Poems

ANỤNỤEBE

Notes

Anunuebe is a tree of awesome and terrible power. No birds perch on its branches and even the dibia, the native doctor, approaches with caution. In everyday Igbo speech, anunuebe is also a name for a troublesome person, someone who picks fights with everyone, who isn’t even pleased with their own good luck. This poem speaks to one such troublesome person. In translating the poem into English, we asked ourselves whether we should include the word ‘tree’ somewhere, to make this association clear. But the poem is addressed to a person, not a tree, so we chose to bring this cultural information in more subtly, following the images of the original poem: ‘your hands, your branches, your feet, your roots’. ‘Thorny one’ was the name we landed on to convey the qualities of this troublesome individual, but we wanted to keep ‘anunuebe’ too, as no translation would do it justice, and we would never want to test the wrath of this fearsome tree. 

 

Miriam Nash

Workshop Facilitator

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