Poems

The Word Cutter

Notes

A poem that could only have been written by a poet who has dedicated his life to political activity, 'The Word Cutter' gives a fascinating insight to the dilemma faced by those intent on political change who feel challenged or uneasy at the deleterious effects they worry that joy can have on the serious endeavour of political struggle. Whether the conflict articulated in 'The Word Cutter' is something the poet himself has struggled with, or whether he's commenting (perhaps with a degree of irony?) on what he's witnessed others experiencing, the poem (of course) cannot reveal....

Kukata maneno = to make a decision, or, to interrupt someone's speech. Literally: to cut words. From this this compound verb Mazrui has created a compound noun mkata maneno, referring to a person in an ambiguous way; later in the poem it becomes apparent that the literal meaning, which normally would be overriden by the phrasal meaning, is crucial in this case.

Kukata maneno = to make a decision, or, to interrupt someone's speech. Literally: to cut words. From this this compound verb Mazrui has created a compound noun mkata maneno, referring to a person in an ambiguous way; later in the poem it becomes apparent that the literal meaning, which normally would be overriden by the phrasal meaning, is crucial in this case.

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