Threnody

Stretch one hand
Then another
Yearn out of bed
Dispatch sleep to an early grave.

Tell the children to wash their stomach
Eat the dust
Put the house in order:
The visitors will soon tear the roof.

Remember the departed
And the wailing crowd
You need to hasten their
Feet to the world beyond:
You will not let the village
Gnaw at your bones.

So hurry
Sell the cockerel
Sell the rams
That we may eat of
The feast of appeasement.

Half of your farmlands will be gone
The meat of the music will swell your pride
The village will eat and dust their pants
Your laughter will be emptied like a barrel of wine.

Then your creditors will come
With a beautiful casket for
Your debtfull head

O smile. Smile, smile, and smile
Have you not swallowed a mortar:
Is today not your father’s burial…

by Servio Gbadamosi

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