poems

Online Magazine Monthly July 2003  Issue #8

ISSN 1479-425X

Cover Page

Stephen Vincent
Poems from Walking

Interview
My e-Conversation With Stephen Vincent
by Nnorom Azuonye

Emman Usman Shehu
Two Poems

Robert John Helms
Reflections of Spring

Esiaba Irobi
Kingdom of the Mad

Past Issues

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STEPHEN VINCENT


AFRICAN CYCLE (3)

He worked the fields.
She stayed home. They lived
Near Calabar.
After lunch
he would return.
The other man
was a stranger to the village.
He had gone
unnoticed, somehow.
In the afternoons
He would enter the house.
He would hold her hand.
They would embrace.
It was somehow natural.

One day the husband became suspicious.
He came home early.
He entered the house quietly.
It was no amusement.
They were asleep.
He left quietly.
He returned to he field
And planted grain there.

It was early in the season.
In the evening he befriended the man,
Asked him to come to the field.
He also asked his wife.
He carried a machete and a spear.
When the wife and stranger arrived
The sun was dropping
Toward the horizon.
The man, as quietly and forcefully as possible,
Raised his machete over his head.
He told her to lie on here back in the furrow.
He told her friend to lie on top of her.
She spread her legs, and his legs went between.
It was extraordinarily quiet. The sun
Began to disappear. At dusk the husband
Raised the spear.

It was a quick
And sudden blow. The blade
And the wood. Just
Below the waist. Their blood
Flowed through the furrow.

The next evening the husband
Appeared in the village. He called the elders
Together. Under a cover of jute
He showed them the heads.
His wife and her lover,
He explained.
He left the heads.
He returned to the field.
He buried the bodies
And harvested fully
At the end of the season.

I was told this story by a woman
Who lives close to the village. Each year
There is a ceremony. The head of the wife
And her lover
Are carried separately. They are wrapped
In thick woven jute.

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