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Defining Africa: A Poem by Ernest O. Ogunyemi

Image: remixed


i have come
from the horizons beyond the sea
crossing the mighty waters
mounting the many mountains
dropping when they fall
into hills and valleys
to see you


where they say the earth is always green with fruit
where men pride themselves in the bounty of games
and women pride themselves in the song of soups
and joy themselves in the weaves of motherhood
where hunger lost in the festivity of feasts
where night betroths peace
and every man is his brother’s keeper
my ancestral home.

is this you
that lie like a barren woman
rejected by her husband and people?
a soul devoid of hope
blood bathed

are this your men?
men far away from home
too big to brace thick forests
for games
are this your men?
toiling day and night
like the heavy ticking reminding clock
on the streets of Lagos
pushing wheeled irons
for a pay of painful days
are these your men?
bowing beneath baggage
in Accra
living like slaves
in Freetown

and your women
they no longer mind the melody of meals
nor wear the clothes of motherhood
they work like your men
eggs to break a rock!

and your fruits in Ethiopia
dryly rot on a land scorched
dead greenness
dead fruits
dead tomorrows


is this your night?
where children call the name of their mothers
on charmed circles of cowries
for hot money,
where war is the watchword
and brothers eat brothers

these men are too busy
to hear you
and they daily die for the life they live


you have now become a tale
told in history books
a legend of legendary men:
Shaka. Sundiata. Oranmiyan. Jaja…


you are now an idea
that we carry in our selves
a way of life
that we live in our small circles


you are now us
written in our being
not a land living greenness
for a people blessed to partake

you are us.

Poem © Ernest O. Ogunyemi
Image: remixed

Ernest O. Ogunyemi
Ernest O. Ogunyemi
Ernest O. Ogunyemi is a guy that likes to play with words to express what he feels or wants to feel. His stories have appeared in such magazines and blogs as Tuck, Naija Stories, Poetry Soup, and his poetry is forthcoming in Acumen91(out in May). He runs a lit blog:


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