Monday, April 11, 2022

John Robert Lee*

John Robert Lee is one of the significant younger St. Lucian contemporaries of the late Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. Lee’s most recent collection, Pierrot (2020, Peeple Tree) marks his seventieth year, and shares his reflections on his life’s journey and the departures into death of both friends and cultural heroes.

The Pierrot figure, according to his publisher’s website, is “the sad clown, holy fool of literary tradition, the suffering artist who connects to Christ in his most human incarnation as Man of Sorrows, and he is also the Pierrot Grenade of Caribbean carnival…Sometimes Pierrot is an archetypal figure, sometimes he may be thought to be Lee himself.”

In a recent interview Lee stated, “You know, I am actually a Baptist elder and pastor in my church, a practicing Christian, for over forty years.” In his younger days, he says, he walked with Rastafari, but that he left them for religious reasons.

The following is from The Passion and Resurrection Canticles.


What commenced in the other garden begins to end here,
in the shadow of an olive mill by a black brook.

“Behold, We have become like one of them, to bear
their sorrows and their griefs.” Let the wheel break
this Fruit on every tooth and tread. Bruise
the Seed under the trampling heel of the Bull
of Bashan. Pour the sweating barrel
of this agony into the cupping palms of God.

Posted with permission of the poet.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about John Robert Lee: first post.

Another John Robert Lee poem was recently posted at Poems For Ephesians.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.