This poem won the first prize in the “Nigerians Saving Nigerians” poetry contest
I KNOW A LAND
I know a land; scattered and battered
Mushroom of sleeping seeds and shrubs
Finding feet on the league of Western Irokos
Amidst baleful heats and deluge
It is the land of my birth, where the pricks of Hosannas on the crest
Hurt the heavens and brew local alcoholic tears
I know a land mazed in the yore,
of the burly junta and the sweetness of war
Punching hopes to a comma.
I know a land that forgets the beautiful ashes of war
The poultry palace that incubates new dreams,
Dreams nodding to clack and clap.
I know a land hosting the University of Questions
We ask who will wash our linen?
Who will send rain to revive the dying lilies on the plains?
I know a land going green now
Springing up from the refuse of hope
Flexing muscles to the air
I know a new land embracing new breeds of peace and shield
And Heads with no personal gait,
Who will stomp and run
The back of their feet hitting the back of their swinging heads
They must arise from the Savannah and the Sahara
They must shame the blames of the furious past.
I know a land that will take shape with hands.
Hands of war, hands of slavery and hands of anger;
Glossy hands, coarse hands, black hands and moist hands;
Hands of the beggars, hands of farmers, hands of the rich upper class;
Hands working day and night fashioning the futures
Hot exhibits, glistening from the forge.