Today's Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Karen Edmisten.
I read Alma Fullerton's beautiful picture book this week. Though I've never been to Africa myself, I have children who have spent time in Senegal and Nigeria and friends who live in Kenya and South Africa. So while my sense of the landscape and culture of these countries comes second hand, there is something of my heart invested there.
|My South African friend Wilna (pronounced vulna) in Zimbabwe.|
|My son and grandson at the American International School in Nigeria.|
In a Tanzanian village,
a little schoolhouse sits
at the end of a dusty road.
Such simplicity, and yet, already these few words and Brian Deines' deftly muted illustrations place me solidly on this dusty road. The author captures the characters, their friendships, their dependence on on another, and the hardships they face with the joyful spirit of an African village. A really beautiful book.
View more illustrations here.
Visit Alma Fullerton's author page here.
Find more art from Brian Deines here.
From Peace Corps Writers Online Magazine, 2005 issue
By the Light of the Moon
by Carrie Young (Mali 2000–01)
How free is the ocean
Or the moon
The village was off the road
And away from the world
Like a soft breeze
Blowing across the ground
Felt only by the Earth
At the bottom of the mountain
That calls it home
The beauty of the place
Equaled by the difficulties
Surrounding this life
Filled with the noise of natural things-
The pounding of grain like thunder,
Roosters crowing at every mood of the sun,
Fires crackling with ancient memories,
Children laughing and disappearing into tall grasses
And almost every night
The sound of a bilaphone
Playing at a fete somewhere
On another side of the village
Sending out a deep and hyper sound
That somehow found its way to me
Even in the thick, dark air of Africa
People dressed in bright fabrics
Were dancing until the dirt stirred
Into a fog around them
And all that was hard about the days
Trickled down their faces
In sweat like tears
I could see them in my mind
As I lay in a room lit quietly by candles
My book resting next to me
While I joined them somewhere
In that fog of dirt and freedom
Freedom for muscles
That were bent and tired
From hours spent in the fields
And freedom from a mind
That was never allowed to forget
The weightless breath of fate
Waiting in the wind