Stereotype – John Agard [and yours truly]

Below, you will find one of the best poems ever written, by a man called John Agard. Below that, you will find my homage to him, something I thought I had lost and something I did for my students to show them something of how a local understanding could be adopted.

Enjoy!

STEREOTYPE

I’m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
See me straw hat?
Watch it good

I’m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
You ask
If I got riddum
In me blood
You going ask!
Man just beat de drum
And don’t forget
To pour de rum

I’m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
You say
I suppose you can show
Us the limbo, can’t you?
How you know!
How you know!
You sure
You don’t want me
sing you a calypso too
How about that

I’m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
You call me
happy go lucky
yes that’s me
dressing fancy
And chasing woman
if you think ah lie
bring yuh sister

I‘m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
You wonder
where do you people
get such riddum
Could it be the sunshine
My goodness
Just listen to that steel band

Isn’t there one thing
you forgot to ask
go on man ask ask
This native will answer anything
How about cricket?

I suppose you’re good at it?
Hear this man
good at it!
Put de willow
in me hand
and watch me stripe
de boundary

Yes I’m a full blooded
West Indian stereotype
that’s why I
graduated from Oxford
University
with a degree
in anthropology

John Agard

And now, for my little homage…

STEREOTYPE – THE YORKSHIRE VERSION

I’m a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
See me flat cap?
Cop a good look

I’m a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
You ask
If I always talk like this
An’ ah say
Don’t ask!
It’s in me blood
You’re gonna ask
Aren’t yer?

I’m a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
You say
I suppose you can show
Us where the pits were
But I say it’s a crime
What they did to us

You sure
You don’t want me
ter sing yers a hymn too
It’d gu dahn a treat
How abart that?

I’m a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
Hear this man
happy go lucky
yeah that’s me
drinking hard
And getting drunk
is that what yer think?
Well don’t!

I‘m a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
You wonder
why I have a good rant
and a rave
Could it be the way
Yer gerrup me nose?
Just listen to what you are saying
Listen to yer mind!

You forgot to ask
me one little thing
Go on ask ask
This feller will
answer anything
I’ve an answer for owt!

Let me tell you
Little man
Just how wrong you are
Listen

I am a full blooded
South Yorkshire stereotype
that’s why I
graduated from a Sheffield
University
with an honours degree
in English Literature

Feel free to share if it helps anyone out with their English classes.

RJ

Advertisements