“Slow and Steady” The Art of Living

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,

lions, courageous

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

when reading.

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

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