Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Isuikwuato Poems



This village is mine
Where in the thick earth
The trailing cord
From my navel was interred.
This village is mine, and
I wish to build a house
Between the hills,
That I may be awakened in the mornings
By the rays of the sun
Split by irokos and palms.
Kom, kom, kom, kom:
The town crier's gong
I hear it even in my dreams.
O blessed memory live;
Night fire and roasting yams,
Moonlighting and moonlight tales,
Beast songs and hunting games
And the palms? O the wine -
Where is my tapper?
Let me sip nature's brew
Even as I sit watching
Men and women
With hoes and with machetes
Marching to their farms.
This village is mine
Where like an uncaged bird
I can sing in the sunshine
Without fear or pain.

©1989 Nnorom Azuonye
(Nsukka, Nigeria)
“Isuikwuato” was first published in Agenda (UK) Vol.28 No. 2 (Summer 1990)


Isuikwuato II

This village complains to the hills,
in my earth his umbilical cord manures
a coconut tree, but he has abandoned me.

Through the valleys her voice echoes,
bring home your bride, but keep your mother
from the stench of a rubbish skip.

This village complains to the hills,
my son's laughter fades from my mind.
He has neither tilled the land nor joined
his age-mates to weed the village square.

If a man sells his broom to pay for the journey
to a wrestling match in a distant village, upon
his return, will filth not chase him away?

This village complains to the hills,
the man that sits too long in the toilet he will
see a spirit. If a man runs away from the filth
in his home. How much longer must I wait
for him to come restore my singing voice?

If I should tell her how long my bags have been packed,
she may not believe me, for nobody counts as wealth
the chicken that doesn't return to the coop at dusk.

My village complains to the hills,
Abaina music rises, but I don't see my son dancing.
Oha soup aroma rises, but I don't see my son eating.
Whatever song they sing to him, whatever they have fed him
it will wear off! It will wear off! He will come home someday.

Yes. I must come home. It's only the mad that burns the roof
of his house and lives in hope that when it rains
the neighbours will say without ridicule, come into ours,
that you may not catch cold and die.

My village must come and talk with me in my dreams
to enjoy again the innocence of my childhood, and sit
by the fire of my early manhood dreams burning as hot
today as they always have in the vault of my heart.

My village calls out my name through the hills
and I must go to embrace her warmth and peace,
This is where I wish to be when I grow old.
Shed no more tears O land of my fathers
for even now I am getting ready to dance
on the hot sands of Nkwonta.
Prepare the drums.

©2002 Nnorom Azuonye
(London, UK)

"Isuikwuato II" was first published in Eclectica Magazine Vol. 9 No. 3 July/August 2005

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