SENTINEL POETRY
ONLINE MAGAZINE MONTHLY  ISSUE #11 OCTOBER 2003  ISSN 1479-425X

Contents

JOSEF LESSER
Six Poems

OBIORA UDECHUKWU
About The Poet

Poems from Portraits and Landscapes

Poems from What The madman Said

SUNDRA
Interview: My E-Conversation with Sundra by Nnorom Azuonye

Six Poems

LINKS
Notes on contributors

Past issues

Home

OBIORA UDECHUKWU


The Land
IX

IF THE RAIN catches you in Ikate
If the rain catches you in Aguda
I say
If the rain catches you in Lagos
Roll up your trousers
Get ready to swim

We were once poor but wealthy
We are now rich but poor


If thirst catches you in Uwani
If thirst catches you in Ogui
I say
If thirst catches you in Enugu
There are many gutters for free
Police will not arrest you

We were once poor but rich
We are now rich but poor

If hunger arrests you in GRA
If hunger arrests you in Ugwu ndi Ocha
I say
If hunger grips you in Unibasity
Dustbins overflow like the Niger
And Sanitary will not arrest you

We were once poor but wealthy
We are now rich but poor


They offered me crumbs
Thinking I would sing their praises
If they shut their doors on me
I say
If they shut their doors on me
Have they also shut my eyes?

Better to be mad and free
Than to be rich and blind


They stole the people's money
Lent it back to them
At 1000% interest
And they talk of philanthropy
                             and chieftaincy
                             and statues
                     they talk of tradition
                             of age and youth
If you shackle my feet
Have you manacled my ears?
If you pinion my arms
Have you manacled my tongue?

We were once poor but happy
We are now rich but hungry


Stealing gave them the eagle feather
Robbery gave them the ankle-string
Killing gave them the bronze staff
Tax-eating gave them their carved stools

We were once naked but alive
We are now clothed but a corpse


"Aftermath" "Affirmations" and "The Land" are taken from What the Madman Said (Bayreuth: Boomerang, 1990)

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