Sonny’s Lettah (1980)

Linton Kwesi Johnson

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off

Brixtan Prison
Jebb Avenue
Landan south-west two


Dear Mama,
Good Day.
I hope dat wen
deze few lines reach yu,
they may find yu in di bes af helt.

I really don’t know how fi tell yu dis,
cause I did mek a salim pramis
fi tek care a likkle Jim
an try mi bes fi look out fi him.

I really did try mi bes,
but nondiles
mi sarry fi tell you seh
poor likkle Jim get arres.

It woz di miggle a di rush howah
wen evrybady jus a hosel an a bosel
fi goh home fi dem evenin showah;
mi an Jim stand up
waitin pan a bus,
nat cauzin no fus,
wen all af a sudden
a police van pull-up.

Out jump tree policeman,
di hole a dem carryin batan.
Dem waak straight up to mi an Jim.

One a dem hol awn to Jim
seh him tekin him in;
Jim tell him fi let goh a him
far him noh dhu notn
an him naw teef,
nat even a butn.
Jim start to wriggle
di police start to giggle.

mek I tell yu whe dem dhu to Jim
mek I tell yu whe dem dhu to him:

dem tump him in him belly
an it turn to jelly
dem lick him pan him back
and him rib get pap
dem lick him pan him hed
but it tuff like led
dem kick him in him seed
an it started to bleed

I jus coudn stan-up deh
and noh dhu notn:

soh me jook one in him eye
an him started to cry
mi tump one in him mout
an him started to shout
mi kick one pan him shin
an him started to spin
mi tump him pan him chin
an him drap pan a bin

an crash
an ded.

more policeman come dung
an beat mi to di grung;
dem charge Jim fi sus,
dem charge me fi murdah.

don fret,
dont get depres
an doun-hearted.
Be af good courage
till I hear fram you.

I remain
your son,