#122. Floetry by JulietKego – Sons and Daughters of Okigbo

No man can outwit the ancestors Quote

#NaPoWriMo Day 2

[This is not a poem; it is Floetry inspired by true events].

At Okigbo’s shrine
seeds of his loins gathered
and called out to him:


“Nna anyi! Nna anyi!
Ifekandu, hear us.
Biko nu, mere anyi Ebele.
Do not look away.
Mbah nu.
Your son is desecrating
the waters
The priestesses find his semen
in the holiest of rivers
His seeds scattered
across the land
(lost in the fields of shame)
Does he not know
they each carry his gifts?
That we must find them
to raise them?
Alu na eme n’obodo anyi”

And they asked for the blood
of the cock of the clan
to cleanse and calm
the angry sea-storms brewing
You must go away,
Broda m, flee this land
Buried into the muds of the Earth
To find redemption in resurrection
For this stripping
at the marketplace
Is your death and life
(all at once)
go away;
hide your face from the book
where all souls
bare their souls’ lies and truths


The one who returns is not you
at least not you
who did a naked dance
at the village square
Mba nu, the one who comes back
from the grave
(after being nailed to their crosses)
is a new you; the poet, high priest,
a vessel of a truth
that no longer blinds you.
You, the one Pa holds out a crown for.


So broda m,
find your coat of 7 colours
forgive the man who inhabited
your body-spirit before you,
embrace him,
your shadow
and write secrets hymns from spirits;
the poems you feared’ll disappear
the ones you thought
you needed fluids
laced with smells
from the valleys
of the maidens of Idoto to write


It is for this that the mothers came
Son of Biafra,
Ah, the dead spoke of you
They do not want the sacred staff
to go to one unclean, lost in his sin
You are finally washed in the rivers
You will hear our ancestors clearly;
their chants and incantations
As you lay buried in the grave
write them,
those secrets that scare you
Rise only after the third cycle
The words from spirit will heal you,
heal them and heal the land


At the circle
of a  full moon, mothers
returned to Idoto,
Nna anyi Okigbo
and the gods
laughed a knowing laugh
their sounds echoed across
the four quarters of Nri
for they know
you’re coming back
from this precipice of madness
that once snatched your soul away
They laughed
because now your pretence
will cease and you shall rise up
humbled and free in the half-sun

Broda m, the mothers
heard your cries at night
(mingled with cold crickets’ chirping),
and none could sleep,
for the echoes
rose and rose like a dirge
They have mourned enough;
their sons and daughters,
seduced by death in Biafra.


Broda m, run to the fields
And thank the ones we lost
for coming from the grave
to save your sullied, severed soul
Your mother and father rose up
with the ancestors,
crying in joy
as they beheld
their grandchildren
Build a home
for Papa and Mama’s bones
(in the valley-villages
of hills and lakes)
So that their spirits
will finally find rest.


“Nna anyi! Nna anyi!
Ifekandu, hear us.
Do not look away.
Your son
is purifying the waters.
He worships,
head and heart bowed,
a pagan child
of dark desires no more
The priestesses find his incense
lighting up the holiest of places
Nna anyi,
whisper to your chi,
and to other gods,
who will then call
on the great one; Chi Ukwu,
(he who apportions gifts or curses),
to inhale the sweet fragrance
of our brother’s offering
Ka ebube bia n’obodo anyi”


(C) Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido

2 thoughts on “#122. Floetry by JulietKego – Sons and Daughters of Okigbo

  1. This piece is beautifully written, d style and ssetting is flawless, d lyrics and feeling is transcendent… Depicts despair,hope n a lot more… Impressive. @babamstic


    • Thanks a lot for your feedback! Okigbo’s life & works continue to fascinate me & inspire, his moral compass was remarkable. And this piece fuses many elements from my life and other poets/writers/community leaders I’ve encountered in my life and career. A homage of sorts…


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