The Song of the Women of my Land by Oumar Farouk Sesay

‘The Song of the Women of my Land’ by Oumar Farouk is a forty-eight line poem that does not follow a specific rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. The lines are quite different lengths with the shorts containing one word and longest: twelve. Despite being no consistent patterns in the text, the poet does make use of rhyme selectively. For example, there are moments of half-rhyme scattered throughout the poem, and a few corresponding full, or perfect rhymes. The latter is seen most clearly through the use of repetition. Words like “lives,” “song” or “songs” and “land” appear numerous times in the text, creating the feeling of a perfect rhyme scheme. Or, there are other examples such as “gains” and “pain” in lines fourteen and fifteen. (Poem Analysis)

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Like a sculptor chipping away at bits of wood,
Time chisels away bits of their memory
It strips away lyrics of the song of the women of my land
Leaving only a fading tune echoing the song,
they sang in the forlorn fields
about their lives; songs
of how they ploughed the terrain of their landscape
for memories of lyrics lost in the vast void of time,
in those days when a song beheld their lives;
when servitude cuffed the ankles of their soul,
and dereliction decapitated the epic of their lives.
With a song, they sponged off their anguish,
to behold their collective pain,
to celebrate their gains,
give lyrics to the tune of their lives,
cheat the tyranny of time
and commune with the yet unborn
to give meaning to an epoch lost in antiquity,
Yet time strips the lyrics and scars the tune,
leaving a dying song.
Like the woman who died long ago,
Leaving the song to tell the story of their lives.
Today the tune roams the forlorn fields
Like their souls looking for lyrics.
To tell the tale of the servitude
of the women of my land
Who ploughed their soil and soul
For a song to sing the story of their lives
The song of the women of my land
left in the memory of my wind.
Now feeding the verses of poets, it echoes in
Wriggling in rhythms and melodies,
Hollering in distant tunes
In places far afield the forlorn fields,
where the song of their lives died.
The stuttering lips of my pen
And the screeching voice of my rib
try to sing the song of the women of my land
In verses far from the theatre of toil
where they left a song that now roams the land
stripped of lyrics like a scorned ghost.
The tune tuning the tenor of my verse
is all that remains of the song of the women of my land
Who laboured and died leaving a dying song.
The dirge of their lives!

The Stanzaic Pattern – Physical Structure:

Stanza 1 – couplet;

Stanza 2 – couplet;

Stanza 3 – heptastich;

Stanza 4 – heptastich;

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Stanza 5 – quintain;

Stana 6 – octave;

Stanza 7 – Quintain;

Stanza 8 – Spenserian

Stanza (nine lines); and Stanza 9 – one line.

NOTE: All the stanzas do not follow the rhyme patterns of the stated stanzas’ patterns, the terms are employed on the basis of the number of lines.)

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