About poems

I read this poem and liked it and thought you might like it too. It's by Evan X Hyde from Belize and is called About Poems:

We didn't know

no better

we was small

we was slaves

so they said

we they said

will teach you

about poems

poems is like this

trees by Joyce Kilmer

God can make a tree

poems by a fool like me

poems is like this

they have to rhyme

in every line

and every time

poems must be nice

so we tried to write poems

while we was still small

and was slaves

and we was slaves

and they said good, that's poems

but after we get big

and fight for freedom

and write

the way we feel

hunger in the eyelashes

of our eyes

and hatred give us fever

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionBBC News asked some of the world's poets about their favourite poem

they said NO

those is not poems

they is hatred

they is violence

they is not nice

neither proper

nor correct

most uncourteous

so we said all right

it's not poems


AMANDALA they said

what's that?

and we said

it's what we call poems by men like me

God can still make a tree

The poem is part of a compilation published by Bloodaxe called World Record. The book features the work of approximately 200 poets from around the world, most of whom are taking part in Poetry Parnassus at the South Bank Centre: an event the organisation describes in language more hyperbolic than poetic, as "the biggest gathering of poets in world history". It has just started and runs until 1 July.

Here's another poem from the collection that caught my eye and ear. It's called Bitter as Fruit by Ana Paula Tavares from Angola:

Beloved, why have you returned

with death in your eyes

and without any sandals

as if someone else were dwelling in you

in a time

beyond all time

Beloved, where did you lose your metal tongue

with its signs and proverb

with my engraved name

where did you leave your voice

soft as grass and velvet

and studded with stars

Beloved, my beloved what has returned of you

is your shadow

split in half

is a you before you

words as bitter

as fruit

Note: It is a tradition, among men of the Kwanyama people, to carry in their mouths a leaf-shaped strip of metal ornately engraved with signs and sayings and used to produce whistling sounds.