THE ARTS FORUM, in recognition of the “International Year of People of African Descent”, as designated by the United Nations, presents two poems by Cicely Rodway from her book Facing the Wind (2007).
Rodway’s poems deal with a broad range of issues from the personal to the political to the specifics of class, race, gender and colour.
According to Professor Anthony O’Brien of the English Department, Queens College, her poetry “reflects the commonplaces of domestic feeling struggling out of the commonplace, much like the confessional women poets of the American Sixties, its simplicities deceptive…………”
Cicely A. Rodway is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Queens College of the City University of New York, and has taught in the SEEK Program for twenty-five years.
She is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), who specializes in additions and facilitates workshops on academic, parenting, motivational and self-esteem issues.
Dr. Rodway’s private practice: Rodway’s Counseling and Academic Tutoring Services, is located in Jamaica Estates, Queens, NY and serves individuals of all ages.
Her first book, Sunstreams and Shadows, was published in 2001 by Africa World Press. In 2006 she released her first CD entitled FUSION through Zaban Productions.
Prior to settling in the United States of America, Cicely Rodway was a teacher and education administrator in Guyana and St. Lucia.
FOR WOMEN OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
Her roots are deep
Many bloods cruise through her veins
Yet she can trace with certainty
She comes from a long line
Of strong woman
The spirit of goddesses runs through
The spirit of earth and
Spirits of the elements
Rest in her
Spirit of Oya
Yoruba goddess of winds
The strong protectress of women
Yes, she comes from a long line
A long line of strong women.
She springs from survivors
From enslaved women
Who struggled to be free
Made stronger by this history
Bathed in the power of her ancestors
Strengthened by the faith
And works of sisters
She shapes the world.
OYA GODDESS OF THE WIND
Oya of Nupe
Nupe way station
To the nether world
Linking us with ancestors
Preserver of links
Yet as wind
A woman to her core
Oya of the wind
Oya of shifting shapes and forms
Goddess of winds
Oya of Nupe
Feminine to the core
Oya of Nupe
Oya patron of feminine leadership
Protector of women
Protector in negotiations
Venerated by Yoruba followers
In the new worlds of
In Cuba and Brazil
Oya mother of nine
Egungun of masquerades
Oya of Nupe
Jebba where dead souls
Return to pour
Blessings on the living.
The editor of THE ARTS FORUM Column, Ameena Gafoor, can be reached on e-mail: [email protected] or telephone: 592 227 6825.
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