Knowing robs us of wonder.
Had it not ripped apart
the fearful robes of primordial Night
to steal the force that crafted horns
on doghead and sowed insurrection
overnight in the homely beak
of a hen; had reason not given us
assurance that day will daily break
and the sun's array return to disarm
night's fantastic figurations--
would be garlanded at the city gate
and escorted with royal drums
to a stupendous festival
of an amazed world.
after the passage of a dark April storm
ecstatic birds followed its furrows
sowing songs of daybreak though the time
was now past noon, their sparkling
notes sprouting green incantations
everywhere to free the world
from harmattan death.
But for me
the celebration is make-believe;
the clamorous change of season
will darken the hills of Nsukka
for an hour or two when it comes;
no hurricane will hit my sky--
and no song of deliverance.
Use of this excerpt from Another Africa by Robert Lyons and Chinua Achebe may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing, or additions whatsoever, and must be accompanied by the following copyright notice: Photographs and Photographer's Note copyright © 1998 Robert Lyons; Essay and Poems copyright © 1998 Chinua Achebe. All rights reserved.
Chinua Achebe photo credit © Stephen Long