Wishes Wish I could still laugh with the lotus On the bank of the Nile Take off my clothes And dive into the Zambezi Join spirit dancers In the middle of the Ganges Romp with the Rio To the thunder of the samba Fan the Yangtze’s face With the fan of the moon Tease the Thames With a shoeless foot Embrace the Volga With open arms Ask the Mississippi For a bowl of water . . . Alas, between cup and lip An acre of wishes — Niyi Osundare
Let’s look at some features in the poem:
- the poet expresses his wish for a continuing action;
- there is an ecstatic feeling that is now gone;
- the rivers mentioned are located in Africa all over. This is significant and means that the poet is recounting the events that once defined the continent;
- now they are now things of the past;
- we can deduce that things took a dismal turn;
- and the poet laments the unnaturalness of things;
- notice the ‘still’ in the opening line;
- by extension, the alliterating sounds are mildly cacophonic;
- the ellipsis after ‘water’ towards the end suggests that the poem is overwhelmed with that nostalgia.
Given all these noteworthy points, we can suggest that in this poem,
The poet expresses his distaste for the unnaturalness of the social conditioning of the African society. Here, we can say the dismal reality that now obtains in the society is a resultant effect of an earlier course of action which is not explicitly stated.