Three Poets Write: Three Poems From Africa

[These three poems appears in October, 1989 (Volume 1, Number 3) of RPCV Writers, the first publication Marian Haley Beil (Ethiopia 1962-64) and I produced as a Third Goal Initiative that focused on Peace Corps Writers. In this newsletter and on our website they have, for twenty-five years, been promoting the careers and publications of novelists, non-fiction writers, and poets who have written about their Peace Corps experiences. Here are poems by Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64);Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961);Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1966-68)]

A Water Girl In Blue

There’s a world of purpose
In your going for water.
A simple thing done
So recounts the measureless
Gallons of time.

I call you
But from this distance
Isn’t there a world
Of water between us.

Tom Hebert (Nigeria 1962-64)

Kwami and Anwar the Magnificent

The man who freed without flow of blood,
Kwami Nkrfru, once a philosopher, altarboy,
and Anwar Retecki, called the magnificent
because he listened to what we wanted,
both died violently, viciously, suddenly
in the week right after August when the kids
go back to school and everybody is occupied.
Radiating centers of love attract blades.
Kill the chief, destroy smiles, darken day.
You manchild, womanchild wouldn’t remember.
But we older ones remember to love ourselves.

Edward Mycue (Ghana 1961)

The Rains Will Come

The brown savanna is cracked,
as if the whole world
is dehydrating.
But the rains will come
as sure as the Cow Fulani
return in slow motion
with their Zebu cattle,
while egrets ride the humps
and flap long white wings.
Other birds sit silently
in the knotty branches
of ageless arthritic trees,
waiting for the rains.

The sun stretches on the horizon
for the moment of rest
before dropping to the other side.
the globe spreads shades
of purple, rose, and yellow
across the savanna.
In the distance, shifting shadows
animate still life paintings
of farmers behind plows,
donkeys loaded with wood,
a thatched lean-to with women
selling kola nuts and smoked fish,
and naked children splashing in puddles.

Tony Zurlo (Nigeria 1966-68)

One Comment

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  • So much in so few words! This old veteran of Africa could ‘taste and see’ every word. Simply beautiful. I envy the talent displayed. I hunger for more.

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