A DEEP SHALLOW TALE
There is a deep shallow tale on my tongue, a bitter sweet in my lips.
I do not want to pen this on tablet of thorn, but on pages of amaryllis.
//father’s hen has swallowed a pin but on my neck sits the flint.//
the village river, today, has taken another count & grown fatter,
as I squatted to embrace shadow of neem & watch mountain kissing
the sky in romantic scenery, a vulture greeted from shying sunlight
amidst crooked branches. Spare my portion, sang a raven from dancing leaves,
an army of ants on naked road, marching to where my buttocks almost kissed
the earth to feed on daggling body above my head. //forest too, has taken
another count.// I held air in the tail, sucked venom from anus of wind &
licking dust. I paused at crossroads… the village river is thirsty
// for blood not water// & Malabar Almond rejoices for lack of children
in our huts. Have you seen where mothers eat their own placenta? But here…
we are lost souls at the edge of an ocean without life jacket & Our fathers
sit on our graves // where they bury us alive.// As the forest hungers
so the village river thirsts.
TO THE LAND THAT GAVE ME BIRTH
aroma of roasted corns
woke me from bamboo bed
birds chirped over my head
under cold hand of harmattan
& I beheld mountains extending
hands of fellowship to the sky
cry of a mortar & pestle deafened ears
from afar – a call to feast on mountain
& men armed for war – straight
to the wood to keep our race alive
& fresh wine, gulping from Iyamopo Hill
would be ready to cut my kinsmen’s throat
after the battle.
I heard egrets beating drum in
new horizon – they had travelled
through the edges of the world
singing praises of our ancestors
& when I opened my eyes,
I was cut like a mouse in Hunter’s trap
between teeth of sweet memories.
under the great baobab that gave me name
I beheld the sun beckoning on us to wash our
garment with black soap & erect our flag that
has long prostrated like agama on mountaintop
my throat choked & I gasped for words
I searched for my voice amidst
my kinsmen but… gone!
so, I’ve woven this poem gaging out
of my fading vein into a chaff
that wind may carry it to the highest heaven
& tell the world we are born of the sun & moon
& our black garments make no difference from
any white garment in blue sky.
Poems (c) Stephen Oladayo Oladokun
Image by cyanidekiss from Pixabay (modified)