For Sir Wole Soyinka on his birthday:
Tell us who he is not
For who he is- we already know:
Of plays and letters
The poet, the laureate;
Chief Baroka, the cunning old Lion
Ake and the Black Orpheus.
Tell not of confinements nor trials
Of brother Jero:
Lagos ’67 or Kaduna ’79
We are prisoners too- in our homes
Prisoners of Conscience-
In the confines of our hearts.
We bear tales of his olden deeds
So, tell of what he will do next
A dog at sea;
The master of a sail
A dogged sea-master with full sail
Teach new chants; we know the “ahoy!”.
We’ve read of the fracas of ’72
So speak of fresh fights
Of unsung hymns forever stuck
In sallies, yhoos and brew- sessions.
Of strands of wisdom on his pate
The wool of age and grace.
Are there neo-cultural transitions?
Tell it to us now
Africanism or “nostalgic Negritude”
Even Idanre on the roads
“A tiger doesn’t proclaim its tigritude”
An Abiku is known my it’s scar-marks.
Tell of our Royal Bard
Accursed by Mother’s fleeting masters.
The crooks inside Khakis or
Thieves wallowing in agbadas
Speak of endemic battles and penance
For a broadcast of the real thing.
A story for trips and decisions
To own or not, to claim or never;
To stand up and fight or
Sit still in chains,
A cozy flight in space or
Atop bikes via the NADECO route.
There is reason beyond reasons
To preserve the voice- in war
That says of tomorrow, today.
That chides Mother before she implodes.
This story of trips and reasons
Must be told to us all now.
Say of names and titles
Even the ones we mayn’t know
Wande, Oloye, Kongi.
Cap’n Blood of Tortuga.
And names he shall be called
When we’re no more here.
A tale of love and family
Oluwole! The seasonal lover.
Husband of Barbara, Olaide and Folake
A husband, one too many; yet…
Husband of none
A mentor to many- even the unknowns.
We are familiar with his life trials
So tell of what he’ll become
Haunter of death
Martyr of no religion
Eternal bard, whose wings await Sanctification at the crack of dawn.
It’s a story of fools wisdom
To observe memorials with canons
Of those we once persecuted.
Our Christs keep coming in cycles
To be made saint in their absence.
So too, does our Abikus.
So, let’s forget tunes of the dirges
And suspend elegies for tomorrow
Tell us of Wole while he’s waiting
Roaming free, speaking jargons
Sing his warrior songs to my ear
So I can teach them to my heirs.
13th July, 2016.