Mali Morning

Since my childhood,
I have awaited
this awakening

The mist hung
like grey mosquito
netting before
dark shapes,
I stood on
the landing of
Air Afrique for
baptism by the breath
of Africa;
or envelopment into
the arms of her, at

This is a sacred vision.

My first sight of Africa,
Mali mist
hanging like
transparent whispers
over tops of giant shapes,
monkeys with hooded eyes,
covered ears,
shut mouths.

morning cool,
shimmering mirage,
retaining, yet,
for a little longer,

Patricia A. Ward

Used by permission of the poet.


For a Creative Writing Class

Lesson Plan for Patricia A. Ward’s “Mali Morning”
by Elizabeth Mountford

1) Read poem to yourself and then aloud.

2) What phrases stand out? Sounds? Rhythms?

3) What images stand out? Draw one of these images.
4) Discuss the narrator’s emotions – how is she feeling? How do you know? Why do you think she is feeling this way?

5) Think of a time you have looked forward to something –

“Since my childhood,
I have awaited
this awakening
memory” –

What is it? Why do you long for this? How do you imagine it will be?


When has a dream been fulfilled for you? What was the dream? What did you do? What did it look like?


6) Look again at Patricia Ward’s poem – how she creates beautiful vivid images – and brief descriptions – to capture this emotional homecoming. Write your own poem that captures your dream fulfilled or imagined dream fulfilled. Use descriptive imagery!

7) Share own poems – read aloud with each other – and discuss the feelings/dreams shared.

For an English Class

Lesson Plan for Patricia A. Ward’s “Mali Morning”
by Laurie Williams

This is a good poem to illustrate line breaks* and enjambment.*

Pass the poem out to students and before they read it have them number the lines on the left-hand side.

Then have them take a highlighter and highlight only the last word in each line.

Then have the class read the poem aloud one line at a time. You can either go around the room or pull cards with students’ names to see who will read the next line.

Then choose one student to read the poem aloud again. Have the student pause for just a moment before reading the next line. As the student is reading the poem aloud this second time, have students underline with a pencil lines that are a complete grammatical unit (clause or phrase).

Have students discuss why the line breaks where it does and what effect that break has on the rhythm and the meaning.

Have students identify enjambed lines.

Ask students to note which lines stand out to them and to state what causes that line to stand out.

How do the line breaks create a rhythm? What kind of rhythm is it (fast, slow, jazzy, etc.)

What is the theme of the poem and how to the line breaks work to enhance or underscore that theme?

As a writing exercise, have students write a poem that uses enjambment in some of the lines.

*line break—where the line of a poem ends
*enjambment—the continuation of a sentence, clause, or phrase over a line break

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