Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Ama-Ata-Aidoo_Darren-Hercher_Fadoa-Films

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

Tags: , , ,

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.

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

  1. Afya 2017/03/15 at 10:42 #

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

  2. Ainehi Edoro 2017/03/15 at 17:03 #

    @Afya,

    Thanks! The post has been updated.

  3. Afya 2017/03/16 at 10:05 #

    My Pleasure. Thank you too.

  4. Sam 2017/05/18 at 12:51 #

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

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.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Mabanckou, Mengestu, Shoneyin: The Caine Prize Recruits Big Names as 2018 Judges

Alain Mabanckou - Afropolitain

For its 2018 edition, the Caine Prize has recruited a host of big names for its panel of judges. Alain […]

Nnedi Okorafor Releases First Issue of “Black Panther: Long Live the King.” Long Live The Queen.

Black Panther - Long Live the King

The forthcoming Black Panther movie, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan, has generated a world of hype. […]

Paris Review Editor Lorin Stein Resigns After Accusations of Sexual Misconduct at Work

Lorin Stein

American critic Lorin Stein, editor of the prestigious, career-making literary journal Paris Review, has resigned from his job after accusations […]

Revisiting Childhood | Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau | Poetry

5570178377_ca5e11db25_o

in church today/ the pastor mentioned the twelve ways to burning in hell/ he did not mention love/ i began […]

Photos | Happy Birthday to Ainehi Edoro, Founder and Editor of Brittle Paper

Ainehi Edoro 2

One evening in mid-2010, in her apartment in Chicago, Ainehi Edoro, then a PhD student at Duke University, looked up […]

Lola Shoneyin Is a Cover Star on Guardian Life Magazine

lola

It’s almost two years since Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation, graced the cover of Guardian Life Magazine, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.