asake, pray for me.
i am your father’s grandfather,
you do not know me,
but you are the lines on my palms.
pray for me! pray for me!
those on earth pray for those in heaven
so those in heaven could set their passage.
pray for me, asake;
pray for my peace!
i’ve lived a three century years,
and i am still living among you;
i am the bird that sings in the woods
when you seek a drink from the stream,
i am the goat that bleats at your feet
when you talk of your forebears,
i am the wisdom in the mouth of your son
when you draw the semblance with me
as concerns the tale your father told you
and that which his grandfather told him.
asake, pray for me
and if you do not pray for me,
look for me in the hands of clocks
when they tick faster than your beat,
and in the clatters of your broken ware
when they whip down from your grip.
it is not me, asake
it is my restless soul
that seeks redemption in your prayers
for the perfect peace he longs for.
asake, pray for me;
pray for my peace!
the night is for you to sleep,
i do not sleep;
i clamber into your eyes
and set a party in your mind
and when you try to see who does that
i make your breath outrun you
to think it’s a nightmare.
when the wind blows, in silence,
it blows my soul along,
as it courses upon your face,
echoing my name into your ears.
do not go to the farm — it won’t yield;
do not go to the market — it won’t boom;
do not go to the village-square — it won’t be fun;
for when i’m restless and you are restless,
then will you seek for my redemption.
one hundred bean-cakes, one hundred cow heads!
one hundred cowries in one hundred bowls!
one hundred pinches of salts for the mouths!
one hundred prayers from one hundred tongues!
asake, pray for me!
Aremu Adams Adebisi is a black poet, author of works inspired by natural vastness. His products appear on Rockvale Review, Brittlepaper, Laurel Magazine, Thirdwednesday Magazine, Barren Magazine, Poetica Magazine, and elsewhere. He seeks to find depth, peace and tranquility in poetry, exploring the concepts of liberation, equality and existentialism. He recently made the cut in Best New African Poets Anthology and 20.35 Africa’s Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. He can be reached on Twitter @aremudamsbisi
Featured photo credit: Amanda Ollinik @Allunderonemoon