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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.
Ife!
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 He is an unpublished poet, amateur blogger, teacher, son, friend and professional pessimist…He loves to write, read the prose fantasy sub genre, listen to people, watch life,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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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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

  1. musa January 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Nice piece Ben

  2. Bukky January 12, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    beautiful

  3. oka Benard Osahon May 26, 2016 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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