Black love poetry contains the poetry of notable African writers
Welcome to my final page on black love poetry. We are taking a look at various examples of how indigenous African poets have contributed to our genre. I have four more examples for you to conclude what has been a most stimulating journey, linking the love verses of Black people across two continents, from the New World to the Oldest - Mother Africa herself.
In keeping with this African theme, my next selection is black love poetry in praise of the vast imposing continent itself. Dear Africa is the contribution of Michael Deo-Anang:
Awake, thou sleeping heart!
Awake, and kiss
The love-lorn brow
Of this ebon lass,
Whose virgin charms
Ensnare the love-lit hearts
Of venturing youth
From other lands.
Awake, sweet Africa
Demands thy love.
Thou sleeping heart!
When the all-summer sun
Paints the leafy boughs
With golden rays,
Know then, thou sleeping heart,
Dear Africa stands
Knocking at thy door.
Andrene Bonner contributes this next example of black love poetry, which admires the gusto and larger-than-life image of the market woman. An ubiquitous sight in African traditional market places, familiar enough to all Africans:
One Special Market Woman
She spreads her legs wide open--cuddle bankra,
Frock falls graceful between her thunder thighs.
Breasts round like one big papaya--hides her secrets
Boat-neck cotton blouse makes her cleavage look divine.
She smells like Benjamin’s rose water
Dark and soft and smooth as Indian silk
Eyes like purple ripe star apples
Seen the world and many moons from where she sits.
Her head is crowned with bright bandana
Sweet sap leaf on forehead keeps her pressure down.
One lead pencil stuck behind her right ear,
Scratch down poor peoples debt from year to year.
Lips wide like gramma yesterday pudding pan
Makes her laughter more resonant— more infectious.
“Don’t touch me tomato if you nah buy,
Stop feel up feel up mi mango—you keep yuh small change!”
Here is A Call by George Awoonor-Williams(b.1935) also known as Kofi Awoonor. He is a reknown Ghanaian poet and author, whose work combines the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa:
She did not call me by name
Not by the name my mother gave me
She called me by another name
I have not heard it before
Yet I knew it was me.
Will you come under the cashew tree beside the
cemetery? I know no cashew tree beside the
No, I don't.
Yet I will go.
Perhaps a revelation awaits me
Have they discovered the coloured cowrie?
Or the specific herbs that will conjure
They perhaps have found the lost wanderer
I went after her.
She stood still beneath the cashew
And spoke not a word.
My final example of black love poetry from Africa is by Okogbule Wonodi, suitably entitled Native:
Your eyes toe-set
thumb my nerves
as you weave
your being into frenzy;
and your tongue,
weaving a song,
painting the scenes
I sit toe-dancing
Then you pull
those eyelids over
as you bend
downwards to dance
yourself into goddess;
And your waist,
swinging to rhythm,
answering the drum
as I look, headshaking.
Then light fades,
those scenes fly
your being, panting,
and your mouth,
muttering my name,
stifling my nerves
as I end my verse!
(Dedicated to Miss Eunice Akaninwa and the village girls who do the dance I know well. 21:1:63)
Black love poetry from Africa is pungent and earthy in keeping with its environment. The poet/statesman Leopold Senghor was very familiar with its essence. As a postscript to the page, let us bring him back once again for a last word...
"My empire is that of Love, for I am weak for you, woman, / Foreigner with clear eyes, lips of cinnamon apple, / And a sex like a burning bush / For I am both sides of a double door, the binary rhythm of space / And the third beat, I am the movement of drums, / The strength of future Africa."
Thank you dear reader for lasting the course of our rather exotic journey!
P.S. Its not quite the end of my page on Black Love Poetry from Africa! To paraphrase Pliny,There is always something new from Africa. Dear reader, click the link below:
New African Black Love Poetry
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