okoye charles

Rookie - 2 Points (12th Febuary,1988 / Onitsha)

The Pilgrim's Song - Poem by okoye charles

I call my love from the conclaves of the bird.
Hear me maid! Hear me maiden! !
Hear me calling, calling out to you.
The voice in the wind, in the silence, in the wilderness;
Waning slowly, yet calling out to you.
Come away fair evening child,
Come away into the wild.
Away from the half hearted world,
From the frenzy, the noise, the theatre.
Away from it all, to the flowers mild;
To the sunset portrait, a virgin child.
Oh where is she, where does the Niger starlet hide?
Why do silent tears becloud my eyes?

Through the dusk, through the dark,
Through open windows, the doors of the heart;
Wanders the pilgrim alone,
Searching the deserted streets for you.
Searching the mist, the chimney, and the fire,
The smoke that frolics with the sky
And stumbles dusk into the night.
Searching still, the trees, the bellies of the bower,
Smelling the air, for the fragrance of your flower,
In the wind, the coldest night of the year.
Now behold the moon on the crescent tower,
Now behold me, enthralled by its power.
Walking barefooted where the thistles grow;
Walking alone in the cold, soft and slow.

In the cold, somewhere within the shadow's reach;
Grows the Cactus Spectablis.

The rustling anguish of fallen leaves,
The piercing cries of the wounded beast,
The tears of heaven, the sighs of hell,
The broken bamboo, and seeds unkempt,
The night, the gloom, the shadows of the moon;
In my dreams, and the visions I see,
Along this winding paths of life,
Along the meandering rivers of strife,
The streams, the tributaries,
That feed the eternal hunger of the sea,
There walks the pilgrim, searching for you.
There I walk, battered and blue.

Oh where is she, where does the Niger starlet hide?
Why do silent tears becloud my eyes?

Fifty two market days had gone
Two scores and a dozen seasons has it been
Since I first gazed upon your virgin eyes
Since I last held you in these weary arms
Close to my breast, the forest and the heath
Curled up free in October's green,
In the dream, the salty leaves of the Lagos gleam
In the fable and the parables of old
In the myths and legends untold
In the Abandoned shrine of our forefathers
Where I pledge earnestly to serve you wholly
To be faithful, to be loyal, to be holy
To guard you through this maze that now beguiles me
Oh I did not ask and I do not wish to know
'What it takes to love and to be left alone.'

Flowing in the cold, the Niger River groans.
Flowing still, the Benue gasps and groans.
The tree hears it, and twists and turns.
The hare feels it, away it runs;
And by the termite hill it hides;
By the shrubs, and the thorns, side by side,
There barked the watchful dog awhile,
But I did not see you there,
Nor do I perceive your fragrance in the air,
In the dark, in the shade, in the violet's plight
In the dews, the droplets of the night
By the groaning river running by
No! I do not see you in the sky.
No! I did not ask and I do not wish to know
'What it takes to love and be left alone.'

And would it have been worth it, after all
After the sobs, the sighs, the sleepless night
The grass, the green snake, the sour bite of lime
To know that I will eternally love you so
To know that I might break down and let you go

And would it have been worth it, after all;
After the sobs, the sighs, the sleepless night.
The weeds, the shrubs, the thorns and thickets,
In the bush, the evil forest,
Beside the perennial trees that bears no fruit.
No Apple from your eyes to share with me.
And would it have been worth it at all,
If I did hang and die for thee,
To be your Christ, to try and set you free,
To break open the gates of Hades from devil's keep,
Only to be held a prisoner there by thee.
And binding my wandering feet, would say
'Here exactly is where I wish to be,
Here alone, not free to tread the pilgrim's way'

And would it have been worth it, after all
If by sowing the seeds upon your heart,
The desert, the Brown carpet of it all,
If one, by moving the sky to tears or the stream to stray
And by turning the earth a few measured degree,
No more, no less,
Would you come away with me on the pilgrim's way?
Or would you remain still as the night
Where my tears fell like frozen dews
Upon the still sleeping grass,
Upon the silent worm, the ants, Alas!
My love did grow on the most unlikely of place,
Upon the thorns, the path, the stony space,
Where the birds make their breakfast flight.
I did not die, I did not hide.
I only loved and loved alone.
And here I am, lost in the cold,
Lost in the wood, lost in space and in time.

I am not a prince; no I am not a knight.
I do not walk the palace of the wise,
Nor know the grey streaked secrets of the night,
The dark luster, the textures of dream.
No I do not come from royalty.
I am just a man, who loves you true,
By the fires, the frost, the dew.
And if you still deem it wise, the joy to wait
In the silent shadows by the gate,
And if you do break my heart like a coconut,
Its shell shattered wherever you may go;
Upon the hills and the vale,
The, heath, the lake, the realm of hell,
Know ye well that I will still love you true
In every piece, large or small.
Be it in the savannah's height of the North,
Where Danfodio sowed his mustard seed.
Be it on the Eastern plains of Biafra,
On the salty shores of the Delta,
Or even in the cocoa plantations of the West,
I will not die and I will not forget.
I will eternally love you true.
I did not ask and I still do not want to know
"What it takes to love and be left alone."

I call my love from the conclave of the bird
Hear me maid! Hear me maiden! !
Hear me calling, calling out to you.
Come away fair evening child
Come away into the wild
To the sunset portrait, a virgin child.
Oh where is she, where does the Niger starlet shine?
Why do silent tears becloud my eyes.


Comments about The Pilgrim's Song by okoye charles

  • (4/14/2013 12:22:00 PM)


    This had an epic scope, but it never felt long or overbearing, this was filled with true unbridled passion, I especially love the secound to last stanza where you state that you are simply a man in love, and that itself is magic enough. You call your love through every land, and it shows here. A lovely sunday read (Report) Reply

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  • Chime Justice Ndubuisi (2/15/2013 8:56:00 PM)


    Enchanting! What a power love wields over everything. Nice read. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, February 15, 2013



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