Chant:

By Chris Abani b. 1967 Chris Abani
It was the hornbill that spoke it.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new

How does the darkness hide?
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new

The sun is no bigger than a crab.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new

Hot soup is devoured from the edges.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new

The blood sign is red; burning like fire.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new

It has no name; silence is its name.
In the nothing, becoming nothing,
begetting nothing; this is everything.

The world is old, the world is new.

Chris Abani, “Chant” from Dog Woman. Copyright © 2004 by Chris Abani.  Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.

Source: Dog Woman (Red Hen Press, 2004)

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Poet Chris Abani b. 1967

POET’S REGION Africa

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences

 Chris  Abani

Biography

Chris Abani is part of a new generation of Nigerian writers working to convey to an English-speaking audience the experience of those born and raised in that troubled African nation. Abani began writing at a very young age and published his first novel, Masters of the Board, while still a teenager. The plot of the novel, a political thriller, proved uncomfortably close to actual events; it mirrored a coup that was carried out in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION Africa

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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