Posted in Poetry

A long song for the boy who waits

He sits and counts the days and the hours

mama has been away to the market

for seven market weeks now

and they all say that this market she went to

is located in some very far away place

and he tells himself that he will ask her

why she did not wake him the morning she left

to go to this far market to say good bye 

He had woken up to learn she left for the market very early

at that time of day when the dew still holds back the lizard’s tail

and slows down their running,

at that time of day when night spirits

are hurrying back to their abodes

before their sworn enemy the sun catches

them out and abroad 

and so he waits and asks

“when will mama return from the market

other children’s mothers come back and go again

and I sit,  waiting for mine, mine who will not come back

mama, when  will you return from this market”

And he wished she would come back

prayed to Chineke and his personal chi

to hasten her return

so that he could tell her

how everybody had been so nice to him lately

and how papa no longer scolded him

how nda Uzoemena had come and taken

him to mama’s maternal village four days

after mama had gone to the market

and he had stayed two days

he would tell her of all the woman who hugged him

all saying Nwam-oo

and the nice meals they all competed to cook and bring for  him

and Nne, his grandmother who held and hugged him,

and the hushed whispers of the women when he was there

and how he thought Nne cried the day he arrived

and how when he asked why

she was said it was from joy of seeing him,

him, son of her only daughter Nwabuaku 

He would tell her when she came back

that once or twice in the night

he heard papa sobbing

when papa thought he was asleep

and he  smiled  as

he imagined how mama would then tease papa,

papa who always said men do not cry

yes, there was a lot he would tell her

how nda Nneka now came over to cook for papa and him

in the evenings and would stay to chat with them afterwards

how her onubu soup tasted more bitter than hers

and how he had resisted the first time she tried to bathe him

a boy of four was a man he prpoudly told her

and needed his privacy

he would tell how he overheard nda Uchechi and nda Onyemauche

discussing the other day

and one of them, he couldn’t remember which one of them,

saying that papa

would need another woman to look after the house, and how

they said Auntie Chimaoge would be perfect for the role

and he wondered why, but he would ask mama

and he knew she would smile softly and shyly and explain

as she always does

and he still sits and waits, missing her with each day that passess 

not knowing when she will come back,

very sure she would come home

but telling himself that he would not tell her any of these stories

until she had given him the ripe udala, the akara and yes, the utara ukwa

she would have bought for him from the market,

and then he would hug her and hold her

and ask her to never ever leave him lonely for this long again .

Posted in Poetry

A song on impotent promises – for the rain doctor

 by Noel Ihebuzor


The rain doctor shelters under the leaking roof

away from the taunts of the raging rains


The rain washes his impotent incantations

together with the tears of shame that trickle down his cheeks


He looks up to the heavy skies

and rains sterile chants up to them

as the dark bellies of the of the pregnant sky rumble

and open to unleash volleys and rushes of rain


the rain doctor incants as he prances,

He mumbles as his teeth chatter in the drenching driving rain

His frail frame trembles with each rumble of the pregnant sky,

with each gross peal of laughter of the insolent sky

with each flash of lighting


The disobedient rains have undone the rain doctor


His client swells with despair,

roves, raves, rages, trembles and mumbles

drenched in a mixture of sweat and rain

He apologises to his guests

 approaches the rain doctor

with clenched fists and death in his eyes

The rain doctor backs away,

still searching his armory

for the appropriate herbs, chant and gesture

to control or appease the raging elements


Once reassured guests now huddle together tightly packed,

jam packed like generous hampers,

like passengers in Oshodi-bound molues

squeezing into every little corner and

spilling out and over into the veranda

where bold and exploratory pools from the rain slip in gently, and

gradually inch onto and edge onto poor toes, to un-shoed feet,

forcing these to inch backwards


Crowded and cramped in their places of shelter

Tempers shorten, hisses begin and lengthen

And soon the protests, the jostles as

perfumes contend in conflict,

as sweating sets in, slowly but steadily,

as make-ups begin their break-ups,

tempers grow shorter as the down pour lengthens


The empty canopies are now peopled by enlarging pools

The band leader and his troupe seek refuge in one canopy

Bravely holding down the tarpaulins

to protect their instruments …

not knowing who to blame

the rain or the rain doctor

and his failed assurances


All available eyes search for the rain doctor

Eyes have become pointed barbed arrows

sharp daggers and deep cutting swords

the rain doctor seeing these

and reading their unspoken intentions,

backs away, out of his sheltering leaking roof

backs away and away into the driving arms

of the tropical torrential rain



Frustration hangs heavy as a wetness on a drenched hen

threatening to run over as the huge pools on some of the canopies

The rain doctor secretly prays for the rains to stop

or for the earth to open and receive him.



Images now invade his now tortured mind….

Discordant, strident, fluid….


The boastful male of acclaimed virility, the long concealed and denied empty bags

husband of many wives and father of many

now finds himself in a harem

and nothing stirs, bags empty, no quiver

he shivers with shame

secrets on impotence are best traded in private markets

as subdued whispers, not in public spaces


The skies are now open, that which was hid is now open,

The revelation flies from mouth to ear, from ear to mouth,

willing lips and agile tongues twist, turn

and embellish that which is now revealed


The rain doctor sees these images,

In vain he struggles to shelter from the streams of truth,

but the rains drench him and reveal his impotence and he stands,

staggered, dazed and impotent to stop this revelation

of his powerlessness, his irrelevance and the many years

of his fake and sterile promises