Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Adesola Oladoja writes

To My Coy Mistress

I see your shadow haunt me every night 
as bats caress the heavenly light.
Footsteps scurry in anticipated hurry,
echoes of your laughter flirts with my ear
from behind

But I wake to a different tale,
I wonder if to you, they are not stale,
your ramblings about mama's plea
and how papa warns you to flee
from me, Àdùfé.

Mama's back aches;
she misses the soft feel of a toddler's cheek
and the wetness that comes with nature's call.
Or if a mad rehearsal lasts a century,
when will light welcome the malady?
When will the centre stage
cherish your age-long sacrifice?

Listen to the beat of your heart.
Don't you hear an age-long rhythm
for me ?
I, Àdùfé, am the joy of many a virgin
Adéróungbé almost eloped with me the other night
but the love I have for you,
the duende you have for me is sealed
in heaven's blissful terrain
where no mortal can interlope.

Time waits for no man.
We do not have eternity.
All we have is 'todays' wrapped up in new
names and numbers.
Bride me now that I may groom you onwards

Meet me under the odán tree
as Baba Awóyefá seals the union.
Mind not your parents' consent,
the earth already knows our intents.
If it's their blessings you crave,
a long time ago, in us, it was engraved.

Meet me where
no prying eyes will taint your sashay.
Just mine, Bàbá's and Olódùmárè
to witness our sweet becoming,
to seal a lifetime of 'me-youty'

Come, let's be entwined now
till now fades...

Lawrence Zúñiga Batista. Olodumare - Acrylic on canvas 25,5 x 20,5 cm 2003
Olodumare -- Lawrence Zúñiga Batista


  1. In the Yoruba language, Awóyefá means "A cult is suitable for Ifá, the god of divination." Ifá is a religion (and system of divination that represents the teachings of Orunmila, the òrìṣà of wisdom, the oracular representative of Olodumare, the ruler of the heavens who coordinates the universe as one of the three manifestations of the supreme god. An òrìṣà may have existed in the òrun (spiritual world) or as a human in the ayé (the physical world) who was recognized as a deity due to extraordinary feats. Yoruba tradition sometimes claims the existence of 401 òrìṣàs, which is associated with a sacred number, but various oral traditions refer to 400, 700, or 1,440 or "as many as you can think of, plus one more." Awóyefá also refers to the verses of the Odu Ifá, the 256 odu (mysteries) that reference all situations, circumstances, actions, and consequences in life based on the uncountable ese (poetic tutorials) associated with them, the bases of all spiritual knowledge and divination systems. Practitioners believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's ori (literally "the head," but in spiritual matters the part of the soul that determines personal destiny and success) and strive to obtain ashe (the life-force that runs through all things, the power to make things happen) via iwa-pele (good character). Ashe is the link to the supreme god, the òrìṣàs, and the ancestors. Babaaláwo ("father of the mysteries'") is a spiritual title that denotes a priest of Ifá; he ascertains the future of his clients by communicating with Ifá by interpreting patterns of a divining chain known as opele or the sacred palm nuts called Ikin, on a wooden divination tray called opon Ifá. A Babalawo undergoes training in the memorization and interpretation of the 256 odu and numerous ese, all of which are passed orally from one babalawo to another. Generally,he also has an additional professional specialty such as herbalism, but his main role is to solve spiritual problems, maintain one's good luck, and assist people in finding, understanding, and being in alignment with their individual destiny. An odán is a kind of banyan or shade tree which is the locus of revelation.

  2. To His Coy Mistress

    Had we but world enough and time,
    This coyness, lady, were no crime.
    We would sit down, and think which way
    To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
    Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
    Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
    Of Humber would complain. I would
    Love you ten years before the flood,
    And you should, if you please, refuse
    Till the conversion of the Jews.
    My vegetable love should grow
    Vaster than empires and more slow;
    An hundred years should go to praise
    Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
    Two hundred to adore each breast,
    But thirty thousand to the rest;
    An age at least to every part,
    And the last age should show your heart.
    For, lady, you deserve this state,
    Nor would I love at lower rate.

    But at my back I always hear
    Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
    And yonder all before us lie
    Deserts of vast eternity.
    Thy beauty shall no more be found;
    Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
    My echoing song; then worms shall try
    That long-preserved virginity,
    And your quaint honour turn to dust,
    And into ashes all my lust;
    The grave’s a fine and private place,
    But none, I think, do there embrace.

    Now therefore, while the youthful hue
    Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
    And while thy willing soul transpires
    At every pore with instant fires,
    Now let us sport us while we may,
    And now, like amorous birds of prey,
    Rather at once our time devour
    Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
    Let us roll all our strength and all
    Our sweetness up into one ball,
    And tear our pleasures with rough strife
    Through the iron gates of life:
    Thus, though we cannot make our sun
    Stand still, yet we will make him run.

    -- Andrew Marvell


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