Ogbuji

Ikot Abasi Redux

Beam of remembrance struck to ground of my head
From Celt-shaped image as aperture cloud,
From shot of sky-grasp radical hung free,
Wind-ribboned white of rent-strike-stubborn snow
With white and blue of winter sky above
Snaps to hot green in sudden sorcery;
Dull blades of parched lawn swell to hardwood heights –
A tree’s no poem, but a poem might be tree.

Great ape mother rustles the djinni leaves;
Her hand clasps her baby at its ankle
Hung to breathe to smell to crane to see;
Direct below, the hard filing edges
Of a purple blossom, soft petalled frame
Of death’s distance course (graduate degree.)
These gestures sprint at shoot to fade at root –
A tree’s no poem, but a poem might be tree.

I know the old truth of this fond peril,
Told by loud tattoo of hollow ikolo;
That chain of rhythm draws the gears in me;
My own eyes are the blood-bulged apprentice;
I travel tongues to stretch my mother’s arms
Until all worlds acclaim me progeny;
I write the green of vines, of sedge, of bush –
A tree’s no poem, but a poem might be tree.

&

Note: Ikot Abasi: Tiny town near the Niger delta where the author spent a couple of holidays as a teenager.
ikolo: Large Igbo drum used for communication over distance.


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