Read the poem “The Dining Table” by Gbanabom Hallowel

The Dining Table by Gbanabom Hallowel


Read the poem “The Dining Table” by Gbanabom Hallowel


Dinner tonight comes with
gun wounds. Our desert
tongues lick the vegetable
blood—the pepper
strong enough to push scorpions
up our heads. Guests
look into the oceans of bowls
as vegetables die on their tongues.

The table that gathers us is an island where guerillas
walk the land while crocodiles
surf. Children from Alphabeta with empty palms dine with us; switchblades in their eyes, silence in their voices. When the playground
is emptied of children`s toys
who needs roadblocks? When the hour
to drink from the cup of life ticks,
cholera breaks its spell on cracked lips

Under the spilt
milk of the moon, I promise
to be a revolutionary, but my Nile, even
without tributaries comes lazy
upon its own Nile. On this
night reserved for lovers of fire, I’m
full with the catch of gun wounds, and my boots have suddenly become too reluctant to walk me.

Analysis of The Dining Table

The Dining Table is chiefly influenced by his experiences during the eleven-year Sierra Leonean war when guerrillas (an irregular armed force that fights stronger regular forces such as the army or police) started a movement against the nation’s corrupt government. Though the war was between the government and the guerrillas, it affected the civilian population in no small measure. At the centre of the conflict is the control of Sierra Leonean diamonds.

The Dining Table by Gbanabom Hallowel

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