Friday, November 26, 2021

Recollecting Kiswahili

These are the names of rivers: Ruvu. Wami. Rufiji.
Ruaha, Ruvuma.

Amani: a region where tea grows on limestone mountains
Amboni: the deep and lightless caves underneath.

The g is hard in ngoma, drum or dance
soft in ng’ombe, cow
hard twice in Ngorongoro Create: vast stone ampitheatre
ringed by lush highlands, Karatu.
Looking down on the jungles that frame Lake Manyara
with its beaches of white alkali and flocks of flamingoes
tinting the sky with sunrise at midday.

G is hard in Oldonyo Lengai, sacred mountain
overlooking the gorge of Olduvai that cradles the bones
of all our ancestors.

Ny is a soft sound, like Nyerere
father of his country, peaceful revolutionary.

Nyama means meat. Mnyama, an animal. Wanyama, animals.
Mtu, a person; watu, people.
Mountains are milima. One mountain, mlima or kilima.

Moshi means smoke – the name of a town
overlooked by Kilimanjaro, the mountain of fire.

Books Available
The Day of My First Driving Lesson
Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare's Stable
High-Voltage Lines
Knocking from Inside

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