Sentinel Poetry #49 December 2006 ISSN 1479-425X
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF POETRY & GRAPHICS...Since 2002
Guest Editor: Nnorom Azuonye
Cheikh Anta Diop
Bull of our buffaloes, your hooves
Took you through terrains,
Set you on high, stood you tall in valleys.
Eagle of the continent, your wings
Spanned the length of Nile,
So you may soar among the stars…
Lion of Serengeti and Senegal,
Mane effulgent with Egypt,
Lord of Tigers, King of Mountain Cats.
O man among men, revelation and revenant,
Our High Priest of knowledge,
Sun that’ll never set.
After Flower School
(For Eddie Compass)
Also I plant a deep, wide field
With the colours of calm
And the aromas of peace:
A songfield of the gentlest choruses
Fit to fit all fractured souls.
Iocasta’s bones and those of her lovers,
The flesh of Clius and reformed robbers,
Remains of Menes and his robbed shepherds,
All nourish the soil beneath my field.
There shall no storms break upon this field,
No floods sweep stamens and blossoms
No winds scatter, no rains fall
Except to bless this field I plant.
And I append nor name nor signature
To field or milestone marking field,
Only seat and blood and toil
No hurricanes may wash away.
Rain does not evade the path of the runnel
Frogs do not decline the call of streams
The sponge will not refuse the voice of the river
Salt will ever heed the glad eyes of the sea…
The needle does not decline a tryst with cloth
The road does not complain at the tread of feet,
When young love meets the moon it blossoms
When eyes meet with beauty the face is glad
Let those who love this land be safe
Let those who hate this land be swallowed
And when the children lift their voices,
Let all of those who hear be glad,
Let all of those who heed rejoice.
Glory does not kill the morning
Splendour does not slay sunsets
Love for a child does not kill the mother
The praise of fathers does not kill their sons
When a bride kneels before her groom she's blessed
Whenever a daughter is born we know we shall not die
Whenever a son is given there is joy
Let all the daughters of this land be fruitful
Let all the sons of this land increase
And if from east or west there should be anger
If from north or south there should be rage
Let all the rage and anger dissipate
Like smoke in the breeze
Like dogdream when it comes awake.
What words we have spoken let them cleave
What hearts belong to us let them not grieve
Let our words find us prepared
Let all our dreams find us prepared
And our land, our country, our earth
Let them find us ready at our end.
–For M, allumeuse.
In an open house
By the open sea:
I become an open book
In her open arms –
She asks open questions
And open-faced expects
Nothing so simple
As my open verdicts.
Its an open plan:
To seize the season
As we are seized
And then to wait
It being settled quite
That nothing we open
Between us ever
Shall be by open letter.
Giving The Mountain
After Queen Victoria’s daring gift
Of Kilimanjaro to her grandson, the Kaiser.
Not one to heed old Latin ghosts
And not an Indian giver,
The Empress of India gave
Her grandson the perfect birthday gift.
Tennyson kept mute. The moon
Had kissed royalty
And this occasion would be
For others to make into verse.
God smiled from above the mountain,
Not one to miss a joke
And not one to complain
At saner gifts than Herod’s.
But night and day, day and night
Virgil’s offspring whispered still:
Nemo dat quod non habet…nemo dat…
Till the Kaiser heard,
And brought his gift to Britain.