for Moremi, 1963

Earth will not share the rafter’s envy; dung floors
Break, not the gecko’s slight skin, but its fall
Taste this soil for death and plumb her deep for

Yaa, the Adowa dancer

The tune of Adowa
Drives Yaa to frenzy,
Her legs alternate–
they close,
they cross,
they open,
they part.
Oh, what a dancer,
The dancer of Adowa.
Her trunk goes–<br

A Song

Heigho for a glass, heigho for a lass,
A drink and a kiss, I leave you;
Heigho for a friend that sticks till the end —
Good-bye, my lass, don’t

Saturday Night At Heinrich’s

Heinrich, bring us three bottles of wine —
What shall it be, boys? Sherry or port?
Cheers for old Bacchus, god of the vine,
Jolly old rounder, the Greeks report.<br

A Dutch National Song

A son of Netherland art thou,
Unsoil’d by foreign chains?
Doth love of country light thy brow,
And circle through thy veins?
Then raise with us the anthem proud,

Motel Pool

The plump good-natured children play in the blue pool:
roll and plop, plop and roll;

slide and tumble, oiled, in the slippery sun
silent as otters, turning over and in,

churning the


Odududu ndufu!
Wardrum, without whose leadership there is fear on the way!
Wardrum, without whose leadership there is fear on the way!
Great spirit, Uduma Olugutu
Great spirit, Okali husband

The Wedding of Kambili and Kumba

Ah! Namu-sayers!
At this time, kolas had been sent out for a wife for Kambili.
And what was Kambili’s first wife’s name?
Her name was said, Kumba.
They tied up


The stink of fish on earthen streets
A hot wind blows from ochre hills
Black faces shine with brilliant teeth
Street market ***** doth cure all ills.
Redness in her

King Stephen

SCENE I. Field of Battle.
Alarum. Enter King STEPHEN, Knights, and Soldiers.
Stephen. If shame can on a soldier’s vein-swoll’n front
Spread deeper

The Song Of The Wreck

The wind blew high, the waters raved,
A ship drove on the land,
A hundred human creatures saved
Kneel’d down upon the sand.
Threescore were drown’d, threescore were thrown

Carpe Diem

O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love’s coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journey’s end in lovers’

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