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These Spatters upon my Roof: Poems by Tope Adeboboye

The Song in my Soul

A song brews in my soul
Choking me with its surging tide
Seeking air with a passion plea
Flinging its fetters with sanguinary fervour
Whirling within like a feverish gale
But the liberty of its bestirring tune
I dare not decree…
For our land is lost on its lane
Our cattle savour grime for grass
The tutors, charcoal and chaff
Man’s mouth can no longer sing
Hands have ceased to encore hymns
Legs shrink from tinkling rhymes
Where lethal lead stalks the sky
So I keep on searching and seeking
But am I lost in this lawn?
For I’m yet to find the place
A snuggery – so mellow and safe
For this simmering song
Brewing bile in my brittle soul


These Spatters upon my Roof

The sun takes faltering steps
And like the watchman, I leisurely look
Gradually heavy drums rumble
Messages from across the sky
Birds fly on in wild ecstasy
Singing sweet recessionals
Trees sway with fiendish joy
The winds beat the rhythm
Running dead leaves around
Like fowls dashing for corn
Dark clouds gradually crowd the sky
In a soft transformation
And from across the sky
The heavy warning persists
And now without a warning ring
Sudden spatters clang the roof
Clattering like pebbles sprayed on steel
Now, again, lines of fire cross the sky
Giving birth to crashing bangs
Below people scrambling for shelter
Shrink from the impending soak
And as the trees drink their bliss
In gulps that handicap words
I remain alone
Amidst these celestial drops
A lonely watcher on the balcony


The Other Din

At that time that a season
Ends its transit race…

At that time that an age
Berths at its final shore…

The drums beat a silent sound
A dawn shapes in the frightening shades

The streets wear a mirth-mourn mood
The gong sounds, the time set

When the beats of the muddled mind
Lure one into a nigh sanctum

When admonitions shower like hails
Rattling like raindrops on my ruptured roof

When the altar cries compel
To re-ponder one’s course anew

When supplications melt into a rumpus
Detaining the flow in our earth’s veins

When the ominous din of the interior
Spells the imminent doom of the oldster

When the face of a sacred site
Wears a wail like a corpse’s bed…

Then a sudden shudder and a shock
A bird sings – a sharp staccato
The world ceases for threescore beats
And each heart thumps like a drummer’s fist

Then the return of the former din…

But now another din
Ushering in a safe passage
For the harmonious hails of the bells
Mingle with the songs of the fire toys
And the frenzied croaks of the exiled frogs
Hail the dawn of a new day.


Vultures of Fortune

In this season
This season that spirals
That stokes the soul
With the woven waves
Of a seething sea
They come
Like flies atop a festering filth
Barging against our battered brows
With balm ensconced in a punctured bowl
Vermin with dreams and sundry vows
Bedeck our ears with a dreary din
They come
Wearing a smile and a cheering chin
Seeking our print in their power box
But vultures of fortune they fly with feint
Enthroned on files in their thieving fort
They flush their spit and venom phlegm
Down the chin and pallid pates
Of a plundered, lonesome lot
That if offered the power shoe
Shall alas still prance and pace
On same rulers’ path to peril


Loverboy’s Lament

You dim my days
You gnaw my nights
And hack my hallowed hours
With a hoe

You seize my soul
You burgle my brain
And tie my twinkling times
With a twine

But have you forgotten
Those nights under the roadside trees
Sitting on the grass
Beside the throbbing stream
And taking my hand
Even in the moon’s full gaze?

You poured out the load
Your heart’s lyrical load
And only my ears
Drank the sweetened sounds

Or when at evening mass
By Peter’s sacred stand
You sang the words again
To my heart’s perfect bliss
And the salient saint
Blessed our souls’ desire?

You maim my morn
You nail my noon
And drill my dreary dusk
With a dredge

You slit my skin
You bruise my brow
And ram my ruptured ribs
With a rock

Pray why keep me in the cold
In the harsh harmattan cold
While you singly sit
By the soft fireside?

Why leave me dumped and dry
Like a kernel drained of oil
While a loser’s timid tears
Run a river down my spine?

And I stay on in the cold
While you cuddle by the fireside
Yet waiting for your hollow pledge
That hoaxed my brittle mind

You fleece my flesh
You burn my blood
And slice my subtle soul
With a sword

You harm my heart
You mangle my mind
You goad me with gall
And make bitter bile my wanted wine


(c) Tope Adeboboye

Tope Adeboboye
Tope Adeboboye
Tope Adeboboye writes for Nigeria's King of the Tabloids, Lagos-based The Sun newspapers. A former Senior Correspondent with Saturday Punch, Tope has won a couple of awards, including the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Award's Features Writer of the Year (2000/2001) and the International Library of Poetry's Editor's Choice Award. He currently lives in the United States.

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