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Music: Poems by Toyin Adewale-Gabriel


  • Where is a word to hold the edge of blue waters
    when the waves wrestle
    like rival wives? Where is a word to hold a woman
    when she runs,
    runs, runs…where is a word to stamp out a fire
    when a sky has no

    Listen to yourself.
    Listen to the gossip of seas,
    up Nombolisa’s cooking stones.
    Listen to derelict hope
    swinging cloth
    hangers at the green lights.
    Listen to the man you cannot touch
    manacled children, the rubbished innocence.



  • Noon, under a sun that’s lost its fire,
    your blue harp slakes its thirst
    for song,
    stretching its chords, wings of fire,
    arching on tiptoes, a
    unearthing the ages, like a
    baby hungrily thrusting a nipple
    into her mouth. Harp digging for treasure,
    here l am, a pearl
    sitting on my bum.
    Offer me a dance, pull me close,
    nourish my braids
    and l shall
    ascend, rung by rung,
    past the corridors of rust,
    the aching rivers,
    past the lips l cannot kiss.
    I shall stand on the
    by the waters of rest.



  • We had silence like nowhere else
    barkless dogs, babies sleeping in
    strollers. We had the miracle of first fruits,
    pristine air, a
    budding spring.We had a garden of potato fries,
    we owned a lake –
    full of laughter.

    You and l and a mountain road.

    We had a mascot
    of neon
    preserved by the force of dreams.

    We were triumphant, we knew
    hungry and thirsty, we licked the dew

    off the face of morning.


© Toyin Adewale-Gabriel

Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel
Toyin Adewale-Gabriel is the author of Naked Testimonies, Die Aromaforscherin and Flackernde Kerzen. She is the editor of 25 New Nigerian Poets and co-editor, Inkwells and Breaking The Silence. She is a Fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude and has been Writer in Residence at the Villa Waldberta, Munich and The Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, Visby, Sweden. An MA degree holder from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Adewale-Gabriel has published poems, stories and book reviews in various journals and newspapers. She has served in an executive capacity on the board of the Association of Nigerian Authors whose official annual journal, ANA Review she also edited. Toyin who has read her poems and stories to audiences in Nigeria, South Africa, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Italy and Luxemburg founded the Women Writers of Nigeria, WRITA, in 1991.


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