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Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Messenger

igbo-gong

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if the message was for them
But then who knows?
Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun starts his journey
The gong goes before the man,
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King request,
The boxing day, a vengeful day,
Of long brooms stalked away
Up the roof barns where fish smoke,
And the wielder showing teeth tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you,
From the King or the brave hunters
Come from across the seven hills
And seven rivers of Far Away Land
So you must listen attentively
There must be wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes to me
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet
Then in my mind goes Krookoko-kom-kom!

***

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Krookokom… As in Onomatopoeia of sound made by gongs.

Categories
Poetry

The King’s Messenger: Town Crier

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if this message was for them
But then who knows?

Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of even the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun sets out on a journey
The gong goes before the man
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King may request

The boxing day, a vengeful day
Long brooms wait, stalked away,
Up the roof barns where fish get smoked
And elders show teeth, tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you
From the king or the brave hunters
Come from the seven hills
And seven rivers far away
So you must listen and pay attention
There are wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes back to me,
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet for the messenger
And his gong that goes Krookoko kom kom!

Note:

Krookokom… Onomatopoiea of the sound made by the messenger’s gong.

Town criers carry messages from the King, his council or the elders. They communicate important information to villagers.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Messenger, part 2

The dark evening is serene and calm
Though the vampire bats hover up the skies
And the little crickets quiz all around…

Many sat for dinner for it was a long day
The farms, the ponds and the big market
The smell of dried cod soup pass thru the air,
It was a favorite among the villagers
And this smell always gave away people
For the village longthroats, a feast is imminent
But it is a pleasant smell, one I savor so much
Now and then, we hear someone yawn heavily
From nearby compounds, I assume it was out of tiredness
Sometimes the moon came out, sometimes it didn’t
When the moon came out, the children gather for moon-lit plays;
Hide and Seek, Sand games or a nice folk tale
To be told by the most elderly in the gathering

Soon the blast of a metal gong goes off
”Kookokoorokom… Koorokoorokom…!”
The hamlet retires to great silence
Crying babies stay put suddenly
For the masquerades of which Maama
Always spoke of has now appeared!
Even Maama was quiet, perhaps scared
For she also paid attention to the intruder
”The people of Amaigbo, the elders, the men
The women, the youth, the boys, the girls, everyone!
Listen, I have come oo… I have come again oo!”
The messenger will call out, loudly
Waking sleeping dogs and the heavy sleepers
With those words the messenger struck again
Mercilessly upon his metal gong, two more…
Then he settled into his long message…
Beating the metal gong on intervals,
It could be about the new yam festival
A special village or Kings service request
Cleaning of the nearby streams and rivulets
Or when a group of peoples attention is required

When the messenger exhausts his messages
He leaves quietly, hitting his gong noiselessly
Allowing the hamlet to go back to her life,
The women to return their attention to the soup
The men to continue sipping their palmwine
The boys and girls playing under the tree shed
And allowing the infants to resume their crying

Commentary.
This is a continuation of a poem I wrote some years ago. The messenger or town crier, as commonly called is an agent of the traditional society or kingdom. His role is to pass information across to the people, just like the duties of the modern day TeeVee or Radio.

KoKorokrom… A sound made by hitting the metal gong.
Amaigbo… An imagined place