It wasn’t that I burnt the bridges
Nor set ablaze the ship at shore
To fight the battle of life and death;
Neither was I invited
By the drumming of a distant land.
I was choked by the flames of hate
And wantonness ravaging my land
As I ran beneath the thatched foliage
Just before the droning voices
Of Papa, Mama, Martha and Baby Amah
Receded in their screams for salvation;
The silence was deadly, choking me more
Than the blow of eternal extinguishing
Or heat of hatred could ever hit.
Drowned in the pool of extinction,
I bellied on wet grass, groping in fear,
Cloaked like a serpent: if only I could sting;
And when darkness threw its thick embrace
To hug my eerie eyes and stymied soul,
I knew I could crawl, lifted off the earth
To trudge along the penitent’s way,
My back turned to my woes.
Then in that dead of night I walked,
Sometimes afloat, formless and freed,
Receding in time and spaces unreached,
Lost to the consciousness of my being
Until I became a spark of nothingness
Inhabiting a stream of memories
Long interred in the voices I last heard.