Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

A Dancer's Challenge

Enlarge poem

Figure of vigour, vibrating in every fibre
Fiery fusion of finesse and vim
Fast as light across the vast arena
I fear as you veer towards my seat

Vaulting without a fault upon
The volleys of flute and drum
And fiddle and vaunting lyre
Now feigning love, now vanity, now folly

You vary your step like a visiting fairy
Surveying a frenzied field of faces
Feasting upon your feline flow
And vowing unfettered love for you

I view with envy what only a few can even dream
A vital vase abashing my sluggish shape like a farce
Though feverish with a voracious desire
Can I accept your ferocious call to dance?

Austin Bukenya

Featured Poem:

Naturally

Enlarge poem

I fear the workers: they writhe in bristling grass
And wormy mud: out with dawn, back with dusk
Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit
And I eat the fruit

And still they toil: at boiling point
In head-splitting noise and threatening saws
They suck their energy from slimy cassava
And age-rusty taps: till they make a Benz

And I ride in the Benz: festooned
With striped rags and python copper coiling monsters
While the workers clap their blistered hands
And I overrun their brats

They build their hives: often out
Of the broken bones of their mates:
And I drone in them – ‘state-house’
Them, ‘collegize them, officialize them

And I… I whore their daughters
Raised in litter-rotting hovels
And desiring a quickquick high-high lifelife
To break the bond

And I tell the workers to unite
Knowing well they can’t see hear or understand:
What with sweat and grime sealing their ears
And eyes already blasted with wielding sparks
And me speaking a colourless tongue

But one day a rainstorm shall flood
The litter-rotten hovels
And wash the workers’ eyes clean
Refresh the tattered muscles for a long-delayed
Blow

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (19)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (8)
  • Reflection (4)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (2)
  • Sorrow (4)
  • Vigour (4)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (5)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Austin Bukenya is best-known as a pioneering scholar in the discipline of oral literature, to which he and his teacher, Pio Zirimu, gave the now popular label, orature.

Born in Masaka, Southern Uganda, in 1944, he went to high schools around Kampala and Entebbe and was a first-class graduate of the University of East Africa (Dar es Salaam) in 1968. He also studied at universities in Madagascar and England, and took his higher degrees at Makerere and Kenyatta Universities.

He has taught languages, literature and drama at Makerere University in Uganda and universities in the UK, Tanzania and Kenya since the late 1960s. He has also held residences at universities in Rwanda and Germany. Bukenya is also a literary critic, novelist, poet and dramatist. An accomplished stage and screen actor, he was for several years Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Centre at Kenyatta University, Nairobi.

Austin Bukenya

Biography

Austin Bukenya is best-known as a pioneering scholar in the discipline of oral literature, to which he and his teacher, Pio Zirimu, gave the now popular label, orature.

Born in Masaka, Southern Uganda, in 1944, he went to high schools around Kampala and Entebbe and was a first-class graduate of the University of East Africa (Dar es Salaam) in 1968. He also studied at universities in Madagascar and England, and took his higher degrees at Makerere and Kenyatta Universities.

He has taught languages, literature and drama at Makerere University in Uganda and universities in the UK, Tanzania and Kenya since the late 1960s. He has also held residences at universities in Rwanda and Germany. Bukenya is also a literary critic, novelist, poet and dramatist. An accomplished stage and screen actor, he was for several years Director of the Creative and Performing Arts Centre at Kenyatta University, Nairobi.

A Dancer's Challenge

Enlarge poem

Figure of vigour, vibrating in every fibre
Fiery fusion of finesse and vim
Fast as light across the vast arena
I fear as you veer towards my seat

Vaulting without a fault upon
The volleys of flute and drum
And fiddle and vaunting lyre
Now feigning love, now vanity, now folly

You vary your step like a visiting fairy
Surveying a frenzied field of faces
Feasting upon your feline flow
And vowing unfettered love for you

I view with envy what only a few can even dream
A vital vase abashing my sluggish shape like a farce
Though feverish with a voracious desire
Can I accept your ferocious call to dance?

Featured Poem:

Naturally

Enlarge poem

I fear the workers: they writhe in bristling grass
And wormy mud: out with dawn, back with dusk
Depart with seed and return with fat-bursting fruit
And I eat the fruit

And still they toil: at boiling point
In head-splitting noise and threatening saws
They suck their energy from slimy cassava
And age-rusty taps: till they make a Benz

And I ride in the Benz: festooned
With striped rags and python copper coiling monsters
While the workers clap their blistered hands
And I overrun their brats

They build their hives: often out
Of the broken bones of their mates:
And I drone in them – ‘state-house’
Them, ‘collegize them, officialize them

And I… I whore their daughters
Raised in litter-rotting hovels
And desiring a quickquick high-high lifelife
To break the bond

And I tell the workers to unite
Knowing well they can’t see hear or understand:
What with sweat and grime sealing their ears
And eyes already blasted with wielding sparks
And me speaking a colourless tongue

But one day a rainstorm shall flood
The litter-rotten hovels
And wash the workers’ eyes clean
Refresh the tattered muscles for a long-delayed
Blow

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (19)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (3)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (8)
  • Reflection (4)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (2)
  • Sorrow (4)
  • Vigour (4)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (1)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (5)

A Dancer's Challenge

Enlarge poem

Figure of vigour, vibrating in every fibre
Fiery fusion of finesse and vim
Fast as light across the vast arena
I fear as you veer towards my seat

Vaulting without a fault upon
The volleys of flute and drum
And fiddle and vaunting lyre
Now feigning love, now vanity, now folly

You vary your step like a visiting fairy
Surveying a frenzied field of faces
Feasting upon your feline flow
And vowing unfettered love for you

I view with envy what only a few can even dream
A vital vase abashing my sluggish shape like a farce
Though feverish with a voracious desire
Can I accept your ferocious call to dance?

Comments

Your email address will not be published.