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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Poet of the Week from Zambia: Gwendoline Konie

Poet of the Week from Zambia: Gwendoline Konie

Gwendoline is a former Zambian Ambassador to the UN.  Following that she was a businesswoman in Lusaka, and edited Women's Exclusive.  She remained politically active contesting the 2001 election of President Mwanawasa.  

The following is from the article Dr Kenneth D. Kaunda wrote on his blog after Gwendoline's funeral service.

"Gwen, my dear Sister, you were part of this wonderful revolution. You were part of this fight against British colonialism in Zambia. Yes, you were part of this great revolution against colonialism in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and in the fight against racism and apartheid in South Africa. Rest ye well, beloved Sister."

I thought her poem really captures the fire she felt as she and her countrymen struggled to break free from colonial rule.  She uses striking imagery of blood to characterize the oppression.  I especially liked her closing phrase:  "my hidden courage will saw off your first."


Like a worm I write in your tight fist
As you try to smother my voice
And my mind with your brutal grip;
Fear stalks the house of my brain
As your pepper-red eyes shout blood.

Your grip strangles my tongue
Your fingers sprinkle seeds of fear in my mind
And it sprouts like a raging bush fire.
You have set up fear as my companion
And I cringe from your bloodshot eyes.

Secret alarm bells sear my brain
And leave me burning with a wild rage
For I will not let fear swallow
My breath, my dreams, and my hopes!
My hidden courage will saw off your fist.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment