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."

Image via Flickr.

my father’s cows used to be there,
and here,
in this ranch
now cold and desolate.
its walls mourn in silence,
missing the buzzing bodies that kept it warm.
my father’s cows used to be here,
splattered in white,
eyes staring deeply into the void within souls;
sometimes, you wonder why they stare
ignoring the flies humming noteless melodies.

to kill a shepherd, they say,
take his cows,
gather them in one place
and set them ablaze,
or throw an axe or a dagger
and you’ll wish their blood
were not on your hands.

this is how to remember the dead:

sing a dirge
but do not shed a tear,
write a poem,
trace the line that leads to where memories
faded into darkness,
place your feet in the places they once stepped on,
remember moments you once shared,
but also,
take a walk away from their lingering presence.

this is also how to remember the dead.

every man in a caftan reminds me of a body
that once roamed the earth in desperation
seeking for comfort in the
bosoms of naked women,
in canteens where sorrow is drowned
in a sea of bitter liquid at night
only to surface again by morning.

grasses are greener on the other side,
they say,
maybe it’s why these ones have gone brown
in oblivion.

my father’s cows used to be here,
this world, now a tired place.
the foul smell of dung no longer hangs heavy in the air,
flies no longer feast on bodies of white mammals
now gone to nowhere,
and like them he is also gone.
I do not see them anymore,
neither do I see him,
but I know
my father’s cows used to be here
just like him.




About the Author:

2017-02-18-10-29-01-195Farida Adamu is a writer who loves to travel and dislikes the idea of keeping pets. She looks forward to a time where all unemployed people will get paid for not working at all.

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “For When We Remember the Dead | By Farida Adamu | Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Wole Fash 2017/04/10 at 16:44 #


  2. Solo d' king 2017/04/11 at 12:20 #

    Hhmmm… I am still speechless…too dumbfounded to utter even gaging notes…Very emotional…just emotional…Well penned adamu!

  3. Felix Ikwuemesibe 2017/04/12 at 10:37 #

    Sometimes I wonder why tragic stuffs are most emotional, in contrast with the mellowed genres

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."


Chike Frankie Edozien’s “Lives of Great Men” Is a Finalist for the 2018 Publishing Triangle Awards

lives of great men copies

Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men is a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Awards, in the Randy Shilts Award […]

Freedom | Sobantu Mzwakali | Fiction


THERE IS NO need to see the sun in these intense blue skies.  It is foreboding, ominous and could be […]

From “Logarhythms” to “The Hate Artist”: Texts, Sub-texts, and the Art of Naming in Niran Okewole’s Poetry | Tosin Gbogi

the hate artist

Logarhythms is Niran Okewole’s first poetry collection, and it is with this that he established himself as a poet to […]

Lesley Nneka Arimah and Zinzi Clemmons Are Finalists for the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize

zinzi clemmons - black cultural events

Lesley Nneka Arimah’s short story collection, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, and Zinzi Clemmons’ novel, […]

For Women’s History Month, Enkare Review Is Listing African Literary Women Who Have Inspired Them


For March 2018’s Women’s History Month, Enkare Review magazine is listing the 30 African literary women who have inspired them. […]

Tomi Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone” | Read Chapters 1-6

tomi adeyemi

Last year, 23-year-old Nigerian Harvard graduate Tomi Adeyemi scored a million-dollar book + movie deal for her Young Adult trilogy. […]

Thanks for signing up!

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

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.