Great West African Poems
Great West African Poem
A Poet always has something to say. It might be a straight forward statement about a subject of public interest or it might be an expresssion of private problem, joy or interst. A Poet writes to communicate meaning and perhaps the first effect a reader do is to extract this statement, the theme of the poem. But it is not the 'subject of the matter' about that makes a poetry. Otherwise poems dealing with the same subject would all be of the same quality, and in any case there would have been no need to write in the poetic form.
The Poet combines technique to produce his meaning and it is on the success of this technique that the beauty of a poem depends.
The concreteness of the details chosen, the diction and choice of words, the imagery and figures of speech, the consonant and vowel sounds of the words, the line movement or rythm, even the appearance of the words on the page- all these contribute to the meaning of the poem and creates the peculiar BEAUTY.
Gladys Casely- Hayford: She was born in 1904 at Axim, in Ghana to famous Ghanaian lawyer and author, Joseph Ephraim Casely Hayford and of the author Adelaide Casely Hayford. Here is are favourite poem
Within a native hut, ere stirred the dawn,
Unto the Pure One was an infant born,
Wrapped in blue lappah that His mother dyed,
Laid on His father's home- tanned deerskin hide,
The Babe still slept, by all things glorified.
Spirit of the black bards burst their bonds and sang
'Peace upon the earth' until the heavens rang.
All the black babies who from the earth had fled
Peeped through the clouds- then gathered round His head,
Telling of things a baby needs to do,
When first He opens His eyes on wonder new;
Telling Him that sleep was the sweetest rest,
All comfort came from His black mother's breast.
Their gift was love caught from the springing sod,
Whilst tears and laughter were the gifts of God.
Then all the wise Men of the past stood forth,
Filling the air, East, West, South and North,
And told Him of the joy that wisdom brings
To mortals in their earthly wanderings.
The children of the past shook down each bough,
Wreathed frangipani blossoms for His brow,
They put pink lilies in His mother's hand,
And heaped for both the first fruits of the Land.
His father cut somepalm fonds, that the air
Be coaxed to Zephyrs while He rested there.
Birds trilled their hallelujahs;all the dew
Trembled with laughter, till the Babe laughed too.
Black women brought their love so wise,
And kissed their motherhood into HIS mother's eyes.
R.E.G Armattoe- He was born in 1913 at Denu in the then Gold Coast. He was a medical doctor by proffessin and worked in Northern Ireland for ten years before returning back to his country.
I once saw a maiden dark and comely,
Sittin by the way side, sad and lonely,
Oh! pretty maiden , so dark and comely,
Why sit by the wayside, sad and lonely,
'I am neither sad and lonely'she sad,
'But living, sir, among the deaf and dumb;
Relentlessly watching these shameless dead,
Makes my warm heart grow very cold and numb.'
Dennis Osadebay- Was born in 1911 in Asaba, Nigeria. He studied and worked in Nigeria before going to England to study Law.
YOUNG AFRICA'S PLEA
Don't preserve my customs
As some fine curios
To suit some white historian's tastes.
There's nothing artificial
That beats the natural way
In culture and ideals of life.
Let me play with the white man's ways
Let me work with the blackman's brains
Let my affairs themselves sort out.
Then in sweet rebirth
I'll rise a better man
Not ashamed to face the world.
Those who doubt my talents
In secret fear my strength
They know i am no less a man.
Let them bury their prejudice,
Let them show their noble sides,
Let me have untrammelled growth,
My friends will never know regret
And I, I never once forget.
More by this Author
GREAT WEST AFRICAN POEMS 2 The notes that follow poems are designed to help in the extraction of the meaning of poems and in the appreciation of the technique of the poets. The general pattern of the notes should be...