James at 17


One night in 1966, I awoke at 3am to a sensation that resulted in a writing session which lasted a few months. Thereafter, I continued writing as a means of release giving a voice to my teenage angst, feelings which resurfaced time and again over the years.

This was the first outpouring other students discovered on my English Teacher’s desk. They asked permission to use the few that followed in their Printing class-project. I was a new Canadian, emigrated from Jamaica, in grade 12 at Central Technical School…

A Thought

If this frail frame of mine could for all eternity bear,

The heartaches and pain of mankind to achieve for him Total happiness,

I would for such a cause sacrifice myself.


The Christian doth say that Christ,

The Son of God, Died for us, and as such, suffered for mankind for all time.


I, being a Christian do believe in Christ,

But forever seeing what I have seen,

Hearing what I have heard,

And feeling as I am feeling,

Am deeply moved as to say,

I would forever bear the pain for all mankind.


I would bear it alone, in a lonely place,

Where my cries of agony can only be heard By the passing wind, the sun, the moon, the stars,

The land and its dwellers, and me

Where my tears would quench my thirst, and wash my body,

Where the sound of my voice is my only companion, and unusual comforter.


This I would do for mankind to make him totally happy,

A foolish thought though it may seem.

This my one desire to end all pain.

Life is cruel, and it’s cruelty I would gladly bear if it were possible.


In later years I attempted to ‘edit’ this flow-of-words that came through me. There was so much going on with me then, in adapting/orientating to this country in the 60s, I simply let the words flow and submitted them for feedback. Feedback that came in the form of another excited grade 12 class to which my poems appeared to resonate. I will present a few here, unedited, as I submitted them to my teacher…


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