Odyssey from Africa 11b

CHAPTER 11b The Island Kingdom, continued...

In an ocean-going vessel
Now this group of island warriors 
Journeyed on an expedition 
From the island to the mainland 

Han could sense a strength of purpose 
And a loyalty between them
As they spoke about their homeland
Spoke with pride and deep affection

For the king that ruled their kingdom
King Ptolemy the Second
They reserved especial reverence
Then at last they spoke their purpose 

How the family of travelers 
Had long since betrayed their presence 
By the smoke of evening campfires 
And aroma of their cooking 

For the dogs that travelled with them
Were indeed domesticated 
They had smelled the roasting seafood 
From considerable distance 

King Ptolemy their ruler
Had dispatched them with instructions
That they search the land for people
Who had special skill or wisdom

And invite such able folk to
Come and join the island kingdom 
Thus they asked of Han's profession
Bid him tell his life's adventure 

So Han told the men his story 
Of his fisherman's upbringing 
How he studied from his childhood 
All the craft-lore of the boat-smith

How he followed with his father
In their light but nimble vessels
The elusive shoals of fishes
And the winds and clouds and currents

How the passage of the seasons
How the changes in the moon-face
Gave them warning of the dangers
From the storm clouds and the spring tides

How a generation later
He would pass on all this knowledge 
To his son and pupil Matto
Then he further spoke of Kwona 

How he first had been enchanted
By her beauty, strength and wisdom 
How as mother of his children 
She excelled in every craftwork 

Making clothes and working fabric 
Even helping with boat-building 
Han then spoke about the famine
Which had struck their fishing village 

How with Matto he had paddled 
Far from land to deepest ocean
To extend their search for fishes
Guided by the winds and sea birds 

How their rich success was greeted
Not by thanks but accusation 
And how, vilified as witches
They were made to flee their homeland 

After listening to his story 
All the warriors consented
To give Han an invitation 
That they join the island kingdom 

Kwona now approached the chieftain 
Bid his soldiers stop for breakfast 
And the octopus remaining 
Which, still fresh and undegraded

Was divided into pieces
And distributed among them
By the children and by Kwona 
So they breakfasted together

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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