Thursday, January 06, 2022

Following the Swallow's Trails

—Poetry by Chibuike Ukah, London, England
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


I think of him sitting in the dusty junk
Where he peddles his transparent curtains
Some say he is the macerated stub in the trade
For he no longer struts along the streets.

Sometimes they watch him limp on bended knee
Or see him grin strung out on the drink
Some say he is the perforated shrub in the wind
For he no longer blooms in the new year sun

I think of him freezing in the mid-year cold
Where his tamed body lumbers without fragrance
Some say he is the goldfish in the boiling bowl
For he no longer dips into the River Niger.

The drunken drummer advances to the middle
Where his thrills are drugged to the hands
Some say he could no longer stealth away
And no longer sings up the sleeping sea.

On the walls of his heart glare wracks of words,
Stacked away for the day when hopes are lost
Some say he was numbed by his sudden fall
For he could not raise his hands from the ground.

And now he waits for the dusts to disperse
Beneath the asphalt of his dilapidated junk
Some say he is waiting for the rainbow
And he will follow in the swallow's trails.


Just another Christmas day
When birds twittered freely away
I sat alone in a lonely bus
And pondered on the mourning cross.

The church was filled to the brim
A couple sat where the light was dim
Two or three sat at the hall's rear
And held the liturgy all in fear.

Our voices echoed through the large hall
Pierced through the roof and fell with a thrall
Our voices filled with microscopic dreams,
We sang of Christ in his glorious realms.



Beautiful fish, beautiful fish

Queen of the River, Charm of the seas,

Yield me your water, grant my wish,

before darkness falls among the trees.

Your sweet water will assuage my thirst

And cure my mother’s sore blindness,

Your sweet water is famed as best

against body pains and the mind’s sickness.

My mother sings of your unusual kindness,

My father praises your mercury charm,

My village worships you with tender fondness

and sprays ablutions to escape from harm.

I will dance for you whenever you want,

I will sing the song of your wicked fame,

Well-known beyond the trajectory of our land,

beyond the deserts from where I came.

I travel around the world to drink your waters,

Far from the sweltering fields of a foreign land,

I fly over oceans and invisible borders
here will I end and here I stand.

Many are the afflictions of my people
Their homes are deserted; their farms wasted,
Their joys vanished, but their sorrows triple,
their hopes arrested and dreams busted.

The little fish that upturns a mighty ship,
Swallows the crayfish and whacks the whale
Your power and glory is not a fairy flip,
and your beauty is long a formidable tale. 

Beautiful fish, full of humble grace,

Grant me a safe return with my pot,
That my blind mother may again see my face

and praise your kindness on the spot.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Chibuike Ukah

She says she hates her hair.

When she combs it she sees her scalp,

A magnum of a bone, round, hard,

Like the floor of her terraced house.

She wonders what’s in it, the thick scalp

Covering her brain, or her senses,

Its thickness burgeoning into a scary orbit

Of her skin formed of poisonous iron.

Unable to bear it any longer

She broke the comb against her knee,

Its shards cracking up the silence

Enveloping the magnanimous beauty.


Chibuike Ukah has visited us from London again today, and our gratitude to him for his poetic rhythms and sharp images!

Tonight at 7pm, Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis presents Andru Defeye and Holly Mitchell via Zoom at Open mic after the readers (one chosen text or three minutes). Host: Dr. Andy Jones. Info:{"source"%3A"29"%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"plan_user_invited"%2C"action_history"%3A"null"}&notif_id=1641058547529962&notif_t=plan_user_invited&ref=notif/.




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