You'd be surprised, but life in West Africa gave rise to all sorts of new poetry. I've had something of a poetry splurge the last few weeks, so this post may be a little longer than the others: however, I hope you'll brave it through and tell me how I did.
Unlike my other poetry posts, the poems in this post are almost all focused on real life or real things.
On some of these, I gave a note telling what inspired me to write that specific poem.
And any feedback is welcome. The rhyme and meter is far from perfect, but I tried getting it to the point where it rhymed minimally (at the least) and had a fairly consistent meter.
Spreading words of inky black
A sword across a whitewashed page
The pen brings imagination back
And speaks of darkness and light and rage.
It makes the mind soar as birds
Or burrows with moles ere—
it takes you traveling in colorful words
With the pen, you can go anywhere.
Lullaby of Night
Elves dance in the night under twinkling starlight
Dwarves delve 'neath the stony ground
As men raise their burial mound
And the world is under night—
And the world is under night.
Dark things wallow in moonlight shadow
While light lays in watchful sleep
Things stir 'neath the caverns deep
Dark stirs quietly below—
Dark stirs quietly below.
The east grows pale and the men wake hale
And the fell, twisted creatures run
To deeps below, they flee the sun
But they are but a tale—
But they are but a tale.
Be not afraid of the wild, go to sleep, be mild
The morning brings a new day
Hush you, dear, heed what I say
Sleep well, my child—
Sleep well, my child.
(Bar music here is constant. After we moved into our house, however, the volume and consistency decreased, but some nights it's still loud. This was written on one of those nights.)
You rolled over, you turned, you tried to sleep
Hot and sticky, you closed your eyes
In the window, music began to creep
And lights obscured the eastern skies.
You glanced out the window, yes, it's true
They're at it again, all right
As if to affirm, the music grew:
The bar songs are playing tonight.
Life in Africa
(It's pretty obvious what inspired this one.)
We have hot days and sticky weather
Thin-mattress beds, far from feather
No running water, fluorescent light
Electricity by generator only at night
No wireless internet, and school to do
The list of our "problems" only grew.
Yet, can we not be thankful for things beside?
The cool sea breeze, the sound of the tide
The water pump, the security guards
The papers, the pens, the playing cards
Food to eat, cold water to drink
We're pretty blessed, don't you think?
(One of my favorite memories is going to bed freezing and hoping to wake up to lots of snow in the morning. There's something wonderful about going to bed cold...or maybe that's just me.)
Children curl in freezing beds and blankets
While beside the heater the adults converse
'Neath yellow lights the warm faces
Bravely weather winter's worst.
O for those days of wintry childhood!
Children under quilts listen to the wind's cries
To look up grinning at the windows
Hoping to wake up to a white sunrise.
The Americans' Dinner
(We recently adopted "American Food Sunday", on which we make some American dish to change from the norm; that is, rice. I wrote this on one such Sunday.)
Dusk was simmering against inside light
And 'round the wood table were six white faces
Mashed potatoes, meatballs, corn yellow-bright
With cake, and frosting—my, 'twas a sight
An American dinner with American graces.
Four furry feet slip into the room
Two large eyes peer up at the bed
Then, she runs behind the broom
Stopping to sniff at a crumb of bread.
Then, silent, she slinks to the curtain
And, with tiny claws comes the attack
Then she pauses to listen, to ascertain
That the curtain won't be fighting back.
Then, appeased, she leaves the curtain behind
And springs to the bed, as if she flew
Curls up, and then pays nothing else mind
Play hard, sleep hard, that's the kitten for you.
The Land of Kansas
(I was feeling a little homesick one day and wrote this poem. 'Cos I love Kansas. (: It gives me warm fuzzies - and that's not a phrase you hear from guys every day.)
Which place has the tornadoes, the cows and the wheat?
Where is that country of grassy hills and pasture fields?
Look, see the white church where Mennonites meet
Beside the yellow field and the harvest of gold it yields;
The land as straight as an arrow and flat as the sea
The land of farmers and Indian names and small towns
It's the heartland, a great land, as you'll soon agree;
Where the sunsets give the fields their crimson crowns.
It's a place of tranquility, the farmland of peace
The place of the simple, the hard-working, the tough
So forget England and France and Russia and Greece:
The land of Kansas is the place to be, sure enough.