#PoetryMasterClass: “My Lord, Tell Me Where To Keep Your Bribe?” By Niyi Osundare

[Originally published on Sahara Reporters on Oct 26, 2016 and culled from saharareporters.com]

A poem by the renowned Nigerian poet Niyi Osundare.


My Lord

   Please tell me where to keep your bribe?

Do I drop it in your venerable chambers

Or carry the heavy booty to your immaculate mansion

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Poetry Masterclass – Rabindranath Tagore: Unending Love

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
― Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds
tagorePoem:“Unending Love” by Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it’s age-old pain,
It’s ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
And the songs of every poet past and forever.”

Rabindranath Tagore, Selected Poems

#PoetryMasterclass – Chinua Achebe: For the love of Poetry

#LostInAchebe ‪#‎NPM16‬ ‪#‎CelebratingPoetry‬ He is known as one of Africa’s most celebrated prose writers and yet POETRY was Chinua Achebe’s first love.
I stumbled upon this website (www.brainpickings.org) and had a feast on Achebe’s poetry. In particular, his poem “Remembrance Day” struck a deep chord.
Come June 4th, I’ll be part of a team organizing the Annual Biafran Memorial Day Event in Toronto. Achebe’s reminder of what an honourable remembrance day celebration should be to all Igbos is both timely and necessary.
“We called him:
and, you know, all the other naries
that plague the peace…”
~ Chinua Achebe [From his poem: “We Laughed at Him”]


[The audio source: Soundcloud account of http://www.brainpickings.org]

#PoetryMasterclass. Poem: Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines – by Pablo Neruda

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example,’The night is shattered
and the blue stars shiver in the distance.’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is shattered and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight searches for her as though to go to her.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another’s. She will be another’s. Like my kisses before.
Her voice. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that’s certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

Are you an African Poet? Enjoy Olu Oguibe’s post about a Poetry Masterclass he attended…

Some posts you read on Facebook and you immediately go GBAM!! I saw this on Olu Oguibe’s wall and simply had to share. I also particularly love the engaging conversation it opened up on his thread. Lot’s to think about. Enjoy!

[Culled from the Facebook Page of Olu Oguibe on December 27, 2015 at 8.30 am EST]. Shared with permission from the writer. Follow Olu Oguibe on Facebook by Clicking Here.

A couple of months ago, I attended a public lecture in the English Department at my college. The lecture was given by an emeritus professor, who’s also Connecticut’s most prominent contemporary poet. I was never a fan of her poetry because she writes in a vein that few Africans from the Continent relate to, but that’s exactly why I made a point of attending the lecture.

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#PoetryMasterclass. Poem: “Alone” by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Poem Alone


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Writing Masterclass: Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott’s Love After Love

Listen Here:

Love After Love by Derek Walcott (As read by Actor Tom Hiddleston)

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

(c) Derek Walcott