Poem translation

Louise Bennett-Coverley’s “Colonization in Reverse” is written in Jamaican Patois and may seem difficult to understand. The following is a paraphrase or translation of the poem into standard English.

Stanza 1 translation

What happy news, miss Mattie, I feel like my heart is going to burst. Jamaicans are colonizing England in reverse.

Stanza 2 translation

By the hundreds, by the thousands, from the countryside and from towns, by the ship-loads and plane-loads, Jamaicans are bound for England.

Stanza 3 translation

They are pouring out of Jamaica. Everybody’s future plan is to get a respectable, well-paying job and to settle in the motherland of the British Empire. 

Stanza 4 translation

What an island! What a people! Men and women, old and young are p...

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