PATTERNS Line Count 33
Like birds of paradise, baskets held aloft in easy grace
The girls stride purposefully across the beach
The sun’s heat warms their limbs as they gain pace
Murmuring in low Kisswahili, they set up stall at their customary places.
Waiting for what is coming, the salt wind holds its breath
And the tide retreats in quiet deference
As a tumult of coloured fabrics is released
Tumbling from the baskets, each one contends and
Any previous memory of colour is erased.
The girls must fight the wind to gain control
As reams of khanga and kikoi cotton are unfurled
The wind then tries to tie them up in knots
New patterns form, of spoons and pans and pots
Of suns, moons, stars and snowy mountain tops.
Mangoes, papayas, grapes, kiwis and lemons
It will be really hard for me to choose one
Each unique piece reveals such skill and imagination
Bright kikois, with their symmetry in perfection
Then khangas, with such sweet celebrations
Of lions, elephants, giraffes, honey bees and coiling serpents.
These wraps are made with such talent
It will be so much fun to actually wear one
Life would not be the same without the joy of pattern
Such joy and love for life is woven into them.
Each wrap is made with deceiving simplicity
And bears a proverb that is so witty
Like NATAKA KAMA HII (I want one like this!)
Each one is a statement piece of such originality.
I make a show of haggling for the price
But quickly give in, as it’s impossible to make a choice
And I walk back to my cool white beach hotel
The proud owner of designs incomparable.
These technicolour dreams of joy in life.