The banana tree nods its head to the pawpaw tree in the yard
They exchange their leaf colored salutations,
Ceaselessly by the gentle but firm
Stirring of the wind.
But when did I grow up?
When did I become a man?
The one I’ve always wished to be
As I watched my father stride
Through his one man one family kingdom
As the provider, the protector
The preacher and the progenitor
Of us, little, trusting
Hungry and beautiful all at once
And all in one
The man I’d wanted to be
But when did I grow up?
When did I pass through all the distant hills inhabited by
Those folks who are neither us nor him
They were not him, yet they were not me. Yes!
A strange breed at once his likeness,
His equal at times it seems yet they only dwell on that
Distant hill shrouded in the unreachable horizon.
Left it seems by all and drawn by all
a brooding lot
not here with me like he is
only to return from that distant hill sometime too soon.
It is said when they return form the hill, they will never be
Me and will forever be him
His likeness, his equal.
They will become him
So I long to dwell on those hills
To wander among the mysterious horizon
Shrouding the distant hills
Among the distant horizon that puts me beyond
The reach of me as I am and within
The reach of him as I see him
I’d go there right then, even now
To grow and become a man
But they say I am
So I ask again, when did I journey to that
Long cherished distant hill
It seem only yesterday
When I sit between my mother’s laps
As she haggle and argue over her
Beautifully colored wares standing
Tall and proud like guides on the gates of Eden
I was just here with her fascinated as I watch her bent over her
‘Eni’ stringing those straws together with
Skills beyond any that exists around here.
The ropes come in
Various shades of colors as do the straws
Their union produces that strange music of
Frin friin iinn frinnn!!!
At once held spell bound to her side
And at the same time lust after that distant hill where I won’t
Have her laps to sit upon
Or the songs of her hand to hear
Torn between me as I am and
Me as I will be – a man
The call of the hills and the
Songs of “ifeere”
Now I am me, but when did I grow up?
And when did I become a man
Or is this state of uncertainty what is
Called manhood or manliness?
Wish I knew when I was on those hills
Might have chosen to
Remain there among the distant horizon
Rather than be back here like this
Never able to be me
And never quite like the man
I’d loved to be.