Tydale Abigail: Three Poems

Are There Blacks in Heaven?

The priest speaks of a place high above
Where everyone shall live in love
But one thing that keeps me just stark,
Will there be rooms for every Black?

They suffered so much as slaves.
I just wonder if it’ll be said they were brave.
So as I stand here and imagine that place,
I wonder if in heaven they will be part of that race.

When you’re traveling to see the Lord,
Ask Him if in His Word
There shall be a room for every Black,
Maybe I shall never stay back.

*

How I Choose To Talk About Africa

Whenever I am asked, “what do you have to tell us?”

I often say:

There is a place I call my home.
Somewhere not beyond my eyes;
A little into the yards where the goats and sheep bleat.

A place my mother points to whenever she tells a story.
My father also, makes mention of it every planting season.
This same place, my grandmother cooked the meals of the evening,
And my grandfather’s huts almost outnumbered every giant oak, and dwarf trees.

With my brothers and half-brothers,
We have roamed the high mountains and the low vale’s.
And my mother’s daughters have bathed from the Niger through the Congo to the Nile.

Our sons will sing louder on the wide plains of this place.
And so will our daughters’ daughters play in the local squares of this same continent.
This is just somewhere I can never live to forget
Because, it lives inside my blood.
This is my story of Africa.

*

Destination

I see a people
Of the vast province of the Southern soil
Opening from the Nile
And closing into the Atlantic.

A people of colours tinted with Black
Having heights of iroko and quava
Of embroided skins with verticals and horizontals of the earth
And kinky strands of sacred origins.

I see a people of the open grasslands and zebras
Living in the luxurious structures of the bamboo
Sitting on door steps of the twinkling stars
And dancing to the language of the talking drum.

I see a people of sands and gravels
Mounting horses parading its boundaries of wars
Greeting camels relaxing from trade
And building centuries in the mud of their brains.

I see a people of stones and woods
Carving divinity with their hands
Reproducing fate in sequences of joy
And baking lives in parallels of achievements.

I see a people with a peace of mind
Surrounded by the fears of uncoloured aliens
Sealed by the unity of their veins
But scattered by the laws of these aliens.

I see a people whose chiefs have been demoted
Whose drunks are voices of authority
Exalted by the whims of the aliens
And honoured for the selfish heart of the White gold.

I see a people with a problem
Of how to restore their chiefs
And work in the steps of their spirits
Yet bedeviled by the sweetness of the aliens’ food.

I see a people of tomorrow
Rebuilding the shrines of yesterday’s glory
And basking in the orals of past traditions
A people with a destination.

***

This is part of Nigerian Voices Today, a 7-week series featuring young Nigerian poets, curated by Babatunde Babafemi. Check out Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

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