….whirlwinds spinning slowly upward
heavy clouds gathering and darkening
lightning and violent thunder in the troubled sky…
Yet, not a single drop of rain on the brittle dryness of the earth
the raging harmattan fire in our hearts!
The surging sorrow that whispers wildly in the wind
The pains that gather with heaviness in our eyes
Like the gloomy overcast,
And these hearts of thunderstorms!
These tears rolling down
Instead of the rain that never fell…
…the rain that never fell!
The rain that never rolled on our falling faces!
The rain that never kissed the river,
that ripples of liberty may rise in our souls in a land so still!
It never fell to wash away the blood of brutality that poured
from the pillars of power. The chains of our hearts
that never let our wings fly.
Enslaved in these chains of corruption,
mutilated behind bars of brutality,
I hear the slain hearts of heroes thumping,
thundering in protest against the rumbling drums of our
If it is democracy that gives tongues to mutilated mouths
Then let this tongue cry for Dele Giwa!
Let this tongue cry for Moshood Abiola!
Let this tongue cry for Yar’adua! Let this tongue cry for Saro-Wiwa!
Let this tongue cry for Kubirat and Bola Ige!
Let me cry out to the earth for the blood that,
like a rainbow, now paints colours in our bloody skies –
Like Wole Soyinka,
Let me be the prisoner
Scribbling poems with tears of sacrifice in these walls of despair.
Let me be Nelson Mandela jailed in the shadows
where deceitful suns blind the eyes of dreamers but not the vision.
Let me gather rain from the anguish of the lightning
and the terror of the thunder, the marauding madness of the wind
and the horror of the darkened clouds,
with a voice of my own…
as balloons are blown to the sky to make yet another merry on May 29
I hear drums rumbling without dances. Rainbow blood of those whose hearts
were silenced in the shadows of the night
now painting colours in our democratic skies.
Those who quenched the sun when its rays flickered with hope
have become the new messiahs
of our numbered days.
»May 29 is selected from Senator Ihenyen’s Colourless Rainbow, Coast2Coast, 2011, 89. It was first read by the author as the Guest Writer for the month of May at the Abuja Writers’ Forum (AWF) in 2011.«