May 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Kamau!

Dear Kamau,

Opal and I wanted to give you something for your birthday, so we decided to do something that we hope you will like. I have done a podcast of one of your earliest poems from the Caedemon (did I spell it right?) recordings--one of the poems that I liked from the first time I heard it, you know the one. Yes, "Francina." 

And Opal has livicated a poem for your birthday. We have done this tribute because in your poems and life, you have given us an example of how a life should be lived--on its own terms. You have always written how you felt the poem could only be written, and you have taken a lot of criticism over the years for doing that. But where are the critics now? You are still creating, new vibrant poems and you are still leading the way for us.

Give thanks, Kamau.
Here is Opal's poem:

love is not an ideal
but power to render
truth in the present
despite dismay
and hopelessness
gallantry is not going
into battle shielded
by armor
rather refusing to submit
or be silenced
by corruption
or narrow religious zeal
that the flamboyant tree
will flame red in july
taking the anvil to words
hammering away like ogun
being the voice
you i´ve been loving
long before face and voice
brushed my ears
will be loving you
long after
the feel of your hands
have dissipated
one love
walk good
happy birthday, kamau

opal palmer adisa

First published 5/11/07