21 Days/21 Poems: A Curve in the Tell by Nana Fredua-Agyeman

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“A poem that I’ve  just read and loved” is the theme for today’s 21 Days/21 Poems.  And it is written by my fellow country-man and blogger Nana Fredua-Agyeman.

A Curve in the Tell

(A Direct Response to Naipaul’s The Masque of Africa)

There is a curve
deeply seated in their tell

of how things that must be
of how the bird
instead of flying

and becomes no longer
a bird
but a frog.

I cannot see
with borrowed eyes
or think
with(in) a mind not mine

but must unity’s quest
merge all selves
into a homogenous consistency
such that you curve
the tale of your tell?

when our survival
is only insured
through gene-crossing
at conception point?

So I have become
a thing, lost to existence
because you see not yourself
in me

There is a curve
in your tell.

Source:  Munyori Literary Journal

Well, this is one of the best responses to V.S. Naipaul’s work on Africa that I’ve read.  I love the play on the word “bend” of A Bend in the River.   The sentiments are rather sad, true and apt.  There’s always been “a curve” in their tell since the first encounter, right?   Nana, powerful stuff and thank you :).  Do visit Nana Fredua-Agyeman’s blog at ImageNations.  Most of us know him as the wonderful and generous blogger who promotes African literature.



  1. It’s a beautiful poem. Writers as controversial as Naipaul get all sorts of responses.

    I went to hear his presentation of “The Masque of Africa” last week in Venice: he read a relatively inoffensive passage from the book, but it gave me the impression that he considers Africa a horrible place altogether. I also read his interview on the Literary Review and he quotes a guru from Gabon he met during his travels who thinks that the African forests are not made for humans, because you can’t have agriculture or keep cows there. The guru (and Naipaul as well) forgets that most of Europe (and probably his native island of Trinidad) would be all woods (with wolves, bears etc) if humans hadn’t made those places hospitable.


    • He does think that Africa is a horrible place. And yet, he keeps coming back to the continent. Seems we’ve gotten under his skin and it irks him a lot :).


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