Vultures by Chinua Achebe

I got to read this over the weekend and did not really get it. But after reading it again just now, i find it profound. Chinua Achebe is undoubted one of Africa’s greatest (if not the greatest) literary forces. That’s why i cannot bring myself to accept how few of his works i have read – things fall apart and arrow of God, just those two! (smh). Realising last year, i had resolved to deliberately cover all his works – novels, essays, poetry. So this is his first poem i have read…thanks Naa for sharing 🙂

 

In the greyness
and drizzle of one despondent
dawn unstirred by harbingers
of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken
bone of a dead tree
nestled close to his
mate his smooth
bashed-in head, a pebble
on a stem rooted in
a dump of gross
feathers, inclined affectionately
to hers. Yesterday they picked
the eyes of a swollen
corpse in a water-logged
trench and ate the things in its bowel. Full
gorged they chose their roost
keeping the hollowed remnant
in easy range of cold
telescopic eyes …
Strange
indeed how love in other
ways so particular
will pick a corner
in that charnel-house
tidy it and coil up there, perhaps
even fall asleep – her face
turned to the wall!
…Thus the Commandant at Belsen
Camp going home for
the day with fumes of
human roast clinging
rebelliously to his hairy
nostrils will stop
at the wayside sweet-shop
and pick up a chocolate
for his tender offspring
waiting at home for Daddy’s return …
Praise bounteous
providence if you will
that grants even an ogre
a tiny glow-worm
tenderness encapsulated
in icy caverns of a cruel
heart or else despair
for in every germ
of that kindred love is
lodged the perpetuity
of evil.

 

I like to leave poems unexplained for people to decipher their own meanings from it. Though for the curious, it should leave you pondering on love and cruelty; that the human body has both love and hatred; and what the implications of this could possibly mean for the human race. Is the quest for a life of love for all humans -humanity- even possible?

 

I hail from Ghana, drawn to both academia and industry and very passionate about Africa. This journey is going to be filled with stories, random ramblings, sites and soundbites, everything and anything that captures the world through a uniquely African viewpoint. Welcome aboard!

I hail from Ghana, drawn to both academia and industry and very passionate about Africa. This journey is going to be filled with stories, random ramblings, sites and soundbites, everything and anything that captures the world through a uniquely African viewpoint. Welcome aboard!

2 Comments

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