Exracted from Gerald Nforche's Epic, The Slave's Tale
-Duala, RIOS DOS CAMEROES, 1787-
One fine morning, when love birds flew and sang
And the valleys with every gaiety rang,
The sun just setting from a misty east
We had visitors from the waters’ midst.
Our fishermen were out spreading their nets
Though broken, could entangle fish’s legs
When they saw at the horizon, approaching
A large house, like none ever seen, smoking.
Smoke exited from large horizontal
Mouths, like some fire within wood and metal.
Very huge flapping leaves hung on large ropes
Made us shiver, staggered with every lope.
And as the large house ebesse approached
Our fine archers were ready for the broach:-
Scouts scanned from the nearest hill and informed
The djanewa for any quick reform.
Village criers had announced the fall ’f war
Within which those who could lift arms no more,
Women and children wide-eyed with fear
Were evacuated to our secret lair.
And in the waters deep ebesse stopped
Emitting a loud cry: come watch us hop
Our blood about to clot from our within:-
Wood and metal kicking, crying in the wind.
Many canoes splashed into the waters
And creatures with sacks fell in from ladders
And rowed towards us, towards our very shores.
We kept the watch, canoes following a course.
Minutes soon, at the very shores they came
We watching baffled, belligerent lame.
Fifteen they were, hairy, brown and long nosed
Not unlike pale pigs in the valleys noosed.
Large brown bowls perched on their massive heads,
Noted by us as they poured out in herds
From their dancing canoes. Pipes hung from mouths
As tobacco was devoured and feet jingled loud.
And we understood they were some traders:-
We had heard their chilling news from gossipers
Who’d spoken of the magic of these men
Who had come by wind, traded and returned.
And from the gossip that ran a-wild,
We‘d gathered the name made for them from sight:
They looked burnt, like they were once like us
We called them mokala for we were at a loss.
With the prodigious group were our brothers:
We shared the same skin, they were no rioters
Save they spoke with mokala like mutineers:-
We watching, bemused straining with all ears.
A troop marched forward expressing might
Mokala watching unsettled, wide-eyed
Befuddlement on their very black lips:
Pity spelled in their eyes, daggers on their hips.