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.

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