Rituals; Too Full of Vermouth and Cigarette Smoke: two poems from Epiphaneia, the 2019 collection from OCM Bocas Prize-winner Richard Georges.


Too Full of Vermouth and Cigarette Smoke

when I leave I want there to be a carpet of poui
when I leand the scent of fresh dew and longing

rain sweeping into the harbour and over
when I lethe mountains like walls of grey,

my daughters giggling as they are now,
when I leI am too full to be remembered like this,

goodbye comes in the languages I cannot remember,
when I leI cannot understand anymore

how many different ways there are to say harvest,
when I leto feel the coarseness of the seed

on your tongue when the magic of the fruit
when I lehas disappeared with the guinep’s flesh,

how you can spit into dirt and grow something
when I lebeautiful. I know I shall be leaving soon, so

let there be seats for the coffee drinkers
when I le(grounds wet like earth). When I am gone

do not tell anyone I am gone.



The Learned Pig




Come, daughter, we must go now to the hill
where our ancestors strode amongst the tall grass
and worked and worked and worked until

The sun still sets its burning light, it will
still open eyes tomorrow, it will still pass.
Come, father, we must go down the hill

Where your blessed ancestors are still,
buried in this earth, where each stone is cast,
and worked and worked and worked until

This earth can stop spinning, or my eyes fill
with salt, or as long as this day can last.
Come, mother, we must go down the hill

Where the water is, beyond the distant sail,
to hear these voices, the ancestors’ final gasp,
who worked and worked and worked until

The sun sank like a hurled stone and still
we are here, we are still here holding fast.
Come, children, we must go now to the hill,
and work and work and work until.




Richard GeorgesThese two poems are from Epiphaneia, Richard Georges’ most recent poetry collection – published by Out-Spoken Press and recipient of the 2020 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. They are reproduced here with the kind permission of the publisher.

Readers can purchase Epiphaneia direct from Out-Spoken Press.


Image credit: Brandon Jacob Hudson, Palm Lines – As an Answer [detail], 2006
Brandon is a Texas-based artist who turns photography into a hybrid genre using a wide range of mixed media and post-processes. Intrigued by undefined imagery, he pushes his investigations into new bodies of work, which have recently included close-up images of LCD television screens, abstract clay forms and painterly inkjet formations over landscapes and found photographs.



This is part of FIELDS, a section of The Learned Pig devoted to exploring fields as natural and (agri)cultural, invisible and visible, poor and productive, created and creators. FIELDS is conceived and edited by Marloe Mens.


The Learned Pig