The Caicos Islands, West Indies

Original Text: 
Gilbert E. Brooke, Oddments: Being Extracts from a Scrap-book (Singapore: Kelly and Walsh, 1922): 17. British Library 012273.aaa.73
2How oft have I toiled through your tropical wilderness
5Despite protestation.
8Full oft did you haunt me in fever malarial --
10All horrible phantoms.
11O Islands of Caicos -- the last of created things --
14And yet I escaped from a death choleräical,
15O marvellous Islands!

Notes

1] The (Turks and) Caicos Islands, thirty in number, southeast of the Bahamas, are a British colony. Their capital is Cockburn Town on Grand Turk Island. An early island industry was the harvesting of salt. The Islands have large mangrove swamps and suffer frequent hurricanes from June to November, but government projects have controlled mosquito breeding and thus the diseases they carry, especially dengue fever as borne by Aedes aegypti. The Islands are now a popular and, generally, safe tourist destination. Back to Line
3] Charybdis: a treacherous whirlpool in the straits of Messina, off Sicily, that -- with Scylla, a cave opposite it -- brought many sailors to their deaths in classical myth. Back to Line
4] ephemeral: of diseases, beginning and ending in a single day.
culicidal: characterizing substances that kill mosquitoes. The culicidæ are a family of mosquitoes treated in "The Economics of Malaria" in Brooke's Practice (1920).
chiggeral: characterized by harvest mites or chiggers (evidently, an adjective coined by Brooke). Back to Line
6] odoriferous: smelly. Back to Line
7] sand-fly: small blood-sucking fly that transmits an acute viral fever to those it bites.
genus anopheles: a mosquito that carries malaria, a disease of periodical fevers. Back to Line
9] Walterian: related to the studies of Dr. Walter Reed, who proved that yellow fever was spread by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. The US military funded Dr. Reed's research in Cuba at the time of the Spanish-American war (1898). Back to Line
12] foetid: stinking.
mephitical: pestilential, characterized by "mephitis" or stench. Back to Line
13] Avernian: hellish. Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2001