”Mothered by lonely women ……………my deities each one”
Fragments from two poems by Safia Elhillo
In celebration of Women’s History Month this year, our blogpost is dedicated to the remarkable Sudanese American poet Safia Elhillo. Next month, I will be looking more closely at her fascinating and complex work. Below, an excerpt from Ode to Gossips. You can read the sting in the tail of this poem, together with three others by her in full in https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/safia-elhillo
“……bright chiffon spun / about each head coffee in the dowry china…”
Below, excerpts from her poem first adornment, from her stunning anthology, The January Children, p16. The illustrations to these poems are my own.
”it’s ramadan i’m nine years old drinking / juice of crushed & strained hibiscus it/ darkens my lips a bitten red …” As Safia remembers her “big legged aunts”, “their men lost or upstairs or gone to America to look for work….” , she watches their quiet work and gentle rituals.