Hugh Doston Carberry was born July 12, 1921, the son of sir John Carberry, a former Chief Justice of Jamaica, and Lady Georgina Carberry, in Montreal, Canada. He came to Jamaica when he was an infant and spent most of his life there. He was was Clerk to the Houses of Parliament from 1969-1978 and a member of the commonwealth Parliamentary Association. He was appointed Judge of the Jamaican court of appeal in 1978 and served for a decade. H. D. Carberry died on June 28, 1989.
Let’s study the poem.
We have neither Summer nor Winter
Neither Autumn nor Spring.
We have instead the days
When the gold sun shines on the lush green canefields-
The days when the rain beats like bullet on the roofs
And there is no sound but thee swish of water in the gullies
And trees struggling in the high Jamaica winds.
Also there are the days when leaves fade from off guango trees’
And the reaped canefields lie bare and fallow to the sun.
But best of all there are the days when the mango and the logwood blossom
When bushes are full of the sound of bees and the scent of honey,
When the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air,
When the buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars
And beauty comes suddenly and the rains have gone.
The poem describes the weather conditions in Jamaica. It emphasizes that Jamaica does not have the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Nevertheless, the weather conditions of golden sunny days and wet rainy days are just as good and are almost similar to the four seasons. It is a descriptive poem about the changing weather. It celebrates the richness of the land’s produce and how alive and abundant Nature is. Through the poem, the poet describes the beauty of the weather in Jamaica. There are hot sunny days and cold wet windy and rainy days. It is so pleasant that there is little climate difference between the seasons. Most days are sunny with the gold sun shines on the cane fields. Even on rainy days, it is a beautiful sight. The fruit trees blossom and the bushes are full of bees. The tall grass sways gently in the breeze. As for the buttercups, they cover the ground and look like yellow stars. It is indeed a beautiful sight. This is a poem that really sums up the fact that seasons do not make a difference in the islands.
In the first ten lines the poet tells about his homeland which is Jamaica. He rejoices the beauty of this island although Jamaica has no seasonal changes. Jamaica’s climate is hot and wet throughout the year. The days of golden sunshine are glorious and magnificent. There are many cane fields in Jamaica thus sugar is one of the main exports in this country.
The poet then goes on to tell us his favourite time – days when the flowers of mango trees and logwood blossom. He uses imagery of sound and smell to illustrate abundance of life and activity in the bushes when the ‘sound of bees and the scent of honey’ add to the beauty of Jamaica. He describes the fields filled with lovely yellow buttercups. All these take place when the rains stops.
The setting is clearly Jamaica. Nature is described through the description of weather being hot and wet. The poet also uses other elements of nature such as trees, bushes, flowers, and fruits to portray nature as alive and bountiful. The weather is portrayed as bright and sunny with flowers blooming. If the weather gets bad and turns wet with its heavy downpours and strong wind, it is said that all will eventually pass. The poet shares his enthusiasm and gratitude and appreciation for nature as the end of the poem.
There are a few themes in the poem. Firstly, we must celebrate nature. However we always remain humble. We cannot take things for granted. Nature is wonderful and we should admire it. However, its power has no limits and can be unpredictable. We see this when weather changes in a wink of an eye, calm at one moment and the other, showing off its destructive force. The same weather can be quiet and stagnant and revitalizing the earth with growth and beauty in the next.
Secondly, the themes of the natural cycle of life and the many phases of life are explored. The poet’s central message is the beauty of nature. It is natural to have good moments at one time and bad moments in the next. There is life and there is death. Usually when the struggle is over, we will see new life blooming in front of us.
Finally, there is the theme of appreciating one’s country. There are ups and downs everywhere. The beauty and goodness of one’s country should be appreciated.
The tone is definitely carefree and light hearted. The poet writes in a very relaxed manner as he appreciates the beauty of nature. It portrays a feeling of happiness.
“The gold sun” symbolises the summer and warmth. It makes people feel comfortable as there is light and brightness. Another symbol is the ‘rain’. The rain symbolises the winter time. It is cold and wet. In addition, ‘buttercups’ can be a symbol of beauty.
Imagery is dominant in the poem. Imagery of sight such as “buttercups have paved the earth with yellow stars” allows readers to visualise the colourful nature. Words related to colours and light are used to help the readers visualise the beauty of nature.
Imagery of sound is shown through “the swish of the water in the gullies, “rain beats like bullet on the roofs and “the sound of the bees.”
The “scent of honey” is an example of the imagery of taste. The imagery of smell is shown through “The mango and logwood blossom”
Personification is also used effectively and this is shown through “the tall grass sways and shivers to the slightest breath of air”.
There is also contrast in the poem, for example “the gold sun shines” and the magnificent “lush green cane fields”.
We should appreciate what we have in our own country. Although Jamaica does not have the four seasons as some other countries experience, things can be as beautiful and in fact better. There is no harsh winter season to bear, for example. Thus, this brings us to the next moral value that teaches us not to long for what we do not have. This will be a waste of time and we may end up being unhappy waiting when we could have rejoiced what we already have.
Apart from that, we should appreciate our homeland. It is usually the place where we are most comfortable in as the saying goes “Home sweet home”. It is definitely the likely place that we actually feel safe and calm.
Finally we should appreciate the beauty of nature.
We must not forget that in the past cane fields in Jamaica were a pit of slavery and forced labour. Now they are free. Perhaps it could be a reason why Jamaicans appreciate and celebrate life. Jamaica embraces its past through expressions such as music, dance, and joyful celebrations. Despite intense political strife and racial divide, the people of Jamaica have maintained the relaxed attitude for which the Caribbean is famous. Jamaicans are proud of who they are and pride themselves on their native culture.