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His UN Helmet: Poems by Uchenna Shadrach Franklin


we were kings
when fronds decided wars
and chalk cemented peace

warriors squat about our thrones
gazing with awe as to the sun
and sipping happy chants from cold gourds

when the stars blink at dusk
we’re lulled to bed by the charmer’s flute
like royal pythons

at noon we’d sprinkle blood on our Ikenga
and pray they prosper our state

when we drowned the sugary sap
which grew in us daring minds
we’d wrap our loins in lion hides
and chant the Ikoro to war

with powdered hairs we’d spy the sky
to spot the gods behind the clouds
beckoning us to join gone folks
in the blessed land beyond

at death we’re laid under sacred trees
where chieftains and maiden lads
would hop around in ritual chants

we slept to be re-awakened
we’re immortal


His UN Helmet

His UN helmet
Still manages a little glow

His tattered boots and backpack
Used to know better times

Two or three rubber grenades
Stay clipped to his belt
And several rusty medals
Dangle on his breast

When the noonday sun comes up
And calls him up to duty
He chants old barrack songs
And salutes the air
Or stamps the ground hard
And falls like a palm tree

To cross enemy lines
He crawls in the smelly mud
And sees in the bathing pigs
His old comrades-in-arms

He used to be a man of valour
In peace keeping and in war
But too much death and blood
Have marred his sound mind.
(c) Franklin .S. Uchenna

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

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