too humble and polite to reach de point way Security Officers have to arrest her foh impolite, un-ambassadorial conduct. By de way, what ever happened to dat Matter? We ought to be proud of our daughter of de souil, foh she brings nothing less dan dignity. Respect and honour to dis prestigious post. All yuh come off Ambassador Bowman’s back, She nah eat nobody White Fowl! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.
One Love Bassy
Bassy Alexander is
a land surveyor,
folklorist and social commentator.