Celebrated Ghanian poet Kofi Awoonor, aged 78, was one of the 59 people killed in the Al Shabab terrorist attack at the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya.  More than 100 people were injured in the attacks.

My colleague Wei Wei Hsing shared Awoonor’s poem Rediscovery.

Rediscovery (1964)

When our tears are dry on the shore

and the fishermen carry their nets home

and the seagulls return to bird island

and the laughter of the children recedes at night

there shall still linger the communion we forged

the feast of oneness whose ritual we partook of

There shall still be the eternal gateman

who will close the cemetery doors

and send the late mourners away

It cannot be the music we heard that night

that still lingers in the chambers of memory

It is the new chorus of our forgotten comrades

and the halleluyahs of our second selves

The poem can be found in A New Book of African Verse.

Graduation – Dorothea Tanning

I came across this beautiful poem on the NYC Subway today.  Poignant words as we head into a graduation weekend.


He told us, with the years, you will come

to love the world.

And we sat there with our souls in our laps,

and comforted them.

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012)

Also made me think about this article that came out Tuesday in The Atlantic about how smart phones are turning our public spaces into private ones.  I’m experimenting with not looking at my iPhone in the elevator, just as a start.  Crazy that even that would be a challenge.

Obama: poetry on an historic day

A friend with a sharp eye saw this handwritten sign in a window in the midst of last night’s election coverage:

rosa sat so
martin could walk so
barack could run so
our children could fly

And this morning Maya Angelou read part of her poem “Still I Rise” on CBS:

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou