(Here’s a new poem you can both listen to  and read. If you are unfamiliar with the Yoruba pantheon you should cast a casual eye over Wikipedia’s offering here)
To listen, click on the graphic below) 

a god resigns

yes my name is Sopona the Great
but I am NOT the god of smallpox

who first put that mad idea in motion?
why am I not god of war, or wombs.

am I not worth the spoils of war? the
sumptuous joys of fertility rites?

if iron’s taken, what about steel?
can I not be Sopona, Steel God?

why am I not god of thunder? Shango’s
all the rage… but you should hear my voice!

me, with all my talents? I make night
– you call that an eclipse. I bake sand

– you call that a drought. I Sopona,
inspirer of the Ipad… and what d’you do?

you make me a nursemaid! Even sweet
palmwine’s godless… have you thought of that?

I could have had a grove of wine offerings…
but you send me infectious diseases?

a cosmos of princely things to god
and you send me your sore and your sick?

I think not! a pox on you! and a
pox on every babalawo who

chants my name over a scabrous brow!
‘d rather be a god without portfolio, than this

(and when I say ‘a pox on you’, I
mean it figuratively of course –

there’s no need to come on bended knees
to pray away a plague of smallpox.)

my name is Sopona the Great, yes,
but i am NOT the god of smallpox!

Chuma Nwokolo

5 Replies to “A God Resigns”

  1. Iquo Eke says:

    Interesting!
    Sopona sounds nice, even though he’s livid with ‘pepper body’. Beautiful work.

    Reply
  2. nickson owoicho says:

    Great piece of poetry. Much of the old negro
    spiritual.

    Reply
  3. Amanda Dee says:

    Hmmmm…. *pondering mood activated* I think I’d like to respond to the last two lines.

    Pray, do tell ‘Sapona,’ who are you then, if you are “NOT the god of smallpox”! A fake god, or a great god of Deceit?

    YOU are the one who’s fetishistic mask concealed the reproduction of infectious diseases; the stealer of infertility, deceivingly and diabolically administered by your henchmen – the rogue priests.

    Do cast your eyes sideways, far away from me – small god of all poxes!

    Well Chuma, I say thank you for this expository poem and Thank God Sapona was forced to resign in 1907 (*smiling* yes, I looked him up in Wikipedia having never heard of him before). But sadly I think he’s still very much active today, and has adorn the foreign look of an adept.

    Reply

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