New African Writers
Bode Osanyin



On feet like a toddler’s I stand,

Afraid of my next step

Unsure of what awaits my tread, in the hands of my children

You whom I entrusted with my life,

Have now betrayed me.


I blessed you with all I denied your counterparts

In Nations of pompous affluence

I have given you,

Enviable vegetation

Landscapes of breathtaking sights

A fertile land,

That you may not hunger and die


I endowed you with Nature’s riches

Made you The Heart of Africa

I made you the cynosure of Nations

But you in turn chose to mock me.


You took from the wells of my wealth,

That which I love most

That which I reserved for you and you only,

My oil of priceless worth

My Black Gold


You traded it in for money, greed took your soul

At the expense of my children whom I apportioned this lot

To aliens not named in my will.


You played with power,

With weapons of intended murder

As always in your uniforms of flowing garbs,

To keep my children at bay.

You carted away their rights to enrich your pockets

That which I gave to them,

My Black Gold.


You have no conscience

Feed them lies with your sweet tongue

Never caring about the starvation and suffering

You inflict on them.

My children whom you turned to lesser mortals

Witness the rat you have made them become.

Scurrying for a cup of my oil, and set ablaze in the quest to survive.


You never care about the waters in my land,

Nor the creatures that are becoming extinct due to your insatiable thirst.

And because of your lust,

You snuffed out the life of one who stood to oppose your abominations.

Him whose eyes could not overlook the ills of your greed

You spilled the blood of an innocent soul


You made me weep

I still weep


O my children,

Why do you torment my soul?

Why do you rejoice in perpetuating chaos and anarchy in my land?

Why do you shame me in the eyes of friends and foes?


No! I cannot!!

I shall not rest till I am appeased

An atonement for those poor souls you have erased from the earth


For I tell you most solemnly;

A million years of payment, of a million silver coins day by day,

Will not be enough to resurrect our dead.



Oil On Milk


The cold hit me with bitterness as I touched down from the plane

my woollen cloth, seemingly thin to protect me

‘quite a reception for a virgin traveller’ I thought

but more was the surprise to come


Every street alive with man and gadgets, as expected of a developed world

paradise on earth as portrayed by all

yet quiet and lonely to my heart.

The frantic hurried strides of people suggested tension with every step

the silent cold stares of unuttered undertones baffled my senses

a great contrast to the friendly countenance of my homeland


Every man, wrapped up in his own world,

unwilling to share his feelings; afraid of being pried into

every man, a lone ranger.


Every meal left me hungry soon after,

in my attempts to adapt my stomach

the ceremonious procedures at the tables, too odd to tally with mine

the “free style eating� of home, hit me with nostalgia


The act of heralding a visit, even to a brother’s,

so strange I wonder if the knocks on our African doors are pesters 

surely I would die in-doors to the ignorance of the world, if I adapt this rule

The thought of hardening myself to sorrow,

to cry with my heart shielding the ocean of my pains in public…

What ever happened to “tears� freely shed back home?


The constant disrespect to elders and ceaseless dislike for the aged

The non-display of family ties and extensions

The constant destruction of lives to unburden pent-up emotions….

Africa never prepared me for these


Now I know better,

may have moulded myself to give respect to this land;

the glitters and gorgeous displays of it all constitutes a façade


Truth be told….

The originality of a motherland can never be replaced.



Ala Beke


My widow’s mite got rejected by one called “friend�.

A gesture once valued in Mother Land,

now spelt insult and generated a bruised ego.

Communication became severed, a grudge borne

My crime for being Ala Beke


On salutes of “hello!� you announce what booties you receive

from travelers like me, with undertones of shaming me

Expressing displeasures at demands I cannot meet.


Come friend! Come this way I wish you.

Experience the blues you envisage of a sojourner


Feel the coldness of man and atmosphere alike

The malice behind smiles for black-bred brothers

Play the hide and seek game with the law, in the race of survival

Feel the life on the streets; the war to earn a penny without “permission�,

Or support from a “god-father�


Feel the vacuum of family home away….

The ache of loneliness… the misery of it all


Come friend! Come this way I wish you

Confess the fortune you strike

Once you set foot Ala Beke.



London Bridge


Not the “collapse� chant of my nursery hood rhyme

nor the display of man’s gifted handwork

but an ensemble of humans as I see


Come every eight hour of a working morning,

and catch a glimpse of a captivating parade.

Black coats and jackets, on white skins of all sexes and sizes

dominating other human colour alongside them

Trotting from the “stop� of London Bridge,

to the big towering buildings of the city

To the likes of Oxford Circus, Monument, Aldgate, The Squares,

and other blocks of business ventures.

On for an hour, this walk goes


A match past of human soldier-ants

in a disorderly, but interesting line as you watch aboard a bus

Yet a threat to your imagination

when you hear the vibrating thumps of their soles

as you stand awaiting your bus

Like a stampede coming down on you.


Not even the “CMS� of my renowned “Lagos�

possesses such awe as this 


London Bridge…

Come every eight hour of a working morning

and witness this feeling.


US - Africa Literary Foundation

Chimdi Maduagwu, PhD
Executive Director
US-Africa Writers Foundation
Dr. Bode Osanyin
Chairman, Department of Creative Arts
University of Lagos
Department of Creative Arts
Akoka, Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria

Website Copyright © 2002-5 US-Africa Writers Foundation.  Selected writings copyright by their authors