African Poems (Africa)
Christopher Okigbo (Watermaid)
EYE OPEN on the sea,
eyes open, of the prodigal;
upward to heaven shoot
where stars will fall from.
Secret I have told into no ear,
save into a dughole, to hold, not to drown with –
Secret I have planted into beachsand
salt-white surf on the stones and me,
and lobsters and shells
in iodine smell-
maid of the salt-emptiness,
whose secret I have covered up with beachsand…
Shadow of rain over sunbeaten beach,
Shadow of rain over man with woman.
with the armpit-dazzle of a lioness,
wearing white light about her;
and the waves escort her,
crowned with moonlight.
So brief her presence-
match-flare in wind's breath-
so brief with mirrors around me.
the waves distil her;
Watermaid of the salt-emptiness,
grown are the ears of the secret.
AND I WHO am here abandoned,
count the sand by wave lash abandoned,
count her blessing, my white queen.
But the spent sea reflects
from his mirrored visage
not my queen, a broken shadow.
So I who count in my island the moments,
count the hour which will bring
my lost queen with angels' ash in the wind.
THE STARS have departed,
the sky in monocle
surveys the world under
The stars have departed,
and I-where am I?
Stretch, stretch, O antennae,
to clutch at this hour,
fulfilling each moment in a
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