The Episode of the Anthill 


You see me sitting on the anthill

Away from home and you ask me

Why my eyes are bloody and down

 My cheeks are signposts of after-rain?

You ask me why in my face,

The cloud has gathered, why my young

Heart is full of so much hate and spite?

I only went to grandpa's desolate hut

And was caught in the spell of his ancient tales.

As he opened my skull and dropped in a handful of solomon,

Little did I know that the cloud had eaten my sun!


The call of the homeward bird

Pulled like a magnet,

My legs conjugated with

The dusty path and its camel's hump,

But the sight of that disharmony

Of mud walls and thatched roof

Drew the giant dancers into my heart;

Oh, what gongs, what drums,

What sound, what trample!


The women stood like mourners

Their faces veiled with anxiety.

Among the cluster of faces I spotted her,

Too bad, she spotted me first!

The lioness pounced on her prey

And I found no solace in my heels.

"You cannot kill me," she sparked.

"I did not kill my own mother!"

And a staccato of sharp slaps

Sounded on my bare buttocks

Before my legs could spring from my torso.

Then I broke loose, I ran, I stumbled

And wobbled over to the anthill a little way from home.

What have I done to earn this return?

That I only went to grandpa’s desolate hut

And never knew when the cloud took the sun for dinner?


Now, dead years lay at my feet,

And I unwrap the shroud to recapture

That very day when my young heart was

Full of so much spite and hate for my mother .



Obanya won the Sentinel Poetry Bar challenge June 2005 on the theme of ‘Childhood’


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Sentinel Poetry #33

Online Magazine Monthly, August 2005. ISSN 1479-425X. Editor: Amatoritsero Ede