My bitter sweet memory poem took many years to birth. The memories are all from my years up to age 4. moving has been published for the first time in Frontenac House's Canadian anthology called The Great Black North, featuring contemporary writing by African Canadians. The book was edited by Valerie Mason-John and Kevan Anthony Cameron.


The Great Black North is available through Chapters/Indigo.

moving by Marva Jackson Lord



i remember a room full of sun mom dad voices

a veranda looking out onto a street a woman walking towards me with

something in her hands

i remember sitting in a bus in my crinoline dress


another veranda covered in fine fern leaves

part of a compound in Kingston

we share  with at least one other person

i remember calling her auntie

i remember someone putting my brother to stand on top of a red ant’s hill

the healing cactus tall in the garden to my young eyes

my brother and sister loud playing happy

coconut tree

ackee tree

my mother was beautiful and she had another child, a new sister

the hot coals of the fire which inspired my nickname “boon boon'

i remember chalk on the doors to keep out duppies

dark nights


somewhere in the middle i remember saying goodbye to my Father’s  mother

somewhere in the country

i remember her pale skin i remember i loved her very much


somewhere in the middle i remember my mother's mother with us in the

compound, standing near the chicken coops

she was so dark i remember i loved her very much


somewhere in the middle i remember cold mountain air and a beautiful


somewhere in the middle i remember the waves rushing in to shore

confusion about the swimming pool by the beach (the explanation

confused me too)


i remember white pink red flamingos and starting school in my blue

school uniform and

being happy and that i had a friend



i remember when i was 4 flying on a plane to my new home

cold dark

plastic toy planes

airplane food lots of it

driving in a car

seeing the “indian” head on the tv screen

late night tiredness arriving in small sleeping town

happy but mom and dad often fighting, arguing, tension in the house



at least in jamaica it was warm