‘In This Babylon’ by Basit Olatunji

( for Nigeria at 53 )

Eventful must this place be

if we have to weed away like stubborn grass,

the wastrels that mess with our mess.

 

Truculent we must be,

if we have to lose ourselves possessed

by the unflappable zeal of the man

who died challenging the tyranny

of his monstrous masters.

 

Squealers we must be,

if we have to confute the notion

with towering minds,

that our silence is never timidity,

but civility to correct the erring masters

of the long succession of deception.

 

Deeply ingrained must our hearts be

with the courage to reject self-denigration,

indissolubly linked with our pathetic silence

 

In this Babylon,

silence was then the best answer for a fool,

when the fool had not learnt

that his left cheek was actually

someone else’s right.

 

In this Babylon,

we must raise our voices

beyond containable heights.

We must possess our voice in ululation;

we must soak our spirits in a river of hope.

Poets Bio: Basit Olatunji is a Nigerian poet, essayist and editor. His first poetry collection, Thoughtful Reflections was published in 2011.  Some of his poems have been published in Ijagun Poetry Journal. He is also currently working on his first play. He is on the editorial team of Ijagun Poetry Journal.

 

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