(in memory of Lekki’s victims)
When God wants to destroy a wicked leader, He hardens his heart.
Our horses must speak for Balaams to hear.
Tonight, blood touches blood on the street of Lekki
As the devil takes vacation at its toll gate.
This virgin night
Stars crowded; we stay close as broken lights
for warmth and tinder spark round the darkness we illumine.
Who says lighting mood doesn’t attract?
As fire gathers happy moths.
Suddenly, storm comes with winds, gently, increasingly,
like a moving train, subduing all obstacles, leaving us stranded
as dispersed seeds, looted with the bounteous loot of storm,
broken parts from harmony of branches, ungrafted.
Then, those who are not light, suddenly want to chase darkness
like sharks chasing blood, shut streetlights, witches fearing
light exposure. Stargazers crushing on us stars rising at night,
Watching us as pupils of their eyes, so beautiful in the dark.
Heavyweight soldiers who want to prove to the world they can kill
civilians, invade our green orchards at Lekki toll gate, wrinkling
their faces like the rough sea, speaking sporadically with their gun-rifle mouths,
begin to fell trees that are only armed with Nigerian flags and anthems
in their mouths, till blood covers the white that divides our green States.
These are cruel axes that forgot their handles are also made of woods.
We watch our friends fall asleep like babies in our hands,
Swathed in blood-soaked Nigeria flag, too tired to wake
as their bodies profusely sweat blood. We pick our fallen,
as broken pieces of stars, staying together, with our hands
washed in saliva and tears.
Though Lagoons reject us, we pick our broken heroes
And float in the pool of their blood to Reddington, Vedic,
Covenant Nations opening its branch for displaced citizens.
We listen to those who pause death by tarrying for their lovers
to whisper in their ears, “Now I have seen a new Nigeria
with my eyes, I can die.”
Behold! The beauty of Nigeria is slain!
Rising stars that fall (asleep) in the dark age.
Who can fight sleep and win? Sleep on beloved.
You will break forth at dawn. The christening of stars
does not cancel its funeral. Though your epitaph be brief,
and your story soon read, dirge will ever be long; generations
will cover the details of all who fell (asleep) this day
when you could no longer hold Nigeria tight.
Sleep well beloved, our mighty river of benevolence will bear you
Safe to harbor. We’ll meet in dreams and share stories
of our broken dreams, stories of the mystery that parts us like flood,
Like sleeping men who can’t be woken by their snores.
Here, nothing lasts long where death holds the power of decay.
There are many who slept without a dream.
There are others who dreamt without waking up.
Although, you didn’t live to see your dream Nigeria, you slept well.
We know the storm by its violent name and aggressive tongue.
We know the storm has nothing to lose with its aggressiveness
We are trees, not scared of the destructive storm, we only bow
to preserve our fruits by letting the storm of insult pass.
That our fruits hang low doesn’t make us lesser fruits.
Behold our storms! The open deterioration of national characters
squatting on power to labour vehemently us on like their hard stools
and rub buttocks on the closet seat of power to suffocate the mass protest of farts.
Behold! Stars rise at night to keep dreams alive
We shall rise again.
Leaves will fall but eagles will rise and ride with the storm.
Leaves may rise even when dead and follow the winds.
Even dead fishes rise and follow the stream to the sea.
Shadow follows the path of light
Seeds will die for trees to rise
This storm can blow, we’ve grown deep roots
This sun can burn our prime flowers to look down,
Branches broke and broken, leaves flutter and fall
Our roots stay, remain in hope of flowering again.
(c) Alade Blessing, 2020.