We wore the omenala
Like an agbogho wears her jigida.
“Ndi Igbo enwegi eze,” the mouth of the orator would say,
But we flourished from egwuowa to iri ji oku
Every man to his chi, yet it is Chukwu who made us all.
But all this sweetness turned to badly washed bitter leaf
When those two-faced White Men docked at our shores.
“Ndi ocha!” As papa would call them, but they showed us dark things.
“Good news,” they said, “is what we bring you.”
And without a speck of doubt we took them in
As a mother would take in a child before it rains
But it happend so— fast, so unforseen, so strangely
As the ọtumọkpọ of a potent Dibia
As they trampled down our tradition and beliefs with words like evangelism
As the cross of Jesu Christi was carried from village to village.
Then there came the carting away of our valued artifact and arusi
Precious parts of our heritage they made away with.
And do not think for a moment that I have lost sight of things
For I’ll not be leaving olaedo out of this very matter!
Chukwu! They betrayed our trust, and we watched
Open-mouth, as our dialas turned ohus.
But by way of dignity, we embraced mmili to salve us
Mana, Zukwanike— ha ju!
Now I ask you slavers of my forbears
If this is the good news you talked about?
For the Black which is now tied to Friday
Charcoals from years of selling Blacks at auction prices in our ilo.
And yet you ask me what sin we committed
Ge ntị, our only sin was hospitality, yes
Obodoekwe, Favour Chinenye Melanie is a 300L student of the Department of Combined Arts, combining English and Literary Studies and History and International Studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. She is an apostle of the pen, and an eternal student of literature. She loves trying her hands in all genres of literature, especially poetry. She writes using varieties of language: English, Pidgin and Igbo. Melanie adores the art of Igbo language and is so fond of it, she is an art enthusiast and winner of the Writer of the year FASA 2021/2022. She has served her department as the Public Relation Officer and is currently serving as the Vice President, she is also the Chief Press Secretary of the National Association of the Nigerian Students. Given her studies in the department of History and International Studies she is able to write poems that trace back to our roots. Find her here: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Linkedin