Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Hear Much Any More

These are words I don't hear much any more:
taratibu. Adj., tidy; adv., slowly,
a single word teaches that "haste makes waste".
Pole pole, adv., slowly, cousin to
pole, sorry; mpole, a quiet person or a poor person
impoverished perhaps by voicelessness.

Mwembe, a mango tree; embe, one mango,
part of the whole. Miembe, a shady grove
as cool and breezy as a house.

Maji, gushing from a brass tap
in the blazing sunshine; maji maji
warcry of a magical rebellion
meant to turn hot lead to harmless water.
Blood, damu, flowed instead.

It's been a long time since I was addressed
as mzungu (foreigner, European, colonialist)
or ndugu (sibling, comrade, relative)
or mgeni (stranger, guest).

--for Big Tent's prompt on unusual language.
You can find more complete definitions for the above words at the Kamusi Project.
Collection available! Knocking from Inside

17 comments:

throwshiswords said...

Those are beautiful words and they feel good to say, like rolling a candy around in my mouth :-) My favorite part of learning a new language is simply enjoying its distinctive feel and sound.

"Taratibu" - a very useful word, I'll use it to remind myself to slow down and be more deliberate.

Stan Ski said...

Thanks for reminding me I should pay attention to the words of my own youth and my roots.

vivinfrance said...

Lovely poem - very interesting words. Bravo.

vivinfrance said...

Lovely poem - very interesting words. Bravo.

Mary said...

Beautiful words; and I agree with Stan. It draws me to think about my own childhood language too.

marginalia said...

This is a wonderful poem—
The words and language of the poem are evocative—making me think about the loss of language.

Linda Frances

Derrick said...

I like the words (though not the idea!) "impoverished .. by voicelessness" and the lovely 'O' sounds of the mango stanza. It's easy to forget our language heritage.

brenda said...

Great take on the prompt. I'm sorry you do not hear those words anymore. If by chance we meet, teach them to me, and I will softly whisper them when you come near.

Linda said...

Beautiful perspective on the prompt.

briarcat said...

The maji section is my favorite--gushing from a brass tap
in the blazing sunshine--
and the subtle power of the last line.

Deb said...

Beautiful, Tiel.

Tumblewords: said...

Lovely. I can almost hear those words now.

Diane T said...

What a beautiful poem!

caroleesherwood said...

i love the sounds of these words! and your poetic explanation/use of them.

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

I agree with everything already said. And it made me think about lost words from my childhood. Thank you.

Dan Gambiera said...

You can always call me majura

mypoeticlicense said...

The line, "gushing from a brass tap
in the blazing sunshine"...love that.

The flow of the entire poem, interrupted by your "adv", parenthesis, semi-colons and such, ALL works - still flows smoothly.

Definitely makes me want to scope out your site more!

- Dina