John Agard - Half Caste

Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?


explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu sayhalf-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand

an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.

an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.



**Half Caste Video**
The poem of half-caste seems to be written in a sarcastic/aggresive tone. As he is using dialect throughout the poem he is making himself distant from the audience making the audience feel uncomfortable. The dialect is phonetic which means how it sounds so we feel as through we are being spoken to.Throughout the poem he uses examples from our culture to suggest how ridiculous the superior actually is. The form of the poem is in free verse which helps to highlight his anger in the poem and helps to show his personality throughout the poem. Throughout the poem there is an irregular rhyme which makes the poem seem more lyrical and helps to build strength. the poem has minimal punctuation which makes the poems pace fast and aggresiva and makes us feel as though his views are unstoppable. Throughout the third stanza Agard repeats the word 'half' which is suggesting that we as a reader are only listening with half a mind. at the end of the poem agard turns the blame straight to the reader which in theory makes us re-think our views on other races.