In May 2016 my collection “The Art of Living” won the poetry prize for the Atlantic Writing Competition ( now Nova Writes). Here is one of the poems from the collection, “Slow and Steady”
Slow and Steady
Everyone praises the cheetah for it’s incomparable speed
and the gazelle for its elegant swiftness
no one praises the sloth
for its mastery of torpidity
for its dedication to living slowly.
Human beings love to multitask
splitting their attention four ways like a ripe avocado
two mushy slices for errands,
one to answer e-mails
and once slice to plan this evening’s dinner.
Concentration has gone to the compost.
Human beings pray for daily bread,
then stock up on food for days,
consuming it quickly with little thanks
or consideration of digestion.
The sloth appreciates its daily leaves,
taking thirty days to digest one.
Talk about slow food movement.
Sloths are rarely Saturday morning superheroes,
never featured on coloring book covers
never the faces on September lunchboxes.
rabbits are bunnies,
bears are teddies,
swans are graceful,
yet to be slothful is to stroke the furry neck
of a deadly sin.
I say the sloth can teach this human
to move slow
to chew slow
to groove slow;
to listen when listening
to eat when eating,
to open a book and just read
Sloths can turn their heads 270 degrees
but are branded as lazy instead of amazing.
The sloth is the keeper of the lost art of living
Being slothful should mean
having mastered stillness and intention;
possessing impeccable control.
The sloth is unfazed by the propaganda
The sloth never lines up for the rat race
If anyone should ever tell me I’m being slothful
I will say
“Thank you, I try.”
© Abena Amoako-Green 2016