Tuesday Poem – I have forgot you oh without – Enoh Meyomesse

I have forgot you
               oh without

I have forgot my morning prowl
               down Mfoundi canal

I have forgot my daily trawl
               along Ongola’s stinking sidewalks

I have forgot my interminable treks
               past the oh-so-ugly hovels of Essos Nkoldongo

I have forgot the deaf-making clamour of your markets
               louder than the Lobé falls

I have forgot the polyphonic horn blasts of your cars
in the muddy boroughs 

I have forgot your steaming stewing cassava
               each morning beside the road

I have forgot the mouth-watering crackle of your doughnuts
               beneath the teeth of a starving beggar

I have forgot the lap of your flour thresher’s hands
               beside the nerve-gnawing sawdust fire

I have forgot the din of your packed-in bars
               grimly intoxicating my people

I have forgot the reek of your spirits in the carry-outs
nd shacks of Matango

I have forgot the violent brawling of your men
               when their heads bob with liquor

I have forgot the faces of your roadside gawpers
               eyeing out gossip to hawk hawk hawk

I have forgot the shrugging strut of your water boys
               your guava and mango boys, hopeless

I have forgot the desperate eyes of your street-dwellers with
               stumps for hands who beg, endless

I have forgot the radiant faces of your young women
               so charming when they smile

I have forgot the sweet music of your bistros birthing
               burning love affairs

I have forgot the sellers of your flowers
               to whom
                         will I give them



Translated by Katy Thompsett

Last week I wrote about Enoh Meyomesse the imprisoned Cameroon poet and writer. See here  Pen England has asked if there are any Maori translators who would like to voluntarily translate one or more of Enoh’s poems into Maori. If this is you and you would like to, please add a comment below and I will put you in touch.

Enoh Meyomesse
Enoh Meyomesse

“Enoh Meyomesse, 57, is a writer, blogger, historian and political activist who has published more than 15 books of poetry, prose, essays, and works on political and cultural themes and is a founding member and president of the Cameroon Writers Association. His first book was a collection of poems. In 2010, he published Le massacre de Messa en 1955 (The Massacre of Messa in 1955) and the tract Discours sur le tribalisme (A Discussion on Tribalism), in which he discusses the destructive effects of tribalism in Africa politics. View an interactive timeline about Enoh Meyomesse’s case. Meyomesse is a recipient of the 2012 Oxfam Novib/PEN Award in recognition of his continued work in the face of persecution.”

If you have come here from the Tuesday Poem Hub please return and enjoy the wonderful array of poems in the left hand side bar.  They come from thirty poets who keep this blog going week after week. TP editor this week is Catherine Bateson with a wonderful poem from The Abbotsford Mysteries by Patricia Sykes.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem – I have forgot you oh without – Enoh Meyomesse”

  1. Thanks for sharing, I like the way the poem works with ugliness and makes it missable, interweaving it with beauty and loss. But most of all thanks for doing your little bit to promote freedom of expression and highlight his plight.

  2. There are such wonderful details here. I am glad to see more from this poet this week. Thanks for keeping this going. Beautiful — and so powerful. Keep up this amazing work. Tip of the iceberg — you’re on it!

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