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My Son Dances Surugede – Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian

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My Son Dances Surugede


Dance my child,

but when the drumbeat changes; do not dance—

i tell you, do not dance

for it is Surugede the dance of the spirits; the dance of your ancestors.

Oya dance, if you wish to join them before your time;


the dance of death, the dance of your ancestors, is fast and sweet

and the drumbeat is soft and slow—

but listen for a change of tune:

if it is not Egwu, if it is not Mgbede, if it is not Ekpe—

my son, leave the stage; forget your shadow and run for your life;

for death is sweet in the ear; but i tell you my son—

kolanut would be sweeter; when it enters your mouth—


now, do not say i did not warn you

if the spirits beckon you;

turn them down, with your own mouth, turn them down—

tell them father wants you, mother needs you and that

you haven’t eaten breakfast;


do not die my son,

tell them with your own mouth that you wish to live

and if they tell you there’s life after death—

tell them father said such life is like kolanut when it enters the mouth of a child—

he will soon regret eating it


don’t say i didn’t warn you,

let the sound of the wind carrying my voice bear witness

thati told so:

if it is not Mgbede, if it is not Egwu, if it is not Ekepe—

do notdance, for it is Suregede: the famous dance in the spirit world,

it is sweet in the ear, it moves your feet, it sounds like something you know…


but i tell you my son, turn them down

do not dance, let the drum beaters beat their misery…

you do not belong there

come back to your world

come back to your body

come back to life, my son.

Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian is a Nigerian poet and fiction writer. He is a student of Mass Communication at Eastern Polytechnic. He is also a haiku poet and a computer programmer. He resides in Port Harcourt. He is the co-founder of  Africa Haiku Network, with Ghanaian poet Adjei Agyei-Baah. Find Emmanuel on the following platforms, on Twitter: @ekalu28, he also runs a blog:


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