{Poetry}: World Poetry Day

In Southern Africa, it is popular to perform poems orally, and a lot of the poems that are performed orally are either praise poems or insult poems. Praise poems celebrate ordinary people as well as celebrities and politicians. On the flip side, there are traditional insult poems that almost sound like chanting. This is my attempt at both.

SOUTH AFRICA

To Praise Oneself

You loved with all you had to give.
(Your light shone brightly
like a firefly in dusk.)
When you were lost,
you still tried to provide direction.

When you felt like giving up,
you smiled, despite yourself.
(Though the smile was forced,
it was easier to smile than to cry
because you sooner let yourself down
than allow anyone else’s heart to crumble.)

You were humble when those around you
were arrogant.
You were content enough to make the most
of your situation.
(And where others felt pity,
you only felt empathy.)

You were always so much more
than the simple girl you saw.

An Insult to the Name

You rather do things your way
and shred hearts made of stiff paper.
You rather be alone with a woman bullying you
than to remember your family.

You tell the people who reach out to you
to reach away,
but your smile is cut of shark’s teeth
and lacks any sincerity.

I wish I could say I remember you,
but all you’ve done is change.
All the changes made are
an insult to the name.

In China, there is an “old style” of poetry and a “new style”. The old style is very relaxed as far as the style goes and is the style I will be using for World Poetry Day. It entails creating a poem that is an even number of lines and rhymes on the even number.

CHINA

The Blindness that is Love

People say love is blind,
but if you can’t see
how are you to know
the lies from overwhelming honesty?
People say love is kind.
How do you mistake friend for enemy?


That’s all for now, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my writing today and yesterday. I know I have talent. I have to stop being ashamed of my honesty. It’s because I am honest I am able to survive through 2/3 of what I’ve gone through. If I just lied or pretended like everything was okay, I would be a mess.

I need to focus on getting myself out there. Getting my voice heard. Any advice?

-L.G.

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