breathe deep

from by nth digri

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winner of Kola Magazine national poetry competition


breathe deep
bring forth the word from the depth of the intellect,
name the world, and draw breath
and breathe the rhythms that interweave and seethe
with the force of vitality, word is the seed
sown in the song of the griot who hails
the deeds eternal, breathe deep and inhale
and bring forth the sound to the sign inscribed
breathe out the sign pronounced in your mind
the word, the seed, the breeze in your chords
strums a note in your throat, corresponds with your thoughts
and aaahhhh... breathe yourself a drum
to the rhythmic oxygenic flex of the lungs
as word is to seed, breath is to the wind
sound to the sign, let the dance begin
name every last member of the tribe
sign the memory immortal in the song of the scribe
by the vertical gateway of a tree trunk rise
and fall, the breath, the chest, the sighs
the pattern of voices, of drums multiplied
each in its own time, but fully synchronized
span ages, song is the soil and the seed
of the word takes root, as the name is decreed
breathe deep, the invocation, the phrase lips shape in
soul intonation cross nation
as the chorus calls, innermost core resonates
aaahhhh... as the percussion detonates
the broken kola, notes of the kora
celebrate life like a soul makossa
breathe deep
breathe deep


from south is north, released August 7, 2013




nth digri Ottawa, Ontario

nth digri is inspired by his Caribbean-Canadian heritage, hip hop culture, and the African griot tradition. His LP Tales of the North Coast was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. His poem Sugar Cane was selected for the Best of the National Poetry Slam Anthology. He was the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word 2010 Male Poet of Honour. He has performed in Canada, the Caribbean, and the US. ... more

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