Concerto Goree In 'A' Minor (For Maya Angelou)
Oh! Oh! ! Oh! ! !
This is not a cry of pain.
It is the sound of the push of
the pangs of the birth of a tale
that l have carried like a pregnacy all my life.
If it sounds like laughter to you
then know that l am laughing at
their ignorance of our ways.
They would not understand.
That is why they say Maya is a poet
but she is not, it is just the jeliya
that has put words into her mouth to
say to the people of the new world
what her grandmother would have
said in the village square long ago.
Jelli, jelli oh jelli let the drum roll now
because my feets are itching to take a step
and may the women shout to give me strength
to sing the tales that was told me by my father.
There was once Abdou, long before the birth
of Mansa Musa who become friend of the Arabs
who crossed the Sahara to teach us new things
and built the place called Timbuctou.
Abdou's grandson married Aminatou and
started the generation that went along with
the women to the riverside who never returned
because some people took them in an ambush
to Goree, that dreaded island where people
never came back when they visit the place.
Yes, l can hear the winds telling
me the divinations that was handed
over to my grandmother by the children
of Camara's household who divined in
the village and helped cure all sickness.
The spirits said one of our own
has returned in the flesh somewhere
and has been given the name Maya
and she has become a griot like our
great, grand father and sings our trade
in a new language that the gods do not
understand and the people who have
claimed her as their own say she is a poet.
Maya, you are the great-grandchild of
Aminatou, who was like you singing of
tales that was handed over to her under
the moonlight in the village square.