(written September 8,1951)
On August seventeen, nineteen fifty-one
People had their radios on,
To listen to the latest reports
Of the hurricane that was about
To strike Jamaica, Isle of Springs,
People could not sleep, nor sing;
It was about to strike
Hills and plains and rough-waved sea
Like an ogre sent out quite free;
When the hour was nearly come,
The air was a cool and charming one;
Then suddenly, there was a puff of unfriendly breeze,
It was then ready to kill and seize
The lives of good and innocent ones.
The rain came forth, and hence started the hurricane;
That night, minutes went like hours,
They had to stop all electric powers,
Then we went back to olden days,
With the lantern and those ways;
“It” went on, and could not stop
Everybody’s heart went “bip-bop”;
People started to cry in vain,
But their voices could not be heard,
In the midst of the wind and rain.
The animals were out in the wet and cold,
But many of them were quite bold;
We all had to help one-another,
We could not say “I can’t bother”;
When morning came we were glad
Except for some who were so sad
Because they lost someone dear,
Down their cheeks came tear by tear;
We were glad because many of us are still living,
So let’s give God a hearty Thanksgiving.
Neville has been writing poetry since the age of twelve. In 1974, he was a recipient of the Vanier Award as one of five Outstanding Young Persons of Canada, and has been dubbed “Poet of the 1000 Islands”. He has four books of poetry to his credit:
In his poetry, Neville demonstrates his belief in blank verse for in-depth powers of expression, in the importance of the spoken word, and in compressing significant thoughts into coils of few words, leaving it to the reader’s imagination to expand on the thought process at work.
His favourite poets are T.S.Elliot, Dylan Thomas, Irving Layton, and, last but not least, ‘the Bard of Avon’, William Shakespeare.
Neville lives with his wife, Geri, in Brockville, Ontario. They have three children, Robin, Allison and Ryan, and five grandchildren, Olivia, Madison, Caden, Nico and DJ, who all reside in Florida.
Readers may purchase the books of poetry by contacting Neville at [email protected].