The Brown River (a poem)

And we're off! I'm so excited to kick off this blog, which will focus on all things Barrel Children from Jamaica. The Term Barrel Children refers to children in Jamaica whose parents leave them back in Jamaica to pursue economic opportunites in foreign countries like England, Canada and the United States of America. I'm a Barrel Child and so I am well-aware of the physical and psychological issues attributed to being a Barrel Child. My name is Rayon Lennon, and I was born in Jamaica; I moved to New Haven County, CT, when I was 13 to live with my dad who left Jamaica to work in America after I was born. My father would send barrels full of clothes and food and other items to us while I was back in Jamaica. This blog will seek to raise awareness around the Barrel Children phenonemon through poems, stories, news; and suggest resources for Barrel Children and their parents.

The first poem is a poem from by new collection of poems "Barrel Children." It's about the day when I was four when my father was leaving to go to America.

The Brown River

Rain gonged on the tin roof as the gully grew

into a brown monster. I watched from my bedroom

window as Sis stood in the whipping rain on the low

stone wall peering into the insane growing water

as dad left for good to hunt for a better life for us

in America. Sis was on the brink of thirteen

which, to me at five, seemed as far away

as America. Dad yelled for her to come down, but Sis

dipped one foot into the Milo-like sludge, stirring

it as the coconut and breadfruit trees shook their great

heads across the gully. Dad hissed and puffed

and rubbed his desert-bald head. He couldn't miss

his Air Jamaica flight, so he got into his friend's car

and they sailed off while Mom sat in the rain

on the verandah anchored to her heartbreak,

watching Sis court death. As the car disappeared

like dark, Sis hopped off the wall and stomped

towards the house as though there was nothing

between her and hell now.


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