Chibueze Oscar Osuji
Days Of Olokun - Poem by Chibueze Oscar Osuji
In those days of you, aqueous god
When the sea smote the land afall
In those times of your cloak ephod
Worn by trance kindred priests apall.
The seas which groove in rows and fleet
You held with calabash-like hands,
With your cyclonic lips and feet
Your filter the seas from the lands.
Truly, those were your days of glee
Of appraisal songs and laughters,
Yemaja herself will agree;
For you beautified her daughters
Cleansing them by your river-stack
Giving them feet to roam the earth
Only for earth to return aback
The sea maids of premature birth.
Envious deities gather onward
On baobab trees below the sun
Down on your earthly boulevard
Wondering how your power begun,
You told none, not even Ogun
Whom you betroth Yemaja too
The great daughter of Olokun;
Grand mascot of the ocean-blue.
You alone summon man and beast
To kindle your black festivals
Where deities descend down to feast
And drink for your high appraisals,
While in ethiope you bath with blood
This blood might be for beast or man
Your spirits drown by restless flood,
To appease you high leviathan.
The beast of the seas' width and length
Foe of the wind-skirt of Oya
Whom you rival in power and strength,
How she seize the wind orisha
From you, old potent divine king
Against her you fought greatly, fearless
With this ebo of lightening
With this roaring undergoddess.
I still dream of the thunder clash
Full with censer-fire and rattle
Those days your lakes and Oya splash
I feel I was in the battle
Standing next to you toe to toe
With blood thirst and maddening rage
Against the fierce god-king Sango
Whose tales will never burn by age.
Those were times the heavens were near
And the east was close to the west;
Exchanging bronze tales here and there.
Times the deities were at their best,
Times spirit glide as passer-by,
Times when talking drums were not mute
But could call the gods from the sky
By moonlight to settle dispute.
Times when the earth swallow the dead
Only to excrete out spirits
When seen they swell a living's head
Enchanting his soul bits by bits.
Times of avian witches at night
The sisters of dark magic gloom;
No white man's ship was at our bight
To drag us with chains to our doom.
Now, the tides have change forever
With no gods wherever I look,
On hill-tops or under-water
Or in words of a scholar's book.
Lost stories and nativity
Lost tradition and native ways;
All gone is the divinity
Of old times and Olokun's days.
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