Lost (hour 11)

Like a needle in a haystack,

I wade in the middle and search

Lost in the midst

Like a lone forest ranger in the Kalahari

Like a lone crow perched on a skyscraper

Like a lone white cloud in a blue sky

I will spread myself thin,

but myself I am determined to find.



A village in the grip of christmas (hour 10)

When the squirrels still lived in the trees

When the breadfruit trees were in bloom

When the harmattan wind lash like whips

Leaving a string of cracked lips and heels.


When a flux of kinsmen from ‘abroad’

Sporting strange tongues and strange hairdos

Strange women with painted lips

And adolescents whose mother tongues are lost.


When brand-new clothes were bought in May.

Two or three sizes big at least

When dances are heared at sundown

And maidens primp for all they are worth


When blood of ten thousand chickens flow

And the rice seller screams from Dawn to dusk.

For her shop is a sea of bodies

As buyers que for Christmas rice.



All is well that ends well (Hour 9)

Though I got there in a truck full of pigs

I got there didn’t I?

The middle all shrouded in grey

But if the end turns out all right,

then all  is summed up as ‘well’

That grey middle where ruckus lives

Where the dust of battle is thick

that whirlpool of tears and sweat

Is where dreams are made or lost

A clear morning , an afternoon of dirt

And a tranquil evening at the end.

All hot air and gas (hour 8)

‏If my life ain’t altogether real,

At least I have the images in my head.

What is life if not a string of imageries,

a tapestry of slides real and imagined

And a collation of what should have beens.

After all is said and undone,

sometimes we are left with but gas

and hot air to move us along.




Colorful boxes (hour 7)

Though you paint it in rainbows

In greens and yellows and violets

and though I hear jingle bells from the slits on the sides through which you feed me

It is still a box.

And if I hear the birds sing through the slits.

And though I get a glimpse of roses , once in a while

It is still a box.

I confess , the nectar you give me

Through the slits

Are the best I ever tasted

I still drink it in a box.

I have a soft mattress and feather pillows.

The persian rug is deep and soft it is comfortable in here I must admit.

It is a comfortable box but a box

And that nectar , how sweet really I wonder

Really hadn’t had anything else to compare it.

Maybe if I get out more, if I get out at all.

I might just find out that it isn’t so sweet after all.

It is a box , I can feel it, I am the one living in it.





A promenade (hour 6)

A stretch of the legs,

a body on the move

with a gait, a shuffle or trudge

One pace after pace

A foot up ahead

And the distance is swallowed in steps.

A letter to Benjamin (Hour 5)

Never have I seen a morning as grey

Or as drab,

Or a mockingbird as gay as this one.

As it twittered and chippered ,

from Lily to rose

A flash of silver caught my eye.

Oh my ornery hide,

I just had to see, curiosity

you see killed the cat.

A capsule quite small as a capsule should be.

All frazzled and coated in mud.

For cujo my dog

Is digging I think,

A tunnel from Lagos to France.

The capsule I reckon is older than me,

By a dozen and three score years.

So I wiped off its nose and

the first thing I see,

A note and the drop of a tear.

Oh Benjamin! Benjamin! Benjamin it wailed.

My sorrow I cannot describe, for how just on earth, could your blood be shed.

By the very hands that loved you the most.

Your were not just my friend.        but the brother I never could have.

So good bye dear friend , you go to a place where the lilies are always in bloom.

I opened in haste the capsule.      And oh what a sight, the skeleton of a well loved pet frog.




Painfully pacified (hour 4)

The pacification

Of the primitive tribes

Of the lower Niger.


A big word

May be too big

For my primitive ears.

Ears as dark as the earth,

Beneath my primitive feet.

Ears filled with moans and shrieks

of widows and orphans

Whose fathers dangled


From the ends of civilised ropes.

Fathers, whose primitive forebears

built pyramids, while your fathers

danced naked in skins.

Fathers, tranquilized while

Mourning the death of life.

Warriors shamed, chained and pained

With civilised whips,

and divine Dane guns

Whose cracks herald the beginning

Of yet another day of


and civilisation

Warriors whose feet trudged

to civilised ships

that sailed them in chains,

away from civilisation.


First line taken from the last line of ‘Things fall apart’  By Chinua Achebe.



Holy smoke (hour 3)

Oh Holy smoke!

Oh Holy smoke!

Oh Holy smoke!

Is the abbey on fire?

Is the Abbott smoking again?

Or could it be the renewals,

Having a baptism of fire?

Do I call the firemen,

or light a candle and sing Kumbaya?

What do you do my friend,

when your life is a Smokey haze?

Smoke! when a house is Holy,

should I be worried or inspired?

Or write a hymn entitled!

Holy are you Oh smoke.