The Whirlwind - Poem by Goodness Tchibueze
Little did i know that the whirlwind twirled upon my roof...
Drained by duty and the sudorific sun,
I trudged my weary way bare-feeted -
It should have been solitary had the flies
Not stalked and talked my stench - through a flexuous
Path strewn with shattered shells; glasses;
And chinawares, i sprang and leaped to keep
My soles from their hungry gnaw;
They bit and bit and bit;
And i bled and bled and bled;
My tears had withered with the leaves parched
By the sun, thus i shed many empty tears.
Hunger had sealed my throat, thus
I shrilled a silent groan and cry;
And tottered in my
Stream of blood
Towards the crossed river for some livening and cleansing.
There, the river layed lifeless, it must have been
and robbed and killed - it lost
Its wealth of silver and liquid.Had i enough
Strength spared, i would have lamented;
I only spat dry spittle, dipped and washed
My soles in it on the mud of the murdered
River which once splashed Life and Purity...
Bathed with the malodourous scent of my state,
The flies sang my rave, and cast dice
Upon my head and wears;
I could not clap to chase them away -
Not that i minded the fun, i could not carry
The heaviness which arched me.At home,
Mother sat outside, pain etched
Her countenance, and exposed her teeth
To the white - she had told me in the morning
That they pierced her gums and jaw;
I trudged into the house lizardly:
Silently and shaking my head.I needed
Food, but my eyes uncovered empty
Pots and plates; the cookingplace smoked
Dormantly, it was not put off in the morning;
There was no water in the claypot, the river had dried
After the third crow.In the room, my sister
Bent towards her ailing child, her eyes
Were sore with hot sadness; she had wept
An ocean of fears and tears.She whimpered
To me that my nephew, my budling brother -
The sobriquet i gave him on his first flight
Into this flight, and for perching on our tree
With an alien skin - passed bloods
Instead of stools, waxed weak, ate nothing,
Cried all day, and slept none.No
Consoling air streamed from my mouth,
I groaned and moaned; i knew then that
A mother suffers her child's ailment
With the ailing child.My mind raced
To my mother: i had once been like my budling brother,
And mother had once been like my sister;
Excruciating expiation cut through me.
Guilt impaled me.Had i not a rigid heart,
I would have given myself to death.
I would apologize to mother when i find my bones.
I needed rest, i flung myself into the bed in a feigned sleep
Since it refused to come.Drowsy, i heard
A long swish, loud like the whisper of a monster-wind,
Which trod upon my roof; i arose to make certain
My claims, i felt lighter, and stronger;
My eyes were ajar, i yawned and stretched my body.
When i slit open my eyes, the sun,
Mother, and sister smiled at me, my budling brother
Was blathering to the doll i bought for him...
I have been dreaming! 'Do not bother' mother
Said and rose to cook, 'It was only a whirlwind.'
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