For Chinua Achebe


You say your hurricane lamp can issue
no more the perfunctory flame
of artistic innocence.
(Ostrich mentalities, you have seen,
will not help the situation.)
I raise my fist to your guts

The strafing reports, the “assault and battery”
of questions which splinter our snailshells
decide us in their valedictory exercise.
For, none can afford the lyrical sanity
of the hermit when his clothes are on fire

I raise my fist to your guts

But, then, when troubadours become matchets
in the frenzy of storms they must underline,
their finest truths are iron banners
to wrap the corpses of fleeting slogans

And, Compatriot, this is my concern…

I suppose you can break the kernel of these days
better than my poor plastic slab will allow
You know the intricate weave of the barbwire-roost
Into which you must plunge
Oh, my concern overpowers me;
I do not know how to escape from
such wind as bear you, now, away
from your, once, unruffled waters

By: Odia Ofeimun

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