HOLY MESSENGER

Truth in the mouth of a liar Becomes dumb But your ears shall not feign Ignorance when I call Akufecha has eaten much cock-heads By the mouth of Ogazi the priest To sell healthy prayers to their faithfuls But gods that eat food are men like us Whose pockets swell...

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AFRICANAH

When I was born It should have been in Eurasia, way into the belly of China To see It’s walls that I hear stretches as far as eyes can see Even Chinese calligraphy too interests me But it was my birth and my choice So I choose Africa Here there...

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WAKE UP, SLEEPING GIANT

Oh, the giant that once shook the earth Now less than a suckling infant worth The giant at whose presence lions fled Why are you now pale and your eyes red? The giant, while crouching that could crush bones Is it at you that little children now throw stones? Oh...

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TRAGEDY OF FAITH

Anticipating village ears Groping the whistling easterly winds Tracking approaching sounds, each steers T’catch high priest’s obscure rattling steps One, two, here he comes, with a chalky stripe on his chest And a dirty red as a vest; with one or two palm fronds a-waist And three or four feathers...

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A PETITION TO THE GODS

Amadioha! He who speaks through thunder and strikes with lightning! Have you lost your axe? Why do you seem lax? Seeds of evil of have grown into mighty irokos! Ala! Alusi of the earth. The blood of our youngs are now to you a libation goddess of childbirth, your silence...

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BRIDE PRICE by Oku-ola Abiola Paul

25 litres of palm wine; two 10 rolls of Ankara, red and blue 50 tubers of yam One spotless ram …Is your daughter for sale? Two mighty bottles of gin Adding kolanuts too won’t be a sin Beverages for the aged of the household And cash for the young and...

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THERE WAS A WORD CALLED TABOO

There was a word called “Taboo” Name of felonies, of spitables, Of dark deeds and mucks. There was a word called taboo In the days when Virtue held our hands And kissed our gleaming cheeks When Integrity sat in the office of our hearts And led our bright steps. There...

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I RETCHED

Let me tell you the repulsive story of the vomit I disgorged yesterday. Yesterday my student– little miss Sadat– missed from class And days and days I saw neither ghost nor slough And so I was all questions and no answers.

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ABIKU

Announce to the market of familiar strangers O’birth crier! Inform them in the city of the under-sun Chalk the name of our visitor on the cheek of Life. Quickly! Remember, he is wayfarer Drag the gold shielded ram to the market place sound the gong of announcement let our feet...

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