When Ashes Cold Dog Sleep In Deh

Two spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.

POSTER BY MARIA PAPAEFSTATHIOU

CHAKA-CHAKA SPELLING

September 7 a Louise Bennett-Coverley birthday. Fi wi Miss Lou!  Last year she wuda be 100.  An one big birthday party did keep up fi 100 day:  church service; wreath lay a National Heroes Park; tea meeting a University of the West Indies; Gordon Town Square name after her. An nuff more! Nutten much never gwaan dis ya year sake a di virus an election.  Di Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) put out one five-minute video; an Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange post one message pon di Ministry Facebook page.

Miss Lou lef nuff, nuff legacy fi wi.  One a di lesson shi teach wi a di knowledge weh fi wi old-time people dem pass down to wi.  Hear weh Miss Lou seh pon one a fi her radio programme dem, “Jamaica Philosophy”:

“Listen, no!

My Aunty Roachy seh dat Jamaica people have a whole heap  a Culture an Tradition an Birthright dat han dung to dem from generation to generation.  All like de great philosophy of we Jamaica proverbs-dem. Mmmm.

Well, sah!  As she  coulda seh de wud ‘philosophy’ so, one facety gal dem call Muches gi out an seh, ‘A so-so foolishness Miss Roachy she dah chat!  How yuh coulda put a deestant wud like philosophy wid de ole jamma bad talkin proverbs-dem?’

See yah!  Aunty Roachy never meck fun fi leggo tongue pon Muches.  She seh, ‘When goat laugh everybody fine out seh him no got no teet!’  (Dat mean:  some people shoulda keep silent to hide dem ignorance).”

PNPYO OUT OF ORDER

When mi read di out of order letter weh di Peoples National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) did plan fi send to Dr Peter Phillips, President a di Party, mi know seh Miss Lou wuda fling nuff proverb pon dem. First one, “Young bird nuh know storm”.  Di PNP yute dem frighten fi di hurricane weh blow weh whole heap a fi dem MP outa parliament.  An dem a fret bout local govament election.  Dem never born eena 1980 when one next big storm did blow down di party.  Lik dem flat!  It look like seh dem ya yute nuh know seh PNP did ketch up back demself.  Strong, strong!

DR PETER PHILLIPS

An Miss Lou wuda draw one next proverb fi Dr Phillips:  “Liberty come chroo carelessness”.  How im kuda seh pon election day seh im a go resign if PNP lose?  A so im did confident?  Im shuda never seh nutten til im directly ready fi gi up di work.  An im kudn tek back fi im careless chat.  A it mek di PNPYO kuda tek liberty wid im. A gi im 30 day notice fi tek weh imself.  Dat worse dan if im dida rent one house fi one year.  Im wuda ha fi get 6 month notice.

Old-time people seh, “When ashes cold, dog sleep in deh”.  Dat a one next lesson weh di elder dem an di yute dem ha fi learn. No matter how dem tink seh dem hot laka fire, dem a go burn down to ashes.  An dog an all a go tek liberty wid dem.  So yute an elder better rispek one anodder an work together fi build up back di PNP.  As Miss Lou wuda seh, “Ai ya yai”.  

PRAPA-PRAPA SPELIN

Septemba 7 a Louise Bennett-Coverley bortdie. Fi wi Mis Lou!  Laas ier shi wuda bi 100.  An wan big bortdie paati did kip op fi 100 die:  chorch sorvis; riit lie a National Heroes Park; tii miitn a University of the West Indies; Gordon Town Square niem aafta ar. An nof muor! Notn moch neva gwaan dis ya ier siek a di vairos an ilekshan.  Di Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) put out wan faiv-minit vidyo; an Minista Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange puos wan mechiz pan di Minischri Fiesbuk piej.

Mis Lou lef nof, nof legisi fi wi. Wan a di lesn shi tiich wi a di nalij we fi wi uol-taim piipl dem paas dong tu wi. Ier we Mis Lou se pon wan a fi ar riedyo pruogram dem, “Jamaica Philosophy”:“Listen, no!

My Aunty Roachy seh dat Jamaica people have a whole heap  a Culture an Tradition an Birthright dat han dung to dem from generation to generation.  All like de great philosophy of we Jamaica proverbs-dem. Mmmm.

Well, sah!  As she  coulda seh de wud ‘philosophy’ so, one facety gal dem call Muches gi out an seh, ‘A so-so foolishness Miss Roachy she dah chat!  How yuh coulda put a deestant wud like philosophy wid de ole jamma bad talkin proverbs-dem?’

See yah!  Aunty Roachy never meck fun fi leggo tongue pon Muches.  She seh, ‘When goat laugh everybody fine out seh him no got no teet!’  (Dat mean:  some people shoulda keep silent to hide dem ignorance).”

PNPYO OUTA AADA

Wen mi riid di outa aada leta we di Peoples National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) did plan fi sen tu Dr Peter Phillips, Prezident a di Paati, mi nuo se Mis Lou wuda fling nof pravorb pan dem. Fos wan, “Yong bord no nuo staam”.  Di PNP yuut dem fraitn fi di orikien we bluo we uol iip a fi dem MP outa paaliment.  An dem a fret bout luokal govament ilekshan. Dem neva baan iina 1980 wen wan neks big staam did bluo dong di paati.  Lik dem flat!  It luk laik se dem ya yuut no nuo se PNP did kech op bak demself.  Chrang, chrang!

An Mis Luu wuda jraa wan neks pravorb fi Dr Phillips:  “Libati kom chruu kielisnis”.  Ou im kuda se pan ilekshan die se im a go rizain if PNP luuz?  A so im did kanfident?  Im shuda neva se notn til im dairekli redi fi gi op di work.  An im kudn tek bak fi im kielis chat.  A it mek di PNPYO kuda tek libati wid im. A gi im 30 die nuotis fi tek we imself.  Dat wos dan if im dida rent wan ous fi wan ier.  Im wuda a fi get 6 mont nuotis.

STRAY DOGS SLEEPING IN ASHES

Uol-taim piipl se, “Wen ashiz kuol, daag sliip in de”.  Dat a wan neks lesn we di elda dem an di yuut dem a fi lorn. No mata ou dem tingk se dem at laka faiya, dem a go bon dong tu ashiz.  An daag an aal a go tek libati wid dem. So yuut an elda beta rispek wan aneda an work tugeda fi bil op bak di PNP.  Az Mis Lou wuda se, “Ai ya yai”. 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION

When Ashes Get Cold, the Dog Sleeps There

September 7 is Louise Bennett-Coverley’s birthday. Our Miss Lou!  Last year she would have been 100.  And a big birthday party was kept for 100 days:  there was a church service; wreath laying at National Heroes Park; a tea meeting at the University of the West Indies; Gordon Town Square was named after her. And lots more! Nothing much was done this year because of the virus and election.  The Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) put out a five-minute video; and Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange posted a message on the Ministry’s Facebook page.

Miss Lou left a huge legacy for us.  One of the lessons she taught us was the knowledge that our ancestors passed down to us.  This is what Miss Lou said on one of her radio programmes, “Jamaica Philosophy”:

“Listen, no!

My Aunty Roachy says that the Jamaican people have a powerful Culture and Traditions and a Birthright that have been handed down to them from generation to generation.  Such as the great philosophy of our Jamaican proverbs. Mmmm.

Well, sir!  As soon as she said the word ‘philosophy’, a rude young woman named Muches announced, ‘That’s pure nonsense Miss Roachy is spouting!  How could you apply a respectable word like philosophy to the old-time, crude language of our Jamaican proverbs?’

Look here!  Aunty Roachy didn’t think twice about giving Muches a piece of her mind.  She said, ‘When the goat laughs everybody finds out that it doesn’t have any teeth!’  (That means:  some people should keep silent to hide their ignorance).”

PNPYO OUT OF ORDER

When I read the out of order letter that the Peoples National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) intended to send to Dr Peter Phillips, President of the Party, I knew that Miss Lou would have blasted them with a barrage of proverbs.  The first one, “A young bird doesn’t know about storms.”  The PNP youth were frightened by the hurricane that blew away a whole lot of their MPs out of parliament.  And they are fretting about the local government election.  They were not born in 1980 when another big storm blew down the party.  Flattened them!  It seems as if these youth don’t know that the PNP recovered.  With much strength!

And Miss Lou would have warned Dr Phillips with another proverb:  “Carelessness allows people to take liberties with you”.  How could he have said on election day that he was going to resign if the PNP lost?  Is that how confident he was?  He should have made no announcement until he was prepared to give up the job. And he couldn’t take back his careless words.  That’s what enabled the PNPYO to take liberties with him. Giving him 30 days’ notice to get lost.  That’s worse than if he’d taken out a year’s lease on a house. He would have had to get 6 months’ notice.

Proverbial wisdom confirms that, “When ashes get cold, the dog sleeps there.”  That’s another lesson that the elders and the youth have to learn. No matter how much they think they’re hot like fire, they’re going to burn down to ashes. And even dogs are going to take liberties with them.  So youth and elder had better respect each other and work together to rebuild the PNP.  As Miss Lou would say, “Ai ya yai”.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: