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i
Atupa elepo,
When the sun fades into the dark-dyed cloud
And the world bows at the feet of darkness,
I come with my flame-covered cloak
To dress the night of few.

Atupa elepo,
The oil kisses my lips for me to live
And causes me to climax into fire.
I twirl to the anger of the gruff breeze,
But die immediately the oil retires its lips.

ii
Atupa elepo,
The oil resuscitates me, and I live again,
I live to spread my hands on the chest of the night.
I’m useless without the oil,
And without it, I dim in shame.

Atupa elepo,
How can a man see when his mind lacks oil,
When the oil which was to fuel it
Keeps drooping on the stares of his ego
And then lays him in the grave of ignorance.

iii
Atupa elepo,
Is the world not blind,
To tag the sightless man as ‘blind,’
But leaves the visionless man with his impairment
Which draws him nigh his grave?

Atupa elepo,
I am a lamp, and poetry is my oil.
I climax into fire each time we kiss;
A potent fire that only burns in the mouth, and on paper,
And with it, I glow in the dark.

********

Post image by Art Gallery ErgsArt – by ErgSap via Flickr

About the Author:

Portrait - AyinlaAyinla Olawale Joseph, aka Wale Ayinla is an indigene of Ogun State, Nigeria. He is an undergraduate Mass Communication student of The Moshood Abiola Polytechnic. He is known for his equivocal command of the English language. He has written four plays which haven’t seen the floor of a stage nor the pages of a book. His written poems are innumerable, making him to be one of the greatest writer of the 21st century you would love to keep on your radar.

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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.

3 Responses to “Atupa Elepo (Oil Lamp) | by Wale Ayinla | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. L. Han 2016/03/22 at 02:09 #

    “I am a lamp, and poetry is my oil.
    I climax into fire each time we kiss;
    A potent fire that only burns in the mouth, and on paper,
    And with it, I glow in the dark.” Love this.

  2. Wale Ayinla 2016/03/22 at 02:24 #

    Thank you, Brittle Paper.

  3. Amaka Anozie 2016/03/26 at 10:33 #

    Atupa elepo,
    Thanks for sharing
    your poem, Ayinla.

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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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