When You Want a Bellyful

When you want a bellyful, 
  Tearin’ piece o’ one, 
Mek up fire, wash you’ pot, 
   Full i’ wid cockstone. 

Nuttin’ good as cockstone soup
  For a bellyful; 
Only, when you use i’ hot, 
   You can sweat no bull. 

An’ to mek you know de trut’,
  Dere’s anedder flaw; 
Ef you use too much o’ i’,
   It wi’ paunch you’ maw. 

Growin’ wid de fat blue corn, 
   Pretty cockstone peas—
Lilly blossom, vi’let-like,
   Drawin’ wuker bees—

We look on dem growin’ dere,
   Pokin’ up dem head, 
Lilly, lilly, t’rough de corn, 
   Till de pod dem shed. 

An’ we watch de all-green pods
   Stripin’ bit by bit; 
Green leaves gettin’ yellow coat, 
   Showin dey were fit. 

So we went an’ pull dem up, 
  Reaped a goodly lot, 
Shell some o’ de pinkish grain, 
   Put dem in a pot. 

But I tell you, Sir, again, 
   Cockstone soup no good; 
From experience I t’ink, 
   ’Tis de wus’ o’ food. 

When de reapin’-time come roun’,
   I dry fe me part; 
Sellin’ i’, when it get scarce, 
  For a bob a quart. 

When you need a bellyful, 
  Gripin’ piece o’ one, 
Shub up fire under pot, 
   Put in dry cockstone. 

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