Before my mother met God, she was a daughter of the land.
She had an identity as true as the earth
On which she sat when she listened
To Nneanyiukwu’s moonlight tales.
Her heart beat in rhythm with the ways of her father. She danced at the festivals.
She basked in the sunlight of community;
In the knowledge that she was one
Of many broomsticks held together by Ani.
She thrived – here in the land.
When my mother met God,
She slipped from the commune; an errant
Broomstick; away from the land.
She observed rites and danced dances
Strange to the land. She went to war
Against the children of her mother.
Cheered on by strange people in strange shrines.
She rejected the land, our love, for hope
Hope in a land unseen and yet unknown.
When my mother died,
We brought her home; to the land.
The ancient fathers mourned her.
This daughter of the land who took the opium
and forgot her people.
We laid her here,
In the land she rejected.
THE TALKING DRUM
When on weathered leather earth
Wooden legs dance;
Energized by the raw energy
Oozing from strong native hands.
The drum bursts into life
Like fresh gasoline fire.
It dusts out a voice
Subdued for ages. Then,
In loud thunderous beats
It booms, with unrestrained freedom,
Accusing native sons of Omenaelu,
Preaching against slavery of the mind,
Pleading for Idinaotu and Ofuobi.
It summons our fathers departed
And soothes deities desecrated.
It stirs ancient minds
With memories of primal times
And awes young men
With the mystic rhythm of Surugede.
We sit speechless
As chastisingly, the drum bellows.
We all sit, listening –
Poems © David Okafor