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Feast of Atonement: Poems by Neebari Dum Nwalu



The day of atonement
Has come to the land
The priest has taken his stand
At the gate we see
Throngs of confessors
Approaching the holy place
Presenting offerings
From far and near
Our cleansing is not of the flesh
Ours is of soil
Our sin is not ours
The priest sins
The priest cleanses
Though we suffer.
The pleasure is his
Our is to die
Theirs is to thrive
We watch him sprout
They watch us die
We cry of the pains
In our flesh
They cry for joy
This atonement
We hear
Will wipe off our sins
Will cleanse our land
Away from us to Azazel
The joy of atonement
Rips us apart
Our priests are planning
Our chieftains are jostling
Where will the goat
Be led?
Where will the fat
Be burnt?
Is it on the alter?
Or in the count yard?
Our eyes are toward the heavens
For our sins to be cleansed
Will foreigners invade our land?
Our eyes are lying in wait
To see the birth of our fate
When our robes are cleansed
Our flesh bathed
Our hair washed
Their sins will bear
No more
Our yam will return
To the barn
Our fruits to the basket
Our rivers flow to life
The joy of our fathers
Their land set tree
From defilement



When our oil lamp lights
They say it will brighten
Our rooms and roads
They say the rivers
Will flow to our doorsteps
Our faces will light up
Our children will see
The world beyond
This lamp will cure diseases
And open up our footpath
This lamp will feed our mouth
And drive away hunger
We hear our treasure chest
Will not lack
They preached heaven on earth
Singing songs of angles
Scrolls of life were open
With joy we pour out our inkhorn
To seal our deceit
With trust we open our doors
Giving way for the light of hope
Here the tongue twist
Puling our hope at the edge of the sword
The light we see
Blind our tree and crops
The rivers that flow
Kill the earth
We watch our fishes stream away
Never to return
Our nets and hooks
Seek asylum on the roof
Compulsory retirement
Beseech our treasure vessel
Our young ones are trooping
To the grave
Today our parents die
Of mysterious diseases
Here everything kills
All we hear are sermons of death
What happen to our handshakes?
Do memories go on vacation?
Or is there an outbreak of amnesia?
Why a sudden scarcity of words?
The change of baton
Has changed our future
Or we never had one
The sound we hear
Are barren
Why are our voices never heard?
Or does hearing go on
Vacation too?
They change our God too?
All praise to involuntary
The sin of disobedience
Attracts the head
From their word bank
They issue a bail name
To break the neck



Mercenaries of hope
Born with fiery tongues
Sharpened by the demand of time
Tutored in the economic principle of wealth
Armed with the sword of the spirit
Against the principality of the flesh
Rising against their economic interest

Winners of souls,
Situated at the vault of heaven
Trading in the hope of life
How long shall we wait
For the fall in market price?
Our fortune on earth is dwindling
Our global economy is melting
Like a block of ice in Norway
Our National currency is crumbling
In spite of all your jingles
Your response for us is saddened

Blessing the poor in spirit
Offering the gates of heaven
With a congested cemetery gate
The children we bear are hawking
Sending yours to Harvard
The cars we bought are aging
paving way for your custom-made
The shoes we wear are sole-less
The heart we bear are restless
The portion we bear are not ours to keep
For the burden we bear are not yours

When will our blessings come for all to see?
The kingdom you built for us,
Is in heaven
The ones we built for you
Are here below
How long shall we wait?
While we watch yours swell
Here we are begging for crumbs
There you are dominating the earth

When will our blessings come?
When will our children return to school?
If the ones above delay,
Let the ones below be fast
Our eyes are swollen
With expectations
Our spines are aching
As the soles of our feet
Are itching to go
Higher the ladder of life
Poems © Neebari Dum Nwalu

Neebari Dum Nwalu
Neebari Dum Nwalu
Profile coming soon.


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