The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22) Marvin Thompson – Winner of the 2020 National Poetry Competition

Marvin Thompson was born in London to Jamaican parents and now lives in mountainous south Wales. His debut poetry collection, Road Trip (Peepal Tree, 2020), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and selected as one of its five Black Lives Matter Inspiration books. It was also one of forty recommended collections for National Poetry Day 2020. The Guardian described Road Trip as an “invigorating journey through complexities of black British family life”; it was selected by The Telegraph as one of the Poetry Books of the Year for 2020.

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love (Galatians 5:22)

by Marvin Thompson

Dusk reddened a Dual Heritage neck, hands
and a moustache – its ends curled with wax. Jason Lee?
I stood below his dreadlocks in woodland

and reached up to touch his feet. A whirring fan
greeted my waking eyes, the house sleepy.
I’d dreamt both Dali’s Christ and someone hanged.

“… a pineapple on his head…” sang football fans
and a comedian blacked up as Jason Lee,
mocking Rastas. Did Jason beg Jah:

“Please keep this from my kids.” Should I tell mine
I filled my lungs with ’90s minstrelsy
and sang, a teen lost in lads’ mag England?

Who taught me pro-Black talk was contraband?
The me who cwtched Dad whilst watching Spike Lees
was shoved down basement stairs, feet tied to hands.

Embarrassed, should I play my kids Wu-Tang
and other rap that set my rebel free?
One day, when they walk their kids through woodland
will they sing calypsos or ‘Blood of the Lamb’?

See the video of the poem, at the link below.

artist forms link
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