Ogolo Mmuo (Maiden Spirit)


by Nze Omenigbo Izo

"Igbo Woman" by Arteyez

I: Invocation 

Ogolo Mmuo!!

The river-sides have gathered basins of sun.

Descend now, unnoticed, in your ethereal flush

My bright-faced maiden, revisit once again—

And possess the idle wind with your buoyant vigor.

Bring with you, all the gleam of your wonder realm

Come—blind our eyes with your shimmering beauty,

My vibrant one, rip your way through our red earth

And leave behind your unique dance trails for all to see.

With your frail, measured landings—never out-done,

Impact our fertile ground with unaging beatitude.

Possess the trees Ogolo—the eyes and ears that seek you

Out from the dark. Loosen our stiffened, mortality

With your enchanting aura, my gleaming one.  salvage

Please descend, for the river sides have gathered—

Sufficient sun; enough to fill up your rain-pouch,

My queen. Descend and I, seated by the ant-hill,

Untiring, Shall be waiting for you, Ogolo.

"Igbo Grace"

II: Manifest

The Maiden’s Dance

Faster than thunder through plantain-leaves

Follow those legs, famous for their tedious,

Penetrance of varied human soils.

Swiftly, stately—with few ascensions,

Ogolo, you rejuvenate the staid-struck

Pulsation of  an eager-earth—circling,

Through and through, endless…

With eyes that are life transient,

While doubt-shattering,

You induce in all soul: your distant home’s allure

Dream-rich and serene,

Like deep-flowing agrarian pastures…

I stare on as those sprite fingers,

Finely weave into the dread-troubled wind,

Unfettered tranquil—unbroken at all times,

Like the eternal reach of pure bliss.

Indeed Ogolo, the rain-chap does hold to himself,

Far greater feats—that to mere mortal life,

Will remain eternal yearnings.

Igbo maiden spirit maskers near Akwa, Nigeria 1935


12 responses »

  1. Udo.

    Please, help this your brother to understand something. Ise/isee, is apparently the way we end prayers (or the number 5)?

    Since awakening to an Afrikan state of mind, I have been saying Ashè when I close prayers (Ashé, being Yoruba for ‘the power of creation’ I believe). A few years ago it struck me that we must have an Igbo word that corresponds to Ashè or Amen. But I have scoured the net, only today did I chance upon the word Ise/Isee. But I don’t see a translation or the meaning behind it. I have nearly resorted to closing with Eziokwu!

    Will you be so kind as to educate me, so I may honor my Ancestors and Chineke better when I pray and worship?

    • According to Michael J.C. Echeruo’s Igbo-English Dictionary, Ise means amen, so be it, and a response by way of assent, by the congregation to prayer, or in invocation by officiating priest. Also the Igbo word Eha is listed by Echeruo to mean amen. I hope this helps!

      • Ndewo.

        Nnenna, you are a blessing. Thank you for bringing information and enlightenment on this topic. Asking my parents yielded me nothing, as they are not historians or anthropoligists and are just as colonized as everyone else. I will dwell on this further. I would think ‘Ise’ and ‘Eha’ could indeed have the same meaning, just in different regions of Ala-Igbo. Again, thank you.

  2. Very wonderful portrayal of the female, it resonates that inseperable connection of humanity to one another and the need for one another. I get the sense from that poem that aspects of nature are compared to human relations. In fact, I get a pure reflection of human construct that should be truly recognized in our daily activities. An eloquent poem. O di ezigbo!

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