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PostPosted: 14 Feb 2018, 14:53 
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Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Posts: 1061
Location: Between the mountains and the sea
or Hausa Girl (Christmas 1967)

Riots at Kano, slashing machetes,
Ibo blood runs, a muezzin calls
the adzham: "God is great."

At Port Harcourt, Amadi Fortress, payback
is the call, "Get the Hausa, make them pay."
Revenge runs like a spirit peri.

I watch from the heights as a mob runs
down a Hausa girl, her red dress a flag
to her pursuers. Pretty flowers accentuate

the grace of her brown legs, a desert dweller.
She falls under an incandescent street light,
her dress throws up as a shield.
She lies wounded under the lamp.

I run to help, laughter echoes
in the ramparts, her life ebbs into
my arms, I feel her breath on my face.

Mam in her kitchen, Sis playing
with the cat, Dad reading
the South Wales Echo
in the warmth of a coal fire, peace.

and I am here in Nigeria,
holding this dying girl.


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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 00:44 
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Joined: 30 Jul 2015, 11:14
Posts: 716
Frank---


i prefer this shorter version.

however---show don't tell----the dictum i burn your ears with. when you tell, with the last line, last verse, the line is powerful.



plenty showing here, good, very good.

then the poem falls into a lapse:


Riots at Kano, slashing machetes,
Ibo blood runs, a muezzin calls
the adzham: "God is great."

At Port Harcourt, Amadi Fortress, payback
is the call, "Get the Hausa, make them pay."
Revenge runs like a spirit peri.

I watch from the heights as a mob runs
down a Hausa girl, her red dress a flag
to her pursuers. Pretty flowers accentuate

the grace of her brown legs, a desert dweller.
She falls under an incandescent street light,
her dress throws up as a shield to what happens

wonderful narrative---i feel, i see the terrible scene---and oh that incandescent street light....(wish i had thought of it.)



but this is almost a commercial break---

next. I think back to Home. Even Catholics fear
no evil from us. His people do this in His name.
She lies wounded under the lamp.



and then back to our program as they say on radio:


I run to hold her, their laughter echoes
in the ramparts, her life ebbs into
my arms, I feel her breath on my face.


me, i just say: i feel her breath fall shallow and then stop.


the rough, jump cut from Nigeria to home---i like.

Mam in her kitchen, Sis playing
with the cat, Dad reading his paper
in the warmth of a coal fire, peace.
What am I doing here holding a dead girl.


What am I doing in Nigeria holding a dead girl.



maybe, letting the reader decompress:

Mam with her copper pots,
Sis teases the cat, Dad unfolds
the Evening Standard
and the coal fire looks on impartially.
What am I doing in Nigeria
holding a dead girl.



bernie


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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018, 01:34 
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Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Posts: 1061
Location: Between the mountains and the sea
What more can we expect from you?
Nothing.

Marvellous informative critique.

Thanks Bernie.
I will work on it.


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PostPosted: 17 Feb 2018, 21:55 
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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03
Posts: 660
Just adding “in Nigeria”, as Bernie suggests, would make a big difference


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PostPosted: 20 Feb 2018, 03:58 
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Joined: 18 Apr 2005, 04:57
Posts: 1293
 
Hi Frank,


the archetype of compassion - the pieta - a living persom caressing/embracing a dying or just deceased persom


Workshop-share for the last -

I run to hold her, their laughter echoes
in the ramparts. In my arms, I feel
her last breaths on my face.

Mam in her kitchen, Sis playing
with the cat, Dad reading his paper
in the warmth of a coal fire.

Why am I here, in Nigeria, holding a dying strange?


^^ or in lieu of a question:

and I am lands away - in Nigeria - holding a dying stranger



Observation, esp the lines below:

" . . her life ebbs into
my arms, I feel her breath on my face."

and

"Why am I here Nigeria, holding a dying girl?"

^^ romantic emotionalism -

but then I see that, too, in Michelangelo's Pietà.

8)

Michael (MV)

 

 

 

 

  
 
 
 


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PostPosted: 20 Feb 2018, 11:27 
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Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Posts: 1061
Location: Between the mountains and the sea
Thanks Michael,
I've been trying to get that emotion in
without being too romantic for a long time,
but it is so important to me. It happened
so long ago and no one remembers her now.
So pretty in her red linen dress, so young
and full of life and why did she die, why,
and the blood staining her dress darker
to a black red colour. Holding her, N
is confronted by his blessings, coming
from the grace of the UK, peace and family
hope and joy and that moment only God
could help her, and it was not His sovereign will
to save her.

I like your suggestion on the last line, make
a statement rather than a question, I will ponder.


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