Friday, October 04, 2013

Poetry Friday: Kofi Awoonor

One of the people who died in Nairobi in the attack on the Westgate mall was Ghanaian poet Kofi Awoonor.  The New Yorker published this tribute

One of Awoonor's best-known poems is, appropriately, called "Songs of Sorrow."  Here is part of it:

"Returning is not possible
And going forward is a great difficulty
The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces
Into which I have stepped..."

Going forward is a great difficulty in a world where such things can happen, and chameleon faeces seems a pretty accurate comparison, some days.

You can read the rest of the poem here

9 comments:

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Thank you, once again, for bringing to Poetry Friday the happenings in the world, Ruth. What a great loss...to literature, to truth telling.

LInda Baie said...

Oh Ruth, this is so sad, to have him write such a poem and die so tragically. It seems he saw that it was how he would go. Thank you for sharing more about this with us.

BJ Lee said...

Ruth - I love this poem! What an apt double-pronged metaphor! Just wonderful!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Oh dear Ruth, I feel very sad reading about this. :( Such beautiful words though. And they do ring true.

Liz Steinglass said...

I am awed by the way he captures the dark challenges of life but also the going forward that we do day after day nonetheless.

Doraine Bennett said...

Such sadness overtakes us so often in this world. We take the moments we need to grieve, then with difficulty, go forward, finding hope in small places.

Mary Lee said...

Go check out Michelle's post (Today's Little Ditty). It balances the sadness and grief found in this event and this poem.

Violet N. said...

Oh my, such moving poems and what a story from the photographer who was at the conference with him! Thanks for giving this tragedy yet another human face.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Such a great loss. I'm sorry for the personal "song of sorrow" you are feeling so deeply as well.