The Hunter’s party

The beating of drums in the distance, spirits dancing in the moonlight,

It’s a banquet of the gods and only the brave have been invited,

Yet in the shadows, lurking in the bushes, I have hidden myself, watching this rarity of an experience,

Surely I am the luckiest man alive, to have seen the dinning of the ancestors and the gods,

Their laughter, a whirl wind cushioned by the swaying of the palm tree,

They dance in all their glamour around the flames, whose crackling was as if to say mighty are the gods,

One sits on a throne, alone, he must surely be their ruler,

His face a distant image but his countenance that of a million pieces of gold sewn together by a silver thread,

Mansa Musa surely couldn’t afford the okpu on his head,

But strangely it seems as though he is looking sternly in my direction,

He can’t have noticed me, I have blended in the shadows as salt blends with pepper to make Nsala soup,

But he stretches his hands towards me, beckoning at my direction,

The other gods are oblivious of this indistinct discussion between their king and an ordinary hunter like myself,

They drink from their calabash filled with nkwu palm wine without a care in the world about the ruckus they are causing in the forest,

Some drinking pepper soup from the clay pot at the corner of this cleared bush,

The king sends for his guards towards me, I decide to run for my life,

But my feet are rooted to the ground, the roots of the great Iroko tree have nothing on me,

They must have liaised with the soil below to make sure I am caught,

Powerless to resist, I step out of the shadows into the waiting hands of the guards,with my bush meat in hand,

The gods keep dancing as if I did not exist, as if they did not feel me – pushed through the centre – nudge some shoulders,

I am brought before the king, he stands up raising his arms and the music stops,

He holds out his arms and says “welcome, hunter, to your banquet”, and the gods cheer,

Humbled and startled at the same time, goose bumps visible on my skin like some kind of infection, I ask the king “who are you?”

“I am Chinekeruwa” He replied.

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