Poetry is the response to the creative journey I have undertaken to trace my roots and feed that thirst that begs to be salved.
I am walking with my daughter, our hands clasped together, and she in turn clutches her grandmother’s hand, my mother, daughter of Enid Dressekie, my grandmother who has bequeathed her this land we are strolling. Before that the land belonged to Sylvester George Dressekie, Enid’s father, who bought it as part of a much larger estate when he settled in Jamaica from Scotland almost two centuries ago. I have been visiting this land [about five acres of overgrown property with two huge mango trees perhaps dating as far back as 1879 around the time great grandfather purchased a thousand acres of land in St. Mary, including a district that would later bear his name] every time I visit Jamaica in recent times.
The Iron Gate-Entrance to the old Dressekie Plantation, Dressekie, St. Mary, Jamaica
Today, it is important that my daughter, my youngest child, be here with me for I want her to know this land, to touch it and perhaps experience that sense of connection- that guttural feeling I have every time I visit here– a connection that rumbles in the pit of my stomach, connecting me to centuries of a history that I struggle to understand and give a voice to. For there is no simple explanation of this multilayered history, no simple words to smooth out the contradictions of the past that has shaped me: the great grand-child of a Scottish plantation owner and a diminutive African-Indian woman, Elizabeth, after whom my mother is named. We have journeyed from North Miami Beach, Florida, the place we have called home since my daughter was two years old. And here we are now, walking the land with my aged mother, our footsteps marking a smooth rhythm as we move in quiet unison.
These are significant experiences that fuel my reflections and often find their way into the verses that I am continuously crafting to give voice to the notion of my hybrid identity. Poetry is that response to the creative journey I have undertaken to trace my roots and feed that thirst that begs to be salved. In this realm of creativity I merge fact with fiction and attempt to embroider the threads of my ancestors’ lives with that of my own, my children’s and my siblings’ and straddle the centuries and the histories to write the story that is continuously evolving.
Rio Nuevo River, St. Mary, Jamaica
Is there a place that speaks to the sacred within you?
I am an educator, writer, and community/cultural activist of Jamaican heritage, deeply concerned about the way we shape and are shaped by society. How do we engage the resources around us to realize our creative potential? It is my intention to engage an audience in energetic and provocative discussion on these issues.