Writing Inside the Guts of a Crow

Ali Ahmad Sa’id also known as Adonis is a Syrian poet. The country he speaks of in the first poem, “A Prophecy,” sounds so much like my own country. Maybe that’s why I cannot read the poem without plunging into sad contemplation. As far as imagery goes, both poems are “gruesomely sensory.” Imagery that evoke the body in a way meant to jar the senses and make the reader respond with something other than the mind.

A Prophecy

To the country dug into our lives like a grave,
to the country etherized, and killed,
a sun rises from our paralyzed history
into our millennial sleep.

A sun without a prayer
that kills the sand’s longevity, and the locusts
and time bursting out of the hills,
and time drying out on the hills
like fungus.

A sun that loves maiming and murder,
that rises from there, behind that bridge…

A Mirror for the Twentieth Century

A coffin that wears the face of a child,
a book
written inside the guts of a crow,
a beast trudging forward, holding a flower,
a stone
breathing inside the lungs of a madman.
This is it.
This is the twentieth century.

Both pieces were published in Guernica in anticipation of the Selected Poems by Adonis published by Yale University Press.

Photo Credits: Maredart.com

Tags: , , ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

2 Responses to “Writing Inside the Guts of a Crow” Subscribe

  1. Di 2011/01/26 at 12:37 pm #

    this is pretty intense, havent done much poetry lately, but i can relate with this.
    i really should stop by brittlepaper more often.

  2. Ainehi 2011/01/26 at 4:32 pm #

    Hey Di,

    Thanks for stopping by o. You’re on point girl. Intense is a good way to think about what Adonis is doing him. Adonis is an oddball poet. I have actually only read one collection of his poem titled The Blood of Adonis and I realize that I like him because he does strange things with imagery in a way that unsettles the reader.

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

The Very Zimbabwean Story Behind Petina Gappah’s Rotten Row Book Cover

Untitled design (18)

Rotten Row is Petina Gappa’s forthcoming collection of short stories. The Zimbabwean author who closely documented the experience of writing this […]

Adichie’s Fans, Rejoice! |Her New Book Covers Are Wax Print Masterpieces

Untitled design (20)

Adichie’s book covers have essentially been transformed into fashion accessories, and we are not complaining. In Adichie’s world of bestselling […]

Horses in Möenchengladbach | T. S. Hidalgo | African Poetry

Not allthose who wanderare lost (2)

Among telephone listenings, and hidden cameras, on a terrace in Germany, and infiltrators (as waiters, at noon and at three, […]

The Magic of Childhood Captured in Six African Novels

Untitled design (16)

Childhood is a stage in life that captivates us all, in part, because it is so elusive. Once we come of […]

Genesis: Nine Months Before May 17, 1998 | by Faruq Obatolu | African Poetry

Genesis- Nine Months before May 17, 1998 (1)

(I wrote this as a way of saying thank you to those that wished me well on my birthday on […]

Light | Tiwaladeoluwa Adekunle | An African Story

Light (1)

She has a morbid thought while she sits under the tree, will death take me now? Her mind travels down this […]