Thursday, July 26, 2018

Welcome to Nsah Mala!

Photograph by Freedom House

Tonight I would like to post some poems by Nsah Mala, a poet and teacher from Cameroon.  Recently he published Constimocrazy: Malafricanising Democracy with Pski's Porch.  The poems below are from this book, his fourth book of poems. 

The Refugees

Wealthy at first were all refugees.
Ancestral blessings have been on all refugees.
Out of their abodes, something pulled them: 
natural – earthquake, flood, eruption, tsunami... 
man-made – strike, coup, war, terrorism...
War and terror are the worst of them all.
When on the way out, no eye looks back again: 
only mouths may mutter, O God! O God! O God! 
Muddy and dusty feet, little and ageless infants, 
hearts panicking, watery eyes, dry lips...
Here they are, in a new and foreign land. 
Though received with warmth, and resentment at times, 
they are shy and their hearts are filled with shame
 for it isn’t their land, anyway...
Bath, walk, speak, eat...they do without choice. 
Bodies and persons worldwide come to their aid, 
taking them for babies, but they are world-less there 
since choice is no longer theirs.
One day if their problem is solved,
they’ll hope to see darling ones who remained afield 
and to meet their abodes or rubbles thereof.
In joy and fear, they all dare homeward. 
Undigested troubles will deliver unfortunate ones 
whose aid can only be SORRY, even from above. 
They’ll march ahead either to the world of phantoms 
or to their nouveau village natal.

(Njinagwa, 21 February 2007)


Who Hates Mankind?

Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
take glory in inventing weapons
and measure progress in missiles. 
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
brag about military prowess
and measure might in warfare.
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
do business in ammunition
and brighten up as war darkens. 
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
preach terror and violence
and forget to spread love & peace. 
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
pull triggers and launch grenades
& decrease mankind to increase grades. 
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who
prey on humans and other animals 
and suck the earth pale for gains. 
Ask me who hates mankind?
I will point to those who 
enmesh the weak with economic strings 
& suck lipids below their ancestral soils.

(Perpignan, 29 December 2016)

Man, Follow Me to Class!

Man, follow me to class
and let us learn from
the speaking silence of Nature,
and be wise. No grass ever
harms another, not even parasites, never.
But we humans strive to ruin ourselves:
we start guns that finish us;
we make bombs that mar us;
we assemble philosophies that divide us;
we resurrect sins that bury us;
we destroy nature that protects us!
Man, get your books and pens,
let’s go into eco-school,
observe other beings and repent
before our world gives way. No animal ever
preys on its kind; no other animal pollutes, never.
We humans invite chaos on ourselves:
we manufacture arms that fracture us;
we adopt laws that dehumanise us;
we overstretch technology that maims us;
we ignite wars that quench us;
we evolve quickly to dissolve Nature and us!

(Perpignan, 18 September 2016)

If Nsah Mala's poems have piqued your interest, you may buy Constimocracy: Malafricanising Democracy on Amazon:

Sample some jazz from Cameroon here:

This recording by Freddy Ngana Bidzongo and Vedette Jazz is from the 1970s:

I'll finish with "Lonely Fish," a collaboration between jazz musicians from Cameroon and Germany:


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