Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Christmas Story in Liberian English


I first saw this lovely telling of the Christmas story on Rachel's blog. It is taken from a book called "Every Man Heart Lay Down" by Lorenz Graham. I found a description of the book:


Here is the story of the birth of Jesus retold in the idiom of Liberians newly acquainted with the English language. To the storytellers of Liberia, Bible stories become poems, or spoken songs. So it is with this simple and tender version of the Nativity.


As you read it, imagine a rich African voice reading it straight into your soul. Enjoy!


"Every Man Heart Lay Down"


Long time past - before your father live - before his father live
Before his father's father live - long time past
Before them big tree live - before them big tree's father live
That time God live.And God look on the world - that He done make
And Him heart no lay down.
And He walk about in the town to see the people.
And He sit down in the palaver house to know the people.
And He sorry too much.
And God say "The people no hear My Word.
The people no walk My way. Nev mind.
All I can do is make a new country - and make new people."
And this time God's one small boy - Him small child
Hear God's Word, And the child grieve for people and for His Pa.
So he go for God's face and make talk for His Pa.
"Pa, I come for beg you," so He say,
"I come for beg you; Don't make the new world.
Don't lose the people what you done care for. I beg you.
Make it I go, I talk to people. I walk with people. Bye-m-bye
They savvy the way."
And the child go down softly softly and hold God's foot. (i.e.begged Him)
So God look on Him small boy. And Him heart be very soft.
And God say,Left me now, but hear me good;
If you go you must be born like a man
You must live like a man - and you must have hurt and have hunger.
And hear me good; men will hate you and they will flog you,
and bye-m-bye they will kill you, and I no going put my hand there."(i.e. interfere)
And the Child say, "I agree."And bye-m-bye God call Mary to be Ma for the child.
Now Mary be new wife for Joseph and Joseph ain't touch Mary self.
So first time Joseph vex. But God say, 'Nev min', Joseph; this be God palaver.
And Joseph heart lay down.
And God see one king who try for do good for all him people."
Ahah, now I send my Son for be new king."
And God send star to call the king.
And in a far country, God hear a wise man call his name.
And God say to the wise man, "I send my Son to be new wise man;Go now with the star."
And the star call. And the wise men follow.And by the waterside - men lay down to take rest.
And they hear fine music in the sky like all the stars make song,
And they fear.
And all the dark make bright like day.
And the water shine like fire. And no man can savvy.
And they hearts turn over. But God's angel come,
And God's angel say, "Make glad, all people,God's child be born in Bethlehem."
And the star come low and stop. But when they go for mansion house
The star no be there. And when they go for big man's house,The star no be there.
And bye-m-bye when they go for hotel,
The star no be there gain - "Ahah, the star be by the small house
Where cattle sleep! " And it was so.And they found Joseph and Mary and the small child fold up incountry cloth.
And the king bring gold for gift
And the wise man bring fine oil
And the country people bring new rice.
And they look on the God child
And every man heart lay down.

1 comment:

~Rachel~ said...

I didn't know it was from a book. I'll have to find it now! :)