Writings of the general word's body

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


We have come to the cliff, a sheer drop
cried below, death was asleep there,
snoring in the aquamarine waters.
Beneath the French fortress, ganja men
smoked on, hanging castaways on knotty trees.

We travelled a little while, a little lost.
We held the baobab trees, glistening in the dusk,
whispering how many were lost, how many never returned.
Without knowing why, we babbled like babies
in the house of slaves, smells grabbed us like memories
in this meeting of ways at the gate of no return.

We sail to the sale across the endless sea,
the medley of voices, the nights without cover
when a master’s sperm beckons, children strewn
like harmattan dust, what can the Portuguese say;
only that we too were here, trampling on men and fish.

Here, volcanoes become rock and sand,
boababs live to tell the tale to a
museum of women, hot colors wed
in the sun, brick/red for loss, turquoise for joy,
green for an elegant shoulder swathed in boubou.

In the avenue of baobabs,
griots recline, strumming on balafons.
Tell it to us, these things we forget,

the garden of desert plants
the ruins of cannon guns.

© Toyin Adewale-Gabriel

  • At the PEN Women Writers' literary evening earlier this month in Dakar, Toyin Adewale-Gabriel read her poems, "Safari (for Ogaga Ifowodo)" & "Goree".
  • "Goree" is used with permission.
  • Poet photographed @ the Kadjinol Cultural Centre, Dakar, Senegal - on 11 July 2007 - by MW.