Sentinel Poetry #49     December 2006    ISSN 1479-425X


Guest Editor: Nnorom Azuonye

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Tade Ipadeola


Cheikh Anta Diop


Bull of our buffaloes, your hooves

Took you through terrains,

Set you on high, stood you tall in valleys.


Eagle of the continent, your wings

Spanned the length of Nile,

So you may soar among the stars…


Lion of Serengeti and Senegal,

Mane effulgent with Egypt,

Lord of Tigers, King of Mountain Cats.


O man among men, revelation and revenant,

Our High Priest of knowledge,

Sun that’ll never set.



After Flower School


(For Eddie Compass) 


Also I plant a deep, wide field

With the colours of calm

And the aromas of peace:

A songfield of the gentlest choruses

Fit to fit all fractured souls.


Iocasta’s bones and those of her lovers,

The flesh of Clius and reformed robbers,

Remains of Menes and his robbed shepherds,

All nourish the soil beneath my field.


There shall no storms break upon this field,

No floods sweep stamens and blossoms

No winds scatter, no rains fall

Except to bless this field I plant.


And I append nor name nor signature

To field or milestone marking field,

Only seat and blood and toil

No hurricanes may wash away.





Rain does not evade the path of the runnel

Frogs do not decline the call of streams

The sponge will not refuse the voice of the river

Salt will ever heed the glad eyes of the sea…


The needle does not decline a tryst with cloth

The road does not complain at the tread of feet,

When young love meets the moon it blossoms

When eyes meet with beauty the face is glad


Let those who love this land be safe

Let those who hate this land be swallowed

And when the children lift their voices,

Let all of those who hear be glad,

Let all of those who heed rejoice.




Glory does not kill the morning
Splendour does not slay sunsets
Love for a child does not kill the mother
The praise of fathers does not kill their sons
When a bride kneels before her groom she's blessed
Whenever a daughter is born we know we shall not die
Whenever a son is given there is joy
Let all the daughters of this land be fruitful
Let all the sons of this land increase
And if from east or west there should be anger
If from north or south there should be rage
Let all the rage and anger dissipate
Like smoke in the breeze
Like dogdream when it comes awake.
What words we have spoken let them cleave
What hearts belong to us let them not grieve
Let our words find us prepared
Let all our dreams find us prepared
And our land, our country, our earth
Let them find us ready at our end.



The Opening


–For M, allumeuse.


In an open house

By the open sea:

I become an open book

In her open arms –


She asks open questions

And open-faced expects

Nothing so simple

As my open verdicts.


Its an open plan:

To seize the season

As we are seized

And then to wait


It being settled quite

That nothing we open

Between us ever

Shall be by open letter.



Giving The Mountain


After Queen Victoria’s daring gift

Of Kilimanjaro to her grandson, the Kaiser.


Not one to heed old Latin ghosts

And not an Indian giver,

The Empress of India gave

Her grandson the perfect birthday gift.


Tennyson kept mute. The moon

Had kissed royalty

And this occasion would be

For others to make into verse.


God smiled from above the mountain,

Not one to miss a joke

And not one to complain

At saner gifts than Herod’s.


But night and day, day and night

Virgil’s offspring whispered still:

Nemo dat quod non habet…nemo dat…

Till the Kaiser heard,

And brought his gift to Britain.



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