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Friday, 24 November 2017

Black Woman by Leopold Sedar Senghor

Naked woman, black woman
Clothed with your colour which is life, with your form which is beauty!
In your shadow I have grown up; the gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes.
And now, high up on the sun-baked pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon, I come upon you, my Promised Land,
And your beauty strikes me to the heart like the flash of an eagle.

Naked woman, dark woman
Firm-fleshed ripe fruit, sombre raptures of black wine, mouth making lyrical my mouth
Savannah stretching to clear horizons, savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind’s eager caresses
Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom, muttering under the Conqueror’s fingers
Your solemn contralto voice is the spiritual song of the Beloved.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ours to Plough, not to Plunder by Niyi Osundare

The earth is ours to plough and plant
the hoe is her barber
the dibble her dimple

Out with mattocks and matchets
bring calabash trays and rocking baskets
let the sweat which swells earthroot
relieve heavy heaps of their tuberous burdens

Let wheatfields raise their breadsome hands
to the ripening sun
let legumes clothe the naked bosom
of shivering mounds
let the pawpaw swell and swing
its headward breasts 

Let water spring
from earth’s unfathomed fountain
let gold rush
from her deep unseeable mines
hitch up a ladder to the dodging sky
let’s put a sun in every night

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Casualties by J.P. Clark

The casualties are not only those who are dead.
They are well out of it.
The casualties are not only those who are wounded
Though they await burial by installment.
The casualties are not only those who have lost
Persons or property, hard as it is
To grope for a touch that some
May not know is not there.
The casualties are not only those led away by night

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Song of Lawino by Okot p'Bitek

Listen, my clansmen,
I cry over my husband
Whose head is lost.
Ocol has lost his head
In the forest of books.

When my husband
Was still wooing me
His eyes were still alive,
His eyes were still unblocked,
Ocol had not yet become a fool
My friend was still a man then!

He had not yet become a woman,
He was still a free man,
His heart was still his chief.

My husband was still a Black man.
The son of the Bull
The son of Agik.
The woman from Okol
Was still a man,
An Acoli.

My husband had read so much,
He has read extensively and deeply...
And he is clever like white men

Friday, 13 October 2017

We Are

We are born with skin.
Defined by our skin.
Confined by our skin.
Awarded for our skin.
Disgraced for our skin.
Pitied for our skin.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Plea For Mercy by Kwesi Brew

We have come to your shrine to worship
We the sons of the land
The naked cowherd has brought
The cows safely home,
And stands silent with his bamboo flute
Wiping the rain from his brow;
As the birds brood in their nests
Awaiting the dawn with unsung melodies
The shadows crowd on the shore
Pressing their lips against the bosom of the sea;
The peasants home from their labours
Sit by their log-fires
Telling tales of long-ago.
Why should we the sons of the land
Plead unheeded before your shrine?
When our hearts are full of song
And our lips tremble with sadness?
The little firefly vies with the star,
The log-fire with the sun
The water in the calabash
With the mighty Volta,
But we have come in tattered penury
Begging at the door of a Master.

                         Literary Analysis(Summary)

The struggle for independence has never been easy. Many African countries triumphed through trials and thorns, blood and brothers to gain their freedom. Ghanaian born writer, Kwesi Brew, makes this the theme of his poem,"A plea for Mercy". In 1968, Kwesi Brew published his first collection titled "The Shadows of Laughter" which is divided into five thematic structures including"A plea for Mercy".

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Freetown by Syl Cheney-Coker

Africa I have long been away from you
wandering like a Fulani cow
but every night
amidst the horrors of highway deaths
and the menace of neon-eyed gods
I feel the warmth of your arms
centrifugal mother reaching out to your sons
we with our different designs innumerable facets
but all calling you mother womb of the earth
liking your image but hating our differences
because we have become the shame of your race
and now on this third anniversary of my flight
my heart becomes a citadel of disgust
and I am unable to write the poem of your life

my creation haunts me behind the mythical dream
my river dammed by the poisonous weeds in its bed
and I think of my brothers with “black skin and white masks “
(I myself am one heh heh heh)
my sisters who plaster their skins with white cosmetics
to look whiter than the snows of Europe
but listen to the sufferings of our hearts

Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Proud King by William Morris

The Proud King is a religious poem by William Morris, set in the medieval era in Europe when kings wielded absolute power and wealth. This didactic poem details the travails of King Jovinian, a powerful and affluent leader of a mighty kingdom. However, the poem is influenced by the classical story of King Aggei, a mighty Russian czar, who fell from grace to grass due to his arrogance and lack of reverence for God. The poem is also a biblical allusion to the proud King Nebuchadnezzar.

This long narrative poem captures the downfall of a powerful king from riches to rags due to his hubris. His personality flaw lies in pride. Due to the enormous wealth and authority he exerts, King Jovinian exhibits royal arrogance. He feels that he is more than a man and places himself on equal status with God. To him, he cannot die. He has assumed immortality. Because of this, God decides to humble King Jovinian.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A Troubadour I Traverse By Dennis Brutus

A troubadour, I traverse all my land
exploring all her wide-flung parts with zest
probing in motion sweeter far than rest
her secret thickets with an amorous hand:
and I have laughed, disdaining those who banned
inquiry and movement, delighting in the test
of will when doomed by Saracened arrest,
choosing, like unarmed thumb, simply to stand.

Thus, quixoting till a cast-off of my land
I sing and fare, person to loved-one pressed
braced for this pressure and the captor’s hand
that snaps off service like a weathered strand:
– no mistress-favor has adorned my breast
only the shadow of an arrow-brand.


Most fancy fairy tales involving princesses and kingdoms have this catch phrase: "My Knight and Shinning Armour". The Knight is usually the saviour of a young princess, maiden or mistress. "A Troubadour I Traverse" is a poem that tells of a Knight who lives to dies for his mistress.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

I Will Pronounce Your Name by Leopold Sedar Senghor

I will pronounce your name, Naett, I will declaim you,
Naett, your name is mild like cinnamon, it is the fragrance
in which the lemon grove sleeps
Naett, your name is the sugared clarity of blooming coffee
And it resembles the savannah, that blossoms forth under
the masculine ardour of the midday sun
Name of dew, fresher than shadows of tamarind,
Fresher even than the short dusk, when the heat of the day
is silenced,
Naett, that is the dry tornado, the hard clap of lightning
Naett, coin of gold, shining coal, you my night, my sun!…
I am your hero, and now I have become your sorcerer, in
order to pronounce your names.
Princess of Elissa, banished from Futa on the fateful day.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

We Must Learn Again To Fly by Odia Ofeimun

Some wounds cut so deep we forget
where the pain comes from; we itch
to run from congealed blood,
from lakes in rivers
deltas into brimless sea
...we forget how to flow

Some hunger grow so steep
it cuts the sun
and takes away our eyes
till we drown, weighed down
by the call at silt-bed
...we forget how to awaken

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Agbor Dancer by John Pepper Clark

See her caught in the throb of a drum
Tippling from hide-brimmed stem
Down lineal veins to ancestral core
Opening out in her supple tan
Limbs like fresh foliage in the sun

See how entangled in the magic
Maze of music
In trance she trads the intricate
Pattern rippling crest after crest
To meet the green clouds of the forest

Friday, 23 June 2017

Abiku by John Pepper 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 floods 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 up 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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Taxi Driver On His Death by Timothy Wangusa

When with prophetic eye I peer into the future
I see that I shall perish upon this road
Driving men that I do not know.
This metallic monster that now I dictate,
This docile elaborate horse,
That in silence seems to simmer and strain,
Shall surely revolt some tempting day.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day By William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
       Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
            By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade, 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Friday, 28 April 2017

In Dependence by Sarah Ladipo Manyinka

"The best stories told are from history"
Although Nigeria had gained independence from Britain in 1960, she only became politically independent in 1963 when she became a Republic. After winning the fight against colonialism, Nigeria found herself basking at the brink of a socio-political cum economic downturn. Manyinka's "In dependence" tells the tale of Nigeria and Africa(at large ) during the post colonial era.
The novel is vast in setting . "In dependence" opens in the year 1963,with Omotayo Ajayi , a young athletic Nigerian getting ready to leave his country to England for a scholarship award to study in Oxford. On getting to England,he realizes that things aren't really as they seem. He exchanges letters with his father Mr Ajayi, telling him of his trip and of how he's been acquitted with other Nigerians such as Bolaji Oladipo and Christine Arinze. Through his connection with his former headmaster Faircliff,he meets The Barker's who welcome him warmly at lunch. At the Barker's, he meets other Africans such as himself at a drink party. He joins Bolaji and his clique who are discussing literature. Among this clique is Christine who is the "famously beautiful third year". Carefully studying her,he engages her in a conversation and allows her get the upper hand. By so doing,he proves himself to be the King of charms like his uncle Bola. After sometime,he invites her over for coffee at the Cadena. She accepts and puts an extra effort in looking good for their date in disguise. Over time they become closer, and nineteen years old Tayo, wins over Christine leaving memories of his Nigerian-ex Modupe to trail off.