Ajanaku, the monstrous one, transcends
Something one sees in a mere flash.
If an elephant is sighted passing,
Let's so say shun of a balk.
Soyinka ...Soy inked so so ink's
Wellspring-deep dipped his steely-nib
Verve-imaginative mind to fashion
The literature of existence,
And rout with the Stockholm's supernovae blast!
You, who is a vat of red oil,
Boiling with clear scalding intent;
And be warned, all you unruly gatecrashers,
Do not blunder dipped your fingers.
You, who is a rare elephant's skin,
And should not be besmirched with rudely sleeps;
Who can clean his dirty earlobes with a pestle?
Who can dare to wash his face with peppered water?
[Yerepe onibikan a agbamun; gbogbo ara lofi n joni]
Yerepe, which is shorn of tactile spots;
Rather, its body round prickles like a thousand pinpricks.
You, who wears Agbada to a dance out.
You, who wears Kembe to a duel out.
You are the supreme-initiate bard.
I am the filthy greenhorn.
You are the towering giant.
I am the creepy liliput.
You are the boulder-head of Ajanaku, the monstrous one;
So not a burden meant for children to bear;
Your face is the fire.
Your back is the sun.
Who can dare the king Lion to his lair?
If not a fraternised ilk;
Who can stake a gallantry in frayed ensued with a tiger-head?
I am sure shall suffer much forelock loss, much precious
Flesh and blood that’s if still alive.
I am a faithful cat cub.
I am here to sharpen my watery-claws
On whetstone in the sacred groves of literary deities.
You, who is a fearless demon scattering hideouts:
Where men shuffle slunk away to fears;
Where men stoke fire of lies;
Where men circled in feast of gossips, shredding reputations;
Where men struggled in artistic poverty;
You, who is a sprightly daemon wearing fit famed laureate cap;
Ogun's devout errand soul and vociferous mouthpiece,
Mounting soapboxes with tempestuous counterpoints,
Wildly beating on the head of hypocrite world;
Let's shout eighty loudest Gbosas to the Lion King,
Now an octogenarian clubber,
Still stalking the wild with bewildering kills,
Where upstarts dare not tread,
At a grand pace,
With an ageless grace.
For Wole Soyinka on his 80th birthday.