The Blue-moon Canary

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The Blue-moon Canary
(For Abena Busia)

I sat amongst brown bodies and listened to a beaded Canary sing
My soul soared and I like a rabbit caught in bright lamps sat gripped
Possibilities popped up and down in my head
And my muse sprang up like springs in a Vono mattress

…I went on a journey
About the things left undone though my heart sang it all day and night
Many a times in my cubicle I lay in self-pity at the decaying outer circle
While my inner circle in silence suffered great stagnation
Hmmm, a better circumference try to build I
Though so hard a journey I never embarked on
To feel the joy of picking up a cutlass
Swinging up and down like the hips of an African goddess
And feel the disarray become a beauty
My lips curved and hearts lifted,
Although my hands heavy be thereafter

…and I returned to listen to the beaded Canary’s song
Who but for a few moments came to perch on my roof with its oft used and discarded stick
She did sing of gender and its ever-twining intricacies
About heroes passed and present
But tears I nearly shed
When she about to take flight sang with heart the funeral song
A song of disconnect, longing and distanced passions
Indeed it was a fitting end
For though alive we all be
We like brown chickens disconnected from its wings be
Awaiting funeral.

Poem Summary

The poem, talks about a bird (Abena)…who well came around by chance or predestination (blue-moon), and sang mellifluously of heroes: Achebe, Soyinka, Grandmother, women. The ‘stick’ is a parody of the microphone she used which sums up the state (and building) of Africa – working yet not working – constantly took up and put down. It speaks of a soul (the poet) in search of greater enlightenment yet encumbered by societal limitations, although at times with consistent strength some changes he might be able to effect or else rot from inside out. The poem had to end with ‘funeral’ for several reasons: it was the most powerful poem she read, especially given the background; someone (a lecturer) actually walked out saying that: “why end with a funeral like we aren’t going to walk out alive” *chuckles*…sums the story of the walking dead, for he missed a powerfully gripping ending, which is a reality we often forget, we all die, no one escapes, and the dead do speak only if we the supposed living would listen. For we all dead be, mostly illusions of what we could have been.

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