Niyi Osundare

1947 / Ikere-Ekiti

BERLIN 1884/5 'Come buy History! Come buy History'

I looked round for vendors of my own past,
For that Hall where, many seasons ago,
My Continent was sliced up like a juicy mango

To quell the quarrel of alien siblings
I looked for the knife which exacted the rift
How many kingdoms held its handle

The bravado of its blade
The wisdom of potentates who put
The map before the man

The cruel arrogance of empire,
Of kings/queens who laid claim to rivers, to mountains,
To other peoples and other gods and other histories

And they who went to bed under one conqueror's flag,
Waking up the next beneath the shadows of another
Their ears twisted to the syllable of alien tongues

Gunboats
Territories of terror...

Oh that map, that knife, those contending emperors
These bleeding scars in a Continent's soul,
Insisting on a millennium of healing.
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