In 7 days I will take the first ever reading from my new collection of poems at Terra Kulture, VI, Lagos, and I thought it would be a good idea (if we can find the time) to discuss a daily poem from the collection until the 31st of May. Not to worry, with a hundred poems in the book, there will be lots of fresh material on the day…
Today’s theme: Bride Pricing (& conservation, with a small ‘c’).
In many Nigerian communities, the tradition of the bride price is retained as a token payment: something that adds content to the nuptial ritual. In others, the ‘price’ of the bride is so steep that many a groom is forced to delay (and sometimes rethink?) a marriage proposal. Many dynamics affect the persistence of the eye-watering bride price. In some cases, the parents have little control over the ‘list’, once a traditional marriage is on the menu, as an all-powerful kindred takes over. Whatever, the poet-persona here seeking the hand of fair damsel, Adieleuwa is at his wit’s end. Hear him out.
The Courting of Adieleuwa
in your name, six trucks line your father’s lane
one bears his yam tubers, each three feet fat
another bears his wines, and gins, and beers.
one has your mother’s damask and brocades
a fourth has bags of rice enough to keep
your village happy. truck five stupefies
the neighbourhood with smoked bushmeat aroma.
the sixth truck ferries the fridge and white goods
your Pa requested. here’s his white cow too,
your dowry train’s fair herald. hear her moo
in your name, Adieleuwa, my substance
has been mustered, but tell your father this:
I found no elephant. & if he insists
upon a tusk he’ll have to marry you
So there’s the ball rolling… what’s your view, your experience? What is the ‘cost’ of falling in love in your locality? Feminist, neo-feminist, trado-realist and other perspectives welcome!