The roofs of Coaltown –

They speak of ages gone

And visitors bid bye

In a flurry of fiery blasts


The streets of Umuahia –

Their single tars are coarse

Like the hearts broken,

Lonely and grief-swept

When the man of the house

Dissolves


The towns of black gold –

Their rivers spewing fortune

Are agog with misfortune;

Tiny deaths filling the air

Where a “nation” draws its breath


The fledglings of “Motherland”,

Hatched on a spurious night

When patience and love hugged their mats

Who will teach them

The trueness of truth,

The justness of justice,

The primacy of work,

And the place of honour?


There is a monster abroad

Dagger unsheathed, its fuel is blood

And cancerous anger,

Its cyst a film incubating discord

Diverse turbulence curdling in this melting pot.

We fear for the land of promise

And we should;

For if the roof falls,

Whose head is safe?

“The Roofs”Segun Akinlolu, Enugu, 1993

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