Tag Archives: Harry Belafonte

November verse 9 / A birthday poem

November verse 9: Happy Birthday
(For my sister Mary Ann)
‘Sweet Leilani, heavenly flower,’
our father sang when you were born
and kept on singing. That’s girl power
after three boys. Time has worn
the sharp joy from your nickname Lani
but not destroyed it. Scratch the blarney,
underneath you’ll find the stone
of honest feeling, blood and bone.
Leonard and before him Harry
put your real name into song:
a mournful, agonised so-long,
a Caribbean won’t-you-marry.
Now I, as you turn sixty-nine,
invoke their rhymes with one of mine

Bing:

Harry:

Leonard:

And one Leonard made earlier: