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OKIGBO, Christopher

The Passage

BEFORE YOU, my mother Idoto, 

Naked I stand; 

Before your weary presence, 

A prodigal

Leaning on an oilbean, 

Lost in your legend

Under your power wait I

On barefoot, 

Watchman for the watchword

At Heavensgate; 

Out of the depth my cry: 

Give ear and hearken…

DARK WATERS of the beginning.

Ray, violet, and short, piercing the gloom, 

Foreshadow the fire that is dreamed of.

Rainbow on far side, arched like boa bent to kill, 

Foreshadow the fire that is dreamed of.

Me to the orangery

Solitude invites, 

A wagtail, to tell

The tangled-wood-tale; 

A sunbird, to mourn

A mother on spray.

Rain and sun in single combat; 

On one leg standing, 

In silence at the passage

The young bird at the passage

SILENCE FACES at crossroads: 

Festivity in black…

Faces of black like black

Column of ants, 

Behind the bell tower, 

Into the hot garden

Where all roads meet: 

Festivity in black…

O Anan at the knob of the panel oblong, 

Hear us at crossroads at the great hinges

Where the players of loft organ

Rehearse old lovely fragment, alone-

Strains of pressed orange leaves on pages

Bleach of the light of years held in leather: 

For we are listening in cornfields

Among the windplayers, 

Listening to the wind leaning over

Its loveliest fragment….