African Poetry with editor Vera Ignatowitsch
She Bade Me to Write
I have written this five times
And I have torn up it five times
Thinking of how best to paint the picture
Of you, indelible on my mind
It seems surreal
Like I am in a dream
A dream too pure, too true to be true
And I wish it lasts as long as the Earth rotates.
Though we are both cast in different places,
I still see your face in the horizon
My thoughts refuse to evade me
And the memories of sleepless nights,
Cheerful talks, and emotional discourse
All cling to me like a clingy butterfly.
On nights that I seek advice,
You turned out to be an irreplaceable counselor.
On occasions that my mood fell
You stood by me
Like a stake would support growing yam tendrils.
Even if the distance stretches twice its normal stretch
This loyalty will continue to blossom
Like flowers in the garden of Eden.
I have combed the whole country
In search of the most beautiful adjectives
To qualify your personality, behavior, habit,
Thoughts, and idiosyncrasies
But even superlatives seem to be a degradation
Of your personality.
You are special.
You are regal.
You are irreplaceable.
Do not change.
The Hot Chase
Through the forest bolts a tiger.
On its trail is the village barber.
What offence has this beast committed?
For how long will the chaser be offended?
By the tiger’s theft of his old clipper.
Nurudeen Ibrahim is African. He was born in Ogun State, Nigeria, and he is a law student at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Night comes like a child at birth,
we hear its swooping cries,
we see its toothless mouth lay bare like a starless sky,
we brave ourselves and we raise a pair of scissors to its placenta
to separate Night from Time itself.
And when Night becomes a mother herself,
we raise our pairs of scissors once again to the placenta of her child,
We separate Day from Night.
Aideloje Joshua is an African poet and short story writer. He mostly writes poems about his life experiences. He lives in Nigeria and has great passion for writing.
stars in their sockets shift
no bird’s singsong still
and distressed stone terrace winds
fanning downward and upward
after that heated noon
the rains bathe the sky
and the sky smiles
Obinna Chilekezi is an insurance practitioner trained as a librarian and journalist. He has had a book published. His poems have been published in anthologies such as New Nigerian Voice and Young West African Poetry. He won the African Insurance Organisation Book Award in 2016.
Dead Fishes Which Don’t Swim
This thought that spins my head
I cannot lie to sleep
I laid bare my fleet of grievances
Before the cook
Wondering why she serves me soup
Of dead fishes which don’t swim
Isn’t my toil hard enough
To feed me living fishes?
She kept mute to my plea
And paid no heed
Maybe I’m mad, she thinks.
She considers my cry nonsense
But she should know sense
That serving dead fishes which don't swim
Is nothing but silver cloud
I can never be mute
Until she quits this habit
And if you think I’m mad
Then you are the cook
Who serves me dead fishes
Which don’t swim.
Francis Ocran is an enthusiastic poet from Accra, Ghana. He has written several poems, with some published in international literary magazines. His works can be found on his personal website www.francispoems.blogspot.com.
Un-Rape Me Uncle
He came to me, a wolf in sheep’s clothing,
Devalued me, deflowered me, took away my royal linen,
Exposed me to the world, unkempt and forsaken,
A rose trampled upon, a rising star gradually forgotten.
He turned my days to gloomy nights,
Filled me with pain, anguish, terror and fright,
He formed an illusion — a world of sorrow and spite,
He veiled my face and at the end of the tunnel I saw no light.
He made my mesmerizingly glowing sun grow dim,
Filled my life with sorrow and pain to its brim,
He thwarted and counteracted my plans and dream,
He took away my rainbow, overgrazed on my field, a stagnant
He raped me psychologically, socially and made me void,
He abandoned me on a gradually sinking Island,
Made me an alien, I could speak but the world couldn’t interpret
even a word,
How I wish I could find a translator . . . a helping hand.
Stephen Alayo is Nigerian and 16 years old. He grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria, then moved to Lagos, Nigeria, for his studies.
As I read the legend of Muhavani
kept for centuries to enhance the wise word
in my generation of no writings
I am challenged to stand up and embrace the cord
waiting to swing to all corners.
I find myself a home across the peak
which makes me wise, strong, awake, and frank
the way it meanders, makes me see a golden destiny,
a dozen roses ahead, as beautiful as a prank,
getting closer and closer, they embrace me tight.
All along I never knew the peak was a masterpiece
beyond my mistaken search of distracting sighs
I found an endless adventure
on a soft and smooth pasture like my head on thighs
I left my nightmares in a widened day.
It is unbelievable how we bonded,
as millions seek the legend and never return.
I felt welcomed with open arms
the first in history to earn its grace
to be treated royally — finally.
Awakening me from decades of nightmares
Sapitwa broke my fasting with a warm dish,
a feeling of prolonged luxury.
I was unleashed from the ditch
ooh! — sweet Sapitwa stay with me.
Symon Maguru is a young poet and a journalist by profession based in a South East African country called Malawi.