If by lightning evil comes.
Ngene, the naked man of my tribe,
Strike with thunder.
If by morning the owl hoots
Instead of the melodious waking songs of the morn-birds;
Arise, pick your sanctified spirit sword and
The mysterious akpa-ọgwu±
Fight and ward off evil and her accomplices from my path.
Saddle the horse of the new sun
And ride across the fields,
Barns and horizons,
And sprinkle your yielding dews
On our produce.
I am the kola
You are the blessing
I am the praise and
You are the action
Guard my feet that I tread not
To the evil forest at night,
Drink not death from my in-law’s water pot,
To mischief walk not,
And never sleep to wakeup knocking at the cursed door.
You are the god
And I am the griot.
± – bag of herbs (that Ngene carries around when visiting or fighting for his human subject; believed to be his source of power)
Akpa Arinzechukwu is a Nigerian born poet, tutor, environmentalist and human right activist. His works have appeared or will feature on Eastlit Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Visual Verse, poetry Potion and elsewhere.