BRIGITTE POIRSON: THE GOAT THAT SAVES OUR YAMS
(for Brigitte Poirson, French teacher and promoter of African poetry)
when we gathered in the tubers
from our farms across seven rivers
ah! we planned for yam-feasts
we forgot about our hungry beasts!
they stole in nightly for tubers
while the village went to slumber
soon, all our barns were empty
our wails and tears flowed aplenty
until a goat crossed the Rhine
bleating to us her hope-garbed line
she horned the thieving beasts
composed sweet tune for our feasts
again we gathered in tubers
from farms far beyond seven rivers
today we hold endless feasts
in the absence of thieving beasts!
When I was working on my first book, I sought the help of several ‘big’ Nigerian writers and God knows 99% of them turned me down with plausible, but painful, excuses. It was my friend Su’eddie Vershima Agema (who made me change the title of the book) and Madam Brigitte that encouraged me (editing and advising) the most at the time.
This woman has been editing, advising, teaching and financially supporting Nigerian writers in their dozens and yet some people vilify her and call her terrible names directly and by insinuation. She was labelled a goat and her legitimacy questioned. That is sad.
For those who do not know, Brigitte Poirson is a retired lecturer, court probation officer, with several publications range from poetry to theatre and fiction, composed in French and English, and published in Paris, New-York and Britain. Aside these, she has contributed to numerous anthologies, won many awards and has been a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres de France.
How many persons of her standing in the literary world will pay teenage, unpublished writers the same attention she pays us here? For me, she is the foreign goat that saves our yams from local goats – for free.
Please respect, or at least avoid, her.