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Poetry

An African song

“Na da oo, O Na da oo! Kuje kusanar!”

Bring the cymbals, bring also the gongs

Let’s make an African song…

Before you hit the cymbal

Remember the tune to the Tribal,

Twist your palm a bit to the left

But hold your strike, yes hold it

For I must blow the whistle

And introduce the songs title

I must blow the whistle

But strike the cymbal a little

Follow my lead

Tell of the days deed

Did it rain?

Did it shine?

Did the blue cloud sail across the horizon

Carrying with it the songs of kites and herons?

Or did Mazi Okoro visit his palm tree’s pots

So that we may be sure that wine will flow tonight?

The Palm and the Iroko trees are our virgin flowers

They are our symbol of fertility and power

Did you hear the leopard

Calling through the wild?

So let the ancient drum talk

Hit the areas marked with chalk:

“May the eagle perch,

May also the hawk perch

Let none forbid the other

From perching on the great ugba

Gather the broken brooms and wood

Tonight we make a huge fire with logs

In preparation for our African song

Happy that the long day is done

***

Commentary.

Na da oo… Kuje kusanar!: Hausa language for “I am back, go and tell them”

Mazi Okoro: imaginary person. Mazi means Mister. In Igbo land, the Palmwine tapper normally sets his pots on the tree were the wine was ripe and flowing. This may take some days to be full before it is harvested and prepared for consumption.

Iroko: A great tree in Igbo land.

Ugba: A tree in Igbo land