Out of Debt

       De Christmas is finish’;
       It was rather skinnish,
Yet still we are happy, an’ so needn’ fret,
       For dinner is cookin’,
       An’ baby is lookin’
An’ laughin’; she knows dat her pa owe no debt.

       De pas’ hab de debtor,
       An’ we cannot get her
To com back an’ grin at us in time gone:
       Dere’s no wine fe breakfas’,
       An’ no one fe mek fuss,
We all is contented fe suck one dry bone.

       No two bit o’ brater
       Wid shopkeeper Marter,
I feel me head light sittin’ down by me wife;
       No weight lef’ behin’ me
       No gungu a line fe
De man who was usual to worry me life.

       We’re now out o’ season,
       But dat is no reason
Why we shan’t be happy wid heart free and light:
       We feel we are better
       Dan many dat fetter
Wid burden dey shoulder to mek Christmas bright.

       Some ’crape out de cupboard,
       Not ’memberin’ no wud
Dat say about fégettin’ when rainy day:
       It comes widout warning
       ’Fo’ daylight a marnin’,
An’, wakin’, de blue cloud ta’n black dat was gay.

       De days dat gwin’ follow
       No more will be hollow,
Like some dat come after de Christmas before:
       We’ll lay by some money
       An’ lick at de honey,
An’ neber will need to lock up our front door.

       Jes’ look at de brightness
       Of dat poor an’ sightless
Old man on de barrel a playin’ de flute:
       Wha’ mek him so joyful?
       His lap is of toy full,
A pick’ninny play wid de patch on his suit.

       Ours too de same blessin’
       An’ we’ve learn’ a lesson
We should have been learnin’ from years long ago:
       A Christmas ’dout pleasure
       Gave dat darlin’ treasure,
An’ duty to Milly is all dat we owe.

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