First the note on the persona
As “red nigger”, the lower-class counterpart to the “mulatto”, Shabine comes from the ranks of the ordinary man in Caribbean society. [Patricia Ismond, Abandoning Dead Metaphors: the Caribbean Phase of Derek Walcott’s Poetry (Kingston, Jamaica : University of the West Indies Press, 2001) p. 230.
Next the celebration of the lyrics through an interview with Nalo Hopkinson quoting her in its title [‘I’ll take my chances with the 21st century’ The Globe and Mail]
Whose sentences are your favourite, and why?
You may not be allowed to print the fourth, but it’s the final four lines of the second stanza of Derek Walcott’s poem The Schooner Flight. The last line of those four brings the whole thought home in a triumphant mic drop that for me embodies the essence of the ingenuity of my birth region, the Caribbean. It gives me chills, every time.
The words of Shabine
I’m just a red nigger who love the sea,
I had a sound colonial education,
I have Dutch, nigger, and English in me,
and either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation,
The last four lines continue on into the next stanza hence the comma after “nation”, which lines move on to reflect upon Maria Concepcion, object of a love-hate relationship.
And so for day 1357