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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.

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.

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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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.

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

  1. L. Han March 22, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    “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 March 22, 2016 at 2:24 am #

    Thank you, Brittle Paper.

  3. Amaka Anozie March 26, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    Atupa elepo,
    Thanks for sharing
    your poem, Ayinla.

    • Apara Oladele April 14, 2020 at 8:39 pm #

      Good day Mr Wale.
      Concerning this atupa, pls I will like us to discuss more about it, I really really love this poem it’s so amazing I won’t lie, but I have different questions and ideas I think we can actually share together one on one sir.

      I will be waiting fo your response sir. Thanks in advance

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