(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)
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!