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HARVEST OF SORROWS by George Shakewords

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Ani, in the nakedness of the night I stand before you,
Deserted, even by my own shadow
I am a man of many tribulations.
Trapped in the thick Web of sorrows
And soaked in the pool of agony,
Save my soul, of this torment.

Osun, let these eyes that feast on the beauty of your bank,
Bear witness to my sorrowful heart,
Of the ecstasy my soul bore
When in an odd wedlock Abike became mine,
Before the frowned faces of our seperate traditions and cultures
Do not despise my sacrifice, I pray.

If my today is barren and refuses to birth tomorrow
Let my cursed head bear its grieves to the grave,
Let the memory of me, like dust before the wind, fade away,
Let a man of my kind never raise his ugly head before the earth,
If the gods could hear my wishes
Then I say, Abike be free from the fetters of our culture’s curses.

Mother, I seek not the remedy to your denied blessings
Nor the cure to the fire that burn in my arms,
But you may bear my words in your heart,
And tell the tale of how love rode on my little thought,
Driving me across the land,
In search of a maiden to bear my offspring.

Father, in my foolish wisdom
Have I let your words fall on my deaf ears,
Blinded by the dust raised in love’s wind
I journeyed lonely through the path of folly,
In the absence of my kinsmen
To a strange land, where the grey haired detests the taste of kola nut.

Seven shallow graves behind my hut
For my seven offspring
Who had neither seen the departure of the moon,
Nor the sorrowful face of their mother, Abike.
Where’s love, the good evil that blinded me in folly,
Come quickly, to the aid of your victim.

Ani, today Abike is heavy again,
Let her milk filled breast not dry in vain
Naked I stand before you, Ani
To barter my soul for the freedom of my unborn,
Lay not your anger on the innocent,
Take me, let my sorrows end at my death.

*Ani – An Igbo god
*Osun – Yoruba sea goddess

Nigerian Poetry – HARVEST OF SORROWS by George Shakewords