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“Antwan Nan Gode: That guy is supposed to be some psychic who can see the future but sometimes, “What I see for you, Antwan nan gode can’t see”, is said when you are warning someone that something bad will happen to them if…” (Constant, 2004).

“Antwan nan gode. I usually hear Antwàn nan Gomye. Gonmye, I believe is a town in the province of Jeremie where that Antwàn is from or was living. Famous phrase: “Sa m wè pou ou, Antwàn nan Gomye pa wè [What I see for you, Antwàn nan Gomye can’t see] (a phrase usually used as a warning to be careful; there’s some danger ahead)” (Vedrine, 2004).

Antwàn nan gonmye was indeed a real person and renowned throughout Haiti for his supposed ability to see the past, present, and future. Many anecdotes exist concerning his ability to know when visitors were coming and the reason for their visit. Many times when a personnage of consequence was coming Antwàn would send a mount to greet the person. There was no use telling the reason for the visit, Antwàn already knew. When you hear the phrase, ‘What I see for you, even Antwàn nan gonmye doesn’t see’, you had better watch out because Antwàn saw everything.

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Another interesting example is the story of Marie Noëlle Bélizaire, whose nickname was Choucoune. Choucoune was a “marabou”, which is defined in Creole as someone with dark skin, long straight hair, and fine facial features. She was born in a small village in Northern Haiti in 1853. Her tragic tale began when she was working in a small restaurant in the city. One of her many costumers was Oswald Durand, a famous poet and a known womanizer who described himself as “the gardener that waters all the flowers”. A short-lived romantic relationship followed but Choucoune was looking for a more faithful man and moved on. Durand, in an effort to win her back, wrote one of the most beautiful poems in Creole ever written. The famous poem, entitled “Choucoune”, was later put to music (Ti Zwazo) and is known throughout Haiti. Durand never won Choucoune back, but as a result of his poem “choukoun” has become a synonym of “marabou”.

Marabou – Ce mot dans le fr. désigne un musulman très pieux, un saint homme. C’est aussi le nom d’une petite mosquée et le tombeau de l’un de ces hommes vénérés. C’est encore le nom d’une ancienne tribu très puissante de l’Afrique du Nord. – En cr., marabou s’applique à un type de noir aux traits fins du caucasien, à la peau très fine aux cheveux droits ou à peu près. Le poète haïtien Oswald Durand a glorifié la « marabou» dans les couplets de la célèbre meringue (musique de Maléard Monton) intitulée Choucoune: «Choukoun se yon marabou zye li klere kou chandèl. Li genyen tete doubout. Ah! Si choukoun te fidèl! etc. »

(Dictionnaire français-créole, Jules Faines) Ti Zwazo performed by Martha Jean-Claude… Choucoune (poem by Oswald Durand)…

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