Monday, 19 September 2016

Horns by the poet Kwame Dawes also paints another African challenge which differs in subject from the rampant issue of colonization, western encroachment, deep rooted corruption, unavailability of social infrastructures, civil and political wars, trafficking and abuses, droughts, jungle justices, gender inequality, just to mention few.

The title Horns symbolizes Mosquitoes. Billions are spent every year in African countries to curb the rage of mosquitoes and their malarias through immunization, sensitization, vaccination, importations of antimalarial weapons, and more; yet mosquitoes cease to become a thing of the past. The pain of mosquitoes rampage shimmered Dawes into composing this image-filled poem. With many imageries, the suspense within the poem cannot be denied.

In this poem titled "Horns", Kwame Dawes did not only write about the confident mosquitoes roaming human environments, he further explained their time of parade which was "somewhere in the white space/ between sight and sightlessness/ is twilight, and in that place/ that gap, the stop-time, the horn-/ headed creatures appear/ spinning, dancing, strolling/ through the crowd; and in the/ fever of revelation, you will".

"Between sight and sightlessness" means in the dusk when darkness begins to dominate the earth and at that time, the creatures with horns (the mosquitoes) come dancing and spinning towards their biting fiesta.

The ones with horns are not easily seen. Their troubles are undeniable; even the poet was a victim according to his words:
"My head throbs under
the mosquito mesh, the drums
do not stop through the night,
the one with horns feeds
me sour porridge and nuts
and sways, Welcome, welcome"

Structurally, the division of the 32 lines are into eleven stanzas of 3 lines per stanza except the last stanza which has two lines. Another thing to note in the structure of the poem is the use of run-on-lines where a stanza runs into another (the phrase "living room" runs from stanza one into stanza two). "at a rate/ faster than the blink of an eye" is an instance of comparison in the poem.

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


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