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IN THE SMALL HOURS

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Written by Wole Soyinka

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Blue diaphane, tobacco smoke
Serpentine on wet film and wood glaze,
Mutes chrome, wreathes velvet drapes,
Dims the cave of mirrors.
Ghost fingers Comb seaweed hair, stroke acquamarine veins Of marooned mariners, captives Of Circe's sultry notes.
The barman Dispenses igneous potions ? Somnabulist, the band plays on.
Cocktail mixer, silvery fish Dances for limpet clients.
Applause is steeped in lassitude, Tangled in webs of lovers' whispers And artful eyelash of the androgynous.
The hovering notes caress the night Mellowed deep indigo ?still they play.
Departures linger.
Absences do not Deplete the tavern.
They hang over the haze As exhalations from receded shores.
Soon, Night repossesses the silence, but till dawn The notes hold sway, smoky Epiphanies, possessive of the hours.
This music's plaint forgives, redeems The deafness of the world.
Night turns Homewards, sheathed in notes of solace, pleats The broken silence of the heart.


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