NAIJA POETRY 1: Night Rain

What time of night it is
I do not know
Except that like some fish
Doped out of the deep
I have bobbed up belly wise

From stream of sleep
And no cock crow
It is drumming hard here
And I suppose everywhere
Droning with insistent ardor upon

Our roof thatch and shed
And through sheaves slit open
To lightning and rafters
I cannot quite make out over head
Great water drops are dribbling

Falling like orange and mango
Fruits showered forth in the wind
Or perhaps I should say so
Much like beads I could in prayer tell
Then on string as they break

In wooden bowls and earthenware
Mother is busy now deploying
About our roomlet and floor
Although, it is so bad
I know her practiced step as

She moves her bins, bags and vats
Out of the run of water
That like ants filling out of the wood
Will scatter and gain possession
Of the floor. Do no tremble then

But, turn brothers, turn upon your side
Of your loosening mats
To where the others lie.
We have drunk tonight of a spell
Deeper than the owl’s or bat’s

That wet of wings may not fly
Bedraggled up on the iroko, they stand
Emptied of hearts, and
Therefore will not, stir, no, not
Even at dawn for then

They must scurry in to hide.
So let us roll over our back
And again roll to the beat
Of drumming all over the land
And under its ample soothing hand

Joined to that of the sea
We will settle to sleep of the innocent and free.

(NOTE: The original poem is unbroken, with no stanzas).

AUTHOR: John Pepper Clark; born in Kiagbodo, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria, on 06 April 1936.


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