For Yemi Ogunbiyi At 75, By Niyi Osundare

Step after step

We ply life’s Road

Through dust, through clay

Through the airy amplitude of the seamless sky

 

The winds whirl or whisper          

In accents so brisk and broad

As the roadside grass sways to the rhythm   

Of seasons which oblivion forgets

 

From the geography of Pain

To the archaeology of Pleasure

From the heart which knows

And the mind that feels

 

The Road walks us through 

Its web of wit and wonder

Its house of endless echoes, its poetry

A running fare of hint and hyperbole

 

                  Pause

 

Hail, then, this Wayfarer

Whose feet bear the dusts of many roads

From far desert-fringes to the thirsty ocean

Polyglot who savours the glide of many tongues

 

Confluence of many rivers

Whose bridge prolongs the Road

Dibia* at the Crossroads who doctors 

The riddle of the knotty distance

 

Rain, drought, rain

The Road molds the mud, distills the dust

Etches your memory on the endless milestone

On its epic span. Sun and star en-lamp your path

 

Step after step after step

Echoing footsounds re-mind

The corridors of the Moon

The Road never forgets   

 

*Diviner-physician, an Igbo word

 

 

           Niyi Osundare

 

POETRY

 

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