Home Page African-Writing Online
HomeAbout UsNewsinterviewsProfiles of South African Women WritersFictionPoetryTributesArtReviews

  Alex Smith
  Amanze Akpuda
  Amatoritsero Ede
  Amitabh Mitra
  Ando Yeva
  Andrew Martin
  Aryan Kaganof

  Ben Williams
  Bongani Madondo
  Chielozona Eze
  Chris Mann
  Chukwu Eke
  Chuma Nwokolo
  Colleen Higgs
  Colleen C. Cousins
  Don Mattera
  Elizabeth Pienaar
  Elleke Boehmer
  Emilia Ilieva
  Fred Khumalo
  Janice Golding
  Lauri Kubuitsile
  Lebogang Mashile
  Manu Herbstein
  Mark Espin
  Molara Wood
  Napo Masheane
  Nduka Otiono
  Nnorom Azuonye
  Ola Awonubi
  Petina Gappah
  Sam Duerden
  Sky Omoniyi
  Toni Kan
  Uzor M. Uzoatu
  Valerie Tagwira
  Vamba Sherif
  Wumi Raji
  Zukiswa Wanner

   Ntone Edjabe
   Rudolf Okonkwo
   Tolu Ogunlesi
   Yomi Ola
   Molara Wood

August Debut

Issue 2; October/November


Our Seas will meet your Land in many Ways



Ando Yeva

is an African poet living in the United Kingdom. He writes and performs poetry regularly.



Photo: Ando Yeva

 Two Poems

Our Seas will meet your Land in many Ways

Dedication: for the victims of the Zong Massacre
- On 29th November, 1781, 133 African slaves were thrown alive
into the sea, so the shipowner could claim on his insurance

Sometimes we come in fog and frigid waves
baring daily fangs of grey and jagged rock.

Sometimes we lap at the white throats of lofty cliffs
or swarm onto a waiting beach endless as a smile.

We sweep our soft frothing again and again,
lacquering dawn beaches with the ancient taint of blood.

If it was easier to cease, would we not have slept?
That pinch of timeless injustice has salted all the seas with us.
We’ll be thrashing on and on in restless rage forever more:

the senselessness!
the senselessness!

(She’d lost the use of both her fettered legs:
the one was broken at the knee the other one was dead -
except to flare the incomprehension of pain)
We were a drowned Atlantic clan in an ocean trough,
but we were lodged in Death’s traumatised gullet, from
where a stymieing life has leached our spirits into seas.

It was easier then to wake from numbing cold and rouse
and tear through searing fires,
and push
through seas’ weight,
heaving history after
the crabs of living arms,
from blackness,
onto your beaches,
than sleep.

For we left sons and spouses, farms and daughters,
and North’s relentless armies still march south.

The Stolen return home in many ways.
Sometimes our tossing spirits pound your cliffs...
sometimes our surf will cuff your cold ankles like manacles
(for the Dead will greet the Alive in many ways)

And we will sigh, in gulls' cries: Remember! Remember us!



Tonight I stand with Trees.

Dedication: for the victims of the MC Ruby Murders -
In 1992, eight African stowaways on the Ukrainian ship, MC Ruby
were robbed, murdered and thrown overboard. The Captain
and deckhands were trying to avoid a ’carrier’s liability’ fine.

Long after their greed has bombed
and burned the valley grey and ash
and filled the gullets of red wells
with the detritus of finely sundered lives,

I stand with trees,
trunk burned rhino-grey,
bark scrawled and gouged,
& neither rage nor fear trembles these yearning
arms astonished in their sudden fruitless, leaflessness,
stymied tendrils twisting slowly - just to show I live -
barren boughs bearing the exquisite


of a timeless emptiness
that once bore this great and mighty weight of lively lives
and feisty dreams in this green and leafy womb.


If they were dog and had squirted on that crossroad
from centuries ago, where the Mighty crossed
while the merely Human read the signs and
turned about,
still poor and ordinary... still human…
if they were dog and had squirted just a little

We would not feel so lost today
as we stalk on, mighty, wifi, predator;
we won’t reprise this calloused wickedness, nor
iterate this spineless slavishness.


But no, I stand with trees tonight,
alien amidst a Mighty race,
lean mahogany on the arching brow
of this ploughed minefield through which I thread my careful roots
seeking (in the darkness of this secret grave, perchance a lost
and broken) seed of vanished (human) tribes before I find my mine and sleep.

Copyright © Fonthouse Ltd & respective copyright owners. Enquiries to permissions@african-writing.com.