Breaking the Kola

God our tryst maker
Our lover and He who knows all
Chineke m, ke bi nigwe!
Maker of the Universe
He whom fetches water with a basket
To disgrace the bucket
He who whips us with one hand
And consoles us with the other
He who stills a raging sea
He who made the Kola nut
The King of all foods!
We break the Kola nut
The food that never fills the stomach
But is the King of all foods!
We have the Cassava and the Yam
But the Kola is the King of all foods!
Unlike the Yam, it is not eaten with Palm oil
It is not pounded nor stewed
It is not meshed in meat or fish
It stands alone
It is not food for children
But food for men!
Our farms shall be fruitful
Our children more fruitful
Our streams shall have fish
And our forests shall have vegetables
Make us contented with what we have
The clouds will let the rains water our garden
And we shall eat of our sweat

   Learn the Igbo language here

You have given us the yam
You have also given us the knife to cut it
Let the Eagle perch
Let also the Kite perch
Any that forbids the other from perching
Let his wings break
Let not our enemies hostile light burn us
We shall have our children as the Hebrew women
Our children shall have their own
And our children’s children
We break the Kola!

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I am sharing a bit of my African culture. The Igbo is a South Eastern Nigerian tribe. As a growing kid some decades ago, I have witnessed Igbo Kola breaking traditions. It’s usually used to welcome visitors, especially at festivities.

Chineke m, ke bi nigwe: Igbo for My God who lives in Heaven.

Study Questions.
1. What are the figures of speech present in the poem?
2. Discuss the imagery.

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