For God, read white, read slaver surrogates
We scaled the ranges of Obudu, prospected
Jos plateau, pilgrims on rock – hills of Idanre
Floated on pontoons from Bussa to silt beds
Of eternal Niger, reclaimed the palmgrove swamps
Startling mudskipper, manatee and mermaids.
Did others claim the mantle of discoverers?
Let them lay patents on ancestral lands, lay claim
To paternity of night and days-ours
Were hands tat always were, hands that pleat
The warp of sunbeam, and the weft of dew
Ours to create the seamless out of paradox
In the mind’s compost, meager scrub yielded
Silos of grain. Walled cities to the north were
Sheaths of gold turbans, tuneful as minarets.
The dust of Durbars, pyrotechnic horsemen
And sparkling lances, all one with the ring of anvils
From Ogun’s land to Ikenga’s.
Rainbow beads, jigida
From Bida’s furnaces vied across the sky with Iyun glow and Ife Bronzes, Luscent on ivory arches
Of Benin. Legend lured Queen Amina to Moremi
Old scars of strife redeemed in tapestries
Of myth, recreating birthpang and rebirth.
we would steal secrets from the gods.
Let Sango’s axe,
Spark thunderstones on rooftops, we would swing
In hawser hammocks on electric pylons, pulse through cities
In radiant energies, surge from battery racks to bathe
Town and hamlet in alchemical light.Orisa–Oko
Would heal with herbs and scapel.Ogun’s drill
Was poised to plum the earth anew, spraying aloft
Reams of rare alloys. Futurists, were we not
Annunciators? Of the Millennium long before its advent?
In our now autumn days, behold our leaden feet
Fast welded to the starting block
Vain griots! Still we sang the hennaed lips and fingers
Of our gazelle womenfolk, fecund muses tuned
Senghorian cadences. We grew filament eyes
As heads of millet, as flakes of cotton responsive
To brittle breezes, wraith-like in the haze of harmattan
Green of the cornfields of Oyo, ochre of groundnut pyramids
Of Kano, indigo in the ancient dye-pots of Abeokuta
Bronzed in earth’s tonalities as children of one deity
We were the cattle nomads, silent threads through
Forestries and cities, coastland and savannah,
Wafting Maiduguri to the sea, ocean mist to sand dunes
Do keep a date with us. The reading continues tomorrow. Do have a wonderful day ahead!