Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

You see, you ne’er know who, son of the land;
but they that hunt the home bird own the fall.
Your appointments and heavy thoughts in all
are not of the free-born; they paint too bland.

For what exists dwells at each people’s place,
push through. There are blemishes in the sky.
The tone for the day’s trade is ne’er set, high
or low, by the day’s first sale. Raise your face.

Do o’erlook the ne’er-do-well that takes wars
to the compounds-and-the-huts of just souls,
their fists set to give blows and the fell hole
they dig. It’s theirs, e’en, to crawl on all fours.

Keep ‘gainst the whisperings and mutterings;
they’re merely pains-in-the-eyes, although ill,
and so, their second nature wrapped in steel.
They and they live together; note grumblings.

You’re wrestled underhand by the wayward;
rainstorm threatens to fall and sets to strike;
you have seen an eyeful, but the square spike
of guiltlessness will not find your leg flawed.

The canon of the sky will thump them down.
Diala, they’ll breed maggots and gnash teeth;
they’ll invite you before they’re cast beneath
to accept handshakes. Here, all turns around.

From the wake of the sun, good one and fair,
to the bending down of the night, men strive.
So, may we ne’er lack our own chi but thrive
for slaves have other gods for masters, dear.

Be solaced. Our heads are safe. We’ll not flee
our land. Break your fast. Neediness will not
fill our jaws. Fend off ill-luck that thwarts lot
by having e’en a snack and stretch with glee.

It’s a bad sign, and thus, all way, young heart,
to let a new day know your stomach drained.
Tell; tell me…that you’re not being ordained!
O well! Our chests will kiss once more, apart.

  • Sochukwu Ivye is a linguistic stylistician, a rhythmist and a distinctive metrist. His epic, The Great Cold, is the longest metrical poem by an African.

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