About Bahamas

The Bahamas is an archipelago of nearly 700 coral islands. Around 30 of the islands are inhabited. The Bahamas sits in the West Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres south-east of Florida in the United States and 80 kilometres north-east of Cuba. The islands are generally flat and low-lying. 

Find out more about The Bahamas


393,250 (2022)


14,000 Square Kilometres

High Commissioner

His Excellency Paul A. Gomez



Joined Commonwealth

1973, following independence from Britain

Episode guests

Photo of Marion Bethel

Marion Bethel

Marion Bethel was born in The Bahamas where she lives and works as an attorney. Marion Bethel is an award-winning poetHer first book of poetry, Guanahani, My Love, was awarded the Casa de Las Americas Prize in 1994Bougainvillea Ringplay was published in 2009 by Peepal Tree Press of Leeds, EnglandMs. Bethel’s work appears in several recent anthologies including New Daughters of Africa, ed., Margaret Busby, published in 2019 and The Sea Needs No Ornament/El Mar no necesita ornamento, ed., Loretta Collins Klobah and Maria Gray Perejoan published in 2020. She is now completing a third manuscript of poetry.  In 2012 Ms. Bethel produced a documentary film entitled Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights and Democracy, The Women’s Suffrage Movement in The Bahamas 1948-1962.    In July 2014 Ms. Bethel was awarded the Eleventh CARICOM Triennial Award for Women for her noted contribution to the field of Gender and Development in the Caribbean.  She was re-elected to the Committee of the UN Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in November 2020 and is currently serving her second term through to December 2024. 


by Marion Bethel

I was on the road 

doing what tobacco doves do  

skidding on sleepy dewy streets 

chasing love on high-tension 

voltage wires 


in lightning storms and thunder 

I pecked at pleasure 

limboing low low 

under barbed fences 

gulping desire in thin thin air 


I was no prisoner dove 

on a flight of fancy  

flouting and flaunting  

a plumage  

of atrophied wings 


I knew the cost of flight 

the craft of steering 

clear of glass 

the geography of mangrove swamps 

the smoldering fires of pine barrens 


I knew the art  

of a sleight of wing 

I was to take off on time 

before the reverse of that wheel 

a game I played several times a day 


Why was I so slow that morning? 

no nails snared in melted tar 

what held me captive a second too long 

as the tire turned  

on my wing? 


I was on the road 

doing what tobacco doves do 

olive bearing trees don’t grow here 

and I wasn’t no messenger 

for Noah 


by Marion Bethel

this me right here inside the ring 

in March April May springing 

from concrete tar sand parading 

passion purple ungodly colours waving 

cores of pink cream orange showing 

my motion to you unsolicited 

in months of dry rain sighing 


ring centre I come to you straight 

shaping vision beyond sugar-in-a-plum 

winding my waist tight in your face 

clinging to your fence I aint shame 

mounting it from rock and gravel 

unhedged hips fall and rise 

spreading limbs all over your wall 


this me now right here outside the ring 

even in June July August fixing 

to catch the colours of your dream playing 

biggety with your emotion working 

up myself round edges of islands cascading 

even when poinciana throw bloodclots unconsoled 

in full seagreen I just keep on coming 


jumping back in the ring I aint shiftin for no one  

limboing under the shade of a dilly tree 

climbing up womantongue and guinep 

wrapping  arms around cerosee vine 

rushing to inventions of a lonesome conchshell 

fixed by tongue-tied conga drums 

spinning we move in circles driven shaken freed 


by Marion Bethel

the sand feels sandy     & loose 

until my bone & muscle    grow heavy 

my sight short             my breath shorter 


small waves now lap    at my mouth     & against my slit 

I am   out of my head    with the smell     like fresh seaweed 

of our glide      deep & slow      our belly-to-belly glide  south  

to the Tongue of the Ocean     off the  Andros shore 

where I lost you    dizzy with strange sounds 

now deep in my ear           calling me to shore  


if in this merciful light-headedness 

my heart is a cork    playful    light with laughter 

afloat    out there   with you   leading you oceanward 

understand my love      there is nothing here    but beach 

& the crushing weight    of my flesh   without water            

I no longer   feel the sun    burn my skin 

the too blue sky   a mirage of sea      teases me 


the deep deep     where we breached   for each other  

& dipped & dragged our flukes    like drunken oars 

off the Nantucket shore    while the tourists gasped  

is so so far away     one muscular wave away 

& an oh so slow deep swim   in easy coupling   with you  

your whale breath     in my lungs    


thankyou for the guard of honour    our podmates 

you brought       to steer me back     to you      

I would if I could       just roll over     roll over you   

& suck another barnacle     from your throat    

eat squid        from your tongue 

I hear your whalesong           above the rest 

& you my love    you still point your nose        to the shore  

you would       I know this             if you could      drag drag drag 

the last of my imploded flesh     back back back   to the deep