Poetry Interlude: Millet

The Dogon men recline in the toguna  
Conduct village business, enforce village law
The sides are open for when days are hot
The ceiling is low for when tempers are hotter.

The women grind millet.

The Dogon men draw panels in the sand
Scatter peanuts, invoke the prophet fox
His tracks tell the future – abundance or drought,
Health for this kinsman, ill fortune for that.

The women grind millet.

The Dogon men carve masks out of wood
Rabbit and antelope, monkey and ox
Become the mask’s power, dance the clan’s myth
Merge past and present, merge spirit and man.

The women grind millet.

Lives measured in meaning.
Lives measured in millet.

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