Categories
Poetry

Biafran Babies

I heard your songs soar through the thick forests, through the fields

But the wind hid the song, your voice and your face from the world

You were told to keep quiet, but if the hunger won’t let you from crying out

Daada will have to drop you, so that the soldiers won’t find our hideout


I hail thee children who saw the famine ravage our land

Those who stood watching their teachers and fathers march

To fields of no return, to early graves and destroyed hopes

We heard granny calling out to Daada, crying as she learnt he has gone

Gone to fight for his land, with bare hands and dummies for Biafra had no gun! 

We cry when evening fall and the sounds of machine guns halt

The canons speak, we hear them destroy our home and farmland 

Tomorrow Mama will visit the market, yes she will try to find food

Our belly hurt, they hurt so much that we ate raw leaves and worms, 

Mama told me to tell you all that if she wasn’t seen before nightfall

That we all should stay in the bush and must not return to our hamlet

I will not dream of walking back, our foot ache, the forest is our refuge

Now I am confused; there is still a lot of death up the hills

There is pain and frustration and hunger and stagnation

The rivers always bring the taste of blood to our drinks

Now I hear them bombs whistle: ‘Tau! Tai!! Tau!!! Leave here, Die there’! 

‘Dear Heaven! I call on You! Hear me, hear my babies! 

Will it end today? Will Daada ever come home to us?’

‘Why are they killing us? Why is there so much hate in Africa?’

‘Did we do anything wrong? Why must soldiers kill everyone?’

I must sob silently, I must not let the younger ones hear me

But they are all awake, with fright and tears in their little eyes

Searched me, catching  it all, the grief I tried to hide from them

I am sorry little ones, I am sorry indeed, my heart spoke

‘Did Daada start the fighting? Should we take some of our food to him? 

Daada must be very hungry wherever he is!’ Louise said

‘No he won’t want us near him or the soldiers

He will flog us if we ever try to, let’s just sing softly his favorite: 

Anyi no n’obubu agha
I bu agha megide uwa
Ya na Ekwensu
Ya na ajo muo
Anyi no n’obubu agha



Note

*Daada:  Father

*Anyi no n’obubu agha

I bu agha megide uwa

Ya na Ekwensu

Ya na ajo muo

Anyi no n’obubu agha: 

We are fighting a war
Against the world
Against the Devil
And every evil
We are fighting a war 


Commentary

The same issues that brought about the unfortunate war still play in Nigeria. The christians are being killed in the north and elsewhere. Nigeria, though wealthy sit as one of the poorest countries of the world. Biafra still seek to be independent and needs no war to achieve this. 

By Oke Iroegbu

Finance Graduate, Bibliophile and Bard of Ovim, his hometown. Read more at www.oiroegbu.com/about

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