Ina murna (I’m excited) 

The snaky road twisted, here and there

Passing pockets of forests tucked away, 

And when it ended at the foot of Ugwu Uwaoma

I saw the palm trees lead a welcome song

At the foot of the hill a banner hung

Bearing Mama’s poster and details… 

***

Now I stand before thee, oh great hill

The land of my grandfathers and my fathers’

For it gives great joy to see you always, beloved land

I taste of your warm waters in the streams that flow

I sing with the birds when they make their fine nests

Oh, the plum and mango fall in the evening

I hear the little happy children hustle for them

I stay awake to watch the stars that grace your nights

The children tell me of the day and moon light tales

When the days end, we gather to enjoy the cool evening breeze

To recall the events, old and fresh, good and sad

And to riddle on jokes and remember the joy of homecoming

***

Now I sit with the elders who tell how things changed

“Nna, you see in those days we eat raw grasses and fruits,

Now you amaze us with all these food that grow in can bellies”

“The pants we wore had much space for adjustments on the waist

I wonder why the new generation keep theirs below the loins!”

They smile, they love, and appreciate all that happen around them

Oh great land! Now granny will be laid to rest in you forever

I am confused, I am not sure I will find a better tale teller! 

But I will try to put all she has said and taught to paper

My face is gloomy and delighted; I have come to you my land,

But I have come because I must my granny bury in you, my land! 
**

Notes. 

For my granny, Late Uluocha Chinyere Duruoha. I must say that this beautiful soul has impacts in me much than I can imagine. Her confidence, her peace, her strive for excellence and intelligence. Most important of all she has taught me the act of tale telling. I will miss her much. I have been motivated by the tales she told, even the ones she told of her husband who fought in World War 2 in Tripoli and the Middle East and about the Biafran war. She has a warm place for culture and tradition and enjoys others company. Adieu mama. 

Rest in peace mama! Good night, my tale teller. 

Ina murna: Hausa language for I am happy, excited or delighted. Normally used to express happiness or joy. 

Ugwu Uwaoma: A hilly land located in Ovim, my hometown. 

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Call me Summer 

Call me summer; my days are sunny and hot, 

And in the forage you shall find, sweet fruits riped. 

I give tastes of fresh salmon cooked in coconut oil

And a drink of wine to toast to the mild island heat

 *

Call me summer for I plait the hairs of the palm trees

I watch the tiny caterpillars wriggle out of humus

The green garden is my favorite playground, 

And my laboratory where my fancies are made

*

Call me summer, I bake the ageless rocks 

They simmer, the forest paths lay quiet

And I conjure small snakes on the pathways, 

They enjoy the serene weather and heat! 

*

Call me summer for I sing with the waterfalls

The pond is warm, reptiles adore the warmth

The grassland turn alive; yellow and green

And the clay taste for the rains wealth

*

Call me summer; I dance in the airs of the morning

I sit with the grey owls in the hidden farm barn

Counting the travelling birds that flew the happy day

When the sun set I blow dry air to sooth the night

Call me summer, I am glad and alive! 

I give smell of lavender, of mushroom

I throw a party; as mother Nature’s art

Wishing my best to all who love me! 

The rainfall

i. 

See the rain drops fall, 

Throwing a rain party for all! 

The clouds wailed this evening

But to the children it was fun

ii. 

Under the rain, children danced

Enjoying the freedom that it brought 

Lightning shadows on windows, mild cold

But men hid themselves under the blankets

iii. 

The clouds sang, the wind whistled

The rain fell and the children danced

Laughing with the touch of wet fluid 

When the heavens stomach rumbled! 

iv. 

Swift sailing breezes surf the air

On the turf, kids twist and turn, 

Through this evenings mild rain

A night of fresh sleep beckon

Tales from the Giraffe

Oh lovely tower!

You stand above roofs and trees

And graze on the wild Savannah

You nibble at fresh tree leaves, 

And the whole land is yours! 

You visit our streams, majestically

You stray through the quiet village

And stole all attention to yourself 

*

Nights are for the folk tales, 

Stories groomed in the heart 

Of the people; culture, legends 

And when the children tell of your deeds

It shook even the heavy sleepers and bored

The moon is sick and half

Eaten by the grey Giraffe!”

Children complained… 

And each tale tell of your queerness 

So you enjoy the wealth of the land

In the stories that the children told

You lived as the mystic fawn

Which saved the lost wood men

*

Now you live in the fairy tales of happy children

Giving them fanciful rides through the skies

And when the nights end, you return to the wild

But you, you remain a mass of living height! 

Flying to summer 

There’s a symphony of joy! 

Roaring up the bright skies, 

Emissaries of the aging day

Graceful flights to Africa! 

*

Floating above the countryside 

Leaving the fresh, green fields

Above the endless forests

Keeping hope ahead

*

Each journey is an unknown promise, 

Somewhere between joy and heartache. 

But they must fly, the fair geese

Up the clouds, moving on with life
***

Image by Mr. Pietro Polic. 

Death of a masquerade

When the cocks wake the clan in the morn with their calls

I remember you, your memories are like my room walls 

First, I must congratulate you for not dying completely 

For telling us why we must abandon the village for the city, 

For leaving the clans people with only strands of what you did, 

And guesses of who was behind your mask, a puzzle on our mind

I remember you abandoning your strong hands for the spoon and fork

You feed yourself, but you knew your mouth was unsatisfied with that work 

*

I remember you eating your tomato salads from cans

Throwing the tin and plastics about the land 

So that our children played. Kicking them and cutting their foot

And when the rain’s flood came, we found the cans in our rivulet

*

I remember you dancing under the moon with the others

Drawing knowledge from the tales our ancient ones offered 

Speaking to the ears of everyone, ‘a word is enough for the wise’

Until you began to see wisdom, looking for specks in others eyes

The dance and folklore gatherings became a child’s play

The tent that housed the age grade meetings now was on your way; 

You will have none of the villages unhealthy games and palm beer

But in your heart of hearts you long for these moments, with desire 
*

I remember you running like a mad masquerade 

On a busy festivity day, striking the defenseless

Blowing hungry fumes from your hidden nostrils

Oblivious of the approaching vehicle

Which was to become your slow death… 

I remember you… 

Note. 
Can you see that the African culture is dying casually? The tradition is laid bare and so ethics that once governed here are disregarded. What must be done to bring back our language, customs, food, dressing, vissicitude and values? 

Musing:  The Railroad 

Iron metal

Crisscrossing 

Dragging through the dust

Like the snake, iron snake. 


Tracks lay ahead as far as our eyes go, 

Crawling through the urban and rural; 

The countryside with her quiet forest 

The township with her hustle bustle 

The clouds are free of you

They watch your snake lanes

Cockroach through rocks and tunnels

Leading the way to the future!