While attending the Ake Arts and Book Festival 2016 in November, I met Poet Shittu Fowora. I could tell almost immediately how passionate he is about poetry. In the short while we spoke, he told me, nay, taught me a great deal about poetry than I could have imagined learning within such a short period. He introduced me to Japhala Gwangwa, a performing poet and even played me his very long poem ‘Dawn’. We talked about inclusion of indigenous language in poetry amongst other things then he asked if I had considered writing new poetry forms. I had tried my hands on the haiku which I published here and I told him so. Then he told me about the Liwuli. I’d never even heard of that!
A Liwuli is a three stanza poem. The first stanza must be 31 syllables, and be an imperative, a set of instructions. The second stanza is 14 syllables, broken into 3 lines (no specific number of syllables per line). The 3rd stanza is 10 syllables, and must be a question or set of questions. Being the good student that I am, I’ve here tried my hands on the Liwuli.

Liwuli on Entering the New Year

Charge into 2017
Break into her like a robber
Leave no stone unturned
Take along no baggage
Make no mistakes.

Life is in phases
Just like a cabbage
With several folds

Are you not tired
of 2016?

Liwuli On Starting Afresh

Stop crying
Get up and shake off your gloom
Put yourself together
Cleanse yourself of yesterday
Get ready to start again

Life doth give to all liberally
Many a sign
Many a cue

Do you ever
pay any attention?


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