John Pepper Clark (Abiku) Poem by African Poems

John Pepper Clark (Abiku)

Rating: 3.1

Coming and going these several seasons,
Do stay out of the baobab tree,
Follow where you please your kindred spirits

If indoors is not enough for you.
True, it leaks through the thatch
When floods brim the banks,
And the bats and owls
Often tear in at night through the eaves,
And at harmattan, the bamboo walls
Are ready tinder for the fire
That dries the fresh fish up on the rack.
Still, it’s been the healthy stock
To several fingers, to many more will be
Who reach to the sun.
No longer then bestride the threshold
But step in and stay
For good. We know the knife scars
Serrating down your back and front
Like beak of the sword-fish,
And both your ears, notched
As a bondsman to this house,
Are all relics of your first comings.
Then step in, step in and stay
For her body is tired,
Tired, her milk going sour
Where many more mouths gladden the heart.

*Abiku: Yoruba (a group of people in Nigeria) word for a child born to die young and believed to be reborn by the same woman over and over again
Esselebor Ebhojie 29 December 2015

I have read this several times and the artistry of Clark still beckons for emulation

9 4 Reply
Kedrix Udjoe 14 May 2016

Ogbanje@its soul keeps coming

7 3 Reply
Babatunde Aremu 07 September 2015

Great poem woven in mysterious belief of Abiku. Step in, step in and stay, this sums it up.

5 2 Reply
Aremo Abiodun Best 11 July 2016

wonderful piece..................

2 2 Reply
Juwon Daniel 07 December 2015

wonderfully written kudos

1 3 Reply
Egwerendu Chimaobi 30 August 2022

I love that poem. It reminds me of my post primary years

1 0 Reply
Mabel 03 September 2021

Very nice poem which depicts what a typical abiku child is making the parent go through. Masterpiece from John Pepper Clark

2 0 Reply
Kingsley Egbukole 19 February 2020

A beautiful poem by a master.

7 1 Reply
Uche Nwanze 07 August 2019

I grow up loving this poem, I even recited it over and over again. JP Clark is a legend and was one of the beautiful minds that inspired me into poetry. Your writings will never disappear from the sands of time.

9 0 Reply
Paella Godson 01 April 2019

I love the poem

2 1 Reply
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