(For Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu)
The Torch Bearer returns from a one-way trip
wrapped in colours of Africa’s elephant.
He sits garlanded at our forbears’ high table.
even as he becomes one with earth – with pomp.
For three Igbo weeks, canons clear their throats
like the roars of ten thousand angry god-lions
prancing around our forests of bleeding hearts
smoke against soaked shawls of a blue-black sky.
Across the land, from the South to the North
and from the East to the west, there are tears.
There is also laughter, gratitude and jubilation.
In the end, the just always harvest vindication.
The hour comes, howling at us in the dock,
before a jury of our loins’ sternest seeds.
A million gavels dance in our nation’s air
and we dread the indictment we face.
Where are the chalices of hope and freedom
the Torch Bearer smashed steel-clad doors for?
Shall we fearlessly drink from them for life,
or have we already died - trying to live?
The Torch Bearer has illuminated our path;
many dreamfruiters died that we may stand,
beat our hairy chests and say our name,
if - we dare – to face our children without shame.
London 28 February, 2012