Song of the Drunk (After Okot P’Bitek’s ‘Song of Malaya’)

Posted: December 5, 2013 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

by Chime Justice Ndubuisi

Welcome home
Young warrior, valiant and strong.
I heard of your prowess in lands
Far away, across seven seas and mountains,
As you defeat and keep on defeating
While your ancestral obi is lying in ruins
Defeated not by hand or ammunitions,
Defeated by something armless and lifeless: loneliness.
Where now is your boot?
Where now are all your war spoils?

Welcome home
Young sailor, vigorous and tireless.
I heard you scanned the entire Western horizon
In search of dry land
But when none was in sight
You went down deep in the sea
Laid down your head on a rock
And slept, breathing inside water like fishes do.
Where now is your crew?
What happened to the iced-fishes
And the Okporoko that you used to chew?

Welcome home
Mother and sisters prostitutes.
I heard you always smile at men
As they lure you to bed with riches!
You were the talk of the town;
That your lips are always red as blood
As men flood in and out of your sanctuary
Without qualms! You laugh heartily and bid
Them come again. Where now are your children, mother?
And sisters, where are your own children?
Did you sell or let them through pit toilet?
Where are your golden anklets and your silver necklaces?
Where now are all your lovers?
Those that used to call you ‘Ezenwanyi’?
That touches your cheek and say, ‘Omaricha’?

Welcome home
Father! You beget me in your teen
And you left before I was ten.
I learnt you lived two houses away
From your own house, with another woman.
You peep through the window every morning
And behold me going to school on barefoot,
You shake your head and sit down again,
‘All is well’ she says and robs your back.
Hey father! I understand. I’m a man now!
But I have few questions to ask you:
What was it that kept you these twenty-two years?
She robs your back and you feel at home?
If I had not stood as a man and fought
For your house, lands and heritage,
Where would you have stayed on your return?
Would you have perched on the tree?

Welcome home
Itinerant brother! You are highly welcome, brother!
I heard you’ve just been released from prison.
Hey! Listen bro, I know you don’t steal
And you don’t kill, but whenever you pass,
Things get lost and people dies!
I still knew you after our mother and sisters left,
But when our father left too, you metamorphosed.
You made the night club your second home
Beer bottles, broken grasses and many debts.
Come and I’ll show you; since your jail term,
Many new clubs have opened,
And they now serve cold beer and pepper soup.
Quickly, go in, have a sit and drink, do not tarry!
You said you have repented of your sins,
That the Reverend Father has forgiven your sins.
Well, let me ask you these few questions:
Was it the Reverend Father that you stole from?
Was it he that you killed their relative?
Best forgiveness is obtained directly
From those we offended.

Welcome home
All of you, welcome home.
I am drunk! I know I’m drunk,
But I’d be fine in the morning.
But am not only drunk, I’m tired.
You all have tired me! I need rest.
We all need rest. We must rest
And we would all be fine in the morning.

*Obi — The Symbolic Part of an ancient Igbo house, where visitors are received
*Okporoko — Stock Fish (Igbo)
*Ezenwanyi — Queen (Igbo)
*Omalicha — Beautiful (Igbo)

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. shomykolad says: many layers to this. Great write.

    Hmm…he who forgets home certainly have around his neck the sack of hardship!

  2. Ezeamalukwuo says:

    Nice…good read,

  3. Anene Francis says:

    V1&2: Questions on priority. Home is better. Agaharicha must come back… Shomykolad on point.
    V3: Questions on end of frivolities. How fast they fade away.
    V4: Questions on neglect of responsibilities. Unfair to both the one in need of his care and the one that faithfully offered him same.
    V5: Questions on true repentance. (True, forgiveness is only complete with penitence and restitution. While scar is cleared with punishment/penance).
    V6: The persona too have fault (we all do). But don’t hope to remain so.
    * My hunble submission in application for the learning I pick up in bits. Good work mr Chime.

    • LegendaryCJN says:

      Thanks Mr Anene… Yes, you are on point. Everybody has an ish…and we all learn. That’s what I can deduce from the poem myself.

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