Harmonic Intent

If words could reveal the heart,
then yours felt
like a chamber orchestra
playing woodwinds
behind a vermillion curtain
to harmonic intent.

Naomba you said,
and then some more,
Na omba…
I heard, I sensed , I felt,
the rest of the request …
…merely words strung together

You meant ‘please’
but you said
‘I pray, I beg’
and every part of me
to the beauty
of what you meant.
In that moment
I felt I could trust you.







Inspired by a discussion on language with my friend this evening; we spoke of the meanings of words and intention behind them. In kiswahili, spoken in some East African countries, specifically Tanzania, the word ‘Tafadhali’ or ‘please’ is of formal usage. It is much more common to use ‘na omba’ when making a request.

On a separate note, while I lived in Tanzania, I always felt that Swahili signified a language of gratitude, given how much people express it in their interactions with each other. ‘Asante’ or ‘thank you’ was part of my daily lexicon including the ‘Asante Sana’ or ‘thank you very much’. My friend and I concurred on this to be the case. I always hold Swahili to be a language of harmonic intent.

3 thoughts on “Harmonic Intent

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