FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Monday, June 14, 2010

Poet of the Week from Nigeria: Wole Soyinka

Poet of the Week from Nigeria: Wole Soyinkaa

This week's poem is by a Nigerian poet.  His poem is below and a brief bio follows:

IN THE SMALL HOURS by Wole Soyinka
Blue diaphane, tobacco smoke
Serpentine on wet film and wood glaze,
Mutes chrome, wreathes velvet drapes,
Dims the cave of mirrors. Ghost fingers
Comb seaweed hair, stroke acquamarine veins
Of marooned mariners, captives
Of Circe's sultry notes. The barman
Dispenses igneous potions ?
Somnabulist, the band plays on.

Cocktail mixer, silvery fish
Dances for limpet clients.
Applause is steeped in lassitude,
Tangled in webs of lovers' whispers
And artful eyelash of the androgynous.
The hovering notes caress the night
Mellowed deep indigo ?still they play.

Departures linger. Absences do not
Deplete the tavern. They hang over the haze
As exhalations from receded shores. Soon,
Night repossesses the silence, but till dawn
The notes hold sway, smoky
Epiphanies, possessive of the hours.

This music's plaint forgives, redeems
The deafness of the world. Night turns
Homewards, sheathed in notes of solace, pleats
The broken silence of the heart.
Wole Soyinka , b. 1934, from Idandre (Methuen 1967). As poet, playwright and essayist, Soyinka is a major force in African and world literature He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Imprisoned in Nigeria in the 1960s and self-exiled in the 1990s, he continues to protest against oppression worldwide.

FUUO Past Poets of the Week:
Some of my favorite poetry books:

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