The Rage Is Red: Poems by Oyin Oludipe

red rage
Image (c) Craig Sunter via Flickr

(Dedicated to those who lost their lives in the recent infernos in Lagos)

The rage is red; all winds retell
Sensations of flame, like the clouds, scratch
Incisions on the heart

I heard! I heard the breath of
Prayers wedged beneath the roar,
Blood-reeds, to veil the course

Of the screams. The eyes alone may not
Bear the reddened moment, for the soul
Has long fled the real world,

Retched anguish on windows. Flesh
Drops to bless the roast of sweat
And no drool finds a spot between Baby’s lips,

But frantic syllables of fear
Distill the air; I felt the racing
Plunge of grief, the red of rage

In the haze. Yet was red not all things? –
Red roads, red waters, red roofs
And the death was comrade to their homes



And all the silence of the hearth
Captive it fell, beneath your eyes
Hours misty at the strain, steals
The rout touches of the heart;
And the earth where you stood,
Weak it was, bred the bitter crust
Where strode the bride; and no amulet
Caught no fluorescence on its face

For where reared the drum, notes fled
And you hear them not; the weary
Dirges of your invention, new decay
Gently swelled, where it stakes the prime
Oh hear them not you may

Feel them not you may —
Chivalry of the fern, the hairs of nights
And shadows of mirth on your buttock
Tuned to time’s treacherous passing
You feel no more beauty on your skin

Oh see them not you may
…Roots berth your course, the despair
Which is yours; and bleak droops this sky
Without your laughter, that glimmer
Time has not long seen

But know it not you may, Oh reed faint
Know it not you may
If your tears had stained all the earth
If you had stood your feet on the night
And drowned her fingers from your heart


© Oyin Oludipe
Image:  Craig Sunter via Flickr

About the author

Oyin Oludipe

Oyin Oludipe is a Nigerian poet whose works have appeared in several
journals like The Kalahari Review, Black Boy Review and the Guardian


Click to comment. Comments held for moderation.