By Kola Adeniyi
OUR COUNTRY HOME
(Thought about the SAP of 1986 in Nigeria, which has thrown Nigeria’s economy into the abyss)
Our country home.
Three of us contributed our resources;
Three people forced together by accident,
And kept together by hatred.
But we still built the house-
Mighty and beautiful it was.
Then came the man:
The man who cannot be questioned,
Who commanded followership with the weapon of death,
As if he had woken up on the wrong side of his bed,
And said that the house was too beautiful
When we take away the ornaments, and change the aluminium roof to thatches,
He explained with a smile,
It would become a better house for us all, in the light of our neighbourhood
How do you deal with a man you cannot refuse?
But unknown to us,
He had a deal with our predating neighbours to burn the house,
For they reasoned that it could soon become an attractive threat.
And that he did.
Now, in the rumble
We yearn for a helper
Who will rebuild for us.
But those who burnt our house are still the builders.
They claim to build,
But the dereliction gets worse every passing day,
While they all now dwell in edifices of gold.
The well in the house
Which is the source of everything good to us,
They took from us, while we were busy fighting over its treasure.
Help from neighbouring predators too,
They share, at our expense.
Yet they said they were renovating our beautiful house.
They made us pay obeisance;
They made us believe they were doing us good.
Now we have learnt to live in the rumble,
Our beautiful rumble,
Hoping against hope,
That it will be built again,
For we have no other place to call home.
I do not know how he got in here
But he was waiting for me in the bathroom
My own bathroom
With a horrid expression about him
Yes, and pale and tired eyes
Peering through loose casings
His lips slightly unsteady and his face squeezed into shapes diverse in kinds
With bones about to force their way through thin skin films
Such as is common of people who need be frightened no more
Though moving once in a while, his lips uttered only silence
Oh! Now I realize, watching must be his sole charge
Calm and serene
His mien not even a concern
Or is that supposed to be a benefit grey hairs offer a man?
Now that is the gentle flame stroking my soul
Because yesterday, he had not this outline
Yesterday he was green
Yesterday he was lively
Yes, and with promises of years still very many
I still remember well
That attended his smiles
And the sparks of life that arrayed his voice
And now, looking right into his eyes
Oh! How I desire
That this mirror is a liar
Kola Adeniyi is the author of “The Reporter” (2007) and other poems published in an anthology. He teaches at the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and sends these from Dresden, Germany