Vernon Shabaka Thompson

King of God’s Choosing

(For Shabaka, Angela, Oba and Elise)


I saw you days after

they said you had gone

after how much years

and there you were

the same.

That scampish boy behind your eyes;

That ocean smile stretched wide from here to beyond

 Trini to Nigeria to Canada to England.


Ah Shabaka!

Calypso Creator.

Carnival Conjurer.


The floats will float on.

Beautiful bodies bedecked and bespeckled

will wine along

down the Grove, up the Hill

liquor and laughter pouring still.

But the old road march will not be the same.

Yaa, Lumumba, the ancestors all called your name.

The pan players exhausted their rhythms.

Your heart beats no more.

But your passion, your love still endure



Like you we will raise tents to circle

comfort around your loved ones.

The least we can do – for all that you’ve done.

Jah guide and protect as you journey on

Ras Shabaka, King Man, never lost, never gone.




A-dZiko Simba

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