Dzogbese Lisa has treated me thus
It has led me among the sharps of the forest
Returning is not possible
And going forward is a great difficulty
The affairs of this world are like the chameleon faeces
Into which I have stepped
When I clean it cannot go.
I am on the world’s extreme corner,
I am not sitting in the row with the eminent
But those who are lucky
Sit in the middle and forget
I am on the world’s extreme corner
I can only go beyond and forget.
My people, I have been somewhere
If I turn here, the rain beats me
If I turn there the sun burns me
The firewood of this world
Is for only those who can take heart
That is why not all can gather it.
The world is not good for anybody
But you are so happy with your fate;
Alas! the travelers are back
All covered with debt.
Something has happened to me The things so great that I cannot weep
I have no sons to fire the gun when I die
And no daughter to wail when I close my mouth
I have wandered on the wilderness
The great wilderness men call life
The rain has beaten me,
And the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives
I shall go beyond and rest.
I have no kin and no brother,
Death has made war upon our house;
And Kpeti’s great household is no more,
Only the broken fence stands;
And those who dared not look in his face
Have come out as men.
How well their pride is with them.
Let those gone before take note
They have treated their offspring badly.
What is the wailing for?
Somebody is dead. Agosu himself
Alas! a snake has bitten me
My right arm is broken,
And the tree on which I lean is fallen.
Agosi if you go tell them,
Tell Nyidevu, Kpeti, and Kove
That they have done us evil;
Tell them their house is falling
And the trees in the fence
Have been eaten by termites
That the martels curse them.
Ask them why they idle there
While we suffer, and eat sand.
And the crow and the vulture
Hover always above our broken fences
And strangers walk over our portion.

Tags: , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What Were Your Favorite African Writers up to in September? | Brittle Paper - 2013/10/11

    […] was gunned down. I feel like a bit of my literary childhood is lost with his passing. Poems like “Songs of Sorrow” got me to fall in love with African literature in my teenage years. Wole Soyinka, Teju Cole, […]

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Archives

I Hear a Few More Things When Bob Dylan Says ‘a Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall’ | Chisom Okafor | Poetry

33130808452_c617d33eb3_o

My father plays a song aloud on Sundays, that begins with ‘Where’ve you been my blue-eyed girl?’ We scream on […]

The 2017 Babishai Haiku Prize Goes to Kenya’s Kariuki wa Nyamu

BABISHAI 2017 FLYER PURPLE

The 2017 Babishai Haiku Award has gone to Kenya’s Kariuki wa Nyamu for his three haikus: “last night’s rain,” “in the […]

Dreams, Remember Yesterday | Elizabeth Semende | Poetry

33431786922_b8bf038321_o

Dreams: This hole is a grave where dreams toss and turn, Touch the wind and sway with it. See the […]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s New Short Story Is All Love, Class and Multiculturalism

adichie facebook

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new short story in Harper’s Bazaar‘s, a brief one titled “How Did You Feel About It?,” is all […]

Translating Guinea-Bissau’s First English-Language Novel | by Jethro Soutar

33528763244_efa32f75a1_o

In June, we brought news of the publication of the first ever novel from Guinea-Bissau to be translated into Englis.  […]

Akwaeke Emezi’s Guide to Becoming a Successful Writer in 35 Tweets

akwaekeemezi copy

Last week, Akwaeke Emezi put on her life coach cape and dished out truths that every writer, artist, dreamer, and […]