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A Woman, Africa: A Poem by Deji Akanni

A Woman, Africa

Unfettered, a restless mane,
Is the Nile around your face.
A gloaming rush among papyrus reeds,
Where Serapis goes to drink with the Sphinx.
A plied water-drum, a rolling thunder,
When your locks fall over Abyssinia.

Oh come to Gizeh, behold!
Her ageless breasts crowned with flame.
Where Pharaohs repose in garments of gold,
In halls of glyph, their ancient reigns retold.
But they tarry not among earthly stones,
For Ra whispers beyond Osiris’ throne.

They ripple, they draw the gaze of gods,
Your Anthiope thighs in the land of kush.
Before Selassie reigned as king renowned,
There, masons immortal your buttocks carved.
In the horn that stirs the orient’s blood,
And with ocean beads your waist adorned.

A harsh mistress you become,
In the Saharan plane of your soul.
You brook no rivals among sand dunes scorched,
And wither walkers of that hellish turf.
Yet the oasis thrives and flowers bloom,
But for seekers of ancient pillars, doom.

Untold sorrow has been your lot,
Where the sun sets in your loins.
O’er crest and spray they rode to plunder,
And savagely ripped your virgin bower.
With shackle and whip your soul-child they bore,
To work cotton fields of an alien shore.

But still you rise above agony,
Robed with the promise of Maya’s joy.
Lions comb your hair beneath shining stars,
Poets sooth the pain of imperial scars,
Fairest of every flower that ever were,
Dudu-Osun, black jewel—Africa.

Deji Akanni
Deji Akanni
I grew up in Surulere in lagos and I am working as a medical lab technologist in LUTH. I enjoy soccer in my free time and I am active also in music and poetry followed naturally from there!


  1. I have dedicated one of my new artworks to your poem…your writing has touched me :))
    You can view it on my blog :)) meetnivi.blogspot.com

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