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Friday, October 30, 2020
Home Letters A Reminder…

A Reminder…

Dear Editor,
Your correspondent Mr. Clinton Luna in his piece “[E]xact money” (Amandala, 9/15/2020), continues his melodrama starring Samuel Haynes and a cast of generations of our Maya ancestors. The credibility of the plot rests on whether Haynes meant “Gods” or “gods.” Christian thinking regards the first as anti-catechetical (there is only one God); the second as Hellenistic (many “gods”).

Haynes titled his poem “Land of the Gods.” Headings are like that generally: except for pronouns and adjectives, titles are presented in caps: Away in a Manger! And so he could not have expressed the title as, “Land of the gods” and expect to keep his job at the Pittsburgh-based Negro World paper. We need, then, to look at the body of the poem for clarity.

The first locally printed copy of the poem seems to have been what appeared in the Belize Billboard of 26th November, 1950. The very first line goes:

“Oh Land of the gods by the Carib Sea…”

At the time, the Billboard was the mouthpiece of the newly formed People’s Committee, under the leadership of Hon. George Price. The Hon. Philip Goldson was the editor, but he answered to the party council.

The second time the line appears in the poem, the word “gods” is capitalized. Why? Of course, we might never know, and speculation is usually futile and often self-serving. We are therefore left with the truism primus inter pares (the first one in, wins).

Hopefully this might help Mr. Luna’s perspectives on the issue.

Hart Tillett

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