'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 SamsonI.AgainYou have come,VisitorThat never overstays.I laugh at your cries;An echo of the first timeYou rentedMy now weary womb.Do you see tearsIn my eyes?No, the wells therein areDrier than the desert sand.This time, I pour no libation,For the godsAre drunk from my riverOf prayer gin.I hold a lamp in my handsThe snake at the doorShall be crushedBefore it strikes my heelsAnd I shall pair your cry with a cackleFor the child that saysHis mother shall not sleepMust not his eyelids close.II.Do not expect goats and cowries;My yams are dryAnd the barns are emptyFrom your many comings.No longer shall I beThe ripe palm kernelThat lies in waitFor the squirrel’s teeth.So in my barrennessShall I find fruit.For we shall not call the river another nameBecause it has no fish.And the elder shall notCall the cow BabaTo get beefFor his teeth to chew.I shall deny you the warmthOf the god’s swollen foot-Is the vultures’ bellyNot 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 SoyinkaIn 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, whereThe 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. ClarkComing and going these several seasons, Do stay out on the baobab tree,Follow where you please your kindred spiritsIf indoors is not enough for you.True, it leaks through the thatchWhen flood brim the banks,And the bats and the owlsOften tear in at night through the eaves, And at harmattan, the bamboo wallsAre ready tinder for the fireThat dries the fresh fish up on the rack.Still, it's been the healthy stockTo several fingers, to many more will beWho reach to the sun. No longer then bestride the threshold But step in and stayFor good. We know the knife scarsSerrating down your back and frontLike beak of the sword-fish,And both your ears, notchedAs a bondsman to this house,Are all relics of your first comings.Then step in, step in and stayFor her body is tired,Tired, her milk going sourWhere many more mouths gladden the heart.
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