My Lips are twisted by Sharp Knives of the Bantu
Warriors, till Bleeding Words flow from Tongue's Mantle.
Ezeamalukwuo; the name you gave
Me, Dearest Mother so that I may speak.
Ezeamalukwuo; the words you said
To me by my infant bed, soft and slow.
Holding your palm-oil lamp over me
Oh Mother! My eyes were little and blind,
I did not know you then; your grace and green.
I did not understand your uniqueness
The signs, the rituals, the blackness of you,
Your traditions, your customs and your norms,
Your clay gods, the ways of my ancestors;
Those wise elders that sat and sniffed their snuffs,
Yet saw further than children upon tree.
No I did not understand you at all,
All I saw was your nakedness Mother!
All I knew was wars, famine, death and dust.
Your harsh sun, your harmattan and your rain
That beat constantly on our leaking roof.
The broken moon that hung over the sky,
Over the heavens and us brought me naught.
The white sands of your shores filled me with wants
With desires of things far across the seas
Thus I abandoned you Dearest Mother;
The Azure clothing of the August moon,
The sweet juice of the Ixora flower.
Thus I abandoned my manhood and pride,
My name, my religion, my being qua being
For the apple fruit across the ocean.
I have tasted its juice; the dread and death.
My lips were parched, my nakedness revealed.
Now, my eyes are not so little or blind.
Now I see my own weakness and blackness.
The coffee coloured nature of my skin,
The folly of my ways, the betrayal.
The friendly serenity of your home,
The wisdom of your ways, -the fire and faith
Oh Dearest Mother! My sins are many
But you ne'er casted me away from you.
You didn't curse the earth beneath my feet,
Nor did you make me crawl on my belly
And eat the very dust that I'd once loathe.
Nay, you kissed me and called me, 'Your own son.'
I, -the prodigal-came back from the dead.
You dressed me in green, -the forest and heath.
O Dearest Mother! My very Dearest! !
I had crawled, stood, and fallen once and more.
I had spoken in gibberish, -infantile
To the little ants that crawled on my feet.
As they went about their sacred duties
The ways of the world are too much for me,
The world's wisdom is like small fallen foods
That I must pick gently like a chicken.
But I will no longer fear, nor shudder,
For you are with me, -in the breeze and black,
In the tropical soil, the red earth soil
That patiently awaits my brittle bones,
In the erotic dance of the palm trees,
In the waving palms of the plantain fronds,
In the fingers of the cassava leaves,
In sacred waters of the coconuts.
I know so well that you are here with me.
I hear it in songs of the Nightingale;
The evening songs of the wind in the bush.
I hear it in all around me, saying:
And now Dear Mother, he does bear your breathe,
Feed Truth to man, sordid creature of clay
Of blood and bones and the mind of a god.
Forged from your bosom, and hence shall return,
Dust to dust, forever and for a day.
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Topic(s) of this poem: identity
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.