Clifton R. Wilson

Poetry & Other Writings

I started writing poetry before I was 10 years old.
I know that because, I came to St. Maarten in 1964, at the age of 10 and I already had a song written. I don't remember the words of that song, except for a part that said;

“I’ll be going away, going some day
Going away from you
I’ll be going and crying, feeling so blue
Knowing that I’m going from you”

I would sing that song to myself, over and over.
Was I a young romantic who was writing for a girl or was I writing to Aruba, the island of my birth? I don't know.

On St. Maarten, I continued to write. I wrote and kept my writing to myself. I was writing in what I called ‘Caribbean English’. I would write about anything that touched me in one way or another. When I was about 15, I may have felt or sensed some shame about my ‘Caribbean English’, because I started re-writing my poetry in the ‘Queen’s English’.

Needless to say, the writing had lost it's feelings and I don’t know, to this date, if I threw them all away or just ignored them. The bottom line is I no longer have them.

I remember the first time I read a poem that had parts written in ‘Caribbean English’.
I was shocked and amazed and so happy to see that it ‘could be done’.
That changed my writing attitude and I went back to being me; writing in 'Caribbean English. I wrote lyrics in the form of songs and even sent some to the USA to have music put to them.
One actually made it on to a demo LP, but there was never any word of how it did, financially.

I also tried my hand at writing calypsoes. The songs were well accepted. Some of those calypsoes were sung in competition by "The Mighty Slackness" and "Lady J". Among the serious calypsoes were; 'Miss Everything', 'Carmen and Maria', 'St. Maarten / St. Martin' and 'Tribute to Claude Wathey'. Among the up-tempo calypsoes were; 'Don't Leh Me Belly Fool You' and 'Bass and Waist'.

In my late teens, I started writing letters to the Editor of the newspapers on St. Maarten. Some of the topics I addressed, through the years, were;
- moving the car rental booths on the inside of the airport arrival area.
- a ‘Public’ transportation system, with Government-owned busses.
- changing the electoral laws, so that the voter has direct input in who gets elected.
- words of wisdom to the youth of the island.

In the early days, before word processors, I would have to write and rewrite the letters until they clearly said what I wanted to say.
There was always the risk that the person retyping it, at the newspaper,would omit a word and that could defeat the meaning of the entire letter. That happened on more than one occasion.
Hurricanes Hugo and Louis each took part of my house and some of my poetry. I am currently re-writing what I can and writing new material