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We know you all love Ama Ata Aidoo’s plays and fiction. But do you know that she is a poet? She published two collections of poems in the ’80s and ’90s. Still, fans and readers seem to only celebrate her work as a playwright and a fiction writer.

That is why we are excited that University of Nebraska Press recently published a new collection of Aidoo’s poetry. The collection is titled After the Ceremonies and contains brand new, never-before-seen poems, including some selections from her two previous collection.

As our on-going post in celebration of Women History Month, we are sharing one poem from the collection. The poem is titled “For My Mother in her Mid’90s.

To read more poems from the collection, go HERE.

Enjoy!

***

Long
complex, complicated stories:
heart-warmingly familial and sadly colonial.

You know how
utterly, wonderfully
insensitive the young can be?

Oh no. We are not here talking adults
who should know better,
but never do.

Aunt,
I thank you for
being alive today, alert, crisp.

Since we don’t know tomorrow,
see me touching wood,
clutching at timbers, hugging forests:

So I can enter young,
age, infirmities
defied.

Hear my offspring chirping:
“Mummy, touch plastic,
it lasts longer!”

O, she knows her mama well.
The queen of plastics a tropical Bedouin, she must travel light.

Check out the wood,
feel its weight, its warmth
check out the beauty of its lines, and perfumed shavings.

Back to you, My Dear Mother,
I can hear the hailing chorus
at the drop of your name.
And don’t I love to drop it
here, there, and everywhere?
Not missing out by time of day,

not only when some chance provides,
but pulled and dragged into talks
private and public.

Listen to the “is-your-mother-still-alive” greeting,
eyes popping out,
mouth agape and trembling:

That here,
in narrow spaces and
not-much-time, who was I to live?
Then she who bore me?

Me da ase.
Ye da ase.

 

**********

Post image by Darren-Hercher

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

4 Responses to “For My Mother in Her Mid-90s | by Ama Ata Aidoo | A Poem” Subscribe

  1. Afya March 15, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Beautiful Poem. Kindly do edit the introduction: I believe you meant to say:
    ‘But do you know that she is a poet?’

    • Ainehi Edoro March 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      @Afya,

      Thanks! The post has been updated.

  2. Afya March 16, 2017 at 10:05 am #

    My Pleasure. Thank you too.

  3. Sam May 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    Lovely I will love to share this to naijapoets.com. hope such is allowed

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