lördag 2 april 2016

Letters and heritage

  Till dagens afrikanska mål har jag valt en liten diktsamling av Ngwatilo Mawiyoo från Kenya. Bokdebuten skedde 2010, men redan 2009 besökte hon Stockholms Poesifestival. Först i september 2015 fick hon en profilsida hos Poetry International i Rotterdam.


  Profilen ger följande beskrivning:

  "Drawing from her musical background and her work as an actress, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (born 1983) is acclaimed as ‘a priest of the art of performed poetry’. She has performed in venues in East Africa, Europe and North America, such as the 2009 Stockholm Poetry Festival.

  An undisputed young master of the written word, Ngwatilo’s first collection of poems Blue Mothertongue (2010) is ‘crafted with beautiful pace and intelligence’, a worthy testament of her times." From Poetry International, september, 2015.


Migrant dream, by Ngwatilo Mawiyoo
(from Blue mothertongue : poems. Nairobi, Kenya : Ngwatilo Poetry & Books, 2010.)

Last night I dreamt I found your letters
in the hands of another. There were the sketches
you'd drawn on that baby blue envelope.
We were dolphins in the ocean, which mattered
because waters everywhere are connected -
feeding each other, suffering together
- which was how we wanted to live.
But I left and picked this place which forgets
the quality of water. Now because of the desperation
I fled and the hope I sought, I find myself prostrate;
a beached dolphin.

In the dream I cared nothing
for the other woman's presence;
merely took the letters back
because they belonged to me
even if you no longer did.
Only you have written "Dearest
Sarah" in a script I trust.

I woke in a panic and ransacked my apartment:
my bedroom, desk-drawers, moldy suitcases -
it had been so long - I didn't know what
I was looking for, the color or size of the box
I hid them in. But it surfaced and within it your letters,
intact in their hiding, protected by two freezer bags.

I unfold the dolphin-embossed envelope carefully
to look at your writing, I trace fingers along the pages
inside som my nerves will read them like Braille.
The parcel I place upon my desk, I must
photocopy its contents in the morning:
your letter is yellower than I remember.


Heirloom, by Ngwatilo Mawiyoo
(from Blue mothertongue : poems. Nairobi, Kenya : Ngwatilo Poetry & Books, 2010.)

She hushes herself; fighting back
tears, sighing aloud, speaking
incantations, now steady like despair
for a house with a man inside
who stays, which would stand on a street
scarred with memory and longevity –
like London’s streets on streets – but her own
filled with stories from her ancestry.
She looks at her child asleep in his cot
resolves to forge a home for him; even steal
a path to widen, in which to place cobblestones
or some other rock she can own.

(Not: Heirloom betyder arvegods på svenska.)

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