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Harmattan: Poems by Uchenna Shadrach Franklin


Gay lads squat with sour eyes
Like drenched owls and bats
To watch the birth of the young sun

Mouths clatter in reverence
Bodies quake with fright
Luster flees many skins
And rebel heels get the slash

I see you, mirthful spirit,
Riding on cornfields
In the meandering dance of the ostrich

I see you, just ruler,
Stripping dressy plants
To coat helpless animals

Under your spell I grow old

In your eyes I ride through time
Through the joy of innocence
the pride of youthful exploits
the pain of severed love
the gloom of inactivity

In your hisses I hear the clock’s clicks
And the approach of nature’s train
To take me home



Surely I must die
I’ve walked life’s long aisle
in all I walked tall
I’ve sat at life’s table
decked with sweet and sour bowls
now to the great Gate I come
which yields to the Golden Sun.

Surely I must die
airy hands pull on my rudder
the ship bellows
the tide swells
and the wind roars
than cry, say “goodbye”
for your tears are handicapped
to liven my worn soul
though to charge a still heart
they hold hotter words than mouths.

Surely I must die
teach my seeds to hold the course
and tell how I strived
to mend the world with words;
omens often fail
and dreams are flatterers
beware when roses smile
or adders wish to kiss your heels
in a show of love
for they rarely show the swords
behind their lurid gowns.

(c) Uchenna Shadrach Franklin

Uchenna Shadrach Franklin
Uchenna Shadrach Franklin
Uchenna Shadrach Franklin contributed these pieces from Nigeria.

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