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I am bound to this Land by blood

Written by: Olu Oguibe | Biography
I am bound to this land by blood
That's why my vision is blurred
I am rooted in its soil
And its streams flood my veins
I smell the sweat of its men
And the million feet that plod
The dust of its streets
Leave their prints on my soul
I have walked the footpaths of this land
Climbed the snake-routes of its hills
I have known the heat of its noon
And that in the fields where men toil till dusk
I have known the faces their creases
I have seen pain engraved on the foreheads of many
I have heard their agony

I have cried so often with broken men
And peered into a million faces blank
Faces without bodies bodies without faces
The owners of nothing breakers of stone
The owners who are owned I have known them all

I have heard the wailing of a million
I have stood in the crowd where men
Mixed their sweat and wiped blood
From their brows cursing silently
I have stood in the middle of silent whirlwinds
And their heat has left its mark
I bear the mark of the masses on my brow
And if I curse
If I raise this single voice
In the midst of dust and curse
If I lend a tiny voice to
The rustle of this crowd
It's because I am bound to this land

I am bound to the dying mother the widow
The man with a weight on his loins
I am tethered to their moan they are my own
I belong with they who have no voice
They who trudge outside the gate
Those who sigh in their hearts
Who only shake their heads

And if I sing not of roses and rivers
It's because I see rivers of blood
I look through the holler of the crowd
And I see blood on the ground
I see blood on the rockslabs
I look over the mangrove swamp
And I walk through fields of groundnut
And I see nothing but blood
I see blood in the face of the farmer
On the palm of the school child
I see blood on the statue
Of the Immaculate Mother

I walk through the streets and I see puddles of blood
I see blood on your shoes on your underwear
I see blood on the hands of men
And if I raise my voice to holler
It is because the grasses wither in this deluge of blood
Fishes float on their bellies with their eyes covered
By the sanguine flood

My verse spreads ungathered
In this spill of purple
Mine is the cry of a ram tethered
To the slaughterslab

There are no petals soft
No yellow centres
No polished pebble melodies
Piled into song
My words are rough-hewn from
These rocks where men toil
The plaintive voices of children
The plod of prisoners feet
The curses of the peasant woman
Are the wattle of my song

My pictures are the colour of dust
And I sing only of rust
I have swum in the flood
And I know better
For I am bound to this land
By blood.



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