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Man plays rust steel pan at the opening of Carnival
Man plays rust steel pan at the opening of Carnival

The following poem won first place in the National Day poetry competition almost two decades ago. Pan . There was a slight resurgence among schools and through the work of the Division of Culture, the late Eddy Andre and Allan Jno Baptiste. However over the past decade one could feel that apart from the 26 year old Phase Five Steel which fuses electronic bass guitar as part of its offerings, pan is again endangered as it was then, when this poem was written. Enjoy"

"IS DE PAN"

"All you can hear a sweet sound

From over these hills eh

Listen good……

Well dat is the sound of de pan

That use to run tings in de land

Is the pan on the streets

use to mek we jam and jam

But you can't hear the pan

Because you doe feel de pan

Because de pan is now a rubbish can

All you remember Asto Cats and Chocolate eh?

Man dat was mass in de city

When reveler come from east and west

And Dominica Mas was at its bess

Yes is de pan

It was de pan dat mek we prance down

Queen Mary Street

Is de pan mek we tramp

Nonstop on we feet

Night and day, rain or heat

It was heaven child cause god was in those pans

Masquarade was an easy chip

Not a slap in de face or a kung fu kick

Those days it was sensi round de corner

Give dem big room

With five hundred revelers strong

Singing "Ma doe suck it to me

Look my water falling down"

Yes it was pan

Was de pan was de pride of de lan'

And there was no confusion because god was in de pan

And so de devil get vex and take

a hammer and un-tune de pan

and he beat de pan until

de pan become useless

cursed, instead of blessed

the pan became a machine

an de devil put his own beats on de machine

and gave it to a man from Antigua

so de man leave hell and come down with his flames burning

and he deposit all his ash

and de yout de got a scratch

and is so the problem start

Somebody put on de machine

and the drum beat began

de devil had finally succeeded in his plan

Bottle, knife, and stone came on the scene

as soon as the machine beat begin

Pan try his beat to compete

but everyday it was more licks

all around the notes used to rome

but they standardize it and call it chrome

still today the pan man ketching his tail

'cause no one decide to stan' him bail

But is the pan

Is only the pan alone could mek things right

Is only de pan could mek we carnival clean an tight

Pan a dn lapo

Is like farine and coco

Is only pan could give you road march

Because you know when the tune end

And where it start

You see in Trinidad all in school

Band or hi fi

The Pan rule

Is the sweetest instrument on the entire earth

And is we in the Caribbean that give she birth

Ah …hear that sweet tune

Must be Allan or some chocolate county man

All you listen well

Is de Pan, Is de Pan"

PS: A Pan Association has been formed recently and the return of "Pan by de Bay" is one of the activities for carnival this year. I hope this can ignite a spark once more.