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Thee, ancient kingdom!!
Thrice gifted.
Father to the hills and the moat!
Created of sand and cockerel scratch.
The past sinks with claws
Into the soul of the present,
As thy sights splash across.

The priest king seeking Ifa’s face,
Slashed thrice by fate,

Nodding the beaded head
To the dance of masquerades;
Feet shackled with cowries,
Rattling to the throb of drums,
Talking to elder spirits.

At Ogodomigodo, he stretched;
Priest king, son of the 401st.
Eweka, he carved out of his loins.
Warrior son of a priest to a god;
A godking he, himself be.

Ha!! Orisha!
The staff did stand at the beginning,
At the entrance into deep things.
Alaafin protests his greatness.
He sits atop his hills
And spread his agbada in satisfaction.
The steady thud of foofoo
Sinking into his arms.

Ha!! Ogun!
The obe did twirl at the entrance,
At the beginning of deep things.
Omo N’Oba covers his lips in deep silence.
He sits, facing the square;
The weight of his mantle,
Held by the burly priest servants.
The steady thud of yam
Steadying his beating heart.

Ha!! Obatala!
The staff of Oranmiyan stood still at the entrance,
At the start of deep things.
Ooni; white on white.
He sits in the deep;
The dancing cowries sees him and hails!
He steadies himself, 401st spirit
To the draw of the ancient world.

The three from one foundation.
Alaafin greets thee!
Omo N’Oba hails thee!
Ooni salutes thee!
The cradle of a race!
A stage of immortal battle.

The ties that bind
Strengthens like concrete
Under the harmattan sun.
Ife! I greet thee.



Image by Broo_am (Andy B) via Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - OsahonOka Benard Osahon is from Oredo L.G.A of Edo State. He is a graduate of Delta State University, 08. He was born on August, 20th, 1985. He is an unpublished poet, amateur blogger, teacher, son, friend and professional pessimist…He loves to write, read the prose fantasy sub genre, listen to people, watch life, listen to good music and play chess.

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “Greetings, Ile Ife | by Oka Benard Osahon | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. musa 2016/01/12 at 3:11 pm #

    Nice piece Ben

  2. Bukky 2016/01/12 at 5:52 pm #


  3. oka Benard Osahon 2016/05/26 at 5:07 pm #

    Thanks Musa (big black boy from the city call J and Bukky, God bless you and yours.

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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.

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