Niyi Osundare

1947 / Ikere-Ekiti

DEEP GREEN (Once upon a Forest)

Deep green, my testament, as I forage
through this forest of vanished glories,
my memory one shell of naked echoes

Roots have shriveled in
earth's heat-harassed crypt
blighted leaves float in the wind
like flakes of careless scars

Long-limbed lumbermen have
laid low the loins of the land;
the Yes-I birds have left
with their rainbow songs

The desert marches towards the sea,
a haughty, implacable army . . .

Once (not too long ago)
I talked to trees in this forest
and trees talked back to me,
Deep green
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