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Best Canny Amah Poems

Below are the all-time best Canny Amah poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members

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Details | Canny Amah Poem

Mother is Dove

Modest woman moderate woman
Your inner beauty strikes me
Like the tongue of noble eloquence
More than gold even refined gold
Or our purged fulgent silver.

Black woman proud woman
Your pride is not haughty
But a humble pride of eaglets;
Your black eyes are so glittering
As the eyes of our dark rivers
Filled with messages of peace
That banish the broody turmoil
From those panting hearts
Of your foreigned offsprings.

Gentle mother diligent mother
Your kindness kindles the fires
Of my heart –
Your dexterity dresses
The table of our ageless history
And the thought of your being
– Oh kind mother! –
Makes the most delicious menu 
For my heart.

I remember your naked feet
Fast and fair as a pigeon’s limbs
Treading the invisible paths
Almost covered by shrubs
Small shrubs misted by the prime mist.

I remember the wood from the wood 
The water from the water 
And manifold items from jungle alleys 
Borne by your delicate hands
And upon your soft black-haired head.

I remember the constant match 
To markets and to farms
And your bright face smeared with 
The ash dust
Making you more beautiful
Than any woman whose feet
Ever touched the naked earth.

I remember those burdens
Upon your cheerful kin-souls 
And babies strapped to your backs
Babes full of unspoken words
To unborn others in patient wombs
Waiting in an endless turn –
Indeed, mother is dove!
A black dove and a dark huntress
A hunter’s gift from the maker?

Mother is like a weaver-bird
Building a big foot-like nest
Filled with corn and warmth
A bundle of eagle-flight
Mother is dove
And the hunter calls her
The clan’s eternal dove.

Oh, mother loving woman 
Gentle as our black horizon
To you we humbly come
From these far and lonely lands
Hoping to grace our love and beauty
Before that jealous grave
Makes her temporary feast.


Details | Canny Amah Poem

A Prologue to Phase III

Dearest Vicar –
As a poet’s lines: 
It is divinity proper!

Onions figure
In our everlasting divinings:
Her white ashes
Of our burn-fire 
And the dew of dawn’s tears
Still coax the rainbow 
To no avail

Her white ashes
Splashing wet-dusts of dark days:
Cocks crow in vain?


Details | Canny Amah Poem

Child-birth

a trip thru two spheres
what wilful shadows of realities 
with a dead bursting into life


Details | Canny Amah Poem

hail, someone, death is hell

hail, someone, death is hell
he was well so well
soothing like waters from the well
& the world did him hail
tho' sad but not so sad like hell
ah, death-harbinger as on a rail
crept in but who could tell
which way she came oh, tell
as some practiced steps did fell
& the voice from deep-set hell
trembling rose like the bliss of hail.




Details | Canny Amah Poem

my song is gone

my song is gone
my lips cannot speak
my tongue’s tied
my head’s turn’d bald o’er-night
my people what do you say?
death’s cruel!
death’s a grinding machine
show me the house 
that receives her blow
& stands firm!



Details | Canny Amah Poem

weep not, niger

from this forest
where wild life once blossom’d
& from streams 
where young sweety fishes
up-turn’d a thousand fragrance
in some belly-wise shows
gasping
bubbling
drumming to many lips
to a ceremony of delicacies –
& then mother
i was a scukling
babling
crawling
swept by the clan’s lovely drum
& then mother
i was a todler 
graduating from your
ready back-straps
jumping
dancing
suffocating in the dramatic
ecstacies of the native drum -
oh, i greet, mother
& your folks
swept by these new drums
of the bombs
singing of the poverty
in the land -
oh, weep not, niger!


Details | Canny Amah Poem

let me sing the weaver’s songs!

I:

let me sing the weaver’s songs!
the songs of old nature -
carrying a retinue of willing dancers
from yon vale to thither hills
amidst these boughs of lively nature
o, boughs, long-held in old tales!
where fairies played games in gardens
of lavish feasts & yet-to-be-heard rhythms.

let me sing the weaver’s songs!
the songs of old nature -
drumming for the entire clime
love songs in the dance-steps 
of naked dancers & rustic elders 
o, love songs that in ancient times
ordained the full & rushing thrills 
of queens, pages & their kings!

let me sing the weaver’s songs!
the songs of old nature -
’twas these same drum-songs
that beckoned on sleeping sages
to wake at the hunter’s voice -
’twas these same drum-songs
that held the lions & death’s paws
& gave beasts in feasts to clans!

let me sing the weaver’s songs!
the songs of old nature -
the drum-songs of the paths
that traced into the deepest roots
of clans - o, my clans! whose elders
languish beside the Niger’s banks;
& let my songs begin in newness
of the old – o, let me sing & dance
singing the weaver’s songs;
singing the songs of old nature –
o, let me sing beside Niger’s banks!


Details | Canny Amah Poem

Ode on the Clan’s Iroko Tree

(for: them who are ever there!)

these branches and roots
that cord to the grave ancients
should be free from man’s swords!
both oracle and priest held for days …

I 
Your voice speaks in the silence of the night
To the deep still shady earth
That once held a great zest for our childhood
Here in the once thick wooded land
Where progenitors strewed their rustic huts
Yes! where, sang tho’ unseen those sonorous kin-spirits.

2 
Ah! Happy and keen folks were the ancients, then;
But their sons? what a sad lot, now! even
Demented hearts aching from those drinks of dizzy times
Raw anguish, sorrow, painful hemlocks of death-lines,
The slow songs that tune softly to the mirthful graves
That still hold the ancestors like prisoners in the wild caves.

3 
O! for your unravished wave of primal welcome,
That bade the sonorous weaver come
To make loud greeting of blue azure with song-fleet
O! for such uudecoded song that for the sagging flesh bear ointment
Secret balm from the rhyming unsteady palm leaves of the winds
That flute clearly to ancestors those eternal silent songs.

4 
Known are those festal spirits of your night
From whom many lives readily spring forth:
Mused thru’ the voices of strong mortal compeers –
Priests, priestesses, praise-singers, warriors, dancers!
That with gusto, flounder across the space of time;
O, for those festal moments of flush! o, for the celestial clime!

5 
You are the unseen bridge of the world,
Like Nturukpa, that elder amongst our ferry trees;
Your bark exhumes the bright colours of the past;
And carried thru’ the festal wings of your night
We desire to be mused to the ethereal clime;
Of uncurbed equanimity and euphoria of the divine.

6 
I now know the anguish of these festal spirits
Who take refuge on the water-void banks
Of the topmost branches and leaves;
I now know the noise of their feasts in sacrifices:
Doleful sacrifices in the gods’ swollen foot!
Then adieu! adieu! from the cloyed humans in advent!

7 
O farewell! with all your festal spirits,
Who coaxed to the night of sacrifices, priests,
Priestesses, dancers, praise-singers, warriors of the land;
Adieu! with these cold celebrations and coax-throated songs heard,
Thru’ the voice and echoes of rain’s thunder,
In the day of the panther and his noble twin, the hunter.




Details | Canny Amah Poem

fathers, come, save our souls

an half-part of his face
painted white as of spirits
& the other side being human
he steps into the esplanade
isn't he the symbol of deity?
didn't ikenga his father do same?
didn't his foremost great fathers
the fathers of the nine clans 
the nine clans by this river -
oh, didn't they all do same
in appeasement of this angry niger?
they stood in aware of this flood-gate
of the waters of the millennium -
come, fathers, come, save our souls
the souls of the renegades
of the nine clans by this river -
the floods have taken captive
the boundlessness of your lands
ah, niger, the weeping one!


Details | Canny Amah Poem

she spoke

she spoke
to us
she open'd her lips
less before
she went beside 
the river-beds
now
we wish'd
she could speak
again & again & again
our tears know no bounds!


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