Why poems? I thought I would have something different to show case apart from prose, prose and more prose.
I have never looked at myself as a poet. In fact I never thought I could write a poem that anyone would appreciate. It was only after I joined FEMRITE about five years ago, that I tried my hand at it.
I created my first poem, The New Green by accident. Some members were writing some war stories about women in Northern Uganda. A friend suggested I could write a poem or two for possible inclusion in the Anthology, to liven it up. I wrote two poems and one of them was included in the Anthology - Today You Will Understand.
I was excited, so whenever the opportunity presented itself, I wrote a poem. I think I can now cautiously refer to myself as a poet, having had several others published in various Anthologies.
All the above children’s poems were published in an Anthology for Primary Schools. It was a Poetry Poster Project for schools, where poets collaborated with artists and the results were a fabulous colour book, The Butterfly Dance.
All the above were published, save for the first one, Love. The reason? It was too advanced for the children. However, I did not mean to write about romantic love, but the love that can exist between two people, even between a parent and a child.
I tried to describe things that make me happy. I thought, those same things were likely to make a child happy, so I included them.
Love and anger are both emotions and the two poems, Love and Anger, were meant to explore these emotions. The one about anger was meant to explore poetic imagery as well. It explored the kind of geographical physical features that Ugandan children are likely to identify with.
Sea Waves was meant primarily to identify the use of alliteration in poetry. Although Uganda is not bordered by any sea, I felt the children could easily relate to it because they are familiar with Lake Victoria and can easily relate the two.
My Imagination was meant to introduce the use of similes in poetry. It also has a lot of rhyme in it, which children easily identify with. Break Time was meant to introduce metaphorical language to the children. Also break time is an integral part of a child’s life. Often, it is a time of great relief, as the children are let loose to go and play. However, the child in the poem is not happy. It is supposed to be a reflective piece.
The cultures reflected in the pieces are not necessarily peculiar to Uganda. Love and anger are universal emotions. The sense of pleasure the poet derives from the sound of the sea waves and the irritation the poet feels at break time are also universal themes. The imagination in My Imagination, is reflective, which is also a universal theme.
The only unique aspect to the Ugandan way of life would probably be the physical geographical features described in Anger. The hibiscus in Love is also a Ugandan flower. However the song Kwazulu Natal is from South Africa.