THE POET: Struggles of life



Poet struggles of life imageStruggles are part and parcel of the lives of all races, creeds, peoples and individuals . It comes in the form of challenges, trials, tribulations, hardships, oppression, victimization, prejudice and I am sure you could put in additional forms of struggles both personal and general.

The overcoming of struggles can be bitter sweet and as the popular folk song goes ” the hotter the battle the sweeter the victory.”

Again, I have put together a bunch of poems from my 1983, collection of poems, titled, VIEW, that reflects the notion of struggles in different forms.


Green, dark green is the colour of the grass

Fresh, in the early hours of dawn.

The blades are strong, the plant is well

Nothing like it, a beautiful sight to behold.


Pale green is the colour of the grass.

Battered, in the midday sun.

It has been trampled on by men;

What a pity, there was nothing like it.


Brown is the colour of the grass.

A mess, in the cool of the evening.

It has undergone another day of suffering;

Try as it might, there was nothing like it.


Black is the colour of the man.

An unfortunate creature of the world.

His arms are strong, the man is well,

Nothing like him, a creature being enslaved.



It is your decision

Not my decision.

I have made one

Like any other man.


Don’t be confused

Because of what other people do.

Remember, this man and that man

Is just like you.


Their dwelling places

may be high or low,

They are still sharing

This life you know.


The way is straight

So cut out the corners.

A simple life

Goes much further.


It is your choice

So you must choose well;

Righteousness for ever

As time must tell.


It is your decision

Not my decision.

I have made one

Like any other man.



Morning, noon and night

Seeking to get my rights.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

I may still be living in sorrow.

Through trials, crosses and tribulations

I have to keep fighting on.

With none to give a helping hand

That is a sad state for any man.


Struggling just to stay alive

With little chances to survive.

Comfort I have never seen,

My life is one of struggling.



Wailing, wailing, wailing

The people are tired of crying.

Laughers, laughing all the time.

Criers, crying all the time.

Wailings and gnashing of teeth,

Their lives aren’t sweet;

One of pain, one of sorrow,

They can feel it in their marrow.


So, no time to rest my brothers;

Let us work this out together.

“Better must come one day”,

That is what, prophets of old say.

People are you ready?

People are you ready?



We should all be our brothers’ keepers.

This would make life much easier;

With me looking out for you

And you looking out for me too.


Are you being your brother’s keeper?

If not so, what are you waiting for?

Do you realize you are the one

Who is putting the pressure on?


Be your brother’s keeper.

Help him to overcome.

If you are his keeper

His things are your and yours his.



Cloudy sky and rain,

Let my sun shine a bit.

Break the chain

Take it off my feet.


What is happiness like?

What is really joy?

My only friend is night,

I tried to laugh but no joy.


I can walk about

But I am a slave again.

Sleeping lion, get up,

Come break my chain.


Lion, kill all pains.

Lion, kill all sorrows.

Break all chains

To live a life not borrowed.



Sitting each day

They say I am lazy.

Ask for help

They think I am crazy.


For years I have tried

And many tears I have cried

My failures fill both hands

And this goes on and on.


They could have helped

But they wanted the pressure felt.

Wanted me to try my best

When I am at my fullest.


No doors open though I knocked,

I seek and have found not

And now I am on the track

They’re saying this and that.



This morning, aunt broke her leg

The rent was long overdue,

The powerman took their light

And the watermen took their water too.

She was flat broke in every way.


Mom cried, Miss Ruby cried, Gran cried,

“O help us God”, they all cried.


The last ounce of cornmeal gone

The house leaks even when the rain drizzles.

What is happening now

Happens throughout the four seasons.

Some people can take it, some can’t.


Mom cried, Miss Ruby cried, Gran cried,

“O help us God”, they all cried.




On the move

We are mobilized.

Cut out the playing,

Time  we get wise.


You farmer,

You better produce.

You pretty, pretty girl

Put your hands to use.


If you sit down

And gather up rust

You are going to lose

the man’s trust.


Look at the warriors

With their big bomb,

Tell them to put

Down arms and come.



Stop your crying;

Come give a

Helping hand this time.


Listen man,

We are mobilized;

That you must realize.



When sitting, facing the blue sky

That seems to meet the sea

And sea stretching to meet land,

All that is in your mind is blues.


Wide open, blue jotted sky,

Dotted by small grey cloud bands

Which dapple a shaded blue sea

That is dotted, but mostly blue.


When sitting, facing the blue sky

That meets sea at the horizon

Which meets land, you think in blues.

Blue, blues, dark green, blue.



The poetSTRUGGLES OF LIFE. Poems from Clifton Neil’s 1983 collection of poems called VIEW. Get your free copy by joining our mail list at WORDFOODMUSIC.COM.

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Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware

Deception on Father’s Day 

I have a sad story to tell you. No, more like an unfortunate state of affairs to share or is it that I have an issue? Maybe, but  it is more like a complaint but then again, I don’t complain much. Do I? Hmmm, let’s just say, I have something to blog about. (The thesaurus is not working tonight so forgive me if the words don’t fit well).

Here is what happened. Not sure, if you were aware, but Sunday June 19 was designated Father’s Day. If you were not aware, it is okay. In fact every day is father’s day in my world but the recent custom seem to designate a Sunday in June as the day when we recognize “fathers” including the many super mothers who double as fathers because of DNA (Daddy Not Around). Many of my friends say Father’s Day is really a commercial thing but at least it gives some folks a chance to fuss about their dads and make them feel special. Hmm. Maybe we will consider a Son’s Day, Daughter’s Day, Wife’s Day, Husband’s Day etc.

You might be asking, what is my problem? Do I have a grouse with Father’s Day or what? What am I blogging about? Well. I don’t have a grouse with Father’s Day. It was what happened on Father’s Day that concerned me. You see, Father’s Day 2016 was sad, very sad. I had to choose between being sensitive about my friend’s emotions and being a real friend: talking the truth.

You see, many times we are misled and even taken advantage of by people and organizations that we would not, even for a minute, expect such behaviour from. The painful part is not that we got shafted as in life we can expect to get used, abused and refused. The hurtful part is when we are taken advantage of by someone we loved, respected and trusted. Yet, it is now so common to be ripped off that regrettably, abnormal has become normal. Figures dont lie  mark twain

Yes. It has become such a sport to “exploit” people that many individuals and organizations delve into the art and science of persuading and confusing. It is fun for some to get much from none. In Jamaica, we say “tricks in trade and mischievous in business” and in college we were taught that “figures don’t lie, but liars figure”.

Here is what happened. A friend of mine was telling me he got a big bottle of Motts 100% apple juice as a gift for Father’s Day.  Okay. Cool. So what? Well. You could see the gratification and pleasure on his face as this was the first gift he had got from his estranged son. According to him “It is years I have not had any real natural apple juice, and my boy bought me the real thing. I am so glad. I can’t afford it. Too expensive but it is worth every cent. 100% juice”.

Fooling some people sometimes

motts 100% 2You might be wondering what so sad about a son giving his dad a bottle of 100% Apple Juice on Father’s day. Even if it was given because of a ritual or commercial ritual, what’s sad about that? Isn’t the fact that he gave the gift of a 100% apple juice to his dad a glad thing? It might be feint and choreographed but he made his dad glad not sad on Father’s Day. Right?

True but here is the sad part. It is not so much Father’s Day or the gift. It was the deception.  You see, as I looked at the glee on his face, I found it hard to tell him it was mainly water that was in the bottle of Motts’ 100% Apple Juice. What? Now you see what I mean. The son passed off a drink of water and apple juice to his dad as a bottle of 100% Apple juice. By the way, the son didn’t knowingly passed it off. You see, he got hoodwinked by the supermarket where he bought it. What? Hoodwinked at a reputable supermarket? (There goes the lack of  thesaurus again).

Yeah, he was deceived. Should mention though that there is a high chance the supermarket was also deluded by the producer, in this case, Motts. What? The bottle of Motts 100% Apple Juice bought at the reputable supermarket was mainly water and Motts is to be blamed mostly. Well, to be honest, the government is in complicity directly or indirectly too.   Wait, is this some kind of conspiracy theory? The government is helping Motts to sell water as #100% juice? Explain that so a child can understand or else be careful. Please bear in mind that the bottle clearly state contains 100% Apple Juice and even elementary kids know that a 100% of something mean there is nothing else.

My point. That is the sad part and to be Frank or Honest or Clifton, that is the worrying part too. I hope you understand my dilemma. How does one tell a happy dad that his son bought him a bottle of water passed off as 100% apple juice? How does one explain that it is not his son’s fault but the producer’s, the supermarket’s and the government’s fault? How does one tell the truth and not have the truth provoke contentions and #startamovement?

Facing the music

Einstein dangerious worldMark you, I am not a trouble maker. I gave enough trouble as a child to serve me for two lifetimes for three persons, but as Albert Einstein once said, The world is a dangerous place; not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.

Actually, I am faced with this issue every day I go shopping. You see I am first and foremost a domesticated dad of a very talented debutant singer named Aneil (check her out aneilmusic.comAneil media Promo CD image) but I am also a marketer by profession and career. So on most occasions, I wear a cool cap as dad and a hot hat as a marketer. As a dad, I love shopping and as many parents know, shopping until you are dropping can be real fun.

However, as a marketer, when I am shopping and dropping I have no fun. Honestly, I feel like am being bowled over and floored and at times even feel as if I am being mauled at the Mall. (Oops , thesaurus again).

Back to my story, and the #100%juice. “I am not comfortable with folks selling my friends and me a bottle containing mainly water passed off as 100% juice for megabucks in reputable organizations made by reputable organizations. It borders on trickery, false, misleading and dishonesty.”

Facts Vs Figures

motts label


motts 100% 2

Look at the picture and as they taught us in law course, “res ipsa loquitor’ – the thing speaks for itself.

Yes, you see the 100% juice is noticeable, big, pronounced, bold, standing tall ..(sigh thesaurus again)  and can be seen from far away on the front. However, you have to literally drop to the ground to read the small print on the bottle, which is at the back of the bottle hidden from view that lists the contents as water, apple juice  concentrate and ascorbic acid. Wait a minute. The first ingredient is water in a bottle of 100% Apple Juice? What does this mean?

Let me quickly share a legal packaging requirement with you: Ingredients for a product should be listed in descending order with the ingredient that is the most in terms of volume, weight and size being listed first. Simply put, put the most first.  If water is listed first it means that water is the majority of the content. If apple juice is listed first it means that apple juice is the majority of the content. By extension, if apple juice alone is listed it means ALL of the content is a 100% juice.  Ask yourself the question: What is the case with the Motts 100% juice? Is apple the only thing listed as the ingredient?

Not saying Motts, is telling lies. Motts did say CONTAIN 100% juice, not that the entire bottle is 100% apple juice. Let’s look at it this way: if Motts pours 100% apple juice in the bottle to say a ¼ full and then pour in water for the other ¾, it would not have lied. The bottle does contain 100% juice, albeit, the entire content is not 100% juice. This should cover all legal requirements? Right?  Sigh. Liars can figure eh? Well. Hmmm.

Now you see what I mean about the government’s complicity due to the allowance of this technicality. Sigh, a ¼ bottle of juice and ¾ bottle of water can be sold as a bottle of 100% juice and priced as juice? Technically, the jury could still be out on this one but as  Nikola Tesla would say: ” is a beggar dressed in purple clothes and made king using dazzling mathematics that obscure truth”. Figures don’t lie but liars can figure.

Took this picture with my phone at a supermarket in St. Andrew, Jamaica

Seriously now, who does that? You would be surprised. It is more like, who doesn’t do that. If you believe that Motts is the only “culprit” (thesaurus again), then you are wrong. A growing number of food and drink companies are labeling their products “all natural” or 100% juice in an attempt to attract health-concerned customers in order to improve their bottom line and get in the black. Do you feel deceived though?


Guilty as charged.

I was also looking at some of the shady guys or culprits that were caught and prosecuted. (Thesaurus again). It was surprising to find out that top brands such as Pepsi (Naked Juice), Kashi and General Mills were included.

Naked juice label
As a result of the law suit, Naked had to drop the ALL NATURAL claim. They still keep the 100% juice as there is no water in their product, unlike Motts.

In 2011, Naked Juice was forced to retract their claim that their juice was “100% fruit” and “all natural.” The juice company, owned by Pepsi, was actually including ascorbic acid and synthetic sources of fiber in their beverages — proving that “all natural” and #100%  can be fairly meaningless buzzwords.   The complaint points out that the “front-of-package promises that the product is ‘ALL NATURAL’ and ‘100% JUICE.’

It was held by the Court that a reasonable consumer would not assume that defendants were being deceptive and would not know to read the very-fine-print ingredient label.

PepsiCo Inc. agreed to settle for a $9 million lawsuit where each customer could receive up to US$75 in accordance to the company’s false, misleading and deceptive advertisements. Other companies, such as Kashi and General Mills Inc. faced an identical dispute for using GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, while claiming to be #100percent natural and containing no artificial ingredients.

So the sad thing about that Father’s Day scenario was that in 2016, one would hope that manufacturers and sellers are fair and honest and are respecting customers who they say is the KING. #Caveatemptor (let the buyer beware) should not be a rally cry for customers in modern times. After all, legislation such as the Fair Competition Act of 1993, consumer movements, discerning customers and competition should have forced sellers to recognize #caveatvenditor (let the seller beware).

So as you have seen, it wasn’t Father’s Day that was my issue. I had the dilemma of keeping quiet, not rock the boat and let my friend enjoy his “watery” bottle of 100% Apple Juice or tell him the truth and allow him to become distrustful of companies, supermarkets and government. Worse, turn him into an ardent advocate against false and misleading advertisement and he #startamovement. Sadly, it seemed I rocked the boat.

P.S. FEEL FREE. BE FREEMarcus garvey

Interestingly, today, August 1 is Emancipation Day in Jamaica. Emancipation Day is celebrated in many former British colonies in the Caribbean in recognition of the August 1, 1838 declaration by Britain to set the slaves “free”. “Free” borders on false or misleading but suffice to say  we do need to free the captive and their captors as both are in mental slavery. Marcus Garvey said it nicely in Nova Scotia in October 1937: “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind….”



Think how exciting it would be to have a booklet that told you all you need to know about music copyright and publishing in Jamaica, and by extension, the United States. Well if you are like us: an unknown Indie or young music label trying to be known and wanting to do things properly and “by the books.” Well, we empathize with you. You see, since January of this year 2015,  just like you, WordFoodMusic want to think about copyright. Will it be our lyrics, our song and our music? Will it be a cover version? How do we protect our song from unlawful use by other people? How do we protect ourselves from unlawful use of other people’s material, how much does it cost to register copyright and how can we get royalties from our copyright material/songs?

In fact we are doing our music publication for an artiste , Aneil, who is doing her first single’ Let Me Be”. This was no easy task but we had fun prying, begging, seeking, knocking and getting the answers.

These are now simple questions to us, but earlier this year we didn’t know much and we had to painstakingly sift through the clutter and  sometimes daunting task of getting information. Knowledge is power and ignorance is not bliss. What you don’t know can hurt you in the pocket and in the mind.

In fact, having no copyright can be a wrong copy and if you take notice, big companies such as SONY, Universal Music Group and EMI, have entire legal departments dealing with copyright and publishing.

Of course, Needless to say, we know that new Indies and fledgling labels like WordFoodMusic, cannot afford such departments but you do not want to go the hard route we went.

Cheer up, have created your own “How To Copy Right Music in Jamaica” in order to help you know and understand the intricate yet important business of protecting you and your musical creation. This booklet looks at the nuts and bolts of copyright. It is choc full of information on copyright definition, caveats, advantages of registration, copyright registration procedures, rights and licenses and much more. So do treasure this little guide and look out for part two on How To Publish Music in Jamaica.


For the records, copyright and publishing is not as developed in Jamaica as is in the United States and getting the nuts and bolt of it can be very challenging as stated. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to note that with the advent of the updated Copyright Act of 1993, and upcoming amendments, organizations such as Jamaica Association of Composers and Authors and Publishers (JACAP), Jamaica Music Society (JAMMS) and Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agent (JAMCOPY) are helping to regulate and cut a clear pathway in the intellectual property arena.

Basically, under the law (Jamaica and U.S.), copyright begins automatically once a piece of music is created then documented or recorded, for example, on video, tape or CD or simply written down in notation of a score sheet. WordFoodMusic CEO puts it nicely, “Once it is affix, you are in the mix. No registration is necessary to own what you create. However, proving that you own what you had made is another matter”.

Both the Jamaican Copyright Act 1988/1993 and the U.S. Copyright Law, amended December 2011, put copyright as a protection for original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. It allows an original work to be considered a property that is owned by somebody, whether published or unpublished.

Having no copyright can be a wrong copy. Importantly, even if you see your friends or other artistes using other people’s work without permission, it is illegal and you should not, according to the Bible, “follow a multitude to do wrong”. This is still true even though you may see some producers, loosely, putting the words “cover version” or “adapted” on their cover records to show a form of respect. The reality is that this is still an infringement as any form of unauthorized use of copyright material is a violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights.

Remember, as the CEO of WordFoodMusic puts it, “originals are the real deal, but nothing wrong in covering a song, if you know the game and play along”.

By the way, the symbol for copyright is © although it may vary in some jurisdiction.


money image 2 Maybe the most important benefit of copyright is the inner gratification or moral rights of saying “ my song that”. However, if the song become a hit, then we talking money. 

Copyright is big business and the copyright acts of Jamaica and U.S. afford several important rights that can earn income for the writer, composer and producer of music. The main rights are Public Performing Right, Reproduction Right, Mechanical Right, and Synchronization Right.

  1. Public Performing Right is the exclusive right of the copyright owner to authorize the performance or transmission of the work in public: the right to decide how and when it should be played. When you buy any Aneil’s debut single, “Let Me Be” or download the MP3, Aneil, the copyright owner, through her agency WordFoodMusic, gives you permission to ONLY play the song for yourself, close friends and family. You do not own the song.

So, if you wish to play Aneil – “Let Me Be” to a wider group of people, for example at a Fish Fry on the beach, it is classed as a public performance and you must first seek permission (licence) from Aneil or her agent, before you do so. JACAP and JAMMS are responsible for this in Jamaica while ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are responsible for the USA.

  1. Reproduction Right is the exclusive right of the copyright owner, to authorize the reproduction of a musical work as in a record, cassette or CD.
  2. Mechanical Right is the right to authorize the reproduction and distribution of a specific composition at an agreed upon fee per unit manufactured and sold. In Jamaica this is done by JACAP and JAMMS while Harry Fox Agency is the most popular in the U.S.
  3. Synchronization Right is the exclusive right to synchronize the musical composition in timed relation with audio-visual images on film or videotape.

Please note that even if you are covering a song to give away for free as promotional material, the copyright owner must grant you a licence before reproduction. In the U.S the going licensing rate is $0.091 (9.1 cents) per unit for songs that are five minutes and under in length or $0.0175 (1.75 cents) per minute or fraction thereof, per unit for songs that are over five minutes in length. Outside of the U.S., the royalty rate is typically 8%-10% of the list price.

An illustration, If Aneil covers Sam Smith’s song “I am not the only one” and wants to print and sell 2000 copies, Aneil must pay 2000 @ $.091) or $182 to Harry Fox or Sam Smith or his agent. Even if WordFoodMusic decide to give away the records of the cover song for free to promote Aneil, Sam Smith must be paid $182. Of course, if Sam Smith is contacted directly, he may allow free reproduction of that particular composition. Using, JACAP, JAMMS or Harry Fox where relevant allows the person wishing to cover a song to avoid hunting down the copyright owner to pay him/her.

BMI logo

JACAP logo imagaClick any logo to get to that website

No copyright is wrong if you are covering a song. . WordFoodMusic quote: “Originals are the real deal, but nothing wrong in covering a song, if you know the game and play along”.                            

Now imagine the interesting scenario of Aneil, without permission, making a cover of Sam Smith’s song (MP3) and offer it for free online, and the song gets millions of free downloads. It simply means that this breach can result in Sam Smith and his publisher claiming stiff statutory damages, civil and criminal. As much as $30,000 or more per offense when it comes to people who knew or probably knew that they were infringing on the rights of others. Similar large sums are also applicable in Jamaica.





Click logo to get to that website.

Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim. (The song’s birth certificate) and before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.

Since registration of copyright is not compulsory, why should one register with the US Copyright Office and “waste” $35 on copyright registration? Basically, the most important reasons according to the U.S. Copyright Act include the fact that Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim. (The song’s birth certificate) and before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin. Basically, if made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.

A super incentive is that if registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions, in the U.S.

As a result of the rights afforded by copyright, there are several ways the copyright owner can earn money:

  1. Mechanical – Digital Downloads, Streaming Services and Physical Products (CD’s, Cassettes, Phonographs, 8 Tracks etc)
  2. Public Performance – Interactive and Non Interactive Streaming Services, Radio, TV, Live Performance, Downloads
  3. Synchronization – TV, Film, Commercials
  4. Print – Songbooks, Sheet Music Physical and Online (digital) versions
  5. Ringtones

Currently, in Jamaica, copyright generally lasts for a period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author dies. In the U.S. it is 70 years after the composer’s death.


mail egistered The Poor man’s copyright is a nice way to help show that you were in possession of the work at a particular date based on the postal stamp mark. However, although figures don’t lie, liars can figure and this is not a fool proof way. After all, how does one prove it is a genuine mail, not tampered with and a colleague at the post office did not stamp it (back dated).
  1. (Poor man’s Copyright). Send a copy of the work to yourself by registered mail, via the post office, leaving the envelope unopened and stored in safe place together with receipt from the post office
  2. Deposit a copy of the work(s) to the National Library of Jamaica. Also note that it is a requirement under the Legal Deposits Act, that a copy of all library matter published in Jamaica ,including books, CDs, DVDs, must be deposited with the National Library of Jamaica for archival and historical purposes. This also provides a public record supporting an author’s claim of copyright
  1. Deposit a copy of the song(s) with an Attorney-at-law (you may be required to pay legal fees.
  2. The U.S. Copyright Act allows for a formal registration and protection of creators’ rights (birth certificate). This is done by registering the work with the US Copyright Office. To do so simply visit and preferably, register online. Online registration is faster and cheaper. The online fee for a single song owned by the writer is $35 while all other online application fee is $55. To register using printed forms and offline is $85. The application process takes up to 8 months if done via e-Filing and up to 13 months if done via Paper Form offline. Similar to Jamaica, a copy of the registered work is to be deposited with the Library of Congress.

Please note: Jamaicans may register their songs with the US Copyright Office even though the song was produced and published in Jamaica.


If you are making music, whether your own composition or you plan to cover other artistes’ songs, copyright and its legal implications must be at the fore front of your project. Copyright is simple the ownership of the rights to ones creation of a song. There is no need to register one’s copyright in a song as it is automatically created the minute the song is fixed in a medium such as CD or online downloads or music sheet. The song doesn’t have to be published to gain copyright. “Once it is fix, you are in the mix”

It is not possible to register a song in Jamaica but the use of Poor man’s copyright and depositing the song at the National Library of Jamaica will help in providing proof of association with the song at a particular date. Jamaicans can, however, register their songs with relative ease at the U.S. Copyright Office for a modest sum of money. Copy rights ownership afford the creator several important rights such as Public Performing Right, Reproduction Right, Mechanical Rights, and Synchronization Rights. All these rights can earn the considerable amount of money if realized. Infringing on the right of a copyright owner can result in stiff statutory fines. As such, it is better to pay a modest fee (licence) to use other people’s music rather than be liable for thousands of dollars in statutory fines, lack of peace of mind and embarrassment. “if you have no copyright , you doing a wrong copy.”

 Remember, Copyright Law provides the ability for anyone to record and sell a cover song, so long as he/she notifies the copyright holder properly and agree to pay the statutory royalty for each copy made and distributed.

There is much fun, in creating and developing music, but for many, the real gravy is in the returns made from the copyright and it is critical that we give credit where it is due.

Writer’s note: Clifton “NOTCLIF” Neil is an avid writer, marketer and university teacher, in Jamaica, who has taken up the challenge of providing simple “How to books” on topics such as copyright, publishing, and music marketing. You may have the full text of this publication, in e-book form, FOR FREE, by simply visiting our website, check it out and sign up for free newsletter and other upcoming publications.

Click on the e-book below to get your free copy of “How To Copyright Music in Jamaica”.

Aneil – Let Me Be Lyrics video on YouTube
Aneil – Let Me Be song on Sound Cloud
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Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls (Your passion is wasting me away)

Notclif at Niagara Falls October 2011. The setting for his poem: "Oh Niagara"
Notclif at Niagara Falls October 2011. The setting for his poem: “Oh Niagara”

Charles Dickens visited Niagara Falls in 1841. On viewing the Canadian Falls from Table Rock he wrote, “Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an Image of Beauty; to remain there, changeless and indelible, until its pulses cease to beat, forever.”

I did my Christopher Columbus , late discovery but eye opening, of North America with my maiden trip to Florida, from Jamaica, In 1992. This was almost 500 years after Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. Yeah, Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas when he set his eyes on it while aboard his ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa maria circa 1494. One of my favourite reggae singers, Burning Spear, did a song in which he called Christopher Columbus a “damn liar” for saying he discovered the Americas”. I am at pains to let them realize that, discover simply means to find out. Doesn’t mean he is the first one. Fact is, Chris discovered America in 1492, while the Indians did it a much earlier. For fun, see Burning Spear song, and his historical rebuttal of Columbus’ discovery claim. Simply click on the 500th Anniversary stamp to see video.

Fotos und Bilder zu Christophorus Columbus (24)

Anyway, back to Niagara, Oh Niagara, the main focus of this blog. For me,  I can say, I discovered North America in 1992 but it took almost 20 years before I graced my eyes on Niagara Falls. I could easily see why Charles Dickens got mesmerized. i was too. The water seem to be having fun rushing, tumbling, roaring, cascading, inundating the rocks as it heads down from lake Erie into Lake Ontario. There was an eerie note to it though. So pronounced was it, that i penned, or was it penciled or type, it into a poem. hmm. Whatever. Well, here is the poem I wrote, titled “Oh Niagara: Niagara Falls”. I hope you like it and the attempted review of it.

The love affair that results in the love's demise. Erosion of land has been a concern at the Niagara Falls
The love affair that results in the love’s demise. Erosion of land has been a concern at the Niagara Falls

Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls

Your waters on my cheeks continuously tumble down

Whether as dew on a smiling face or tears on a frown.

You are always rumbling, and frolicking with a thundering shout

Whether on show for many or even if no one is about.

The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below. The brown colour is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter, mostly from the shallow eastern basin of Lake Erie.
Notclif in cloak as the Falls tumble along. The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below. The brown colour is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter, mostly from the shallow eastern basin of Lake Erie.

Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls.

We, are a beautiful awesome sight to behold.

Whether morning or night, our passion for a wet noisy continuous flow never grows old

We are a thing of beauty, and a beautiful thing too with love as our tonic

Whether we agree or not, our passion is becoming chronic.

Niagara River

Niagara, Oh Niagara Falls

Your beauty and awe keep eating away at my soul

Whether it’s your strength or vigour or the stories untold.

Your passion has reached, has uncovered and gone beyond my deepest inner core

Whether sadly or gladly, if you continue loving me like this, I will be no more.

The poem, “Oh Nigara, Niagara Falls”  was trying to capture the passionate yet eerie feeling and outcome of a love affair that results in the demise of one of the lovers. The water while creating an awesome effect for the millions of onlookers  as it falls 170 feet (52 metres) into the Maid of the Mist pool from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls is eroding the land inch by inch.  At the American Falls, the water plunges vertically ranging from  70 to 110 feet (21 to 34 metres) to the rock  at the base of the Falls and is doing a similarly passionate job of eroding the land.

Niagara Falls ErosionAccording to Getalltravelinfo. Niagara Falls is a product of erosion. The force of the water tumbling over the Horseshoe Falls continually causes large sections of rock to erode and fall away.

More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 cubic metres) of water go over the crest line every minute during peak daytime tourist hours. It is difficult to determine the depth of the water at the crest line due to various flows and conditions of the river.

The erosion is estimated at 1 foot (32 cm) approximately every 10 years. The hard top layer of dolomite limestone is underlain by softer layers of sandstone and shale. The tumbling waters cut away the shale and sandstone layers until the undermined top layer collapses, thus maintaining the vertical face of the Falls.

About 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls was 7 miles (11 kilometers) downstream from its present position. Until the early 1950’s, the Falls eroded at the average rate of 3 feet (approximately 1 metre) per year.

By the way, the word “Onguiaahra” appears on maps as early as 1641. Both it and the later version “Ongiara” are Indian words generally interpreted as meaning “The Straight”, although the more romantic “Thunder of Waters” is sometimes given. By the time the first white man arrived at the Falls, the name in general use was “Niagara”.

Notclif ponders: should we turn our backs on passion or embrace it with passion?Notclif ponders: should we turn our backs on passion or embrace it with passion?

Interestingly, I was looking at the link and relationship between the Niagara River, the Niagara Falls and the bordering land between Canada and United States of America. One can sense the love, but the outcome while being awesome and scenic, over times leads to demise. The Niagara River seems to be the winner, followed by the land and the loser is the Fall. If the land continues eroding away, the Fall will be no more and the land would be flat. Niagara River and Land but no Falls. It definitely doesn’t seem like a symbiotic relationship. In a nutshell, the Niagara Falls, although the puissance and glory of the trio, will be a mist if not less.

Needless to say, if we are not careful, we will find our love affairs, jobs, social friendships, and even our lives being eroded by passions and addictions and cravings that we forged with glitter and glamour; yet as time goes on we realize that we are just being caressed and scraped by a friction that looks good in picture but inside it is life threatening. It seems the age old adage goes: not everything that glitters is gold. Have you ever wonder if your passion and love is making you feel “wasted away?”

You may get a free download of a collection of my 1983 poems ( I was 20 years old then).


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Hello world! Heights of great musicians were reached by craft or by chance?

Heights of great musicians reached - the beatles

Not many people have had great dreams of smallness. Yet smallness of dreams has had a great many people. In fact, great dreams, small dreams and even no dreams people have become great. Indeed, I am still not sure if heights of great musicians were reached by chance or by craft? I am here, rolling over these thoughts in my head as I watched my daughter recording her first international recording with the maestro, Grub Cooper of Jamaican Fame Fab Five Band in Kingston, Jamaica. The single “Let it be me”, is due for release in Mid 2015 and I was busily searching for answers: how can I help make her a great name in the music business.
Maybe, greatness happened because of luck or chance and not because of craft. No, don’t go yet, read on. Not saying Bob Marley and The Beatles and Featured imagethose greats didn’t have craft. On the contrary, they had lots of talent, industriousness, commitment and drive that pushed them against the odds even when, as Bob Marley said, in his hit song, I shot the sheriff, “Every time I plant a seed, he said kill it before it grows.”

Back to chance and success. What is chance? My Little Oxford Dictionary said Chance is “absence of design or discoverable cause.” So, it could be argued that if it was not for the chance (or was it by design) meeting up of The Beatles with Brian Epstein in 1961 and Bob Marley’s and the Wailers with Chris Blackwell in 1971, both could have remained as unknowns. Obscure. Do you know any talented musicians that are not great because of a lack of chance? Are there any popular musicians whose craft are terrible but they became great because of chance?
Goodness, my daughter has finished recording the song and I hope it becomes a hit. Five (5) hours run fast when your having fun or thinking hard. Nevertheless, the verdict is still out: greatness is a result of chance and or craft. Which is it really? Hung jury?

As we sat and listened the recording, everyone was happy with the production and was sure we have an international hit. However, there aren’t many guarantees, and as words to the wise: maybe we shouldn’t depend on our craft to get us a chance in life and similarly we shouldn’t depends on chance to get our craft in life. A good combination is a welcomed state. So while we are honing and developing our craft and music, we should also develop our social skills. After all, as can be seen, The Beatles and Bob Marley were good musicians but their success and greatness really got full bloomed when they met Brian and Chris respectively, who convinced them to change their images. So, do your craft and interact with people lots. Never can tell which will be your success ticket: craft or chance or both. Whatever you do, be happy.
On the note of happy, we would be happy if you checked out my daughter’s music at as we still try to pinpoint if heights of great musicians were reached by craft or chance.