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Sarah Udoh Grossfurthner: A Poet in Progress…

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“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~ Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

Poetry in Motion...

Several weeks ago, I clicked on my sister’s Twitter account to see what she was up to. My dear sister, Goz, is new to the twitter experience and doesn’t tweet much but likes the idea of being plugged into one of the most popular and successful social network sites.

While I was visiting Goz’s page, I noticed the rather long name of one of her friends/followers and clicked through to her friend’s Twitter page @KitchenPicasso (a creative cook, she offered this as an ode to Pablo Picasso) … I was curious to learn more, so I clicked on another link to read her website/blog and found out more about our featured guest — Sarah Udoh Grossfurthner.

I asked my sister if she knew Sarah. Goz immediately encouraged me to add Sarah to the interview list as she spoke highly of her creative successes. I emailed a request to Sarah and after a flurry of back and forth emails, I was delighted when she accepted my invitation to share her light; vis a vis her work and world with us.

“We never know how high we are till we are called to rise; And then, if we are true to plan, Our statures touch the skies.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Sarah Udoh-Grossfurtner at home in Vienna...

As a dynamic woman of substance, championing the cause for female and child equity, Sarah exemplifies the best qualities of a modern woman using her great gifts for the benefit of all. Sarah is an accomplished writer, poet, motivational speaker and mentor who supports and encourages women to see and be the best they can be. She writes beautiful poetry; sharing stories of hope, love, social justice and more… She believes poetry is the expression of the inner soul.

Sarah has spent over 15 years championing educational opportunity for young people from under-served communities in Nigeria while supporting career and personal advancement for women. She continues to seek creative ways to empower children at home and in the Diaspora.

An Austrian Citizen by marriage, Sarah was born and raised in Nigeria and is the mother of two wonderfully devoted children. She refers to them as “my joy, my hope, my inspiration and the light that brightens the pathways of my life.” I love Sarah’s positive mental attitude and will add some of her poetry to this interview. Grab a cuppa tea, sit back and enjoy… Have a Happy & Safe Labor Day!

Love Covenant ~ By Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
He came like a storm on a windy night

A raging, slashing chariot of fire
But his thoughts are not like those of men
Instead of violence there appeared soothing tongues
A love language between the King, and his heirs.

The unrestricted access to the Father’s heart

The language knows no limit and
Its meaning confounds the wisest of men
A trinity of love, joy and peace
He is a sentinel present at every thought.

The unwavering guide in every situation

Like morning dew on desert planes
He brings relief and quenches thirst
Lean closer and be still to hear his voice
He seeks with thee always to commune.

His praises are sung by the moon and the stars

Where the oceans begin and the rivers cease
And earth boundaries knock on hidden lines
As galaxies sway in twinkling adoration
His power echoes around the earth.

Sent down at Pentecost as tongues of flame

Holy Spirit, the great Counselor
The comforter and the friend, he is often called
But as sand on the sea shore so too are his name
He is the ever-present help, in times of need.

The consuming fire and ultimate purifier

He was sent down to earth to fulfill a vow
A standard rebuking the darts and the barbs
Of the keeper of Hades
A reminder of love abiding, and ever true.

“There are two ways of spreading light … To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton

Another Day Outside: Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner


Tell us a bit on your background: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I was born in Southern Nigeria. I grew up in Western Nigeria – Lagos. And I now live in Vienna, Austria – in Central Europe

What do you do for a living?
Hmm … this is a tough one. Technically, I am a house-wife; but as I am free-lance writer, commodity trader, small-scale business owner, and currently, a Master Program student, what does that make me? I guess the answer would be – an entrepreneur.

Why did you choose the path you now follow?
I could say that my present path chose me rather than the other way round. I began my writing career as a therapeutic venture – I wrote to relieve my mind of lots of confusion arising from an inability to understand so many of life’s complexities. What I could not explain verbally, I poured out in reams and reams of poetry. And then I fell in love with it (writing). So now, at my blooming years, I am undertaking a master’s program study in professional writing to flesh out this new found love.

When did you decide to make key changes in your life?
I made changes in my life when I realized that God did not want my self-worth to be dependent on someone else’s approval.

Share your world view: How do you live your life and manage your household?
‘Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you,’ this is my guiding principle to living life and it is the same principle by which I raise my two children. It is not always easy, as I am as imperfect as the next person, but it helps that this principle is always at the forefront of my mind.
Above all, I never get tired of drumming into my children the incredible power of the principle of giving.

I Saw it on Television ~ By Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
I saw it on television
It was on an evening,
right after a delicious meal
of hot and spicy beef stew.

Women with heavy loads
on their heads and
on their backs;
pans, mattresses, and ragtag clothing.
Loads, the sum total of their lives,
it seemed,
Devoid of dignity, exposed
to all and sundry through
the intruding and relentless eyes
of the press camera.

I saw it on television,
all on television.
People running; some fully dressed,
others, half so.
People running, back and forth.
Children – little children
of five and six years of age –
carrying other children on their backs.
Guns going; rat, tat, tat, tat, tat,
like splattering of stones
on marble floor.

But it was no marble floor,
neither were the rat, tat, tat noises, stones.
No, they were not stones;
they were bullets.
Raining, rat, tat, tat, like hail stones
on the exposed and vulnerable backs
of human beings:
Human beings like me.

I saw it on television,
it was another crisis;
yet another war, another genocide,
a kaleidoscope of pain, suffering,
and loss of hope, as children
struggle over bowls of wan looking,
gooey porridge.

I saw it on television;
yes, it was on television.
While relaxing on the
wide and soft tan-colored sofa
in my sitting room,
right after a hot delicious meal
of red spicy beef stew.

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” ~ Diane Mariechild

More of Sarah Udoh-Grossfurtner at home..


What do you consider the most important thing about yourself?
My ability to give and share. This does not mean I have perfected the art, as a matter of fact, I say this with the utmost humility. I just know that the ability to give and share even the little I have is the core essence of who I am.

What motivates you to get out of bed?
The prospect of witnessing the renewed mercies and faithfulness of God in every single way – especially on the faces of my two children; watching their little antics and sometimes pretending to be jumping mad at some of their idiosyncrasies.

What makes you happy/laugh?
I am at my happiest when my kitchen table is surrounded by friends and families, all falling over one another trying to pile up their plates with my cooking.

What makes you sad/mad?
Injustice – of any kind. Of the weak being picked upon by the strong – of someone being oppressed because he lacks a voice, a boldness to speak up for himself; unholy display of greed in the face of need; lack of consideration and empathy – any injustice in any form brings tears to my eyes and causes my heart to ache.

What would you do differently with your life if you had the power? With the world if you had the choice?
With my life, I would wish to go through a normal course of study – not interrupting my studies halfway because of lack of funds. Other than that, I would not wish to change anything about my life. Yes, life has not been a bed of roses, in fact, life often offered more thorns than roses, but I have come to believe that there is a reason for every pain in our lives. Sometimes, pain is meant to edify and empower, not crucify, us; and finally, after we’ve been edified, we are meant to empower and edify others through the lessons we’ve learned from our pain.

With the world, if I had the ability to wave a magic wand, my greatest wish would be for there to be less selfishness, and more empathy. Because only through empathy for other’s suffering can we truly seek the alleviation of their suffering.

What guiding principle(s) do you follow to make your life meaningful?
There’s a short sentence I have written on the profile section of my school web-forum, and in a 2011 proposed calendar of the black women community here in Vienna and it is this, ‘There are two kinds of people, those who make money and those who make impact. Now, anyone can make money, but not everyone can make impact. What will your legacy be?’ So, that’s my guiding principle. In a simple phrase it means, live in such a way as to make an impact that is more lasting and more empowering than simple cash.

What word(s) of advice would you give to others today?
It is easier to hate than to love. But while you are free to do either of the two, only one can set you free. So, why settle for a life of bondage when you can be free? Cultivate an attitude of humility – it is the hallmark of true success. To crown that, find a passion – that which lights a fire in your heart and brings sparkle to your eyes – and do it.

How would you like to be remembered?
As a blessing … someone who touched hearts and met needs.

Happiness is…?
Seeing my children laugh out in pure joy, and remembering my past without regrets.

Mother said if I were a good ~ By Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner
As she read those wonderful books
of forever after love.
‘One day your very own prince will appear
as suave and groomed as the winning
horse at Ascot,’ she’d sweetly chimed.

I grew tall and nimble; and waited.

As the days grew dim,
and the nights more grim.
My thoughts searched for comfort
among the whispering pines
Surely he would come? Mother said so.
‘Be a good girl, honey, and he will find you.’
She promised it to me on her dying bed.

And so still, I waited.

Approaching forty odds years
I am awoken one day from an early slumber.
Rushing pell-mell, I headed for the door –
stopping only for a moment to adjust my skirt,
and dab on a rouge –
‘that must be him for sure,’ I skirted and twirled.

Steeling my hear, I gingerly opened the door.

All spit and glam, lo’ behold Lady Menopause.
Tapping on her wrists and leaning on the balls
of her feet, she shook her head, tut-a- tutted
and cautioned that time, was not on my side.

By golly, didn’t she think I knew that! I fumed.

Here I am all dressed in white;
tripping down the aisle, as promised by mother.
A wilting young bride, I can’t rightly claim to be.
But neither is my lord in tux a knight,
as he plods beside me in feet of clay.

You may connect with the ever busy Sarah via her website or her Twitter handle: @KitchenPicasso. What are your questions or comments for Sarah? Are you an expert in a field that our readers can benefit hearing about? Do you have a story to share? Please share your feedback with us. Thank You!

Photographs of Sarah Udoh-Grossfurthner ~ courtesy of Sarah
Other photos via Google Images

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Katherine permalink
    06/09/2010 4:19 am

    This is rich, very rich. Sarah’s poetry leaves you wanting to hear more. Who would not want to know more about this dynamic woman that has so much love for mankind. Congratulations for selecting a woman of real substance to interview. I feel her love and her pain and where both have taken her today. I salute this woman called Sarah…we want to hear more

    • 12/09/2010 8:16 am

      Thank you K! Sarah is an accomplished and generous artist. She graciously agreed to do this even with her busy schedule. Do stop by and post a question for her. TY! 🙂

  2. richard permalink
    07/09/2010 2:13 am

    love these interviews with people who have found their path -especially when its one of giving their gifts to other.. I wonder what it must be like to be a Nigerian woman in Austria; for that matter – I wonder what it would be like to be someone other than myself anywhere… guess that’s why reading about other’s lives can be so fascinating.. plus I never read any poems by a part time commodity trader before – at least not that I was aware of… nice job with the questions, Elizabeth…

    • 12/09/2010 8:17 am

      TY and I hope you stopped to read Sarah’s reply. It has been a rewarding exchange. 🙂

  3. Bree permalink
    07/09/2010 4:37 am

    This was very interesting as I have not yet had a poet activists views. Good job! I wonder how Sarah finds the time to do all her creative work?
    What is like for her as a Nigerian in Austria?

    • 12/09/2010 8:19 am

      Thanks for your comments Bree… Stop by again and read her response; it all flows effortlessly… 🙂

  4. 07/09/2010 7:35 am

    Hi Richard, Hi Bree,
    This is Sarah. Thank you both for dropping in and for your positive comments.
    What it is like for a Nigerian in Austria…..mmmm, that one could take a while:-). It can sometimes be difficult, but nowhere in the world is life a bed of roses…actually, my philosophy is this, you can find your roses under any circumstances, you just have to ‘choose to see the flowers in the rose plant, rather than the thorns. Hope I am not being too obtuse:-).
    @Richard, I am yet to meet anyone who hasn’t, at one point or another, wished to be someone other than himself/herself..gosh, the number of times I have wished I were Halle Berry…but then rhe irony is that even Halle, with all her wealth and beauty, probably sometimes wishes she were less renowned:-). I guess what I am trying to say is that there is something special in each of us and the secret to unearthing it is to believe it. I hope i am not sounding like an agony Aunt:-)

    @Bree, Creativity to me is not ‘work’… do i get my exact meaning across..let’s see…what i meant to say is that it is something i enjoy doing, very much, and because i enjoy doing it, it often doesn’t seem like ‘work.’ For example, when i write my poems, or create a menu in my kitchen, it just sort of flows..effortlessly…l live that moment so completely that it is like breathing, or quenching my thirst when i am thirsty…does that make sense?

    • 12/09/2010 8:21 am

      Thank you again for your contribution Sarah. I wish you continued success in all you do… I enjoyed the process and look forward to your next creative work. Merci! 🙂

  5. Goz permalink
    09/09/2010 6:08 pm

    Stunning poetry, such profound and inspiring’re special Sarah.. I’m impacted!

    • 12/09/2010 8:22 am

      TY again for the recommendation Goz. Sarah is a truly terrific lady and so gracious… Danke!

  6. 27/03/2011 8:21 am

    I agree not only are you beautiful but, a woman of great strength and character. Looking forward to reading her blog. Beautiful poetry.
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂


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