Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A flowers fi di Dread

It was Friday December 3, 1976 and photographer Lennie Gordon and I were leaving the Hilton Hotel (then called the New Kingston Hotel) when we saw Bob Marley about to get into his car. "May I take a picture with you?" I asked. He flashed his fabulous smile and said yes.
Would you believe, later that very evening, Bob Marley was shot at his Hope Road home, wearing this same shirt in the photo. Thank God he survived to star in the historical Peace Concert two days later in Jamaica's National Stadium.

Bob transited this life in May 1981. Thousands lined up to pay their last respects as he lay in state at our National Arena. The poem below was my experience.

“Righteous! A flowers fi di Dread!”
The man salutes
My ribbon-tied rose
As we inch towards the Arena
Sun hot, heart warm
One love for Bob.

Steps slow to the beat
Of the mournful drums
Chests heave, eyes mist
To see our sleeping star
Still – too still
With his quiet guitar
A gentle man puts the rose
Intensely red
beside the Dread.
“Jah give
Jah taketh away
Jah live!”

© Jean Lowrie-Chin


  1. Beautiful - sharp images, clear emotion - Thank you Jean!

  2. Poem and picture hit a special chord.
    You go deh, Jean!

  3. Excellent work, Mrs. Lowrie-Chin. Had no clue you were such an allrounder literary wise! continue to express your talent.

    Joshua Spencer
    Toronto, Canada
    (hailed from Jamaica)