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REED by Oyin Oludipe

(For haggard African days)

And all the silence of the hearth
Captive it fell, beneath your eyes
Hours misty at the strain, steals
The rout touches of the heart;
And the earth where you stood,
Weak it was, bred the bitter crust
Where strode the bride; and no amulet
Caught no fluorescence on its face

For where reared the drum, notes fled
And you hear them not; the weary
Dirges of your invention, new decay
Gently swelled, where it stakes the prime
Oh hear them not you may

Feel them not you may —
Chivalry of the fern, the hairs of nights
And shadows of mirth on your buttock
Tuned to time’s treacherous passing
You feel no more beauty on your skin

Oh see them not you may
…Roots berth your course, the despair
Which is yours; and bleak droops this sky
Without your laughter, that glimmer
Time has not long seen

But know it not you may, Oh reed faint
Know it not you may
If your tears had stained all the earth
If you had stood your feet on the night
And drowned her fingers from your heart

(Oyin is a contributing poet to two anthologies – ‘52 Years After’ and ‘The African Eyeball.)


  1. Why do I feel that there is a motivational sermon beneath this seductive words. Africa must chart her own future and not be heartbroken by her past. Well written, Oyin


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