Killin’ Nanny

Two little pickny is watchin’ ,
    While a goat is led to deat’ ;
Dey are little ones of two years,
     An’ know naught of badness yet.

De goat is bawlin’ fe mussy
    An’ de children watch de sight
As de butcher re’ch his sharp knife,
    An’ tab wid all his might.

Dey see de red blood flowin’ ;
     An’ one chil’ trimble an’ hide
His face in de midder’s bosom,
     While t’udder look on wide-eyed.

De tears is fallin’ down hotly
      From him on de mudder’s knee;
De udder wid joy is starin’,
       An’ clappin’ his han’s wid glee.

When dey had forgotten Nanny,
        Grown men I see dem again;
An’ de forehead of de laughter
         Was brand’ wid de mark of Cain.

From Songs of Jamaica (Aston W. Gardner & Co., 1912) by Claude McKay. This poem is in the public domain.