Paul Keens-Douglas brushes away the cobwebs that bother him

  • Illustration by Shalini Seereeram

Yu ever walkin’ bout de place

an’ sudden so is cobweb in yu face?

Yu know how vexin’ dat does be

when it catch yu unexpectedly?

Right cross yu nose, in yu mout’, yu eye,

an’ yu can’t get rid of it,

no matter how yu try?

De sudden touch does make yu shout,

nex’ ting yu spittin’ cobweb out yu mout’,

duckin’ yu head like yu dodgin’ blows,

slappin’ cobweb off yu clothes.

Yu know what ah mean.


Well, it have some people like cobweb,

stretch out cross de place,

jus’ waitin’ for yu to walk by,

to jump up in yu face.

Is like God send dem special

to test out yu soul-case,

because when it come to cobweb,

it eh have no colour, creed, or race.

Yu stop at intersection

waitin’ on traffic light,

cobweb by yu window,

nearly kill yu dead wit’ fright.

Hand outstretch, he beggin’,

“gimme ah dollar please, Ah eh eat for days, de children sick,

give yu boy ah ease!”

Cobweb does ask yu question,

like, “What dis country comin’ to?”

An’, “Yu see dese children dese days?

Child, ah don’t know what to do!”

But is dem self-same cobweb,

when dey droppin’ child to school,

does block de road, honk dey horn,

an’ make yu lose yu cool.

Yu does have to slap dem off,

don’t watch dem in de eye,

treat dem like you is cobweb,

tryin’ to catch ah fly.


Cobweb like to shout yu name,

as if you an’ dem is friend,

an’ when yu turn round to see “who dat?”

Yu know, yu don’t know dem?

It have religious cobweb,

always want to save yu soul,

yu have to run when yu see dem comin’,

jump in de nearest hole.

Because if dey ever hold yu,

is cobweb in yu tail,

dey tie yu foot, yu hand, yu mout’,

yu can’t make ah move, is jail!

Cobweb from behind de bridge

always in yu face,

dey need cash right away,

for de sufferin’ of de race.

Yes, cobweb stretch from Africa,

an’ well cover India too,

an’ de slightest chance yu give dem,

dey will cover me an’ you.


So yu does learn to duck yu cobweb,

learn to get away,

learn to agree wit’ all dey say,

jus’ to be on yu merry way.

Because yu know bout sports an’ culture,

yu know bout bacchanal,

yu know ’bout Carifesta, an’ all ’bout Carnival’.

’bout Steelband an’ Calypso, racism, art an’ cane,

’bout de Hindus an’ de Muslims,

An’ how God go’ come again.

bout liberated women, an’ all bout politics,

an’ who don’t know, don’t want to know,

dat parliament is kicks.

But not cobweb, dey does want to start from ABC

an’ dat is when yu does really know,

how annoyin’ cobweb could be.

So yu does have to take in front,

an’ brush-off cobweb fast,

tell dem yes, yu know, before dey even ask.

Because cobweb come from spider,

an’ spider have a way,

of usin’ dat same cobweb

to help it win de day.

So when yu brushin’ cobweb,

jus’ keep this thought in mind, Dat wherever yu have cobweb,

Spider not far behin’.



From Savannah Ghost: Selected Works of Paul Keens-Douglas Paul Keens-Douglas ©1994


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