Sunday, March 10, 2013

Muriel Spark's Africa Poem

Aidan Hartley, author of the excellent Zanzibar Chest, tweets a stanza from Muriel Spark's poem, Like Africa, and inspires me to find the rest.

Here is the poem in its entirety:

Like Africa
He is like Africa in whose
White flame the brilliant acres lie
And all his nature's latitude
Gives measure of the simile.

His light, his stars, his hemisphere
Blaze like a tropic, and immense
The moon and leopard stride his blood
And mark in him their opulence

In him the muffled drums of forests
Inform like dreams, and manifold
Lynx, eagle, thorn, effect about him
Their very night and emerald.

And like a river his Zambesi
Gathers the swell of seasons' rains,
The islands rocking on his breast,
The orchid opens in his loins.

He is like Africa and even
The dangerous chances of his mind
Resemble the precipice whereover
Perpetual waterfalls descend.

You'll know you did something right in your life if a girl ever writes you a love poem half this good.

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