“They Burned My Fatherland” – Tydale House
“They Burned My Fatherland”
When I was born
Mother wrapped me in green leaves
And placed me on her white laps
Then muttered a hymn across my eyes
To spill my blood for the land of my birth.
I sailed across the Niger with paddles of peace
Into the creeks of the Delta,I sojourned with men of understanding
We traded the rivulets in tranquil diplomacy
And exchanged laughter for angered smiles
In good hope for the land of my birth.
The sun was not unruly for a day’s toil
Heavy hail had no heat of destroying our seeds
The tools we had were no students of annihilation
And our minds had no wars save those of the peace
For we loved the land of our birth.
Then they came from the Near East
With fiery might and untamed horses
They marched through our streams
And made way through our forests
Because they had no love for the land of our birth.
From the noises they echoed
We knew their mother took them away in tears
Sons of Ishmael
And tolls of the earth
They brought their curses to the land of our birth.
They smashed our gods for the moon and stars
And emptied grievous symphony for the Friday call
Friends of the sword
Enemies of the peace
They invaded our yards
Without our word, their cattle devoured our vegetables
And laid bay the land of our birth.
In the bleak of yesterday
They made sacred decisions to take our land for theirs
That is why when we weren’t out for them
They cast upon our roofs, sulfur
And lighted flames to set us ablaze.
They killed the mother I knew
Father’s head kept rolling down the hill
And on the ground,it wrote a letter to me
Never to trust the faith of the turban man
For they were not the men of the land of my birth.
In the fumes of my people’s corpses
And from the fragrance of their hopes that is gone
Even into the beauty of the dreams that they couldn’t tell
I knew from the horrors of those nights
That they burned my fatherland.
*God save Nigeria.© Tydale Bassey Abigail
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