Sentinel Poetry (Online) #57 ISSN 1479-425X


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James Tar Tsaaior


Okigbo: Beyond the Riddle of Knowing


I know you. Without knowing you.

          The cotyledons of your poetic voice

Tore through the crust of humanity’s conscience

          And conquered time and space

Before the seminal thought that incarnated me

          Traveled to the waiting ovary. My foetus.


I know you. Yet I do not know you.

          We met. During your famed tryst

With the goddess of poetry in your filial devotion

          At Mother Idoto’s watery shrine.

Since, your poetic rites have held me hostage

          And sojourned in my restless, wrestling mind.


The large testaments you distilled

          With the tong of your leavened tongue;

The anvil and sledgehammer of your circumcised mind

          Have moulded nubile images in the caverns

Of our serrated, wounded and whimpering memories.

          But alas. You hugged the portentous leopard-skin

War drums and followed the path of thunder

          And embraced the streaks of lightning

A votive sacrifice to an unknown and unknowable

          Greedy god that has refused to be immolated.


You still are the burden of our creaking boulder

          Town crier, still announcing the adolescent dawn

Like the muezzin-cockerel. You still proclaim, prophet

          In apocalyptic accents the crime of the stolen dream.


Now, I know you. Beyond the riddle of knowing.

Your haunting metaphors.

Your seductive similes.

Your pregnant tropes.    

Eternal graffiti etched

On the nudity of a textured lives.




     James Tar Tsaaior

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