Outstanding Awards

Senior Secondary

A visual representation of "Mama" by Akin Jeje

Shung Tak Catholic English College

In the poem, the speaker recalls the stories his mother once told him when he was young. The stories were about “the mighty sun, the endless earth, the brilliance of sky”. Now, the roles have changed and he is the one telling these stories to his mum, who is separated from her son by “the setting sun and endless ocean and the vastness of the sky”.

In my drawing, the man on the right is the speaker and the son. He is holding a script and speaking to the microphone and a person with a blurry face in uhuru caftan, which represents his mum. It seems that the son is talking happily to the mother whose face is melted into an ocean at sunset. The background shows the starry sky with a bright sun on top and the platform where the microphone is placed on is like “the endless earth”. All these are things in nature mentioned in the poem.


The horned glasses –
tortoise-shell, bright and gleaming,
were all that remained
a shuffle rather than stride;
smooth cheeks caressed
into distant lands’
unknown planes, deep an’ wizened;
warm silica grin conceals
the barbs in back; the
varicose veins
brightly garbed
in uhuru caftan.

Of course, much has changed
for the one whose
baked cashew hue
resembles mine.

When I was a child, just before dark, she would
read baby Yemi and me
ancient tales of the mighty sun, the endless
earth, the brilliance of sky.

Now it is I
who sends these tales
in electronic blips
to an old woman

separated from i
the setting sun
an endless ocean
and the vastness
of the sky.

Akin Jeje

“Mama” was published in Smoked Pearl: Poems of Hong Kong by Akin Jeje, pp.21-22. Copyrights © 2010 by Proverse Hong Kong.