Okogbule Nwanodi

We shall  dance,

Bending downwards

To god’s face and waist sun-wards

As scenes shift

And the singers chant

Echoes of the man

That was man

And is gone.


Mouthful feasts of burial

That shall lead the dead

And change to god –

Home god of offsprings;

That shall worship the shrine

We build;


And the man shall grow to god.


The iroko falls

And the lizard ascends

That the iroko may arrive

At god – head

And sleep

In quietude,

Carrying away no newborn,

Nor shall fail

To pay his passage to ghostland;

While the prophets chants

Songs of right hand

And echoes of the man

That was man

And is gone


We shall dance

Eyes fired

With songs of deeds

In rightous cleansing –

Banana stems are cut,

Goats’ blood to ghosts gush

And all dance

All sing and drink,

Spreeing mortality

While eggs break for saints,

And the priest rehearses

The deeds of the man

That was man

And shall be god!


Then we sing

What we know-

The life of the gone –

As we stand face to face

With his past on earth;


And the dead are buried

As the mourners chant

Echoes of the dead

That is god.



Okogbule Wonodi

We fell into the river,

Splashing the water

On the riverweeds;

We heard the rushing of water,

Smelt the offshore farmtime ashes

And heard the offshore farmtime songs.

We moved with the currents

Showing kola-free teeth…..


But we have poured more wine

Than the gods can drink,

More than the soil can drink

And have becomes outcasts

Dispersing the fishes

For which the baskets are laid,

And the fisherman did OT like us.


We turned and left the spot;

But softy his voice range:

The waters are yours

And the waters yours,

We are  mere beings

Beggars for your kindness.


Oh! Watergod

Give us, oh give us,

Your products for our care.

Soon the evening will come

And we’ll go home with our baskets;



Let not those who sit

By the fire feel cold.

We looked at each other

Packing our things hastily

Fearing more curses on our heads.


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