International Poetry الشعر শ্লোক ကဗျာ ליבע ਪਿਆਰ өлүм

African Poetry with Tendai Rinos Mwanaka

Featured Poem - Editor's Choice:

VENDOR AND CHILD

by John Eppel

Is that a shower of gold seeping

through gaps in the thatching of the sky?

What carefully wafting flakes are these

of light on fire, fading, to die

 

before they touch the woman and child

encamped beneath a municipal

cassia, now leafless, almost stripped

of life-transfusing bark? And when will        

 

we halt beside her meagre tuckshop:

an upturned Lobels biscuit carton:

and buy a cigarette, a handful

of peanuts, and a blighted onion?

 

She cleared a space opposite the NO

STOPPING sign on Cecil Avenue,

a space she shares with sparrow weavers

bickering, and Matabele ants

 

that sting, and stink of formic acid,

with mandibles that nip the tendons

of her battered feet, and bear away,

piece by piece, the crumbs of her domain.

 

Sick, her child is the colour of ash,

a rag doll of hopelessness, symbol

of the new Zimbabwe.  Who will buy

a soft tomato from me?  Who will

 

deliver me from a government

of patronage, of cronyism;

a government of the obese, by

the obese, for the obese?  Wallets

 

of flesh on the backs of their necks, folds

of fat behind their knees; like jumping

castles their bums, like teeming purses

their scrota.  O who will deliver

 

us from these who have been coaxed into

temptation? And who will let that slow

light linger, those wafting flakes of fire,

and set the mother and her child aglow?

African Poetry Editor Tendai Rinos Mwanaka is a leading poet and writer of the new generation of African writers and works hard to promote African writing through anthologies he has curated and co edited. Mwanaka has been shortlisted and won several writing awards, including being shortlisted for a record 7 times for the UK based Erbacce poetry award, 3 times nominated for the Pushcart, The Caine African Writing Award etc.

Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), French poet, critic, and translator, was one of the most compelling poets of the 19th century and is one of the major figures in the literary history of the world.

Norman R. Shapiro is Distinguished Professor and Poet-in-Residence, Wesleyan University, member of the Academy of American Poets, and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de la République Française.

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