post Song of the Tuber

January 6th, 2012

Filed under: Literature Corner — Natty Mark Samuels @ 12:39

Song of the Tuber
to Normalisa Chasokela; of the Rose Hill Family Centre, Oxford.

The Shona call me tsenza,
The Hausa named me rizga.
Known as the Livingstone potato;
Eternal tuber of ancient Africa.

Sidelined by the outsider -
Sweet potato and cassava.
Still they use me as medicine,
For stomach ache and for nausea.

Because of the common potato,
Many have forgotten me.
I’ve become their food of famine,
A hard-times delicacy.

Although I’m called potato,
I’m placed in the mint family.
Of lavender and oregano,
Basil, thyme and rosemary.

You can boil me, roast me,
Bake or fry me.
In Zimbabwe they mash me up.
In a dish they call Chikone.

I’m endowed with iron,
Embellished by vitamin A.
Crucial bounties for the farmer,
And their children joyful at play.

Eat me raw or cooked,
Solo or with rice.
They eat my leaf as a vegetable,
‘Cause any which way is nice.

Original food of the Bantu,
Transferred to Madagascar.
In areas of Zimbabwe,
A favoured meal alongside sadza.

Go amongst the Shona,
To the house of Normalisa.
Taste and savour me there,
From what is grown in Nyanja.

From the beginning to the end,
Alpha and Omega.
I am perennial;
I am forever.

You can boil me, roast me,
Bake or fry me.
In Zimbabwe they mash me up,
In a dish they call Chikone.

© Natty Mark Samuels, 2011.

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