Saturday, May 06, 2017

Poetry: Doyen of Letters

                                          
Doyen of letters,
Your art, your path,
Your overflowing bounty-chest hypnotize me.
Your time, your stubborn indomitable will
Outlay at trenches in the front lines
Of fierce emancipatory struggles dread me.
Your doggedly exemplary life fully lived
Inspires me.
Pen, we say, is mightier than sword!
How so at all, when power abounds on the oppressors’ sides?
A clever delusional forged dropped, I thought,
Capable only of sending up writer’s camp on needless warpaths,
Avoidable deaths by the droves! Now I know
From recorded gallantries of pen-troopers as you
And others brave dead too, it has such irrepressible capacity
To cropped close accursed heads of wayward elects.
Now also I know why the eternal foes:
The power corrupter heads,
Evil minds dread to death this seeming innocuous
Sole weapons of your warfare;
Ink spluttered as torrential rain down parchments' fields
Awakening fearless armies of truthful texts
To give crushing lies to their brazen falsehoods;
To smoke out hidden atrocities scripted read uncensored
Across space and time in a hundred tongues.

Doyen of letters,
Arch-radical set forth at dawn. Seed,
Out of time honoured famed firebrand of maternal
Ancestry who jabbed truculent up to speed,
Precision to jaw-shifting critical blows
On both nascent or die hard inhumanities perpetrators.
You’re a full blast unrepentant true-to-heart warrior at midday.
The rest as we knew it is a treasured isle on the Niger;
The beauty enhancing tribal inscriptions
Long passed its painful onset.

We know you’re ever true to power held in trust. A thorn
In the flesh of all putsch variant.
An Amir who led from the front and not the rear
Of brave-equal comrades at arm.   
The jailer we know once had you on trump up charges, guilty
By association with that eastern rebel,
Even by the good intention of brokering peace,
Forestalling imminent bloodshed turned on his head.
For three years you’re a meal on the jailer's table. Such inhuman
Trap devised as means to dual ends: one,
Serves payback scheme of prior stinging unrepentant activism;
Makes you plead for your guiltless life. Yes,
They did not only fail but in flying colours too.
And you’re quite a fruitful and illustrious inmate
In times most disquieting passage.

You showed all how to be selfless, shrewd,
Unputdownably inventive as maiden Corps marshal
Of that flagship drive against alarmingly death-by-the-thousands
Road users. Even the gap-toothed evil genius sovereign
Found you a worthier like incarnate,
A devil’s advocate per excellence. Not doomed
As others that faltered at the wheel of his devious manoeuvres.
But the deathly attempts came, alas,
From the bespectacled successor sovereign Kako,
Desperate to transform a modern day democrat
But you opposed him to a standstill. Then his death
List drawn, circulated and you featured first.
But you outmanoeuvred his all-eyed hit squad
With a most ingenious dramatic swinger of escape
Through the famous NADECO route costumed
As if going on a routine safari. A hoax
That effectively beat the State at her own game.
If that was jaw-dropping for a visa free exit;
Your re-entry by same beauty token makes all to marvel.
A deafening testament to your world’s citizenship;
No contest, end of story.
Any exclamation jeers then belie but detraction.
While confessing to a beauty abound one’s daughter
Means not she’s about to be made a wife. Beware,
All you desperately devious megalomaniacs,
Stripped of popularity seeking yet your rivalry
Or worst still trying to wrestle control off
Your words Wizard hand. The grand master is out!
Who, then is their mad dogs
Staging futile mock attack? Their toads,
Froth inflated, trying to scare?
But it is better, pretenders, to leave it.
Pretenders, leave it for him.
As strop is left for the nursing mothers;
As faecal sludge is left for cesspit cleaner;
As coconut is left for the cough afflicted;
He is such an imperious literary juggernaut.
The Grand Initiate who drinks with ease, alas,
From the sieve-bowl! Our jewel among jewels!
Success, we hear, is meant to be called round one's sole self.
But this one massive successful head
Has impacted multitudes! Inspired millions!
You are ours and ours alone.
All those who faithfully aspire to intellectual heights!
Looking back and forth always,
Deep in thought- I wondered aloud:
If I can ever have another height besides your Heaven,
Your literary Heaven?
Still, up at you I am fixated, hypnotized.
How then can I seek another lowly world elsewhere!  
                                                             
                                                                  
                                                               For Wole Soyinka

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