Lenrie Peters

What magic spells

held the first men,

wandering in darkness

heads bowed to draw

breath, refuge from toil

and say

this is our home



And  the crocodiles

of anther world

under you waters

tame as pumpkins



Katchikali, Katchikali

the women weight – drowned

towards the farms bend

their kness and say a prayer



Lovers under a fertile moon

Pray for their children



Hide – hunters will not

Leave the peave unbroken



Katchikali, Katchikali

though birds make their music

in the morning

we do not  hear though they spill sceptres

in the evening

we do not see

we wither and crumble

weeds in a torrent


But your wisdom is silent.

we call to you

there are no answers.

We reach  out to you

Beyond ineffable darkness

Children of despair

Call out to you katchikaki

Tearing out their virture

They reach out to you katchikali

Dying in a forgotten ambience

Where ships no longer call

Or ploug and hoot in haste

But belch warm welcomes

In the night

Against the quivering gates

Of the new cities of the plain.


And the crocodiles, watchful,

Older than fossile

Which kiss the heels of children



And men strong as Baobabs

Press-ganges to clear you

Dense embraces

The  sweat of fear on their faces

Plead with every fateful stroke

“It is not I who destorys you

it is not I Katchikali

but those who would ignore your mysteries�


Katchikali, Katchikali

Bring me children

The I may show my face

In the village market

I the daughter of despair.


Old men sing songs

When the moon is high

Pray for their crops

And homes though they be warrens.


But the new people do not understand will not understand Katchikali

And all the institutions crumble.


As the mud  hut crumbles

Withers, all is base

Seething self-interest and corruption

And the demon of gain

In your waters Katchikali.


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