What else we could do? (we had no choice) By Robin Helweg–Larsen

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(The Bahamian people speak: from 1700, 40-50 years per stanza)

This Bahamas soil all rock
and the rains ain’t come…
but the Spanish treasure fleet sailing through –
what we can do?
Make boats more nimble than theirs,
take what we can.
What else we could do?

The Spanish all gone
and the soil still rock
and no rain all winter
and big storm in the summer…
but the Redcoats blockading the mainland
and the colonists asking for guns –
what we can do?
Run guns in boats faster than theirs.
What else we could do?

War end in the United States
but the soil still rock
and no rain…
but the North blockading the South
who want sell cotton to England for guns –
what we can do?
Run blockades with cotton and guns.
What else we could do?

Peace in the North and the South
but the soil still rock
and rainfall be drought…
but now North and South all ban liquor –
what we can do?
Rum-running – Make our boats quicker!
What else we could do?

Then they legalise liquor again
but the soil still be rock
and we get hurricane…
but up north in the winter no sun…
what we can do?
Let them come and we show them some fun.
What else we could do?

They the richest and strongest on Earth
while our soil still rock
and we got no fresh water…
but now they ban drugs –
what we can do?
Drug-running – small planes in the cays,
go-fast boats at night on the seas.
What else we could do?

Now look like they go legalise drugs…
always is just one thing to do:
figure out what is next,
whatever they want but can’t get,
have it here, run it there.
They have cash and to spare –
our land may be bare
but we sitting right next
to the richest and strongest on Earth.
Whatever you want and can’t get…
Usually someone saying it ain’t legal…
But what else we could do?

Robin Helweg-Larsen

Although he carries a Jamaican passport, Robin Helweg-Larsen was raised and lives on Eleuthera, an Out Island of the Bahamas. His poetry has been published in Canada, India, the Netherlands, UK and US. He is Series Editor of the Potcake Chapbooks for Sampson Low Publishers.

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