D. M. D Goodhead
I knew her when she lived in the village-
a more generous woman you could not find
anywhere in the vast cosmos.
But then came the great spill—when crude oil
Rocketed off from burst pipes like geysers
and rained down darkness on the village,
on the swamps, on the caroling creeks,
on the sweaty sea, and on the laughing river.
The great exodus followed and she came
to Shantytown with the clothes on her back
and three little children.
She became the tenant of a shack---
with three little children. A few notes
from her brother, and she became a groundnut
seller. A mango seller. A corn seller. A
seller. And any food that was in season.
But the widow of the village was
no more. Stray by her shack
at meal times and her eyes alert
with the fire of
two monstrous balls spin a tale
of a thousand terrors.
They strike fear in
The boneplate of
Your being & you flee the
Shack, a thousand terrors
On your tail.
The Ghost Town and the Weaverbird
The tear has died from their eyes
and clamor from their throats.
Long ago, they were famous
For their fierce tenacity.
All that is gone. Even the simple
Sigh. And gone too is that dreaded
Weapon—their prodigious oaths.
I see them wake up every morning
and shuffle to their stations
on the grid of the day as if
bent double by a wicked demon.
Idols of a bygone era
In a pawn store.
When the sun ducks behind
the leaves of the cloud, they
gather in front of their shacks,
and they raise a voiceless lamentation.
You will not hear anything,
for their voices sound like the whispers
of a ghost on a silent sea.
And so from morning until
Long after the eye of the earth
ducks behind the orchards
Of the sky, a lifeless lamentation
hangs over all the land.
But this morning, I beheld
a sight as if in a dream. I heard
the song of a vagrant weaverbird
on my windowsill.
Countrymen, citizens, patriots,
the sun will rise again.
I woke up immediately, and saw
That the land was throbbing
With the drums of celebration.
saw her on the first day of class
When the teacher gave her a desk
Beside mine. She smelt like the sweetest
Breeze from the palace of the Ocean King.
felt my self shy all over, like a mudskipper
In the mud. But when she smiled, and asked
Me my name, I felt like the Dolphin King
In his palace in the depths of the Seventh
Like the Dolphin King in his palace in the
Of the seventh sea.
do not remember her name now. But I still
Remember her face, pretty as the sun,
When it is just peeking out of the sky.
Pretty as the sun, when its gentle
Smile is soft like silk on the skin
Of a newborn child.