SENTINEL POETRY #29, Online Magazine Monthly,  April 2005, ISSN 1479-425X

TONI KAN ONWORDI

 

OUR VOYAGE ENDED LONG BEFORE WE SET SAIL

 

 Our voyage ended long before we set sail

Like sleep ambushed by nightmares

 

 You were the ground beneath my feet

The clump of earth that fixed my rootless passions

You were the fertile patch, I took root,

I broke earth I blossomed!

 

 You were the rage curled up in the womb of a spark

The heat locked in my eager lions

You were the fiery tongue

Scorching the ears of my longing

 

 Our voyage ended long before we set sail

Like a fetus pickled in the womb!

 

 How does love sire hate?

How is joy curdled to bile?

How can ecstasy beget pain?

What hideous alchemy?

 

 These lines flow from the nib

Of a pen dipped in blood!

A viper, yours was the bared fang

That venomed my naked heart

 

 To survive, I fled

Like Mohammed fleeing Mecca

I took flight at night

When the ghosts our dead love

Offered no respite

I fled here; I found a space, time passed

Yet, without you life stretches like

A jail sentence

 

 Alone ,like Jonah

In the belly of that fish,

I smell you: your heat, your sweat, your passion!

My life without you intimates me

Of the hours that grew long before Saro-Wiwa

 

 Along, all alone, without company

My breath festers, I grow haggard

Like a laggard, I idle at crossroads

My hand falls on the knob

And I wonder how I have journeyed

To this door that leads nowhere

 

 Shall I cease hither or flee further

Beyond this threshold of pain?

Shall I stalk the alleys of my mind?

Like Cephalus seeking Procris

Knowing that pain shall all

Too soon eclipse my joy

Like a journey ending long before

You take the first step.       

 

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