Shortknee Mas’



By Hudson George

7:30 Monday morning, Shortknees came out dressed in their traditional costume. Grandma came out to see her grandson. He is playing Shortknee for the first time. Her husband and sons played it before.

The warriors sang their spiritual songs. Grandma cried with joy. She was showered with sweet white powder. The entire village sang the chorus, as the warriors chip the mas. They sang revengeful songs. They sang about what is going on in the community as they tumbo to touch the sky.

The warriors left the village for the rest of the day. They sang songs like, “More blood on me clothes than mirrors, leave me mother home she bawling. Leave me mother home she homeee!”

“Ruff as sea eggs sour as gospo, we go leave ah man to bury, we go leave ah man to bury.”
“Copper chest against 303, we go leave ah man to bury, we go leave ah man to bury”

After they are all gone, Grandma looked to the sky and ask God to protect the Shortknee for the rest of the day.

Evening time came, and as the sun sets behind the mountains, rumours came earlier that there was a fight in Sauteurs town, between Chantimelle.Mt. Rich and Darvey shortknees. Gunshots were fired and a girl from Mt. Rich got shot in her leg down low town. Hermitage village was worried.

Grandma cried for her grandson.

Then came the sound of voices, and the music of the wooloo. The warriors came back to the village once more. Grandma began to tumbo too. She even chips the mas’ as power whiten the shy.

The Shortknees are back again! They were greeted by their girlfriends. Everybody was happy to see them. Then they sang the song: “Rock of ages cleared for me. Let me hide myself in thee.” And darkness cloud covered the village, as the Shortknees walk towards their home to rest for the next day carnival.

Tuesday Morning came. The Shortknees came out again, dressed in their traditional costume. Grandma came out again to see her grandson. She cried out loud with joy and said, “ Son, follow the footsteps of your father.”

And all the Shortknees came around her. They sang the song: “Grenadmama won’t cry you won’t see your son anymore. You won’t see you son!”. With that song, Grandma cried again. She cried for her Grandson.

The warriors sang, “Put more bed inside the hospital. Grandmama you bawling”

They jump the mas’ up and down the street. Then they sang a song, “If them police playing hooligan, we go leave ah man to bury. We go leave ah man.”

And the villagers answered the chorus, and many women cried as the Shortknees went away from the village for the las today carnival.

Later on, the evening came once more. And the villagers came out once more at the crossroad near the junction to see the Shortknees for the last time.

Then came the sound of the wooloo and voices singing. The warriors came back to the village once more. The entire village came together to welcome them, and there were dancing on the street until the sun went behind the mountains and carnival is over.

But the spirit of the Shortknee still exists in hearts of the people St. Patrick, as it always, since our forefathers came from Africa to the land of Grenada.

(Copyright 1986) Published in different collections



A writer from Grenada living in Canada

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