#WarOfWords4 What is left of what is right by Oredola Ibrahim
What is left of what is right by Oredola Ibrahim
Owuye,* the chancy nature of words
My plight is as dangerous and delicate as the surgeon’s trade
My plight is stinking and smelly. It is worm-ridden!
On my right hand is a dilator
On my left hand is a retractor
Before me is a giant inf-ant-hill
And like a surgeon, I have been sentenced
To save what is left of a dying man
To determine what is left of what is right…
As a surgeon,
How can I save what is left of what is right
When health centres are death-centres
And oxygen is worth more than a patient’s life.
If blackout is our moniker
And a younger brother boast to import light
Would maturity worsen our plight?
Wait, how can I say…?
When this fellow has been greatly baptized
With sacred waters of explosive devices
Partly burnt, partly beaten
All I can hear is rising notes
Of widows’ cries and orphans’ monodies
Wallahi Tallahi,* brother, I am confused…
May be this is what is left of what is right.
Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop
Labourers are all over with bloody placards
Strike today, strike tomorrow
And our strikers never come home with any goal
No cup, no glory
Just corpse, just gory
Even though we want to write a “success story”
But how do you expect me to do my job as a surgeon
When my stony pay is busy gathering moss in some flooded banks
And my breakfast is always late to dinner time…
Wait, what noise is that?
A judge was battered and clubbed in the den of justice?
What sane servant does that?
Well, supervision is different from action
Immunity! Impunity! Shameless ignobility!
What else is left to save
Of what is right, of what is left…
Tomorrow is Sunday, Sunday is tomorrow
Have you heard the three wise men’s tale?
I don’t think I can watch his words and still watch the roof
I can’t whistle and shout at a time, drummers don’t reprise
I love my life and I love my wife
I don’t want a corpse, I don’t want divorce!
Temples are sacred, but also scary
For what greases firearms is a river of holy liquid.
Where are the pallbearers to bear witness
That this mess is choking me to death.
Streets redolent of hopelessness
Houses redolent of heartlessness
Minds redolent of thoughtlessness
Shrine of slain futures
Dying voices struggling for air.
That is what is left,
That is what I can sa(y)ve,
With my dilators and retractors…
What is left of what is right is hopelessness
What is right of what is left is mediocrity
And what is right of what is left
Is no better than what is left of what is right.
*Owuye: this is a Yoruba word meaning “the dicey/chancy nature of words”. Thus, it is already explained in the poem.
*Wallahi Tallahi: This is an Arabic word that means “I swear by God’s name”