Posted: October 5, 2013 in Poetry

by Oludipe Oyin Samuel

Based on the Yoruba proverb, kirakita o d’ola (struggle makes no fortune). Kirakita translates to Struggle, and the bared species pressed beneath a heavy world, stripped of mind, of the ethereal that supervenes

“We know the path to promise, a richer cairn
Of kindest hearts.” It was nation, outspoken
In burdens, seeking the once misplaced
Barefaced revolts of every hope
Spun to torment of the good-forsaken moments.
Of the spirit, lockets are not safe — or were never.
Voices of water prophets rose still the noon next.
So…let all be placed. Let a billion throng
Displease the caveat cry of sparring worlds
For the itch of throat and musts of depraved mind
Then pacts, gains and bargains, rents,
Luxuries and time-tables. Till that cry
Reincarnates serenity in the lash, in the gut
Of earth — impervious is the seal of regrets,
The grind of sun tanned limbs daring stake a fortune
Fraught spirits, from home to homes, surviving
Wants, hawking creeds

“We know the path to promise”. The dawn is cove
For the vigilant eye, as the shutters open
All motes are entrances to cornucopia
The outside grime may reveal chests, not
Utensils to till soil but rims of gold, incipient,
Displaces a benediction of yawns that haul us
To magical embraces of somnolence. Yet no. Nutriments
Lay on the misty crossroads, ebos*, casted
Morning wraps and kneaded faeces of daemons
Gilded with a million chakras. Strive
Is the new descant of hamlets, survived
In cosmopolitan fashions. They tore grimly on
To foreign stock-reeds, lavished the bounty to gauge
The span of marooned starvation when it longed
To touch the faraway eaves of home.
Still, impervious is the seal of regrets
Appetite-chimes resound past cosmic confines
*A ritual feast served to appease divinities
And Kirakita rebounds from shaded stalls,
Savage bazaars, swirled, at marines in profligate
Tunes of timeless bargains, raging nymphs
Sold in sacks to omit the next rebirth
Of senseless haste — oblivious to libations, oozing
From ligneous beasts of the eternal seas
Rootless, unequalled with the world of flesh.
Are ours to wilt, bottomless, beneath the scrub of distress
Between toes crush realm ancestries of landscapes
Subterranean as feet of hearths, as the icy barren warren?
“But we know the path to promise”
Amid our footfalls, let apprehensions exorcise
Spores of recreation, at feud with gluttony
…No more, has earth wailed? Fading rain-tree
Hoard the sap? The wilting heavens as sacrilegious
To man, as man to himself, once reprieved itself?
Still, here we stick before the depletion, keen on more

Falter at routes that lead the unmapped course
Inwards and inwards only — flare and flicker about
The deepest core. Yet, we know the path to promise,
The path to slighter desecrations, bustles
Of a cryptic kind and furtive pilgrimages
Attuned to blood-spattered pulses. Mystics
Seize the throne of hearts. I have seen Kirakita,
An orchard of aching looks. It bred
While I slept, their eyelashes creased as my trance,
Accustomed to displeasures
…and the dearest demise


Dreams vacate the ledge, here stays the world
Nestling still her infernal hair, running springs aloft
Of strain in seasons of growth. In that world,
The earliest toes on the streets are forever
Furrowed than the late. And biz-ness angles
Shape a squatter stroke of crumbled bread for turncoats
Whose offspring had not thought tenderness man-made
And man-ruined, bath starch on sleeve — on deed, shove dung
…Sore smiles, gentle but deep, were dispelled
Before the blackening estate, the night-time baron father
“Tonight dealt good. Naira arrives on the morrow” — a numb
Exhalation followed, recessed in crushing distantness.
And on raising his face, each child and wife
Secured their eyes before their feet and the coherence
That used to be
…The mind’s unproven exultation
Of bygone honeymoons left, concealed

As the doors creak open, in the pouch of a single sigh.
Ah this world tries to wield itself
And, often than normal, the firmament recedes,
Yellowed — the carters of alarms turned frantic
Upon the flea market that refuses to flee with suns.
A bevy of wings have journeyed pyramids
Of warring twigs to roost, the evening’s haze not misplaced
Fowls wait their turn beneath mother’s inmost vaults. In spell,
The barn is webbed for night, outward winds
Robbed of emissions of the purring wild-bean. Miens of
Keepers and decent tourists, companies and ware-lofts
Decrease with the latent backcloth of divinities
Then…the worlds sleep, baulk the black denial
Of ages hung in every corner
Yet, man has not slept and is not free from his:
A brief thirst spawns the eternal deceit
…Hound quits the paths, still, hunter pines

Ah this world tries to wield itself,
Drown sweet petal-yolk in mouths
Only to pluck the pod as it stems, expunge tangs of mind
Only sentience could bid or else, lust ferment
Before the stampede routs again — the heart of despair
Tickled in pledges of days over, of chances never to be regained,
Of the depleting table-milk and once more
The restive insight that censures itself from out-of-dates:
Out-of-date flashes, doubt or truth from out-of-date camera poses
To smiles out-of-date…I was told — numbers consecrate.
This past “scientific” decade, I meet the throng
Raised above the olden “mines”. Gorgeously. Beneath the bossy
Stare of our mechanized saviour and slaver
The nuclear-powered, blackberries by the missiles
And right rude trackers, widgets of coast-to-coast
Disputes, combats and contacts which we wear
And try to wield with the world

Ah it tries to wield itself,
A soul loosened, a memory gone, a speed or sneeze —
From lineages fugitive afar, this borrowed plot we chart
In birthplaces of the sacrificed and long forgotten.
Footfalls apathetic on once-bloodied loam,
Across the road, behind the cenotaph, its skin
Stuck out in flimsy points to engross
Keepsakes it never caught from the unjust. Souls clash.
And Kirakita thwarts the crusade of forgotten warriors
Shrunken in caverns of frost, then would be traitorous still
…on that same “path to promise”!


Yet what shall atone? With ghosts, spun to reclaim fertile
Lands, capitalist-thresher and certificates — what shall atone now
The lust of breath recalling vengeances of death
Ageless upon heartthrobs — with **ori and pacifications,
The regrets more defiant than bell-ringers on the twine of suicide,
Flat opulence on protrusions of deep longing, sewn
With wishes of a casual caste, pickled evermore
In baroque jars, chromed from survival blots
But fissured to age with seizures of the heart and
Blueprints — craftily, gently— as otiose passages the
Route of sacrament peel…what shall atone?
What shall atone Kirakita, the claimant ghoul
Tripped beneath the lurch, histories revealing
Their rash-stung faces? What shall atone that grind
Of sun tanned limbs and inside voices dismissed
That vanish homewards then dwell to avenge
The twinge of banishment? What shall atone?
**Local Shea-butter, used sometimes as medicine
What shall atone repercussion — the sombre glare of deeds
Flooded in circles of births and rebirths, assembling flesh
And reunions of spirits in places, here and afar:
The Child of Hope encircled in battles of evil shadows — stagey
Brush of shoulders in restless subways and vehicle lounge —
Bitter souls, marketplaces of the sublime safe
From fatal grips of usurpers but slain by greed
Of owners? Shaka’s rife paroxysm through
Rowdy town, booth and stand, loyal to
Turrets of public notice and mythoi? A penny changing
Hands…hastily…changing hearts below the retail lattice?
The places are evenly sacrosanct. Later, several hours
Or decades, they dare inroad to coursing souls,
Parade fates at noon to recall tales in heartlands
Of the mind — a broadening point, a lake of dreams
Bereft of bed and mire. But who shall atone
Ruin where it trails in the surrounding of being?

Who defies the course?
Who amputates his?
Rises to the wave of sparring worlds to break the
Tides they charm?
To exertions of heaving ambitions, weaving knowledge
With doubt and when the dawn chances excitement,
Dispenses neither simplicity nor valour? Heirlooms
Are booties rare to brand but usual to earn. Us they seduce.
Them we deify. And when deities
Fall the fancies of beating hearts, guide pates
With a lesser covetous envy turned umpire in places
Of artless crimes; whose is it to lob the kola lobe upon lips
Of estranged landlords, lure the spellbound
To reconcile pacts of an intractable kind?
Who shall tell the world Kirakita leads no entrance,
Endears flesh to life as it kills life itself
To the marooning of mind?

Still! — that DEVIOUS breed…too late…
Zealots are not alone, manacled in verve
No, not even griots of the most salient doom, evoking
Hades against sons of sons; ch’i immolated
In quiet abrasions of the dissolute;
Masked buccaneers in sacred territories and ancient times;
They are not alone, dim courses of ciphers,
Black-robed presences and hood
Bartering sensations with gold-worth. No, they are not alone.
Kirakita emits the deeper peals
And the soul lost to itself that tries to please


And the shuttered cave of lovers
When photograph passes memory-ward with
Tunes of deserters, lashes the heart with serrated
Stripes, with bold flashes of a fatigued
Story and the fiercest ache — convicts
Of nature’s restless vogue, lusterless pastimes
Spent to revive thoughts from where months
Parch the throat, not the common age

The shortened breath of man scent the sphere
As balm for a world solitary
And as night bribes the rampaging notes of day
Still on that path to promise, they cease;
A bunch of policemen on the run, yet drained,
Brought even to draughts of an unruly sleep.
Lunatic settling terms with the manic clerk
Still on that path to promise, they cease

Outside Chests, no longer poised on some road-joint
Turned ethereal to hover round the maze,
Before eyes to look upon, souls to earn!
Shriveled with them are motorways, scraped,
Receded beaches, bus-parks, and banners.
Damned to mines of End of Ages? Defunct they are
To vicissitudes proclaimed strange.
On that path to promise, they cease

They sneak niftily on — an interloper raid composed
In daily sights and sighs, trials and errors
As torn webs on rock-hills of lost travellers,
The tenuous forms that altered to route their world:
A dearth that spouts a gift for worlds
Of an underserving kind — as cicatrices on loam
Plow a corridor for burdened ants, as slit
Cock barb windscreen adorn, beatify

Ravines of double-tiered ***danfos
Outran by the sun’s ornate rage.
Oaths of Muse Pang ripping above
The city head, scalping patrimonies in place
Of mounting street powders, yet roping
The crowd neatly in its nude sweat!
Did they bare the coil universe trails
In the mind’s restiveness, answers invent?
***Slang for passenger buses in most parts of Nigeria
Oh how bare the embattled existence…how bare
The dust of jobless months, phobic white-shirt chap
From old wounds of courage and dreams
Mirrored in expectant youth, scurrying shylock
Of untruth wearied in cycles of distrust
On holy nights even. In spirit-steads, effervescent
Dirges behold leaden feet of ****iyalojas
Fast brandished to futile rites of unwary ones:
****“Mother of the market”
Bland-eyed, coursing distant
The untrodden trench of guests
As the weakest frond throw sway to winds
Eluding, trace no life to the waiting trunk.
…So have I seen Kirakita,
An orchard of aching looks. It bred
While I slept, their eyelashes creased as my trance,
Accustomed to the dearest demise,

The dearest soliloquy:
The voices of this world are worn
A draught hurries through but escapes the nostril,
Leaves ajar our hearts, roots of storms
In spirit dunes of being
…But it questions:
Who lives liable
For your own demise?

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. Moses opara says:

    This poem is loaded. Beautifully rich with Samuely.

  2. “we know the path to promise, dawn is cove.”
    one of my favourite voices of an emerging generation…

  3. darvidseer .L. says:

    Cool, I get a strong witness in my spirit from this…….

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