I am rejoicing over all the wonderful presentations, encounters and inspirations that I experienced at Dominica’s 6th annual Nature Island Literary Festival (NILF), which was held from August 9th – 11th at the University of the West Indies Open Campus. I will be writing a full blog report about its program to follow this one.
Although I am not spontaneous by nature, I impulsively entered their poetry writing contest without giving it much thought. I think I was motivated by the ideas and creative works that had been shared by various literary artists and academics up to midday on the first full day of the event.
At the lunch break that Saturday, I picked up an entry form for the short story and poetry competitions, and headed home. As I sipped my soup, I read over the instructions. The poem was to be of no more than 20 lines and had to be about Roseau. I overlook the fair city from my porch, and I never tire of doing so. Between spoonfuls, I simply picked up my pen and out poured some thoughts and feelings about the lovely capital, in non-rhyming free verse. As directed, I wrote it out on the back of the instruction form, and put my name and contact info on a separate sheet that had a corresponding number with this anonymous instruction form. So when I headed back for the afternoon sessions, I discretely dropped it in the entry box, and absorbed myself in other awesome literary distractions.
While I did attend most of the event, I was not at Mero Beach for the Sunday afternoon performances and closing ceremony. When a NILF committee member called me on Monday morning, I was more than surprised to hear that I had placed second in the poetry contest! And even stranger, when the telephone rang, I had been sorting through some poems I had written many years ago when I first arrived on Dominica! I’ve never penned one since, that is, until this past Saturday! I’ll post my old poems in due course. But in the mean time, here is what I wrote about lovely Roseau, on the spur of the moment:
Stately Victorians mingle with modern designs
English street names mark places once French
Sweltering sidewalks lead to a garden of green.
Bayfront, cruise ships rest some days,
While their passengers experience
The hustle and bustle of a day in port.
Most nights, all is quiet
With the exception of Fridays,
When happy people meet and greet
Over loudspeakers producing pulsating beats.
It’s the serene spots I like best:
Spending time at the century-old public library;
Or taking the steep walk up to Morne Bruce.
There, I can meditate over brightly coloured roofs
And an endless sea view
Where the setting sun always promises another day
To really enjoy the diverse faces of lovely Roseau.
August 10, 2013
* Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, participants and enthusiasts of the Nature Island Literary Festival for inspiring the unlikely poet in me!