Many of the children’s literature bloggers have a tradition of posting poems on Friday. And so in the spirit of the day, here is a lovely book of African poetry. Selected and illustrated by Veronique Tadjo, the poems in Talking Drums give a sense of the vast variety that is Africa.
From the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) herself, Tadjo writes in her introduction, “Let me tell you a secret; this selection of poems is in fact a story, the story of Africa as told by some of its very best poets.”
The poems are from all over the continent and their subjects are equally wide-ranging from animals to people to death and more. Some of the creators may be familiar names (for example, the Nigerian Ken Saro Wiwa who was executed some years ago), others less so, and then there are some poems with no named authors — traditional poems from a range of cultures. Here’s one:
In the blue palace of the deep ocean
dwells a strange being.
His skin is white like salt
his hair long like plaited seaweed.
His dress is made of fishes,
fishes more charming than birds.
His house is built of brass rods
his garden is a forest of tobacco leaves.
His country is strewn with white pearls
like sand on the beach.