IF ÒGÚN WERE HERE… (For Wole Soyinka)

A dystopian fuzz sprinkles

an enticing scent, the kind that

makes bedlam almost palatable.


But still we sing, march, hoping

that the fog clears. We put iron on

iron – asking for signs of a

metallurgical paradise, where thespians

become rulers, and rulers learn to dance

to forewarning clangs.


Black earth. White hands. Borrowed voices.

In this oval shaped womb, specks of intertwined

joy and pain jostle for influence, struggle for

Ògún’s splintered attention. Black earth, white

hands… which to choose from?


But in borrowed voices

they claim to be their own liberator, their

own airbags against torrents of shellacking.


Were Ògún not on a roving sabbatical,

sourcing for the right alchemy, would he

have been on the side of the subalterns? Would he

have sabotaged the efficacy of the oppressor’s

iron-clad cudgels?


Iron rods shall metastasis into potent pens, blood

into gushing black inks, stale air into guttural,

fearless voices that we can call ours … and our

backs shall be reversed to face with full-force

the pretend might of those that misappropriate

Ògún’s gizmos.


If Ògún were here, he’d have no choice but

to pick a side.

Babatunde Fagbayibo