Women, Happy International Women’s Day! The struggle for Freedom and Justice still continues.
(My favorite symbol of Ghana remains our flag, created by the genius bae Theodosia Okoh. My second favorite symbol is the Coat of Arms, mostly because it has the words FREEDOM AND JUSTICE emblazoned on it. But that’s a story for another day).
For all sorts of reasons including the recent deaths of Buchi Emecheta and Miriam Tlali, I’ve been thinking about sisterhood and writers. I’ve been thinking about poets who happen to be women, my favorite kind. Quite a number of my beloveds are dead. So we need the category of DEAD WOMEN POETS. I don’t intend to be morbid today.
Happy International Women’s Day to the poets. Here is one poet appreciating another:
ON READING JACKIE KAY
My Very Dear Sister,
too big a shame that
we cannot ingest, as in hog on,
a good poem.
But beginning with you on the Isle of Man,
we should splurge on and slurp up
great rhymes and rhythms,
stuffing our faces with
beautiful sentiments coolly expressed.
We could pig out on those cadences
that break our hearts and gladden them—
succulent odes, romantic lyrics,
sweet and scary kwadwom, spicy oriki:
We will hors d’ourves on haiku,
guzzle on bubbly couplets and quatrains,
gobble up the sonnets, and
their crazy line restrictions.
Yet still and almost sated,
we shall do as the Romans did,
swigswillsip a delicate vintage and
deal with the poetry of praise, of blame, and the fearful apae.
Then singing and dancing,
we shall go to town on free verse.
Doing our poetic bacchanalia,
drumming out our verses.
What a global offering?
What a menu?
we would drink and get drunk
with complete abandon
not worrying about
the inches creeping up our hips, or
the sure damage to our livers.
And then, what heaven!
– Ama Ata Aidoo
(Let me credit myself. What my mother doesn’t mention is she read Jackie Kay’s Castletown, Isle of Man on Kinna Reads. Y’all should thank me also.)