Our village and our gods

Our roof is on fire. The rain now comes in trickles. We barely have enough to water our rich farmlands. The new yam has failed. Our roses have been plucked away to adorn the palaces of the kingdoms to the west and north of the endless river. Our cattle are stolen before our helpless eyes. Our night hunters have gone blind. They have made tents for the predating monsters and we are now the hunted. Yet our king sleeps.  Oh, we hear he only wakes and speaks in another realm. In the snow lands. Hold on, I heard him say something. Is he awake? Does he know what he is saying? The king is sleep-talking. The language is foreign. He is talking about the youth of this land. Our king has changed. Or has he?

Our elders have escaped into the forest. We see their footpaths but we cannot hear their voices. They have left us to our fate. They are deaf, they cannot hear the loud screams of our youth. They have sold our barns for sweet milk. Now the cattle are hungry. They cannot produce milk. The king’s court is empty but the banquet is full. His advisers are drunk and dancing naked. And queen has left the castle. Yet the king dreams and feasts and dreams. Dear gods, what have we done to deserve these? Shall we offer more sacrifice to you oh gods of our land?

village 2

The priests are weary of many sacrifices. They now doubt their own divinations. Our priests have offered many sacrifices by the big oak tree. One offered at midnight, another at noon, yet another at dusk. Now the goats are ill. The lambs are stricken. Our fowls are down with seasonal virus. They cannot fly to inform the gods of our plight. The village parrot is tired of screaming. Our red oil has become rancid. Not fit to be offered. But the oracle has spoken. Our village has been sacrificed on the altar of the forbidden shrine. Who did this to us?

Many sons of the land have become slaves in their fatherland. The merchants have enslaved our industrious men. They cut the rocks day and night. Our gold is mined daily but our women’s necks hang bare of any adornments. Workers work tirelessly yet their daily wages can only feed them for a meal. Fathers no longer gather at moonlight to tell beautiful tales of yesteryears or the dreams of our fatherland. Our lively breezy nights have turned to scary curfews. The daemons loiter at noon and night. Ogun the god of iron has ceased to rule justly on our petitions. He is drunken with wine of greed and inhaled the air of forgetfulness. He is rusty. Sango no longer spit fire. He blows smoke to cover our eyes while the robbers exploit us. Where are the gods? Our children scream. Who are the gods?!

The town criers can’t shout anymore. Their voices are gone. They whisper bad news every morning. They rarely hear from the king. They are banished to the outside gates. The news in town is that our village may not see sunlight till two seasons have passed. Our flag is green but the leaves are brown. Our sick elderlies are dying. They groan. They cannot find herbs to heal their sores. Our village doctors are short of concoctions. They travel in their numbers into the plains abroad in search of green fields. We do not know when they will return. Little children are suffering in numbers. Pregnant wives and their new-borns die like never before. Our children. Our future. Our heritage is threatened. Even our existence.

village

Who will beg the gods for us? Where are the gods? Are they among us? Can they hear us at all? Are they at the king’s feast? Could they be among the elders? Or have they also left our shores among the young men? Could they be hiding among us? Wait, are we the gods of our own land? Wake up you gods! Open your eyes. Let us enter the gates of the palace in one accord. Let us put an end to our elders’ hysteria. Let us smash the waterpots of opium that has deadened their hearts. Let the king hear the thuds of our marching feet and the chant of liberation. It is dawn, the sun is shining. Our rose bushes will blossom again. Our hibiscus will decorate our paths with purple petals. Our daughters will once more go to the downtown river with joy and fetch cool waters into our dry vessels. Our young men will harvest bounty from our farmlands and tap wine from towering green palm trees. May the merchants from the hills flood our markets again for our giant potatoes and fine cotton. May we earn more silver from our borders. And may our boats travel the ocean taking the finished produce of our land to kingdoms afar. Ase!!!

village 3Photo Credit: Google

Written with my hands @bamsky007

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