in poetry •  last year 

The last four months have seen not less than 300 souls butchered to the grave by so-called fulani herdmen in Benue State, Nigeria. One particular area, Guma, has been attacked time and time again, and scores have wept blood for their dead.

This is a poem of retribution for them!

Hurrah for sorrow!
Hurrah for blood!

Oh Guma,
Have your sons offended you so
That you have let our blood leak so violently
From our deflated chest?

My land grieves!
My voice has clothed itself in black rags
And on my head
Are ashes of parched souls...


They have come, again,
From dryer shores
With fair skin and soft voices
And sharp swords..

They have wrung daylight from our eyes
And all the rivers have turned to blood.


What do they want from us?
Do your cows now graze on blood?
Why then is this savagery,
This blunt refusal to agree to life?

You have invaded our farms
And our souls
And our God;
What more conquest do you seek?

Sly, handsome, machete wielder,
As you beheaded the first priest,
Did you see the way his blood looked at you?
As it flowed out fitfully,
With nervous fear
Did you hear what it was saying?


Bask, cowboy!
As you slaughter the last of the resistance;
And you clean your machete of his blood,
Did you hear what Guma has said?

Guma has said she will be retributed!
For her sister Ayati too,
She will he retributed!!

Guma has seen your face
And you shall no more hide.
Guma now knows your name
And Guma has seen the colour of your breath!

Machete one!
Your red days have paved way for black ones;
When these sorrows shall hang over our lost
And be their comforting lovers.


But in time, the sanguine mist will clear;
And Guma will take ahold of you -
Will grip you fiercely
Like a thief she will not let escape;
And she will unsheathe her sword
And appease her land
With the stink of your entrails...

Hurray for blood!
Hurrah for sorrow!!

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