Phillips Olayanju (Lagos)
An African Zoo
We are natives of this zoo
Born and bred as native animals
With imported breeds to envy
And local breeds to scowl at.
Animals are treated like animals
Dogs alike, cat alike, humans alike
Black men alike, white men alike
Black dogs, white doves.
Forgetting our roots
Our stems and fruits we disperse
With such animosity and disgust
We are made masters and servants.
Dogs eating crumbs off the table
Doves feasting in heaven
Nimb fingers scrubbing for survival
Wealth coated tongues barking orders.
Wild, black, uncultured animals
Reared in a universal zoo,
The forgotten pride of man
Tucked away from modern civilization.
We are occasionally killed
And taken into the paradise of clouds
Only to land after a hours' dozen
In a foreign museum.
We are tamed and cultured
In these elusive museums
Used as exhibitions
To attract tourists.
Complexion contrasts character
Dark skin, white heart
White skin, dark heart
Such is the glory of the moulder.
All animals come from the same home
All fruits come from a tree
All tress grow from a root
All roots sprout from the soil.
All shall return to their home
All shall rest in peace
Till we meet again
At a strange place.
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (An African Zoo by Phillips Olayanju )
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