Òdé | a poem by Deji Adesoye

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Tell your mother
You went to stream with
The water gourd,

Will tell my father I roamed the
Wood to check the traps.

• • •

Then shall we go
And go and go and go
Where only we shall find courage
To weave the stories of our hearts into
The branches of trees;
Where boughs shield our secrets from the
Gossipy eyes of the sun, there we shall go
And go, and go, and go
Until the paths forget the prints of the wayfarers’ feet
Until we reach there where love no longer can stroll.

Then shall it be, that the rhythms of our songs silence
The voice of the wood,
That the sweetness of our tales shields the soul from alertness;
Then shall my eyes not see the going down of palms’ shadows
Nor have the sympathy to mourn their demise
Then, when my ears hear not the
Creaks and chirps of the choirs of dusk
When my nose is lost to the fragrance of the perfume of the dark
Spraying itself heavily on the evening’s face,

Then shall we be gay
Even with the fright of an owlish wood
A yellow beam shall peep at a cozy ridge
There shall we lay, and play, and slay delay;
And when tomorrow we wake,
And your stomach is risen like a heap in leafy cloak,
We shall rise at dawn,
And cross the fog to the hills’ backs: they shall hide us
From their hunting eyes.

Then shall they announce our nuptial bond
With the gong: Two lovers went lost!
They shall set up valiant soldiers
To begin our nuptial rites:
With powder and double-barrels will they hunt game
In their displeasure.

When they climb the hill, we will see them
Oh! They found us: they’ve found lost lovers
And the trees and the sand of the paths shall be dazed
At the sweet intrigues of our story.

With zest shall we let them take us home,
Only to grant passage to our honeycomb.

Deji Adesoye (AyoDeji Williams Adesoye) is a Nigerian philosopher, writer, and poet. He obtained a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of Ado-Ekiti in 2010, and an M.A. degree in the same discipline from the University of Ibadan in 2014. He is also presently writing for a Doctorate in Philosophy of Law at the University of Ibadan.

Deji’s poems and short stories have been previously published on SankofaMag, Kalahari Review, Ann Arbor Review, Ijagun Poetry Journal, The Literary Yard, Brittle Paper, and Bravearts Africa, among others. He is the author of the poetry eBook Anony Mous, published by Sanafrita (an imprint of Bravearts Africa).

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