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Obediah Michael Smith, two poems

Thought I was free

to Walk all across Africa

a walk that began today

at 4:44 PM and ended at 5:24 PM

nearly ended in my end

down the unpaved road,

west of Upstairs Lodge,

a 40 minute walk along a path

into the unknown

and what an encounter resulted,

what hostility

commencing to panic,

deciding in fear to get on a bicycle

to be transported out of danger,

out of harm’s way

and stones were thrown

and the entire village gathered

and leaving was prevented

and I was encircled and

I was pressed up against on all sides

and the long and short of it,

“I was afraid!”

unable to believe

that I had run into-

had happened upon

such backwardness

it was assumed that this hiker,

out for a walk, was a blood sucker

the community had

for some time now been fearing

there they were,

almost totally convinced

that here was one

they had caught in a net

and what was to happen next

a beating or death

Actual Facts

to Marvel at

instead of rumors about blood suckers,

here is a rumor I wish you to spread:

a belt around

the circumference of the earth

would have to be 24,000 miles long

the earth

is orbiting the sun at 67,000 MPH

a year has passed when

it completes this orbit once

the earth is rotating on it axis

at 1,000 MPH

at this speed

it takes 24 hours

to rotate around

completely once

each complete rotation

is the end of one day

the sun is 93,000,000 miles

away from the earth

light travels at a speed

of 186,000 miles per second

or 670,000,000 MPH

light from the sun,

93,000,000 miles away,

takes 8 minutes to arrive on earth

the sun is 1,000,000 times

as massive as the earth

(stanza break)

in our solar system,

in addition to the earth and the sun,

there are six other planets

the earth and these six other planets

all orbit the sun

Neptune, the planet in our solar system

that is farthest away from the sun,

takes 165 of our years to orbit the sun once

Pluto, until 2005, when it was

reclassified as a dwarf planet,

was the ninth planet

in our solar system

it is in excess of

3,000,000,000 miles

away from the earth

it takes 248 years to orbit the sun once

in the entire universe,

there are more planets

than there are grains of sand

on all the beaches on earth


Obediah Michael Smith was born on New Providence, in the Bahamas, in 1954. He has so far published 20 books of poetry. At University of Miami and University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados, he participated in writers workshops facilitated by Lorna Goodison, Earl Lovelace, Grace Nichols, Merle Collins, and Mervyn Morris. He attended Memphis State University, 1973 to 1976 and majored in Speech & Drama and Biology. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dramatics and Speech, from Fisk University. He has lived and has studied French, in Paris, France. At Universidad de Costa Rica, in 2011, he studied Spanish. Obediah was the Poetry Workshop facilitator for the Bahamas Writers Summers Institute, in 2009 and again in 2011. His poems in English are included in literary journals and anthologies throughout the Caribbean, in the USA, in England and in Kenya, and his poems, translated into Spanish, are included in anthologies in Colombia, in Mexico, in Peru, in Venezuela and in Spain. In 2011 and 2012, for five months, he lived in Mexico City. He attended Kistrech Poetry Festival in Kisii, Kenya, in 2014. Since this festival, he has remained in Africa, spending these three years in ten African countries.

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