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Best Famous Wole Soyinka Poems

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Written by Wole Soyinka | Create an image from this poem



for Moremi, 1963

Earth will not share the rafter's envy; dung floors
Break, not the gecko's slight skin, but its fall
Taste this soil for death and plumb her deep for life

As this yam, wholly earthed, yet a living tuber
To the warmth of waters, earthed as springs
As roots of baobab, as the hearth.
The air will not deny you.
Like a top Spin you on the navel of the storm, for the hoe That roots the forests plows a path for squirrels.
Be ageless as dark peat, but only that rain's Fingers, not the feet of men, may wash you over.
Long wear the sun's shadow; run naked to the night.
Peppers green and red—child—your tongue arch To scorpion tail, spit straight return to danger's threats Yet coo with the brown pigeon, tendril dew between your lips.
Shield you like the flesh of palms, skyward held Cuspids in thorn nesting, insealed as the heart of kernel— A woman's flesh is oil—child, palm oil on your tongue Is suppleness to life, and wine of this gourd From self-same timeless run of runnels as refill Your podlings, child, weaned from yours we embrace Earth's honeyed milk, wine of the only rib.
Now roll your tongue in honey till your cheeks are Swarming honeycombs—your world needs sweetening, child.
Camwood round the heart, chalk for flight Of blemish—see? it dawns!—antimony beneath Armpits like a goddess, and leave this taste Long on your lips, of salt, that you may seek None from tears.
This, rain-water, is the gift Of gods—drink of its purity, bear fruits in season.
Fruits then to your lips: haste to repay The debt of birth.
Yield man-tides like the sea And ebbing, leave a meaning of the fossilled sands.

Written by Wole Soyinka | Create an image from this poem


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.
Written by Wole Soyinka | Create an image from this poem

Civilian and Soldier

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, 'I am a civilian.
' It only served To aggravate your fright.
For how could I Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is Your quarrel of this world.
You stood still For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson Of your traing sessions, cautioning - Scorch earth behind you, do not leave A dubious neutral to the rear.
Reiteration Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth From the lead festival of your more eager friends Worked the worse on your confusion, and when You brought the gun to bear on me, and death Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight And all of you came clear to me.
I hope some day Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked In stride by your apparition in a trench, Signalling, I am a soldier.
No hesitation then But I shall shoot you clean and fair With meat and bread, a gourd of wine A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that Lone question - do you friend, even now, know What it is all about?