African Tree

by Mwatabu S. Okantah

Nigeria's giant silk cottonwood,
mystifying, majestic,
standing the tallest tree in the forest.

mighty tree, how many rains,
how many dry seasons
have you wind-song weathered?
how many times
have your leaves whispered
the stories of black ages?

talk to me old African tree,
tell me our story
from unknown pages.
talk to me,
master of the forest tree,
pointed skyward,
greyish green white against the horizon.

teach me to stand Nigerian tree.
your kidnapped now
lost children
are in need of tall trees
to grow masters of a hostile forest.

i stand in your shade
silk cottonwood charmer tree,
rid me of this bitterness,
bind these wounds,
these scars lashed across
the bare-back of my imagination.

restore me magic silk cotton,
resurrect Africa's
dispersed children once more
upon that stage of our history
only you in your tree-
wisdom can know.

grant me harmony
old African tree, protect me
inside the Ogbunike cave*
black warmth of your long shadows.

i stand before you ancestral tree,
envelop me in
the darkness of your
Niger area
love ...

*Ogbunike Cave is in the mid-west region of
Nigeria, near Onitsha and the Niger River.
It is a location where Africans hid from
slave raiding parties during the African
holocaust period.

African Tree by Mwatabu S. Okantah

© Copyright 2000. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page