The ones who walk silently; they do not speak.
The ones who sit pensively; they do not seek
To reveal thoughts of a weary mind,
Of pain that aches; of hurt left behind.
The ones who groan throughout the night,
The ones who weep take not delight
In hiding their sorrows and anguish.
To misery a fair ululation they languish.
The ones drained of sense and now are numb;
The ones who can’t feel; too deep to plumb
The darkness within their grey souls that make
The resolve of those whose light still shine break.
The ones who bleed; their blood a libation.
The ones who look upon decimation
Of family beloved, of friends they love;
Their pain worse like curse from heaven above.
The ones who have died; have gone to sleep.
The ones left behind can only weep.
But tears do not bring back the dead;
Nor sorrows take the broken out of bed.
Spirit of our fathers, purest vintage.
Drawn deep from ancestral roots.
That sacred milk from nature’s breasts
That blesses the tongues of wise men
To say sooth and inebriates fools.
Ambrosia of the gods; oasis of men.
Life water of clans known and obscure.
White draught of fresh frothy seas.
Balm to minds aching;
Doom to the weak and faint of heart.
Water flowing in the veins of primeval roots
Of palms milked by our fathers.
Come bless us; come bless our tongues!
They sit on their dusty behinds
And grace passing skirts with eyes
Bespectacled with glaze of palm wine.
They see only where to reap but not sow;
These landlords that never built a house.
Local spirits for mouthwash in the mornings,
They ply their trade of doing nothing.
A hopeless generation, these!
They walk the streets half naked
In search of manna, not from heaven.
They get instead a copy of the men
Who choose to plant what they will not harvest.
The land can grow no more fetuses,
Nor refuse dumps, manure abandoned babies
A wasted generation, these!
They run after drivers who labour
And hassle crumbs that fall off their tables.
These agberos who reap where they do not sow.
Indolent additions to a bleeding landscape
Of the poor and homeless clawing at passers-by
With a belligerent sense of entitlement.
A lazy generation, these!
They sit in buses or huddle among crowds.
These ones with shifty eyes and prowling hands;
Executors of perfect legerdemain
Scourge of the city, harvester of petty articles.
A step below the ones who pilfer with
Silver-coated tongues in the hierarchy of thieves.
A greedy generation, these!
Poems © Emuobome Jemikalajah