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Explore the Craft of Writing
African Verse

Mawaddes is an ancient Ethiopian ecclesiastic verse form that was adopted into the western liturgical world. Mawaddes are often recited after Vespers at "first cock crow" before Matins. The mono-rhymed form has also crossed over into the secular world.

The elements of the Mawaddes are:

  1. a poem in 9 lines.
  2. metered, Alexandrine lines, iambic hexameter lines with midline caesura.
  3. mono-rhymed.
  4. religious or secular, the form should capture the "sacred".

    Adam at Alfriston by Elizabeth Kay inspired by a painting by Andre Durand (posted with permission)

    First nothing, then something, molded from dust and clay,
    Skin black as ebony, chalk as the appliqué;
    Dampen the finger and swirl in the underlay,
    Circles of inkiness, spirals of Milky Way.
    Alone in a garden, heavenly émigré,
    Naked and unashamed, each day a holiday;
    Innocent now, but he'll learn how to disobey,
    Adam's his name, although Sinner's his sobriquet.
    Doesn't bode well to be made on a Saturday.

African Poetic Genres and Forms

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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