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ruins by Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu

for the ruins of mali

for the remnants of amina’s walls

for the resistance of the vanguard

who never die, and always multiply 

for that struggle that was thrust into the face

of every new-born noble 

for growing up a seedling between the world and me

for the falconers who have never heard the falcon

for the centre that has never held

for the family crest that is not cotton, that is 

instead iron, for iron teeth

for iron souls, housing iron wills

for skeletons propping muscular bodies, fortified 

by iron

for the cadres and the comrades, the flesh 

that passed through cape coast

for that flesh too luminescent too honourable to remain

for our long long antennae, for the 

promise of summer, 

for keeping my eyes glassy and 


for me east facing a blood orange sun

for waiting on that first fist

to rupture 

from beneath my feet

Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu

About the Poet

Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu is an African writer and poet born in Bordeaux, France and based in London, UK. A SOAS Anthropology and International Relations graduate, her work explores African belonging and identity as well as Tasawwuf / the spiritual dimension of Islam. Soukeyna is involved in Black activism and runs several projects for the Black community in North London. She is co-founder and EIC of MZAB magazine, a quarterly online publication which explores adventure, culture and spirituality, and in her spare time has a keen interest in global healing practices, ritual and film production.

All the Birds were Invited to a Feast in the Sky by Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu

This poem appears in All the Birds were Invited to a Feast in the Sky

This is a book which excavates identity and self-knowledge, a journey from the spiritual realm which also attempts to stitch whole the frayed fibres of diasporic belonging. The areas explored range from Africa to spiritual awakening taking the reader on a journey to self.
Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu's verse evokes the beauty of the earthly and spiritual realms of human experience, navigating a poetic course from London to Ghana through themes of belonging and faith.
Her poems dance at the intersection between the mundane and the sacred, weaving the everyday through with perceptions of the eternal, the ancient and the evanescent.