Cold Feet

Let me caress you henceforth
so I may fill you up with warmth,
whenever you have cold feet
don’t allow your heart to skip a beat
Cos some are in dire need of cold feet,
to make their hot summers complete
so some even go to feel the waters of Crete
So call on me as and when you have them
As I will stand firm
I don’t want to seem to rhyme
but you’re worth more than a dime
But just whisper my name always
as you take aim
cos it’s only for you that I came

December’s Warmth

Your words have dried up
You give infinite answers
it’s like you have no soul in you
you can’t sustain your breath for long
it’s like you’re holding onto a crumbling stick,
cautiously
the same way one would be reticent
in spite of a brimming tension

Your questions remain unanswered
It’s like you’re walking in a mist
or perhaps you are the mist itself
You have blood stains in your cough
It’s like this might be your last Christmas
you miss the days of old
and the gone era
you still brim with confidence
amid the tiresome rounds you make daily

You have been asked to speak louder,
be bold and articulate your sentences
it’s like a rebirth or a renaissance
learning how to take steps all over again
you have dreams, lost letters and broken hearts
it’s like you take a sojourn in people’s minds-eye

You reflect on the past
And continue to walk with fervent hope
It’s like your future is already written in the stars
So you’ll forever take refuge in your dreams
and carry on like never before

Silky Hair

Woman, wherever you sit, its radiance lightens up
To brighten the woes of our today
Like it has already been, for years

And each strand has a story to itself
And a rubric, coined with time
So as silky as it appears
It will forever be a sparkle in the dim days
And travel through time

To show glimpses of the miles trodded
And the heights achieved
Or even tell tales of the hands it has met

As its lustrous fibres continue to glitter
Each thought of our innocent hearts
While they journey on along the woes of today

Why African Literature ?

Over the past couple of years, I have spent a big chunk of my reading-life, reading and even sometimes re-reading books authored by Africans. This has got nothing to do with me being over-patriotic or too nepotistic but rather in a nutshell as a means of self-rediscovery, or in other words rediscovering my African-ness. I have gotten much enthralled along the line and the relish with which I jump unto my next book or at an opportunity to buy quality African books at a bargain price has grown fervently if not dramatically with time. The question on why African literature is important, is one that has lingered in my labyrinth of mind for quite sometime and I find this medium offered by afrikult requisite to word my thoughts on this very topic.

A couple of months ago, I chanced upon at my local library “The African Trilogy”, a compilation of three novels written by the late Chinua Achebe, namely Things Fall Apart, No Longer At Ease and Arrow of God. I once again jumped at this opportunity and borrowed the book, even though I had already read all the three novels, separately on different occasions. One would ask why would I decide to read novels I’ve already read. The introduction of this trilogy by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie somehow answers this question. In her introduction, she clearly re-emphasizes on the legacy of Mr. Achebe’s writings, the opportunities and the priceless inspiration he has inadvertently given to writers like herself. She further reiterates that “the strangeness of seeing oneself distorted in literature – and indeed of not seeing oneself at all was part of my childhood. My early writing mimicked the books I was reading: all my characters were white and all my stories were set in England. Then I read Things Fall Apart. It was glorious of discovery. I did not know in a concrete way until then that people like me could exist in literature. Here was a book unapologetically African.” African literature arguably is a journey to self rediscovery and the mannerism, diction and sometimes proverb-filled nuances are a spectacle to behold and this relay how exhilarating African literature is and sometimes the only option left is to read the story again.

Literature is a very indelible compartment of a community’s culture. It plays a huge and formidable role in the way of life of a particular group of people and that is exactly what African literature does. It holds the fibre of the society together. The themes of African literature mimic in every sense of the word the true Africa, they may differ from country to country or from sub-region to sub-region but the stories’ african-ness is always noticeable. African literature brings into light, the daily life experiences of the average African, from various angles and through different nuances which can be as blunt as it can be. These stories can be either real or fictitious and each of the aforementioned has its own sparkle it brings to the whole piece. African literature therefore portrays through the eyes of a native to the outside world what the real Africa is all about, our dreams and innovations, our successes and challenges.

More over, African literature serves as a means of education and entertainment. A new word has even been carved “edutainment” and that says it all. African literature began since time immemorial, from our ancestors telling folk tales every night, while children sat around log fire to get the elephant share of the story till today where every potential idea is being properly documented. It educates us on various aspects of our heritage and the state of affairs of our continent, pointing out categorically to the everyday issues. The imaginations and nostalgia birthed after reading these stories are simply priceless and our creative impetus are being further enhanced.

As culture is integral to the existence of a particular group of people, so is African literature very indelible to all and sundry. The best we can do as a people is to continue to patronize African literature and this will obviously help both the established writers and the up-and-coming writers not to give up on their trade. With all that said, I cogitate also that we make good use of the available materials and platforms that we are very much privileged to have in this generation.

To end this piece, here’s just a line from NoViolet Bulawayo‘s debut novel We Need New Names, “he doesn’t tell Aunt Fostalina she looks good, like I’ve heard other people do; he tells her she looks like sunrise” and that’s the kind of spark African literature brings to the conversation. African literature will forever be as important as ever.

Gone Forever

She misses the days of old
although she weaves her ways
towards her salient dreams
or perhaps, her pallid self.

so now that he has turned into a foe
and who knows as she sways
maybe she’d cease to gleam
and find solace in a darker shelf.

so all is but unclear
that she truly misses the days of old
now that he has turned into a big foe.

Proud Parents

She stood up with an unusual confidence,
wrapped in her typical traditional blouse
she wore a three-quarter trousers, folded at the ends,
similar to how a banker would fold his shirt at his biceps
With a Spanish gray shoe, she was good to go
To stand before the altar,
opposite the seated congregation
to read the day’s gospel
Her presence announced virtue and intelligence
And her tone, that of seasoned globetrotter,
someone who’s schooled and lived in many parts of the globe
I bet she might know all the various flags in the world
Her accent was reasonably difficult to trace but at last, it sounded Canadian
I guess she barely knows or ever visits her home country India
Her parents, obvious expats stare with great relish
beside them, is a young cool headed chap,
I could tell that he is their son, the reader’s brother
I got an inkling that they might be originally from Uttar Pradesh,
a state located in the Northern part of their country,
Lucknow is its capital, that isn’t a coincidence either
You probably haven’t heard of it but I guess you know about the Taj Mahal
Their complexion isn’t the usual ones seen in blockbuster Bollywood movies
Let me put it this way, it looked more sun-tanned or perhaps much darker
From afar, you’d assume that they are Africans or of African descents
Just like the couple seated in front of them
Well, they may be from Nepal, who knows
She continued her reading
as I looked straight in her eyes,
not with the stare of a man known to be lustful
If an uninterrupted gaze could kill,
then I guess I would have
I could hear every sound of every word more clearly
than I ever did in my phonetics class
She paused where necessary and skipped no line
She’d be a great news broadcaster I’d thought
but deep down, I knew she’d be pursuing something
related to the sciences, at UCL perhaps or even at Yale, why not
No place is ever too far for an Indian expat
let alone if it’s in the interest of his child
But all that I’m certain about is that her parents are proud of her
and that she has the entire world at her humble feet
So keep going, you young Indian lady !

Tomorrow

when you are not pretty to turn heads around
or not confident enough to word your thoughts
not smart enough to attend Uxbridge or Harvard
cos of where you were born or raised
yet you still dream of the impossible to be better days
maybe in frank vocabulary, somewhat successful
and even to extend a helping hand
maybe you wont be erased  from history
just as men’s misfortunes are forgotten
in the excitement of new enterprises

when you love to dream big 
and yet you see no light
cos all is but bleak around you
amid flashes of tomorrow
that offer no tap of glee
and suicide somehow is but a haunt
then allow the beauty of nature
to give cheer to every face
and a spring to every step
while birds tweet here and there
and our dreams, a puff of air
and later, with the smell of myrrh

Like the beautiful sunrise and its sunset
perhaps, as the feel of rain or the whiteness of snow 
as the seasons change, and new moons, are bestowed
then, there is hope for a zenith of fame
As the boldness of love aged-couples recap
paints a winsome picture to come
similar to the unconditional love of a mother
then, everything is worth a try
even for the days unknown
and the accents yet unheard

©Flojoe Nsiah Sarbeng

Kruispunt (Dutch)

Laat ons niet vergaan
de dromen die er bestaan
in onze gedachten
vol superkrachten
want geen opdracht
is nu volbracht

en nu aan dit kruispunt
nee ‘t is maar een leerpunt
voor het wordt een spelpunt
tussen die nachten
die we verwachten

Hij hoort wel een geluid
misschien van die jongen die zich afsluit
ergens onder de brandende zon affluit
onlangs gaan we vooruit
met onze hoop als een ruit

maar laat ons niet rijmen
om dit gedicht te eindigen
dat kan onze regel beschadigen
want dit is maar een verkondiging
dat wij uw gedachten goed gaan behartigen

© Prince Kenny

NO, SORRY, I, LOVE, YOU.

All the long lost words have been found,
on the rocks scattered along the Mont Blanc
which abutts the towns of Courmayeur,
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix
On its cradle lies metonym of passion,
tenderness and glee

And from its peak shall these words take flight,
in head-over-heels fashion
to deprecate any pledge to ossify
the extolling, deemed aright

Cos my thoughts have been on long a journey
And now that these long lost words have been found
They will always be the sceptre of fondness
that had to be revealed ages ago
cos ‘No, sorry, I, love, you.’

THE LIBRARY AS AN UNKNOWN ACQUAINTANCE – AN OBSERVATION.

Over the past couple of years, I can say that my relish and perception about the library have taken a swift turn. Going to the library has become a part of my life and I find this experience worthwhile. Although people have their own misconceptions and proclivities with regard to libraries, inside a library is truly a great place to be. Besides the serenity it offers, I am very much covinced that the library offers more than just that.

More often, the library is being cliched as a place for university or college students who are tasked with projects and assignments or for writers, who in turn are labeled as quite fellows. Writers in general are indeed quite fellows. Their mindset and observation instincts differ as well. Writers need time, serenity and solitude to be able to pen down their ideas into stunning manuscripts before these compilations get to our local bookshops. Before they even become best-selling authors. Writers need distance and time.

I may say that it’s reasonably understanding why writers hardly make friends, as side their fellow writers and readership. The library seems to offer an unknown acquaintance to a writer. It gives a certain sense of bond and companionship, of which only the writer can interprete. A bond and companionship that outweigh what the eyes literally see. As side the rare conversations that emerges in a library, ie when someone asks if the seat nearby is occupied or not or asks for the direction to the washroom, the library avails something else to a writer.

It can be really interesting to be entirely surrounded by shelves filled with books. Books that are as old as nature, books that were printed the same day that you emanated, day-old books, books in progress and ideas yet to be turned into books. Books are everywhere. The scent that old books gives is breathtaking while that of the newly printed is magical. At times, I tend to value the worth of a book by the scent it gives out; the scent goes an extra mile to outlay further details that are not captured on the blurb. The journey it has made, the miles it has covered, the waters it has crossed, the hands it has come into contact with and the perilous times it has survived.

The library is truly a magical place to be. The serenity it bids, is simply astounding. Writers do love libraries; besides the long nights they spend reading or reviewing other books, completing their own manuscripts or perhaps writing down a short poem before going to bed. I reiterate that libraries are truly magical. Libraries offer a compilation of great works, stationed just within a stretch of the hand. Moments shared at the library are always surreal.

As said by Norman Cousins, “a library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life.” Carl T Rowan is also quoted to have said that “the library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.”

It’s very great to see that these great personalities in one way or the other see this in the same light. Their words have weight and undoubtedly the message is very lucid.

Libraries will forever be priceless and magical. Writers will forever love and cherish libraries and I hope you pass by your local library sooner than later, because in a library, events do take their own momentum.