Poem: “The Call of the River Nun” by Gabriel Okara

I hear your call! I hear it far away; I hear it break the circle of these crouching hills. I want to view your face

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The Call of the River Nun
A boat on a river at sunset. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
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The Call of the River Nun

I hear your call!
I hear it far away;
I hear it break the circle
of these crouching hills.

I want to view your face
again and feel your cold
embrace; or at your brim
to set myself and
inhale your breath; or
like the trees, to watch
my mirrored self unfold
and span my days with
song from the lips of dawn.

I hear your lapping call!
I hear it coming through;
invoking the ghost of a child
listening, where river birds hail
your silver-surfaced flow.

My river's calling too!
Its ceaseless flow impels
my found'ring canoe down
its inevitable course.
And each dying year
brings near the sea-bird call,
the final call that
stills the crested waves
and breaks in two the curtain
of silence of my upturned canoe.

O incomprehensible God!
Shall my pilot
be my inborn stars to that
final call to There
O my river's complex course?

Gabriel Okara

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