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A Song of Mourning: Poems by Romeo Oriogun



The body learning to pray onto itself,
The sky waking up in dead limbs,

My mouth,
My heart
falling like a wingless bird
into a song.

A moment’s silence for those that have died
on this path,
Fireflies are bursting into flames.
I await my turn,
A moment’s silence for my heart on fire.


most times

The heart holds everything the mouth
cannot say,
The hill is also a lover
and its words are trapped in trees
and grasses.
I admit I thought love was another word
for rapture, a fantasy in the mouth
of a man speaking in tongues.
today I walked round this city
and all I saw was a sky
filled with fog and the promise of sun,
what are all these metaphors for if not
for sex. I apologize,
the poem of my heart
is your heart and nothing
can write it except water
and the sea within our palms.
There’s also another poem in your lungs. Breath.



The first offering is the breath within a stem.

Grandma said:
to live here you have to open
your mouth to the language of roots.

mellons are cherubs
waiting within the womb of God.
Peppers are songs of angels
bringing rain to a land on fire.

At the back of my head
I still hear her voice –
Priestess of the land,
clad in veins and knowledge
of fire and kites –
as she plants her maize on my tongue:
The rain is a messenger of vegetables,
The brown earth running through
her fingers is the heart of God. Pray.

Poems: Romeo Oriogun

Romeo Oriogun
Romeo Oriogun
Romeo Oriogun's work has been featured (or is forthcoming) on Brittle Paper, Kalahari Review, Phases of Poetry (Sankofa), EGC Blog, etc. His Chapbook, Burnt Men is available for download on Praxis. He lives and writes in Ikare-Akoko, a town where the hills are spirits whispering words into the ears of poets.

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