A song for the false prophetess

 The Alija dancers are now at the foot

of the altar of the swift tongued priestess

and the voice of the flutist

has ascended to the top of the iroko tree

and rustles the leaves there

and on the ground feet move

as the ekwe invites the ogene, embraces it  

their throats and voices now interlaced

in rhythmic throbbings 

 

The dark eyed priestess

circles of white chalk

around her eyes and ears,

lips coated in dark paint

running down her nose

walks in with slow footed sorrow, regal like

slowed down by heavy copper bangles on her feet

sagged by the séances and sciences of her vision

 

captive ears, shivering bodies, trembling souls

cower as private and divine wisdom are dispensed

in incantations channeled by invisible forces, the prophetess

a shaking medium spewing revelations

all specious knowledge, empty chants and blank visions,

the vision of bats…..

 

She was not there at the sacrifice of the innocents

nor at the forced departure of mothers in youth

but now she claims she saw them all, 

before they happened, before they were  planned

but she did nothing about them

told no one

 

she sees tomorrow only

after they are come and gone

and though she lives among the living

her loyalties are with the dead.

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1 Response to “A song for the false prophetess”


  1. 1 Susan L Daniels May 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Noel–

    This is beautiful, and so dark. Like roses at a funeral, gorgeous but heavy with sadness, death, and something more I can’t put my finger on. Knowing nothing of the rituals described here, I am going to have to do some research before I comment further, but wow–this is potent stuff (yes, your favorite word again, but in another context).

    I can see this, you describe it so well (and though it is something you hate, you do describe it so strikingly);

    a shaking medium spewing revelations
    all specious knowledge, empty chants and blank visions,
    the vision of bats…..

    and I love the closing lines–

    and though she lives among the living
    her loyalties are with the dead.

    I’ll have to get back to you with more, once I know what you are really talking about….


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