We have stood and bent and crumbled
As the world rebelled in a strange craze
We have watched as the clouds rumbled
And sent the world a red gaze.
The chicks are free of their cage
But are they free of the eagles?
We have walked about for many an age
Yet we are interlocked in these gables.
Our nights are marred by screams
Our day killed by news
When are we going to taste the ugba creams
That mother makes in the morning dew?
We have seen okummuo with our eyes
When we walked to the church
When bodies fell like blocks of ice
Or hailstones, maimed and crushed.
This silence is strange
But we must take thankful snatches of breath
Then work out the grave range
And put the remains of death.
I hold a flame of fear in my heart and hands
And smell the foul air in the dark
I don’t know if this is an interval in the rounds
Or the end of an historic mark!
If the ragged dagger of lightning
Jags the crimson skies
We must remain sober in tightening
The loose strands of the drum’s string ties.
This breath demands silence, dissimulation
And a mute closure of the lips
We do not want to dare the invocation
Of ghastly gods garbed in reds from fatal deeps.
*Ugba – a traditional delicacy made from the oil bean.
*Okummuo – Hell.
Written by: Chimezie Chika
Edited by: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson