I want you to know how happy I am with my little poem, Falling, having taken the third position in this years’ Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award! The prizes were great thanks to our sponsors!
Birds at Queen Elizabeth National Park, photo by BNN, 2009
The evening of 29th June 2012 when I read my poem to the guests at the poetry evening, I felt like giving birth to it. The message in the poem coincided with the pain of loss of my village mates in Bududa village who had been buried by landslides. At that moment, my poem carried hope for me and for my people and that meant so much to me. My people needed to hear those words ‘ I am learning from the weeping clouds that falling isn’t dying.’ Maybe there is meaning to this death in my village. May be death is not an end. I keep thinking.
Since the award, my poem has been shown off to friends, family and organisations and it feels like sharing a new precious baby to the world:
My friend Theresa Wolfwood from Canada says it is a powerful poem with no word out of place. Sumeet Glover a UK based poet and a friend to Terry, wrote a lovely commentary about the poem and wants to feature it on his website: www. global poetry.com These are his words: “ yes, I do remember this poem, and it was very much on my mind to reply to that email of yours from few weeks back. I was yet to spend time reflecting on this poem, but on the top of my head, I believe it's a beautiful poem. It is a celebration of feminism and it talks of the freedom every woman deserves, especially in Eastern and African societies where gender roles are strictly restricted. After reading this poem a few times, I thought "only if every woman had this sense of inner and outer freedom to just be whoever she wants to be". So yes, it contains a very powerful message for male-dominated and bigoted societies. On the other hand, it contains a very feminine and engaging sense of hope for other women to let themselves out, to breathe free, to let the rain fall, to get drenched in its waters and to walk home. The essence of this poem is a fearless 'awakening' to a woman's freedom. If there was a choice, this poem could also be renamed "fearless". Only if every woman had this freedom! That is my final thought, especially after I recently heard of my cousin sister in Delhi. Her husband has now turned slightly "kind" to give her "permission" to see her mom once in 4 months. Anyway, she has a choice she doesn't want to take. So "Falling" has an important place to let the fears and terror of women to fall away. I went to the Southbank Centre on Friday last week, and attended "African Utopia" debate. There was a panel of journalists of African descent debating how the West is so ignorant about Africa and how only about 20 or 30% of African population has access to Internet. Therefore, I wanted to ask you, if Betty may be interested in having this poem published on Global Poetry site? (the copyrights remain with the authors, GP doesn't hold any copyrights to others' works) I believe this will be a very important voice for African women, and women in general.’
FEMRITE used falling as a table tent that was marketed in restaurants, hotels, bars schools to promote the literally week of activities from 9th – 13th July 2012. Beatrice Lamwaka and Barbra Oketta used it with students of Jane Francis Secondary school in Masaka during their school visit where it was discussed and recited on 28th July 2012. My friend Cathy, a professor of literature at a university in Kuwait has promised to share the poem with her students!
For a small poem that began at a kitchen sink to travel these vast distances and find use and meaning to different people in a small period of time, is quite a profound experience for me! It is like a mother watching her child grow and accomplish his dreams.
I am extremely delighted and encouraged by the BN Award. Thank you so much for giving a forum for the inner voices of Ugandan women to be heard! Congratulations Beverley for this great effort!