Vol.3 Issue.1

Artist Statement: Beyond the mechanical constraints of rhyme’s reasons and rhythm’s oftentimes obsolete obstacles, there is a region of pure experience where companion seekers of The Light congregate. There, they suddenly find out that words—at least our old words— are not enough to project what lies beyond night and day, beyond hope and fear, beyond peace and war; beyond the many binary pairs that hold us earthlings in perpetual thrall. A poet’s lifetime burden, and the culmination of his art, it seems to me, is to find the quintessential form of expression that articulates the throbbing newness of the regions beyond our arid categorizations. My own poetry, until now, has straddled the dual boundaries of loss and gain, of hope and despair, of night and day; but its ultimate vision is to transcend them all and embrace what lies beyond these ephemeral categories. Following that, “Circle of Life,” “A Dirge Too Soon,” and “A Farewell and a Defiance” may be read not simply as explorations of the contradictory binaries of the contemporary physical world as we know it, but more importantly as baby steps on the stairway towards transcending all that which holds the human ideal in bondage. All three poems are related to death, and oppose the life-wish to it, but collectively, they are also the “burning prodding bother” that seeks to tickle the navel of a realm beyond all that we currently know, or are content to limit our discourses to.

A Dirge Too Soon

Prince Kwame Adika

 

for Hawa Yakubu, and all the Heroines Who Go Too Soon

 

I

Slowly... slowly

Slowly we will get there,

Slowly we will get there,

Slowly,

Slowly,

Slowly,...

The snail may fly ahead of us,

And the tortoise dare bait our will to run

But even if we fall by the wayside—

Slowly,

Slowly,

Slowly,

Slowly we will get there!

In the stillness of the ancestral dome

They must hear your footsteps coming through

The watches will report it all:

This wisdom of God that approves the sight

Of you tracing your abrupt steps back home

Slowly,

Slowly,

Slowly,

II

In the storeroom of eternal memory

Other ages bawl other myriad pains across:

Of songs that stuck in throats on the verge of the celebratory time

Of harvests ripped apart on midnights before the great day

Of barn-houses raped by conflagrations of treachery

Of the many other mis-acts of old stern reaper

But—

III

Slowly,...

Slowly,...

Slowly,...

We'll yet find time to remember

You too were somebody's daughter

Clots of blood transformed into the miracle of flesh

Tears of life made real in pain

Fears of despair made real in hope

Songs of praise sung unheard to the soul

For,

Slowly we must get there,

Slowly we must get there,

Slowly,

S-lo-w-l-y

S..l..o..w..l..y

Postscript:

Love,

From me to you

On a journey so long

And a dirge this soon.

 

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