African Poetry

Nightmare by Frank Chipasula

Darkness chained me to my tattered reed mat; The hand of tyranny sprinkled The soot of ignorance in my eyes, and sleep …

If It Is True by Richard Ntiru

If it is true that the world talks too much then let’s all keep quiet and hear the eloquence of silence If it is true…

Civilization Aha by Sipho Sepamla

i thought of eden                             the first time i ate a fig i thought of a whiteman                     …

On Judgement Day by Sipho Sepamla

black people are born singers black people are born runners black people are peace-loving these myths make of us naïv…

Thought on June 26 by Mazisi Kunene

Was I wrong when I thought All shall be avenged? Was I wrong when I thought The rope of iron holding the neck of youn…

Elegy by Mazisi Kunene

O Mzingeli son of the illustrious clans You whose beauty spreads across the Tukela estuary Your memory haunts like tw…

The Echoes by Mazisi Kunene

Over the vast summer hills I shall commission the maternal sun To fetch you with her long tilted rays, The slow heave…

Poems About Prison by Lemuel Johnson

Cold the clammy cement sucks our naked feet a rheumy yellow bulb lights a damp grey wall the stubbled grass wet with …

Nightsong: City by Dennis Brutus

Sleep well, my love, sleep well: the harbour lights glaze over restless docks, police cars cockroach through the tunn…

Magic by Lemuel Johnson

Othello: Come, Desdemona. I have but an hour… The quick straddle will do. for now. nakedness itself is not the point;…

The Tin Gods by Syl Cheney-Coker

Watching the tombs tonight the desert raises its shadow the desert sees the caravan along its own arm: playing this g…

The Philosopher by The Philosopher

Who lived here when the stones were green verdigris of age when the reptilians marched like men into the night before…

Kassacks by Annette M’Baye d’Erneville

You are a man, tonight! You are a man, my son! By your bruised flesh By your spilled blood By your cold glance By you…

The Vultures by David Diop

In those days When civilization kicked us in the face When holy water slapped our cringing brows The vultures built i…

Africa my Africa by David Biop

Africa my Africa Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs Africa of whom my grandmother sings On the banks of …

The Renegade by David Diop

My brother you flash your teeth in response to every hypocrisy My brother with gold-rimmed glasses You give your mast…

Your Presence by David Diop

In your presence I rediscovered my name My name that was hidden under the pain of separation I rediscovered the eyes no…

Listen Comrades by David Diop

Listen comrades of the struggling centuries To the keen clamour of the Negro from Africa to the Americas They have ki…

Diptych by Birago Diop

The Sun hung by a thread In the depths of the Calabash dyed indigo Boils the great Pot of Day. Fearful of the approac…

New York by Leopold Sedar Senghor

New York! At first I was confused by your beauty, by those great golden long-legged girls. So shy at first before you…

What Dark Tempestuous Night

What dark tempestuous night has been hiding your face? And what claps of thunder frighten you from the bed When the f…

Visit by Leopold Sédar Senghor

dream in the intimate semi-darkness of an afternoon. I am visited by the fatigues of the day, The deceased of the yea…

Blues by Léopold Sédar Senghor

The spring has swept the ice from all my frozen rivers My young sap trembles at the first caresses along the tender b…

On Edge of Time Future by Ben Okri

I remember the history well: The soldiers and politicians emerged With briefcases and guns And celebrations on city n…

An African Elegy by Ben Okri

We are the miracles that God made To taste the bitter fruit of Time. We are precious. And one day our suffering Will …

Iva Valley by Ifi Amadiume

Man of my mother’s people, in your hair of cotton wool, I counted strands of wisdom untold. In your eyes luminous, I …

Bitter by Ifi Amadiume

If you were to squeeze me and wash, squeeze me and wash, squeeze and wash me, and I foam, again and again, like bitte…

Break Me Out by Odia Ofeimun

Away from the sweated faces the grimy masks of harried lovers who forget their vows sucked into the battled frenzy of…

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