Category Archives: Poetry

There is no “otu/etu” in English

In the book, After God Is Dibia, Procfessor J.A. Umeh talks about “Etu” as one of Igbo mystical philosophical concepts. This has been one of my favorite parts of the book as it discusses a concept that you hear in American scientific communities as First Principles.
Nowadays First Principles is a hot button topic in American scientific communities as it has been popularized by Elon Musk. The thought process that one can understand most things by reasoning from fundamental concepts, or breaking it down to the source/origin.

“First principles is…boil things down to the most fundamental truths…and then reason up from there.” -Elon Musk

But this concept has been in IGBO from the times of our ancestors. In the book After God is Dibia, it is explained that:

“Etu, which is Igbo Afa Language is Aka Obi which is the context literally means “Mind of God” or “the Divine Essence” or “the Soul of the matter/issue/thing” as the case may be…
The nearest English word for Etu is “the How”. When Igbo man/woman requests of you Biko gosim etu e si-eme ya (please show me How it is done) or Biko zim etu e si me ya or Biko gosim/zikom etu e sili me ya (please show me how it was performed/accomplished/done), he or she is requesting the Etu principle behind it.”
This, so far has been one of my most favorite parts of the book After God is Dibia, because it really points to what I have come to love about Igbo language. The closeness of Igbo to the truth of how things are. The way Igbos discuss things is very fundamental. When you try to say things in English, they become more and more abstract (and that is not necessarily a good thing). The day Igbo begins to talk about scientific and technological concepts will be when the world will truly know the power of Igbo.
The Igbo language in its purest form is a technology all its own. It was designed to explain things in a world where there was no paper and pen…no laptops. It was designed to explain things so that information can be understood, remembered, digested, passed on, disguised without writing down a single word.
A proverb in the book After God is Dibia states: “Uzu amaghi etu esi-akpu Ogene, ya nee egbe anya n’odu.”
This means: “The blacksmith who does not know the how of fashioning/fabricating Ogene should observe the tail of the kite.”
The book goes on to say that:
“All things and events take their form adn become resolved in accordance with Etu. And this is so whether they are cooperating or conflicting, harmonious or turbulent. Etu which we have seen in afa language is Aka Obi which literally means God’s Obi is, in other words, first movemnet or original movement, or prime mover or prime move or divine movement; the first movement from the position of akwu, mind of God, the Divine Spirit, the divine essence, or the soul of the matter/issue/thing; first principles, divine principles; the how of issue or thing; how things happen; how things work…
Etu in Igbo philosophy is Absolute — both the path and the goal…
Etu, being the underlying principle in all that is created and all exists, in essence, Chi.
This is only a sample of the deep concepts covered in the book, and I know I cannot understand all of it just reading it one time. I am sure I will go back and read some parts again as my knowledge of Igbo language goes deeper and deeper.
I just loved this concept so much that I had to pause and think it through, because it is the real beauty of Igbo, and why it is important for us to study and build and create using this powerful language.

Silent Dweller


Igbo dibia at a masquerade dance, Nri-Awka Igbo

Onye Oji, Black as the Bluest Blue
Silent Dweller

Eze ndi isi oji
Onye oma, a god with starry eyes
My Beloved
Groom of all grooms
My King, Eze’m

Ogalanya (Shining and bright)

I bow before you Lord of the Worlds
Cosmic representative of truth and justice, ofo na ogu
Star traveler, mapping the way, taking us where we need to go


Obiri Jack mask (close-up) Ogbukele festival, Ekpafia Igbo

Eze Osetulu, Eze nke kachisi eze
You build the pyramids with your hands
Split the world in half
Spin the cosmic waters
Make matter out of words, okwu afa

Nna nke uwa, whose love is eternal
May we never forget our inheritance
We your chosen ones
Your eternal suns.

by Ebele Chizea

“Ancient Dibia” by Nnedi Okonnachi-Obasi


By Nnedi Okonnachi-Obasi

Dibia (WIP) by Sugabelly

Dibia (WIP) by Sugabelly

A messenger of the gods
A mediator and a peacemaker
He was between the world and the other side
He consults for those that are worried
He mediates for those that are in dispute
Whenever he moves around
Know that the gods have a message
A message for peace
A message for the good to come.


A messenger of the gods
A prophet, came to warn us
He was between the continent and the other side
He said that the gods are sad
We would turn our backs on them
The peace we ever knew will go
The unity we ever had will change
Our happiness will change
We should never lose our talent
We should remember where we come from
And be proud for who we are.

“The Explorer” by Chinua Achebe


Like a dawn unheralded at midnight it opened abruptly before me-a rough

circular clearing, high cliffs of deep forest guarding it in amber-tinted spell.

A long journey’s end it was though how long and from where seemed unclear,

unimportant; one fact alone mattered now-that body so well preserved

which on seeing I knew had brought me there.


The circumstance of death was vague but a floating hint pointed to a disaster in

the air elusively. But where, if so, the litter of violent wreckage? That

rough-edged gypsum trough bearing it like a dead chrysalis reposing till now in

full encapsulation was broken by a cool hand for this lying in state.

chinua achebe

All else was in order except the leg missing neatly at knee joint even the white

schoolboy dress immaculate in the thin yellow light; the face in particular

was perfect having caught nor fear nor agony at the fatal moment. Clear-sighted

with a clarity rarely encountered in dreams my Explorer-Self stood a little

distant but somewhat fulfilled;


Behind him a long misty quest: unanswered questions put to sleep needing

no longer to be raised. Enough in that trapped silence of a freak dawn to come

face-to-face suddenly with a body I didn’t even know I lost.


R.I.P Chinualumogu Achebe

November 16, 1930 –  March 21, 2013

Fortune of Chi


by Uche Ogbuji

Note: Chi is the traditional Igbo concept of the god of each person, of each individual

When those two fighters met at the horizon
Half pregnant with the yellow sun, which rose
And fell at once in Schrödinger decree,
They spun so much imperfection of soul
And circumstance into their tumbled dice
That its sum could be none other than me,
Quantum twin unleashed from the black hole’s edge–
I am perfected fortune of my Chi.

Some randomized permutation of genes
Spelled these very left and right brain cortices–
Spotlight nerves on sheer possibility;
Some Mendel melody conjured these eyes,
These muscles, grafted these veins under this skin;
I am too many pin-point faults to be
By design yet I crown my own life’s fitness:
I am perfected fortune of my Chi.

But that same line some call the thread of fates
To which I fit my mind and body’s curve
In its degrees is certainly not free;
Somewhere along its future lies a point
Where my close arrival is luck of the draw
Passed onward in a rightful symmetry;
I am the series that evolves to that embrace:
I am perfected fortune of my Chi.

Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria, and has lived, among other places, in Egypt, England and the U.S., where he now makes a home near Boulder Colorado with his wife and four children. He’s a computer engineer and entrepreneur whose abiding passion is poetry. His poems have appeared in sundry journals, and he is poetry editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Poem first appeared at Soundzine.

Abu Ndu: The Songs of Life


by Ogonna Agu

Selected from The Book of Dawn & Invocations

Ndu bu ahia
Ndi ahia ebiliela ije,
Ha everela fam fam onu ututu guba ukpa ha onu
Ihe a na-anuzi bu nzookpa ndi mmuo;
Onyeodu ana-eje, ya na chi ya –
Onyeodu ana-eje, ya na onyinjo ya
Onye puta n’ututu o buru ogbe anwu ya n’ubu ya
Onye puta ula ututu o si kpakpando bia bere ya n’ihu

Life is a marketplace
Traders have all set out for the great journey,
They have started counting the luck in their baskets
in the little dawn of light
The noise we hear is the footprints of spirits;
Each one goes, each with his chi –
Each one goes, each with his shadow;
Each one awakens in the morning
carrying a beam of sunlight on his shoulder –
Each one awakens, each awakens
telling the stars to come and perch on his brow

Uzo okpa ndi ahia ejula m nti
Ndi ije esila na mmuo puta mmadu
Ufu okpa ndi ahia dizi ka nke nedi-agha
Onu ahia adila ka ihu ogu
Ndi ga-ebe ana-eje n’ogbo udele
Ndi ga-anuri agbahari n’ogbo egwu

The countless feet of traders marching to distant markets have filled my ears
Traders have arrived in the land of the living from the land of spirits
The footprints of traders now look like that of men of battle
The market now looks like a battlefront – those that will cry have started facing the square where vultures hold their conferences
Those that will rejoice run around the festival ground

Ndu bu ahia –
Onye zuchaa, o buru ibu ahia ya laa;
O lakwuru uchichi, o lakwuru itiri mmuo

Anyanwu awaala n’owuwa
Anyanwu esorala chi ofufo hogolie elu ugwu ka
mna-elejere anyanwu ka m na-ahu Chi kere uwa,
Chukwu ewerela ugofu ya dika ihe were huo m aka n’isi
Mu bu mmadu esila n’uchichi puta ihe n’onu ama ndu ebe ahia na-azu

Life is a marketplace
Whoever finishes buying, carries his goods and goes home;
He goes to meet the night, he goes to meet the darkness of death

The sun has ascended in the east,
The sun has ascended over the hills without the morning ligh
As I look towards the sun, so I see the great deity, creator of all the universe,
Chukwu has stroked my head with the rays of his light –
I one, I have emerged from night into light
At the frontage of life where traders buy and sell

Olu okike ebuka
Anyanwu iwa n’igwe na olu okike aburu
Ubosi anyanwu wara n’igwe
ka Chukwu kezuru uwa niile
Etuakwu ka owuwa anyanwu na okike ihe ya siri buru ofu

The work of Creation is too great;
The rising of the sun in the sky
and the work of creation has become one –
The day the sun shone in the sky
is the day Chukwu created all over the world.
This is how the ascension of the sun in the sky
became one with the act of creation.

Eke bu nwoke mbu, o sila n’igwe ridalu ala –
Nwoke mbu bu ukpa bia ahia n’ubosi eke ka o bu
Oye esila n’igwe ridaluo ala –
Nwoke bu ukpa bia ahia n’ubosi oye ka o bu;
Afo esila n’igwe ridaluo ala –
Nwoke bu ukpa bia ahia n’ubosi afo;
Nkwo esila n’igwe ridaluo ala –
Nwoke bu ukpa bia ahia n’ubosi nkwo ka bu

Eke is the fist man, he descended from the sky down to the earth
The first man that entered the market with his long basket
Oye has descended into the work from the sky –
The man that came into the market on Oye day carrying a long basket
Afor has descended into the world from the sky
The man that entered the market on Afor day carrying a long basket
Nkwo descended into the world from the sky on Nkwo day
The man that c+ame into the market from the sky
On Nkwo day is he, carrying his long basket

Anya mu bu mmadu e kere-eke esorola anyanwu kebe
Anya olupio m m ji elejere ihe di na mmuo-
Ahazuola m uwa nille;
Ahula’m ihe di n’anwuru di na mbara igw na-erughari n’oteaka
Ahula’m ihe di na nha-nha mmiri na-ezo n’igwe-
Ahula’m ka mmiri na-ehu ehu si esi na mkpume agbaputa
Ahula’m ka ihe e kere n’otu ngwugwu siri buru mmirir n’aloghachi n’ikuku
Ahula’m ka umu anu-ohia na-awughari n’okeagu –
Ahula’m ka azu bi na mmiri si ebi n’otu oke obodo
Ahula’m ka umu anunu na-efeghari na mbara igwe

Man like me, my eyes have begun to emit the light of the sun –
A tiny opening through which I behold that which is in the land of the spirits
I have seen all that is in this universe;
I have seen all that is gathering in the clouds in the distant sky
I have seen what is in the rain falling from the place above,
I have seen water break from the rocks as spring in the valleys
I have seen something wrapped in cocoyam leaves, returning with water in the wind
I have seen little animals running around in the great forests;
I have seen little fishes swimming in the waters, as if they belong to one large city
And I have seen little birds flying about in the sky

Chukwu bu nwoke mbu,
Nwoke mbu bi n’elu na uwa awa;
Chukwu bu nwaanyi mbu, nwaanyi mbu si na mmuo puta mmadu
Ya bu nwoke mbu burukwa nwaanyi mbu jezuru uwa niile

Chuwku is the first man,
The first man living in the sky when the earth appeared;
Chukwu is the first woman, the first woman who appeared from the land of the spirits to the land of the living
He is the first man and the first woman to walk round the whole world.

Eke bu otu nwoke na otu nwaanyi niime ndi mbu
Oye bu otu nowke na otu nwaanyi niime ndi mbu
Afo bu otu nowke na otu nwaanyi niime ndi mbu
Nkwo bu otu nowke na otu nwaanyi niime ndi mbu
Ha mmadu ino mbu si be chukwu muta oku so na ndi nwaanyi mbu
Ha biawara buru ukpa ahia ha bata n’Igbo na mgbe gboo
n’ututu nta
Ha ndi mbu nu uzo zuo ahaia n’ebe mmuo na mmadu na ezuko
ubosi ino na abali ano

Eke is one man and one woman among the first people
Oye is one man and one woman among the first people
Afor is one man and one woman among the first people
Nkwo is one man and one woman among the first people
These first four who brough fire from the abode of Chukwu are among the first women
They came carrying their long baskets to the land of the Igbo in very ancient ties
in the little dawns of light
These first men and women first traded their wares
in the meeting ground of spirits and men
In four days and four markets

Ma mu onwe’m abu’m mmadu gboo-
Otu akuku’m bu ihe, otu akuku anysi
Otu akuku’m bu nwoke, otu akuku’m nyaanyi
Mmadu gboo si n’uchichi puta chi
Mmadu gboo si na ihe muta oku;
Ka o di na mbu ka o di taata were ga-adigide
Mu si n’odu hara onu were puta were bido ije
Site na mu bu uzuzu ka a hazuru uwa niile
Site na abu mma-ndi ka a huru Osebuluwa

Abu’m otu onye na-eje ije ndudugandu
Mu si na ogbu toro ogbu were eje,
Mu bu Ogochukwu nwa Uzonwa
Ada Ezennaerika n’Oka-etiti
Mu Ogonna nnwa nna’m Anaagudo Agu
nnwa Agu Olukoo o gbue
Mu bu Ogochukwu, nwoke Isi udughuudu

And I one, I am an ancient man
One side of me is light, one side of me is night
One side of me is man, one side of me woman
An ancient man who emerged from darkness into light
An ancient man who drew fire from light
As it was in the beginning so it is now and so will it continue to be
I am he who emerged from the sound of a trumpet and started off on a journey
From the dust of the earth I am made, and from the dust of which I am made
the whole universe is seen
From the song of the beauty of life behold the great and might Spirit Osebuluuwa

I am one man who is continuually undergoing the journey of the generations
I Ogochukwu, child of my mother Uzonnwa
Daughter of Ezeaerika at Oka-etiti
I Ogochukwu, child of my father Aagudo, child of Olukoo O gbue
I Ogochukwu, man with the bushy hair

Echi di ime, one ma ihe o ga-amu?
Uwa di ka nwaanyi di ime bu ite n’isi
O nwgh onye ma mgbe ime ga-awado ya
O nweghikwanu one ma mgbe o ga-amu nyabu nnwa

Tomorrow is pregnant, no one knows what she will bring froth
The world is like a pregnant woman carrying her pot of water
No one knows when her labor wil begin
No one knows also when she will deliver that child

Echi di ime,
Ite ogwu ya riri nta na imo-
O bu onwa buru ma kpakpando
O bu ochichiri na ihe anyaanwu
O bu anwuru na-apu oku
O bu mmiri juputara uwa niile

Tomorrow is pregnant,
Its pot of medicine has taken in everything and all things
It has take the moon and the stars
It has taken the sun and the darkness,
It has taken rain-clouds carrying firebrands
It has taken water which fills all over the world

Nwaanyi mmuo ana-eje, na-asu ude nwaanyi di ime-
O bu uwa ya niile n’okuku ite ogwu ya,
Etua ka o siri buru na nwaanyi di ime bu ibu,
Nwaany mmuo na ibu ya ana-eme
Echi di ime, o nwegh onye ma ihe o ga-amu
Echi di ime, o nwegh oney ma mgbe o ga-exeda ibu

The spirit woman keeps going, heaving
like a pregnant woman
She is carrying all her world
Inside her medicine pot

Nwaanyi ime na ite gi awuru
Ndu akpoola igugu n’uzo ama gi, i were nye n’akwu
Nnwa a muru ohuru asaala chi
O narala oke chi ya were puta ihe
I muola ozuzu eke muo ozuzu oye
Anaanuw awagidela gi na oma ihu,
Anuri ejula gi obi

Behold, pregnant woman, your pot has broken
Life has flowered before your gate,
You have given to the nest what belongs to her
The newly born child has awakened
from darkness into the light of a new world
She has received her share of divine light
and so has come into the light of being
You have borne both male and female children
The sun has shone on you straight on the brow,
Your heart is filled with joy.

Ihe Chukwu ekezuola uwa niile
O werela ugofu ya chunaga anyaasi
Chi-ta amutala agu-ukwu na agu nta
O mutala ohimiri na mmirianyim
O mutala ilulo na oke osisi
O mutala anu-ohia na anu-ulo
O mutala anunu na-efe efe
O mutala elu na ala
O mutakwuola mmuo na mmadu

The light of Chukwu has shone in all the world
So that with his rays, he has chased away the darkness of night
This day has given birth to mighty forests and savannahs
It has given birth to mighty seas and oceans
It has given birth to green herbs and wooded lands
It has given birth to beasts of the forests and the creatures of home
It has given birth to the birds that fly
It has given birth to the sky and the earth
It has given birth to both spirits and humanity

Taata bu nkwo
Mmuo na mmadu ana-aga
Ndi bu odu, ma ndi bu oji
Mumuibiriachi, na ndi chiri ekwe,
Umuagbogho ndi ji jalijali oso
agbajekwulu Nkwo okwu

This Nkwo day
Spirits and men keep moving about
Those carrying ivory horns, and those carrying their sacred iron spears
Local women and those who have taken the ekwe title
Young maidens who with light and swift feet
Run to meet their beloved Nkwo

Nkwo oma ana-aga, nkwo oma ana-aga n’ilo
Ma mmuo ma mmadu, ha ana-akpaghari
Ma ndi na-ere ukpa, ma ndi na-ere mmanya ngwo
Ana-ha akpaghari
Bu ndi bu ukpa ahia ha
Ebe ha kwadogoro na taata bu nkwo
Na ahia ga-azu n’odu ndi ukwu

Beautiful Nkwo walks the streets, beautiful Nkwo walks along the streets
with men and spirits, they mill around
Those selling ukpa, and those selling upwine
They mill around carrying their long baskets
Since they are prepared that on this very Nkwo day
The fair will be at the stalls of the mighty

Ahia ewee buru otu ebe nnukwute mmuta
Ebe a na-eyie mma fuo ya onu;
Onye e yielu mma o na-ebe,
Onye o baara o kpowa so kekeke
Uwa ewere gwu m ike
Uwa ewere buru so otu oke mmuta
N’ahia nkwo
Ebe anyi jere iketakwa oke Chi ruru anyi
N’ubosi ahu ahia zuru n’ahia udele

The market then became one great place of knowledge
The market then become one very great place of learning
Here where hands cut deep into skins and blow cool air over them
Whoever is cut starts to cry
Whoever it profits starts to be crisp with laughter and I just became tired with the world
The world just became one great place of learning
At Nkwo marketplace
Where we went to get our shares of Chi
On that very day when a fair took place
At the market of vultures

Anyi ewere lawa,
lagide lagide lagide ije ebi-ebi
Lajekwute otu oke uchichi na oke oshimiri
Isi ewere buo anyi ka enyi
ka anyaasi dawasara anyi
Ka anyi siri diga
Ndi gba duu
Ma ndi ihu gbansim
Ma ndi ihu oma
Ma ndi oke ozu ha
Anyi niile n’ije any di iche iche
n’otu oke ozra ahu bu ndu
N’ije dnu a any na-eje

And we began going
Going and going and going on an everlasting journey
Came and met one great darkness and a mighty sea
And my head swelled like that of an elephant
As night befell us
As we went our different ways
As different as our Chi spirits
Those that were silent
And those who were quiet and indifferent
And those with the good face
And the really wealthy ones
All of us in our different journeys
In this great wilderness of life
In this journey of life which we are undertaking

Ula ka anyi niile na-alazi
M laruo ulo ka m zituo ibu m bu n’ukpa ahia m;
Ugolooma esorola chi na ubosi alaa
anyi sokwu chi na ubosi alaa
Anyaanwu adakpuola n’oshimiri
Ogonna nwoke isi udughuudu esorokwuola anyaanwu la ura
N’ogbu toro ogbu

Departing, departing, that s what we are now doing
On getting home I will lay down my long basket with which I went to the market
The eagle has gone with the light of day
As we also depart wit hthe day and the night;
The sun has fallen into the sea
Ogonna, man with the bushy haiir
has also accompanied the sun
into the depth of depths

R.I.P Ogonna Anaagudo-Agu

“We Came Out to Play”


by Ify Omalicha Agwu

The stars did not come
We began to chant and clap
The praises of the crescent
That the moon would not shut her eyes
At us waiting below the sky

The wind came whistling by
Laughing at our waiting.

If we ask Ogoo
Why the night is strutting by
in the dark
He’ll say the moon and stars
Are gone to the spirit land
To bring us a fortune
on Eke market day.

Now, we wait.

We know not many hidden ways
Lest we find you out
But you must come lighten this sky
That has grown dark with loneliness.

Come listen to our songs
Woven in our web of tales
Telling of births and life
Of yesterdays that never return
Of yesterdays that cling to now
Of todays that lie half-lived without tomorrow
And of many nights of tomorrow
When like Ogoo
We’ll know the ways of the wind and rain
Telling our children to clap and sing
While they wait for you to come to play.

R.I.P Ify Omalicha Agwu

Nkele Egede: In Praise of the First Ones


Nkele Egede

(Igbo Translation)

Lekwe anyanwu biara uwa,

Ihe ebi-ebi ka o Jiri choo ya mma.

Mmadu Jizi maka nke-a hu ya na-anya.

Aja-Ala, Nne mbu buru anyi n’afo izizi,

Anyi echeta gi.

Igwe na mmiri,

Ndi mbu lere anyi omugwo,

Ndi mbu biara abia na ogodo uwa.

Anyi echeta unu.

Ikuku na Okpoko, ndi mbu fere efe,

Ndi obu-akika-na-enwu-oku n’isi,

Ndi mbu lara agu n’asaa na mmiri n’asaa,

Were nu nke ru-ru unu.

Debe nu Chim na Chi uwam.

Uwam biara, lekwem.


In Praise of the First Ones

 (English Translation)

Now behold the Magnificent Sun,

The One who came forth and blessed the world with eternal light.

Oh—how endless our adoration.

Behold too, the motherly Earth,

From whose primal womb we’ve all emerged and continue to emerge,

How endless our appreciation.

Behold now, the very ancient Sky and primal Waters.

The most graceful ones who first suckled and guided us,

The manifest ones who first embraced the visible world.

How endless our adoration.

Behold the sacred Spirit that is Breath and its chosen bird, Okpoko.

Behold both earliest of all adventurers; inventors of the art of flight.

Behold them, the non-flammable head-bearers of Light—

Primal navigators of the Seven Wilderness and Seven Seas.

Oh—ancient ones of renown, how endless my appreciation.

Guide now, my Chi and the Chi of my Destiny.

Great manifested world, bear me well.

—Nze Omenigbo Izo

(Excerpted from “The Transfiguration of Izo and Other Mystical Feats: Poems”)

We Rise


by Ebele Chizea

Our father is the great rising Sun

Our mother, the serpent who birthed humankind

Records of our footprints reveal we have marched this way before

Who is our mother you may ask?

She is the energy in your spine, your back bone, the ground beneath your feet…

Our father is a wise king descended from a realm of gods

A city with numerous vortexes of light

He is known by some as The Dweller

He also dwells in our hearts

Which is why we smile so much

Even through the rain and the whirlwind

Through hunched backs and trepid movements

We dance & sing & make music…

By our stripes, the world was reborn into a new way of doing things;

Of loving, of expressing, of worship

More than that, the ones to come later were fed

Because of the great human sacrifice

That history shall never forget

Umu anwu (children of light) we were

And just like Anyanwu (the Sun), We rise

Just like our father

Who came before us

So that we may also live

And like our mother who bears witness in this breath of time.

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