Happy National Poetry Month!
I do not consider myself a poet; still I like to write notes, poems, and other things that come to my mind. Poems and poetry are beautiful art in form of words, terms, and beautiful expression.
And even though, they are not quite pictures, they can create an image so vivid in the mind that you think you just looked at a painting or picture.
That been said, I would like you fellow bloggers, writer, poets, storytellers, and brilliant minds to share your favorite poets; or the ones that influence your work the most.
I will start: Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Prize winner in Literature and award winning author. I read his poem Abiku at about age 10 or 11 and I have never forgotten it…if you have never heard of him or his work, check him out. There’s also another poem with the same title by JP Clark. It is just as good.
I also have to mention Tupac- his book “The Rose that grew from concrete” held me captive for hours even after I was done reading it, as it pushed me to write more than I thought I could. It pushed words out of me. And I fell in love with Tupac all over again. Put all the gangsta mess aside, dude was the truth. Every time I read the book, I get hooked all over again.
Now it’s your turn- do share 🙂
I have included Wole Soyinka’s Abiku in today’s post. And if you are wondering what Abiku means or its origin- “Abiku” is a Yoruba word that means the same child who dies and returns again and again and again to plagues its mother.
I will also include JP Clark’s Abiku for comparison.
Abiku by Wole Soyinka
In vain your bangles cast
Charmed circles at my feet;
I am Abiku, calling for the first
And the repeated time.
Must I weep for goats and cowries?
For palm oil and the sprinkled ash?
Yams do not sprout in amulets
To earth Abiku’s limbs.
So when the snail is burnt in his shell
Whet the heated fragments, brand me
Deeply on the breast. You must know him
When Abiku calls again.
I am the squirrel teeth, cracked
The riddle of the palm. Remember
This, and dig me deeper still into
The god’s swollen foot.
Once and the repeated time, ageless
Though I puke. And when you pour
Libations, each finger points me near
The way I came, where
The ground is wet with mourning
White dew suckles flesh-birds
Evening befriends the spider, trapping
Flies in wind-froth;
Night and Abiku sucks the oil
From lamps. Mother! I’ll be the
Supplicant snake coiled on the doorstep
Yours the killing cry.
The ripes fruit was saddest;
Where I crept, the warmth was cloying.
In the silence of webs, Abiku moans, shaping
Mounds from the yolk.
Abiku By JP Clark
Coming and going these several seasons,
Do stay out on the baobab tree,
Follow where you please your kindred spirits
If indoors is not enough for you.
True, it leaks through the thatch
When flood brim the banks,
And the bats and the owls
Often tear in at night through the eaves,
And at harmattan, the bamboo walls
Are ready tinder for the fire
That dries the fresh fish up on the rack.
Still, it’s been the healthy stock
To several fingers, to many more will be
Who reach to the sun.
No longer then bestride the threshold
But step in and stay
For good. We know the knife scars
Serrating down your back and front
Like beak of the sword-fish,
And both your ears, notched
As a bondsman to this house,
Are all relics of your first comings.
Then step in, step in and stay
For her body is tired,
Tired, her milk going sour
Where many more mouths gladden the heart.