...must not the head of the vates be
severed so that he may continue to sing?
Must not the self be destroyed before a
new being can be born?
- Chant of Saints
for the Villager
When Okonkwo committed suicide
we refused to touch the body
that was impure. Left it to
the vultures and crows carry on
with the Pacification rites
and we drove on to the hills of Taworakawa
and Rewai, where sidelong lofty glances
were cast at the now emptied fields
and at men that grope along the veins
of rivers that flow back. Heard yarns circle
then, as crows do after high savannah fires
above the head of a certain “madding crowd”
and we looked out for signs of appeasement
in the wings of raven sailing the wind
farther across the blue of the morning
Mornings never felt fresher then: sunlight
on ridges, the women gathered: with pots
baskets, and wood: and twigs; and leaves
that in cities once
spoke of villagers betrayed, were gathered
also; at the fires of our offerings –
This poem published upon the request of 50 literature students at the University of Papua New Guinea in protest against the sacking of the Storyboard by the Weekender editor of the National newspaper, the worst of atrocities done against a writer by an individual for no other reason than to express a personal grudge of hatred against that writer. In sacking the Storyboard the editor sacked the soul of the nation.
See also STORYBOARD SACKED!