ONCE UPON A CITY
Oh! What city is that
combusting like a maple wood?
The fume woke me to yield the cry of the bird
parroting the people’s words.
It’s. . . It’s the blood of men. Oh! My goodness. It’s Owu.
Where’s Oba Akinjobi and the high chiefs?
I can see they all fled after biting more than they could chew.
Isn’t that Orisaye with the spirits of the market?
Oh Poor girl!
I pray Obatala save his wife.
And now, the weak Maye Okunade determines Owu’s fate
by bathing his sword with the men’s blood and making out with the women.
What hope has a dog tethered to the belt of Ogun?
Lawumi! Lawumi!! Lawumi!!
Ah ah! Why?
why did you forsake our children.
A child can never be so offensive and disgusting to the extent
of you chasing him to the Lion to devour.
And you decided to punish the elder son for his younger brother and yet, whip the brother for revolting.
What a mother!
The blood of the children called on me,
the blood the men called on me as well as
the pride of the women called on me.
But It’s too late.
Erelu pays the price with her life while
Orisaye joins Obatala in the land of the silent ones.
But shouldn’t that messenger of doom be punished too?
Shouldn’t that young warlord be penalized with his Allied forces
for treating their blood like culprits and slaying the votary of Obatala like cow
at the entrance of your shrine?
Truly, my vows are sacrosanct but
I can’t watch these young upstarts go scot-free after reducing Owu to rubbles.
Oh yes! They too… have no regard for you.
But never let generations to come say: “Once upon a time, there lived a city called Owu…” in their moonlight stories.
Please just let Owu rise again.
If not like a Phoenix, but as a town, society or community.
Hence, my sweat speaks not of regret.