riding the Wind
back to the time we first
felt the Calling and knew its urge
could not be tossed aside
as now we must
by Iya’falola H. Omobola
The Eintou: An African American septet syllabic/word count form consisting of 2 words/syllables the first line, 4 the second, 6 the third, 8 the fourth, 6 the fifth, 4 the sixth, and 2 the seventh. The Eintou developed as a means of placing African American poetic forms in the forefront of American poetry. Many African American poetic scholars and critics often attempt to mimic Euro-American forms as a means of demonstrating poetic expertise, or defensively, staunchly stand by “free-verse” as an African American form. It’s rare to see serious examination of African American poetic forms; in fact most critics erroneously regard African American poetry as “formless” or “mimicking.”
The time has come for a form that, while encompassing the strategies of blues and jazz, bounds beyond them into an embodiment of all that we have become as African Americans; a form that frees us from the dialectical restrictions and mere grammatical and spelling distortions of current performance poetry (“postmodern,” though some may claim it to be, notwithstanding); a form that allows us to express the diversity of our “highest emotions and aspirations” while not losing any of our racial flavor (imagery, idioms, peculiar turns of thought, humor and pathos). I believe the Eintou answers that call!
The Eintou encompasses much African American culture and philosophy, and it offers the African American poet who wishes to write in structured meter an avenue within which to do so without having to employ European structures. The term Eintou is West African for “pearl” as in pearls of wisdom, and often the Eintou imparts these pearls in heightened language.
The 2-4-6-8-6-4-2 structure of the Eintou is crucial in terms of African and African American philosophy. That is, in our culture, life is a cycle. Everything returns to that from which it originates. The concept of a pearl, which is a sphere, and the cyclic nature of the Eintou’s structure captures this very poignantly. The life of the Eintou begins with two syllables or words, expands as though growing and then returns to two syllables or words. In this the Eintou, as we, never escapes its beginnings or history. We flow from, through and ultimately return to that from which we come.
(Property of ShakespearNoir© – http://www.shakespearnoir.com/poems.htm)
Here is another example of eintou:
Gift from above
Like sweet spring rain and dew
Giving enlightenment to me
You have painted my soul
Filled with such grace
by Steven Beesley