Poem: “The Fisherman’s Invocation” by Gabriel Okara

The celebration is now ended but the echoes are all around whirling like a harmattan whirl-wind throwing dust around

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The Fisherman's Invocation
A fisherman casting his net. Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay
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The Fisherman's Invocation

The celebration is now ended
but the echoes are all around
whirling like a harmattan
whirl-wind throwing dust around
and hands cover faces and feet grope.

The celebration is now ended
the drums lay quiet, silent, waiting.
And the dancers disperse, walking
with feet that have known many dances
waiting for the next; walking
with their hearts climbing up their feet
to their places and the palmwine descending
from their heads to settle in their bellies
and their bodies turn cold. For the spirit
of the dance has left and their faces become naked.

But the child-Front is now lying on laps
feeding from measureless breasts of the Back
singing green lullabys which tingle our heads.
And we learn to sing half familiar half strange songs
We learn to dance to half familiar half strange
rhythms fashioned in dreams as the child-Front
lies sleeping with breasts in his mouth.

Gabriel Okara

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