BEFORE HIS GREY HAIRS
Under a smiling twilight
In the middle of a typical African village
We lurk behind Mama’s silo of rice
For grandpa would soon summon us
He that a blue passing bird
Once collapsed by the words from his mouth
For should wisdom be minted
From his green cerebrum
Wrapped and shadowed by a skull
I would call him not even by the names:
(Kilwa and Zanzibar)
Before his white sweeping beard,
I, the son of an artist
Who weaves words
Under a female coconut tree
Come with my half calved stool
To swallow every drop of wisdom
As I take my share even when I droop
From his red tongue not of curse!
G’pa! You are the natives’ centre for learning
Bearing a resemblance
To Sankore in Timbuktu
And a pit of wise sayings
Where we dig them like mining in Wangara
O! In your warm arms
I lay my head!
Spit on me, from your glowing hairs of wisdom!
THE TONGUE OF THE CALABASH
The clock chimes six o’clock
As I sit in red palms
Under a village hut unlocked
As the palm wine is sipped in dots
From my empty belly stock
To make their feet spread the dust
I leave indelible sounds
In ”bara drums”
For I fade my throat
At a Malian durbar!
Till a bleach invade my skin
Warm yellow I do still remain
Till with age and use I vanish
”Shegureh” I do still remain
By the hands of a Sierra Leonean
Till I am shrouded
I still count the ”Tourou women” hair
That I’m a headgear!
With all my blessings
In the forest must I be hidden?
The warehouse of the seeker!
When the universe stand from words
Then I begin swinging on trees for the best
That my people shall be fed
For I bow before you with ease!
Let not the black soil repent
As I charge your souls
To rise over the fence
I hold my tongue!