School-Teacher Nell’s Lub-Letter

If you promise to lub me alway,
   I will foreber be true
An’ you don’t mek me sorry de day
   Dat I give myself to you.

How I ’member de night when we meet,
   An’ chat fe de first time of lub!
I go home, an’ den neber could eat
   None o’ de plateful o’ grub.

An’ de day it was empty to me,
   Wakin’, but dreamin’ of you,
While de school it was dull as could be,
   An’ me hate me wuk fe do.

Oh, I knew of your lub long before
   My school friends tell me of it,
And I watch at you from de school door,
   When you pass to de cockpit.

Den I hear too dat you use’ fe talk,
   Say, if you caan’ ketch me dark night,
You would sure ketch me as deh walk
   In a de open moonlight.

An’ you’ wud come to pass very soon,
   For scarcely a mont’ did gone
When de light of de star an’ de moon
   Shine bright as we kiss all alone.

I can neber remember de times
   Ma scolded her little Nell;
All day her tongue wuks like de chimes
   Dat come from de old school-bell.

I have given up school-life fe you:
   Sweetheart, my all is your own;
Den say you will ever be true,
   An’ live fe you’ Nellie alone.

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