World Poetry Day – two favourite poems

Today – 21 March – is World Poetry Day as proclaimed by UNESCO.  A UN press release says among other things

“World Poetry Day is an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities.”

Personally I have to admit that I am not a great poetry reader.  But once in while, I will come across poems that really strikes a cord with me, and I would like to share them here.

The first is by Mamle Kabu, a Ghanaian writer who is mainly known for her short stories.  The following comes Laban Carrick Hill’s website, for which I say thank you:

Orange Juice

My dying wish?
Orange juice
From oranges that are yellow
Not orange,
Oranges from the forests of Ghana
Grown wild in cool shade
And careless beauty

Why orange juice?
Because it’s the colour of the sun
And tastes like life,
And even better things
that have no name
But can be drunk

Oranges loaded onto mammy trucks
Piled high by the roadside
Hawked with peel neatly shaved
Sucked dry, turned inside out
For the last drops
Of trapped sunlight
posing as juice

That’s what I want
That dying day,
The sun distilled
Light as liquid
A mouthful of life
No, even better things
That can’t be named
But can be drunk

The second, interestingly enough, also has a food element in it, and is by Grace Nichols (available on the web, but taken from Poems on the underground, edited by Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik and Cicely Herbert. 10th ed. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. 2007.)

Like a beacon

In London
every now and then
I get this craving
for my mother’s food
I leave art galleries
in search of plantains
saltfish/sweet potatoes

I need this link

I need this touch
of home
swinging my bag
like a beacon
against the cold.



3 thoughts on “World Poetry Day – two favourite poems

  1. Lovely poems. Funny how we just take orange for granted, despite its health benefits. This poem celebrates the bounties and yes beauty of Ghana. I can see how its juice can be a dying wish.

    Like a Beacon is a taste of longing for home, for the familiar, for the unattainable; and in that longing lies the quality of appreciation. Thanks for sharing, Nina

    • Thanks for your very appropriate comments. For me they are also about memories and both arouse pretty intense emotions.

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