Tomato sellers, patient women!
Sellers of crayfishes, onions, ogiri and vegetables too;
Women of small table wares, heroines of endurance!
We sit, we watch, we wait and we sell.
We have seasons when profits rise
We have times when we hold our hearts, waiting,
But meals need them every time, yet our profits fall.
What shall the children see?
What will the husbands hear?
We will walk the sun then to its setting
And will sink beneath the golden globe
Leaving our worries dyed orange, the colour of hope
Today we have balanced the stocks, displayed the popular
We have dusted tables, sprinkled fresh water on the wares,
We put on enticing smiles on our faces, and all around.
Yesterday’s brittle sale has been buried silently
In the slumber of last night’s rest and our peace stay.
The day is half in the sky yet…
When the sun sets on these goods again dancing on them,
Like angels come to rescue, with little profit to go home with,
Let us swallow the percolating jinx with the waters of gossips,
And let patience drool in us. Chorus
The tomatoes persevere still,
And the peppers’ skins are smooth yet.
We believe they will sell,
But we know not when…
Their freshness is ally to our bargains,
Their rots multiply our pleas and lesser gains.
Who bears the curse today?
For we all prayed the psalm of petty traders:
‘Lord, May the spell of no and low sales be not our portion! Chorus
My mothers, whose essences mingle with labour!
Daughters of my fathers, who smell like the market, scent of dignity:
The perfume of mangled sweats, dusts, stench, babies and soup things;
Champions of survival, sharing the energy you possess:
The toddler to bathe and watch, the baby to suckle and carry,
The teenager to battle and guide, the husband to satisfy,
The neighbour to wall or let, the peers to ban or mother;
Sentries of late nights and early wakes!
That God will keep us and our hopes never wither,
For we are dying every day to prolong the lives we bear! Chorus