Africans, History

Wole Soyinka: Abiku


Wole Soyinka


Wanderer child. It is the same who dies and returns again and again to plague the mother – Yoruba belief.

In vain your bangles cast

Charmed circles at my feet

I am Abiku, calling for the first

And the repeated time.


Must I weep for goats and cowries

For palm oil and the sprinkled ash?

Yams do not sprout in amulets

To earth Abiku’s limb.


So when the snail is burnt in his shell,

Whet the heated fragment, brand me

Deeply on the breast – you must know him

When Abiku calls again.


I am the squirrel teeth, cracked

The riddle of the palm; remember

This, and dig me deeper still into

The god’s swollen foot.


Once and the repeated time, ageless

Though I puke, and when you pour

Libations, each finger points me near

The way I came, where


The ground is wet with mourning

White dew suckles flesh-birds

Evening befriends the spider, trapping

Flies in wine-forth;


Night, and Abiku sucks the oil

From lamps. Mothers! I’ll be the

Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep

Yours the killing cry.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s