About

Why ‘baobab papers’ ?

I am a child of the African continent, not the country in which I grew up. African fables, tales and mysteries accompanied my earliest childhood dreams. And Baobab trees, well, I adore them.

As trees go, I’m hard-pressed to find any other which so magically conjures up  Gods, sangomas, spirits,  mopani worms, wild imaginings, wildebeest, kudu, black mambas, rhinoceri, rain, shongallolos, lions, elephants, banana palms, monkeys or the ancestors of thunder and lightning.  All of these mixed into my childhood memories and fantasies I kept wrapped  safe from dust, inside notebooks at the back of my closet, alongside the sticky tapers of silkworm cocoons, tucked safely between fresh mulberry leaves, I stole off an overhanging branch of an estate tree, when I would cycle home from school. This was my world, hidden in a white shoebox, in the dark, from the raging of adults.

A Baobab tree nourishes, houses, feeds, protects and loyally defends all those who seek such comfort or even find mythical wisdom in her guidance. For me, she has always been Africa’s Grand Old Lady; defiant, rumbustious and most impressively of all, totally unafraid of Gods, myths, curses, and even death. She gives and shares and never asks for anything: hollowed out and ancient, she can host a village  within her trunk, if needed.

She is notoriously difficult to destroy:  not even the heat of a wild fire does her enough damage. It is a tree whose fruit and flowers have spawned industries.  In her rich abundance she chooses when to take her leave. . the Baobab is not a tree renowned for dying: When she does, you will not witness her ageing, she will not share the preliminaries of her dying with anyone. One will merely awaken to find,  in her stead, a simple pile of fibres of where her mammoth generosity and hospitality made you love Africa all the more, for ever having shared her shade and resourcefulness. There will be no dead remnant of her silhouette against the sky.

She is my African goddess of life, love and living. She is my muse. And in her shadow and by her light,  I am and can only ever be an unremarkablemuse by turn.

Welcome to my corner of the 100 Acre Wood.

14 thoughts on “About

  1. Debrah said it so well, I will just repeat her words,

    “I so infrequently find times that I am speechless, wordless … but this is one such time. Your wonderous words so artfully crafted, phrased and strung together … I simply sigh.”

    My love for Africa runs deep to my core and your words took me there, sitting under a baobab. I am in such a moment of tranquility, awe and peace, Thank you for that.
    Piper

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  2. I so infrequently find times that I am speechless, wordless … but this is one such time. Your wonderous words so artfully crafted, phrased and strung together … I simply sigh.

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  3. What an amazing childhood you must have had and your words here are laced with it. Your love of the land and the Baobab tree and its long history unfold a warmth as it is not a story but a truth. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the world.

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    • Thank you Steve,

      lovely to find you here, welcome. I am beginning to unearth how much Africa is my soul, my skin and my literary fabric,
      perhaps even my voice. :) It is lovely to know it speaks to you through my writing…

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  4. Come be with me, and be my love,
    And we will some new pleasures prove,
    Of golden sand, and crystal brooks,
    With silken lines and silver hooks.

    There will the river whispering run,
    Warmed by thy eyes more than the sun.
    And there the enamoured fish will stay.
    Begging themselves they may betray.

    When wilt thou swim in that live bath,
    Each fish, which every channel hath,
    Will amorously to thee swim,
    Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

    If thou, to be so seen, beest loath,
    By sun or moon, thou dark’nest both;
    And if myself have leave to see,
    I need not their light, having thee.

    Let others freeze with angling reeds,
    And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
    Or treacherously poor fish beset
    With strangling snare, or windowy net.

    Let course bold hand from slimy nest
    The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,
    Or curious traitors, sleave-silk flies,
    Bewitch poor fishes’ wandering eyes.

    For thee, thou need’st no such deceit,
    For thou thyself are thine own bait;
    That fish that is not catched thereby,
    Alas, is wiser far than I.

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    • The enigmatic, allusory and the cryptic illusion fits nicely with Donne’s own leaning toward the metaphorical conceit of the metaphysical for parody; especially since this poem baits and taunts Marlowe’s more affectatious and stylised rendering of love declared, won, lost or unrequited in Passionate Shepard to his Love.
      The parody of irony and valediction, sincerity and disingenuous-ness of love, Donne seems to imply, is not that far removed from the engaging seductive and relentlessly remorseless relationship a poet has with words and language. Wherein lies the bait…the fish, the tackle, the wait, the falling, the addiction or the intoxication of a poet to the art of his given God? Donne’s religiosity speaks very much for the last, as if in the paradox of lust is the benediction of poet apprentice… for the poem always has the last word.

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      • the glutton’s reach exceeds its grasp
        affirmed in a reflection withering
        a weasel did Carla’s shield reveal
        laid raw by Ubalda’s keen invective
        the quick of sociopath & scoundrel

        a harvest moon rose and
        then returned to ocean home
        to be renewed with lunacy
        by species borne in desire’s brine
        to extend Creation’s senses

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  5. Hello

    I apologise for contacting you via a comment, but I was wondering if you might consider reviewing my chapbook with Erbacce. I greatly admire your writing, and the story of your personal story very moving. I am not sure whether you would feel the same way about my work; but I am hoping to solicit some reviews for the back cover.

    The work is politically engaged, socially oriented poetry. I realise this is a big ask, and I perfectly understand if you decline. By way of gratitude I commit to buying three chapbooks for any reviews, good or bad, used or not.

    If you like, I can e-mail you a proof copy of to give you an opportunity to give it a once over in order to decide if you wanted to review it. I perfectly understand if this is not something for you.

    Many thanks

    Aaron
    asphara@hotmail.com
    http://asphara.wordpress.com/

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  6. Very good to find you *here*. Tell me of your intentions when you can; and, we’ll see what we can make of them.

    Dance on…

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    • Hi Mr R…

      wow, this is a surprise. Good to know you’ve not fallen to the ranks of the ”undead” :) Talking would have been a tad more challenging…

      how be you during this season of LA summer sunshine ?

      :-)

      Like

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