I came in the morning,
The day still in darkness clothe,
And sat under the Bamboo tree –
waiting for you.
I saw the watch man leave his post,
The owl return from its nocturnal gambol,
I heard the first crow of dawn –
And felt the dew cease its fall
As i waited for you
The first doors opened,
And the waking gape of men bellowed out
The women’s greetings and the cries of their sleepy children,
Joined to welcome the dawn.
I heard it all as i waited on you.
The streams of water carrying yesterday’s filth,
Passed by me:
The dust of floors being swept flew over me,
Gates flung open as cars hurtled to the daily hustles
I saw all, as i waited for you
When the retailers opens their stalls
And with churlish smiles invite folks to buy their wares
The food seller beside her spreads her delicacies
For the hungry to sit at and sate their need
My stomach churns in want, as the smell wafts over
But i sit still by the tree, waiting for you
I waited till the workmen came in,
And woke their sleepy tools with hard labours
Their sweats dripping and money flipping,
The council man too came to get his taxes.
The bus-rider, sipping the spirits of the brew-lady,
drove over, asking me:
“Shey o nlo ni?”
I shook my head and leaned back on that tree
Evening came and met me there,
Met me as i bade bye to the retiring workers,
to the schoolkids rushing home,
Their mothers in tow, clutching wares and cares
The cars coughing smoky death , as they made their way back:
Evening sat by me, its gray mood darkening with every moment
And i did not budge, i waited for you
Then i closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of life:
The shrieks of children playing fair,
The yawns of roosting families dear,
Chants and whoops of religious supplicants near,
The dance to beats made discretion bare,
Youths shrilling and bunching with drunken leers.
And when i opened my eyes,
Dew wetting my shoulders and tears, my face,
The flapping wings of the bat and its sister, the owl –
spread and flutter up and away to their night haunts
That Evening was gone,
The majesty of night had returned –
While i waited for you.
But you did not come to me,
You- the scent of flowers tender and graceful witherings,
You- the gayness of rainbows and chirpy thunderings:
Though you’d said you would come to hold my hands,
That you’d lean on my shoulders,
and gift me the nectar of your kiss.
I had waited patiently, my heart rejoicing…
I waited and waited…breathe bated and weighted,
Under the bamboo.
And you did not come.