Today’s Poem: An Iroko Called Samson
Today’s Theme: Mafiosi Trees.
Just being frank here.
I could be politically correct and claim an environmental, plant conservation or reforestation theme… but in all honesty I was just having fun. Never hugged a tree in my life, but I do a lot of tree-watching myself. Old trees have character too, and many images came together to build the poem for the day. Sometimes you look at a gnarled tree trunk and think… hmm, if you had feet, you’d be bouncing gatecrashers at a nightclub, you. Once on a Nairobi street I saw a massive, concrete flower pot cracked wide open by a ‘tree’ frustrated by the city’s gardening officials. Oh, and if I need to explain the reference to the Biblical Samson in the title, and his last act of courage when he pulled down a banquet hall on the heads of the gathered lords of the Philistines, thereby killing more of ‘the enemy’ on his last day than he had throughout his life, you really have to catch up on your Bible readings.
Or catch my reading Saturday evening at Terra Kulture. See you there.
An Iroko Called Samson
I do not know what he was thinking,
but he planted me in a flower pot
– which was fine for a nursery, but months
went by and I was not transplanted
soon I had miles of root, white & worked up
in the black earth of my natal pot
which was a fine fate for a rose bush.
me? I felt a battery-farmed tiger
years come & go. I live on evening
sun & slanted rain. I’m yellow-leafed,
sapling high & whisker-thin. and that
was the size of it, really, for he
was gone – overseas, dead, whatever:
something had totalled the human dolt
on clear days I see the canopies
of my sibs, presiding gloriously
here’s where I am, commander of
skies, imprisoned in a pot of clay
I hear thunder cracks, feel the whoosh of rain
gurgling down the gullets of rooftops…
have I ever drunk a torrential storm?
or swayed and tangoed with her wetted wind?
oh no. I am caved within human eaves
& fed by accidental sprays of rain
of course, with time I cracked my flower pot,
but my reconnoitring roots went from
restraint of fired clay to constraint of
concrete. yes, indeed! he’d potted me
in a verandah! & that could have been
my life: another sacrificial tree:
stunted iroko in a flower pot…
but I am Chlorophora Excelsa
spirited Iroko, Abang, Mandji;
I am Mokongo: bonsai-gone-way-wrong:
my angry roots have found a hairline crack.
it will do. this house is coming down