I stand on the rock of Gibraltar.
The Andalusian coastline is sumptuous from this vantage.
I wish to pay her homage
But it is Africa I eagerly seek.
I can barely see Morocco
Does her desert aid my mirage?
The rocks are falling
And boulders are clattering down
Earthquakes are brewing
Stampedes causing crowds to run wild.
I quickly jettison south
Algeria is as feverish as a boiling pot
Rumours are spread by word of mouth
Of old stones laid to rest in grey tombs
No myrrh, no wreath, no ceremony?
Only resonating screams and chants in Arabic
I subsume within the crowd and ask Fatima what it all means
The stones are tumbling
The winds are blowing
The stones are falling, yes indeed.
And in Nigeria, I found no rest
It’s rhythm too fast for me to cope
Hustle bustle busy bees swarming
Swallowing life up in pursuit of daily bread.
But linger, I did, and much to my surprise
I found these people aware of the demise
Of stones that lay strong, vibrant and green
Stones covered in moss, from age, time, and greed.
Stones shone with rainfall and watered with sun
Stones, which grew so large and shaded us all.
But these stones are crumbling, they’re tumbling down
And Nigerians spoke of this, in writing, with voice and hand.
Nairobi, oh Kenya, the air told it all
How stiff and how panicked, crickets hear tears drop.
Rhodesia, south border, has opened the gates
The safari is nervous, its ground could erupt.
Where stones flew hath never been of concern
To Nairobi, to Mombasa, to Kenyans; or so I thought.
Ignorant had I lived for so long
As the stones crashed down, the Maasai were the first to roar
Kila jiwe kuanguka
The words echoed far and wide
Each stone will fall
Politicians exiled, there was no room to hide.
And as I reached south of God’s continent
My eyes stung from the sight I drank
Eruptions, dance and life
The moon shone bright and the air was thick with revolution.
A slave to habit, I searched for old stones.
African men ruling in blood and gold.
Arbiters of life, prosperity and wealth
Immortal beings unconfined by law, age, or God.
I searched the great Zimbabwe
And the rainbow Zulu south.
Alas the stones could not be found
Waves turned to waterfalls and washed all pebbles out.
The poet’s name is Tobe Ofili, a Nigerian poet who happens to do other things in his spare time.
He works full-time in finance, while part-time teaching in tandem.
He believes poetry is one of the essential forms of artistic expression, and that it should be practised in ink and life as well.
Poetry permeates all areas of life, and he’s rather passionate about helping people draw out their innate poetic tendencies.