The Errand
E emi m’a r’odo I am off to the river
Yeye mi ran mi’se For my mother’s errand
Yeye mi ran mi’se for my mother’s errand
I’ve been born with a silver lyre
Spinning sweet songs of savannahs
Being the griot of generations
The marabou that never tires of tales
But, but it seemed my tales grew stale
My songs dreary.
The ears of my generation
Are stopped with the wax of tedium.
I, then sought the magic of my lyre
Again, plucking its strings to test for my weakness
Straining my ears to understand how
I failed my homestead.
As I plucked, water built from my eyes
Filled and swelled, ran over, dropped
Into the string of my lyle
Then suddenly, the sky grew bright
With a million tales
And a thousand songs
Waiting to be told
Waiting to be sang.
Then I heard a voice speak
‘Look! You are encompassed by so great
a crowd of witnesses
be not afraid, hold your hand strong
be the one, pluck your string again
that there may be no shame’.
I cast my eyes over the valleys
That beckon me stay
My songs may be old
My tales mundane
Yet they satisfy the cowardly heart
My eyes are drawn to the clouds and the hills
Then I hear the voice speak
Again and again.
So, I go to climb and.
I climb the hill of words
Salute my mothers
Smiths, whose breasts forged the milky words,
From which I suckled.
I climb the hill of music
Greet my sisters
The traditional, nameless singers from the north,
the south, the east and west
Weavers, whose voices were the threads,
That spun the deep blue melodies
That grooved my soul
I climb the hill of power
Ululate my mothers
Chefs, whose fires created gourmets,
Of enduring tastes that fed my soul
To desire and claim freedom.
I climb the hill of beauty
Praise my sisters
Paragons whose feathers,
Pea cocked my pride as a woman
Striding and revelling
In its joys and mysteries.
I climb the hill of knowledge
Pay homage to my mothers
The females who have dared the devils of tradition
And held sway in every position
Of education, industry and society
Crafts people, whose skills created the wider plains,
For my mind to wander and be lifted up
Above and beyond the mundane.
I climb the hills of life
Stand in wonder
Giving respect to every woman
Born and given birth
Yours is the passageway for this traveller
I walk the road and breathe.
Yours is the golden door that prefigured
The sun’s rays on my shivering back
Yours is the road that beckons
Enmeshed in pain, sweat,
Grunts and joy
Swelling and allow me break forth
Into life with a clarion shout
‘Stop! Behold! I am a woman’
Offspring of powerful gods who recreate
In blood, pain and sweat.
I climb the hills
I salute all my mothers, sisters, aunts and kin
I pluck my string, no sound
There is no need
I am blest.

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