POETRY REVISION

  1. THE BEARD

In the pulpit he swayed and turned.

Leant forward, backward,

To the right: to the left.

His solemn voice echoed;

Lowly the congregation followed,

‘Do you love your neighbour?’

Meekly they bow at his keen eye

Now examining a grey head

Heaving under her sobs.

His heart leapt assured-

‘Her sins weigh on her!’

So with her he chats outside;

‘Weep not child you are pardoned.’

‘But sir, your beard conjured up

The spirit of my dead goat!’

                                                                                       (Proscovia Rwakyaka)

  • AN AFRICAN THUNDERSTORM

From the west

Clouds come hurrying with the wind

Turning sharply

Here and there

Like a plague of locusts

Tossing things on its tail

Like a madman chasing nothing.

Pregnant clouds

Ride stately on its back

Gathering to perch on hills

Like dark sinister wings

The wind whistles by

And trees bend to let it pass.

In the village

Screams of delighted children

Toss and turn

In the din of the whirlwind wind,

Women ,

Babies clinging on their backs-

Dart about

In and out

Madly the wind whistles by

Whilst trees bend to let it pass

Clothes wave like tattered flags

Flying off

To expose dangling breasts

As jagged blinding flashes

Rumble tremble and crack

Amidst the smell of fired smoke

And the pelting march of the storm.                                 

                                                                                             (David Rubadiri)

  • BUILDING THE NATION

Today I did my share

In building the nation

I drove the permanent secretary

To an important urgent function

In fact to a luncheon at the Vic.

The menu reflected its importance

Cold Bell beer with small talk

Then fried chicken with niceties

Wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs

Ice cream to cover the stereotype jokes

Coffee to keep the PS awake on return journey.

I drove the Permanent Secretary back

He yawned many times in the back of the car

Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked,

Did you have lunch friend?

I replied looking straight ahead

And secretly smiling at his belated concern

That I had not but was slimming!

Upon which he said with a seriousness

That amused more than annoyed me,

Mwananchi, I too had none!

I attended to matters of state

Highly delicate diplomatic duties you know,

And friend it goes against my grain,

Causes me stomach ulcers and wind.

Ah, he continued, yawning again,

The pains we suffer in building the nation!

So the PS had ulcers too!

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My ulcers I think are equally painful

Only they are caused by hunger

Not sumptuous lunches!

So two nation builders

Arrived home this evening

With terrible stomach pains

The result of building the nation

  • Different ways.

                                                                                             (Henry Barlow)

  • I SPEAK FOR THE BUSH

When my friend sees me

He swells and pants like a frog

Because I talk the wisdom of the bush!

He says we from the bush

Do not understand civilized ways

For we tell our women

To keep the hem of their dresses

Below the knee.

We from the bush, my friend insists,

Do not know how to ‘enjoy’

When we come to the civilized city,

Like nuns, we stay away from the nightclubs

Where women belong to no men

And men belong to no women

And these civilized people

Quarrel and fight like hungry lions!

But, my friend, why do men

With crippled legs, lifeless eyes,

Wooden legs, empty stomachs

Wander about the streets

Of this civilized world?

Teach me, my friend, the trick,

So that my eyes may not

See those whose houses have no walls

But emptiness all around;

Show me the wax you use

To seal your ears

To stop hearing the cry of the hungry;

Teach me the new wisdom

Which tells men

To talk about money and not love,

When they meet women;

Tell your God to convert

Me to the faith of the indifferent,

The faith of those

Who will never listen until

They are shaken with blows.

I speak for the bush:

You speak for the civilized

Will you hear me?

Poetry Revision-Examples of Poems                                                                                  

  • THE GUILT OF GIVING

You’ve seen that heap of rags

That pollutes the air conditioned

City centre

That house that creeps about

In the clean core of sophistication

You’ve seen him waylay his betters

And make them start-

Especially when they have no change.

You recall the day you came upon him

And were startled by his silent presence

Intruding into your preoccupation:

You hurled a coin

Which missed the mark

And rolled into the gutter

Where he groped for it

With a chilling grosteque gratitude

That followed you down the street

You dived into the nearest shop

To escape the stare of the scandalized crowd

That found you guilty

Of recalling attention

To the impenetrable patience

They had learnt not to see.

                                                                                                  (Laban Erapu)

POETRY REVISION

  1. THE BEARD
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In the pulpit he swayed and turned.

Leant forward, backward,

To the right: to the left.

His solemn voice echoed;

Lowly the congregation followed,

‘Do you love your neighbour?’

Meekly they bow at his keen eye

Now examining a grey head

Heaving under her sobs.

His heart leapt assured-

‘Her sins weigh on her!’

So with her he chats outside;

‘Weep not child you are pardoned.’

‘But sir, your beard conjured up

The spirit of my dead goat!’

                                                                                       (Proscovia Rwakyaka)

  • AN AFRICAN THUNDERSTORM

From the west

Clouds come hurrying with the wind

Turning sharply

Here and there

Like a plague of locusts

Tossing things on its tail

Like a madman chasing nothing.

Pregnant clouds

Ride stately on its back

Gathering to perch on hills

Like dark sinister wings

The wind whistles by

And trees bend to let it pass.

In the village

Screams of delighted children

Toss and turn

In the din of the whirlwind wind,

Women ,

Babies clinging on their backs-

Dart about

In and out

Madly the wind whistles by

Whilst trees bend to let it pass

Clothes wave like tattered flags

Flying off

To expose dangling breasts

As jagged blinding flashes

Rumble tremble and crack

Amidst the smell of fired smoke

And the pelting march of the storm.                                 

                                                                                             (David Rubadiri)

  • BUILDING THE NATION

Today I did my share

In building the nation

I drove the permanent secretary

To an important urgent function

In fact to a luncheon at the Vic.

The menu reflected its importance

Cold Bell beer with small talk

Then fried chicken with niceties

Wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs

Ice cream to cover the stereotype jokes

Coffee to keep the PS awake on return journey.

I drove the Permanent Secretary back

He yawned many times in the back of the car

Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked,

Did you have lunch friend?

I replied looking straight ahead

And secretly smiling at his belated concern

That I had not but was slimming!

Upon which he said with a seriousness

That amused more than annoyed me,

Mwananchi, I too had none!

I attended to matters of state

Highly delicate diplomatic duties you know,

And friend it goes against my grain,

Causes me stomach ulcers and wind.

Ah, he continued, yawning again,

The pains we suffer in building the nation!

So the PS had ulcers too!

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My ulcers I think are equally painful

Only they are caused by hunger

Not sumptuous lunches!

So two nation builders

Arrived home this evening

With terrible stomach pains

The result of building the nation

  • Different ways.

                                                                                             (Henry Barlow)

  • I SPEAK FOR THE BUSH

When my friend sees me

He swells and pants like a frog

Because I talk the wisdom of the bush!

He says we from the bush

Do not understand civilized ways

For we tell our women

To keep the hem of their dresses

Below the knee.

We from the bush, my friend insists,

Do not know how to ‘enjoy’

When we come to the civilized city,

Like nuns, we stay away from the nightclubs

Where women belong to no men

And men belong to no women

And these civilized people

Quarrel and fight like hungry lions!

But, my friend, why do men

With crippled legs, lifeless eyes,

Wooden legs, empty stomachs

Wander about the streets

Of this civilized world?

Teach me, my friend, the trick,

So that my eyes may not

See those whose houses have no walls

But emptiness all around;

Show me the wax you use

To seal your ears

To stop hearing the cry of the hungry;

Teach me the new wisdom

Which tells men

To talk about money and not love,

When they meet women;

Tell your God to convert

Me to the faith of the indifferent,

The faith of those

Who will never listen until

They are shaken with blows.

I speak for the bush:

You speak for the civilized

Will you hear me?

                                                                                               (Everett Standa)

  • THE GUILT OF GIVING

You’ve seen that heap of rags

That pollutes the air conditioned

City centre

That house that creeps about

In the clean core of sophistication

You’ve seen him waylay his betters

And make them start-

Especially when they have no change.

You recall the day you came upon him

And were startled by his silent presence

Intruding into your preoccupation:

You hurled a coin

Which missed the mark

And rolled into the gutter

Where he groped for it

With a chilling grosteque gratitude

That followed you down the street

You dived into the nearest shop

To escape the stare of the scandalized crowd

That found you guilty

Of recalling attention

To the impenetrable patience

They had learnt not to see.

                                                                                                  (Laban Erapu)

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