Friday, July 18, 2008


The following is a poem written about ugali, a staple in the Kenyan diet. Ugali is similar to cornmeal mush and doesn't have a strong flavor, so it's used in conjunction with other foods—vegetables, sauces, stews, etc.—to add substance and carbohydrates to a meal. The author of this poem lived in East Africa for many years but currently resides in the United States.

Immaculately swept dirt,
an African hut/home
aroma of hay dripping
from recently rained upon
thatched roof,

A steaming mound of
lovingly, laughingly
prepared corn meal.
In the dark
field coarsened hands of
a dusky Sukuma woman.

scratchy, firm
hot ball rolled
in the right hand
—only the right hand.
A concave cup of
corn swiped in spicy
stewed sauce.

grainy and coarse
bland yet spiked.
A mushy meal
made meaningful
by careful preparation
and conversation.

a simple warm

-bzm, 10 May 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The poem is lovely -- brings the bush home.

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science