18 July 2015


                      (Photo Credit: Harry Garuba)

After Wole Soyinka’s The Children of this Land

The elders of this land are bowed

Their gazes sit on mines in place of hills,

Earth to breed the marsh from dust

Sensuous froth trailed by foul tongues

Their bristly groves are riddles for faith

The elders of this land are swift,

But only deviously so. They clap gourds on conquest

But – know – the barrel it was that sealed

Rock seams their offspring saw to sprout.

Once, it was oath for their harvest

But their wagging skulls are devout

To a black storm sky, to a pull of droughts

The elders of this land raise the proudest walls

On mourner lands, dissect hearts to bear

Eye-woe waters. Their songs are scab

For bile whose virulence has shot

Through tart lips to the passing of purity.

But sweet memories hang dead. Their ghosts

Are dormant kernels and grounded lives

These are the treasures of the misplaced,

The fresh and brisk severed. Greybeard dethrones

Agile brood. The elders of this land

Are gourmets in coal seas, all turncoats

And nude masks – the crust of their returning.

Their shadows are ghoul for the lost child,

Cold horizon for a distant grief, and hope.

A worn breed will crown our race –

Where the morrow is lost, guest

To echoes from far crowded shores, parader

In lone universe fabricated by hungry minds,

Where the morrow is hidden courage,

Ancient leap, vied by fears

Of chronic present

But the elders of this land round the gulf

As undertakers. The spires of their compassion

Rain flames on hearths once dance grooves,

And limbs of birth. The elders of this land

Are carved as gods, their antimonies bash

All cautions of the past. A horde

Surges through their vision, but douses the air

With one bold warrant:

These are heirs to the rust!

Author's Bio

Nigerian poet, playwright and essayist; Oyin Oludipe is the Nonfiction editor of Expound, a magazine of arts and aesthetics. His works have appeared on The New Black Magazine, The Kalahari Review, Black Boy Review, Ijagun Poetry Journal, Kalamu Review, The Stijl and many others

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