01 June 2017

Poetry Thursday - To My First White Hairs by Wole Soyinka

Then ... (via)
To My First White Hairs

Hirsute hell chimney-spouts, black thunderthroes
confluence of coarse cloudfleeces - my head sir! - scourbrush
in bitumen, past fossil beyond fingers of light - until . . . !

Sudden sprung as corn stalk after rain, watered milk weak;
as lightning shrunk to ant's antenna, shrivelled
off the febrile sight of crickets in the sun -

THREE WHITE HAIRS! frail invaders of the undergrowth
interpret time. I view them, wired wisps, vibrant coiled 
beneath a magnifying glass, milk-thread presages

Of the hoary phase. Weave then, weave o quickly weave
your sham veneration, Knit me webs of winter sagehood,
nightcap, and the fungoid sequins of a crown.

(found in Poems on the Underground)


Wole Soyinka (b.1934) says "I did not set out to be a political dissident" and goes on:
I think I was born one. Or maybe...it was something I ate as a child, something that entered my system and took roots in my vital organs. My earliest recollected act of revolt—apart from routine childhood rebelliousness—was to take on the class bully and organise a collective force to draw his fangs—an alliance made up of the tiniest of the lot that were his favourite targets, I among them. The class bully is cut from the same cloth as the political bully, torturer, and killer. And he graduates from extortions from weaker classmates to the expropriation of a nation—with violence. I understood the ramifications of power very early, perhaps abnormally early. I learnt to recognise an axis of Power and Freedom, and I placed myself on the arm of the latter.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. 
... and now (via)

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