'Abiku' is an interesting word in Nigeria literary sphere, Ben Okri's novel The Famished Road is based upon an abiku. Here are 3 other poems on Abiku you should read.
'Abiku' is an interesting word in Nigeria literary sphere. Ben Okri's novel The Famished Road is based upon an abiku. Debo Kotun's novel Abiku, a political satire of the Nigerian military oligarchy, is based upon an abiku. Gerald Brom's illustrated novel, The Plucker, depicts a child's toys fighting against an abiku.
Here are 3 other poems on Abiku you should read.
A CACKLE FOR YOUR CRIES (a response to Soyinka’s Abiku ) by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson
You have come,
That never overstays.
I laugh at your cries;
An echo of the first time
My now weary womb.
Do you see tears
In my eyes?
No, the wells therein are
Drier than the desert sand.
This time, I pour no libation,
For the gods
Are drunk from my river
Of prayer gin.
I hold a lamp in my hands
The snake at the door
Shall be crushed
Before it strikes my heels
And I shall pair your cry with a cackle
For the child that says
His mother shall not sleep
Must not his eyelids close.
Do not expect goats and cowries;
My yams are dry
And the barns are empty
From your many comings.
No longer shall I be
The ripe palm kernel
That lies in wait
For the squirrel’s teeth.
So in my barrenness
Shall I find fruit.
For we shall not call the river another name
Because it has no fish.
And the elder shall not
Call the cow Baba
To get beef
For his teeth to chew.
I shall deny you the warmth
Of the god’s swollen foot-
Is the vultures’ belly
Not grave enough?
Hear my words through your cries;
Tell them when you go again,
That I wait. Yes, I wait,
To marry a cackle to your cries.
Abiku By Wole Soyinka
In vain your bangles cast
Charmed circles at my feet
I am Abiku, calling for the first
And repeated time.
Must I weep for goats and cowries
For palm oil and sprinkled ask?
Yams do not sprout amulets
To earth Abiku's limbs.
So when the snail is burnt in his shell,
Whet the heated fragment, brand me
Deeply on the breast - you must know him
When Abiku calls again.
I am the squirrel teeth, cracked
The riddle of the palm; remember
This, and dig me deeper still into
The god's swollen foot.
Once and the repeated time, ageless
Though I puke, and when you pour
Libations, each finger points me near
The way I came, where
The ground is wet with mourning
White dew suckles flesh-birds
Evening befriends the spider, trapping
Flies in wine-froth;
Night, and Abiku sucks the oil
From lamps. Mothers! I'll be the
Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep
Yours the killing cry.
The ripest fruit was saddest
Where I crept, the warmth was cloying.
In silence of webs, Abiku moans, shaping
Mounds from the yolk.
Abiku By J.P. Clark
Coming and going these several seasons,
Do stay out on the baobab tree,
Follow where you please your kindred spirits
If indoors is not enough for you.
True, it leaks through the thatch
When flood brim the banks,
And the bats and the owls
Often tear in at night through the eaves,
And at harmattan, the bamboo walls
Are ready tinder for the fire
That dries the fresh fish up on the rack.
Still, it's been the healthy stock
To several fingers, to many more will be
Who reach to the sun.
No longer then bestride the threshold
But step in and stay
For good. We know the knife scars
Serrating down your back and front
Like beak of the sword-fish,
And both your ears, notched
As a bondsman to this house,
Are all relics of your first comings.
Then step in, step in and stay
For her body is tired,
Tired, her milk going sour
Where many more mouths gladden the heart.
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