Oyela, show us the way
When a child is blown on the eye
Orunmila the revealer of truth.
When day breaks
Orunmila, break forth and clear this darkness.
When it is dawn
We see the depth of the river,
We lay still before you,
Orunmila, help us see
We have come to wash our eyes
Clean with the waters of your wisdom
Oyela, show us the way.
Author’s Note: “Oyela, show us the way”, a poem earlier written in Yoruba, in form of an incantation. Most of the lines sound incantatory, as the poet makes metaphorical declarations and later submits what he has come for. A poetic form associated with the Ifa Oracle – in fact allusions are made to Ifa’s poetry. Using this style, I wanted to come clear as to our need to subscribe to the traditional form as a way of finding our way in today’s world; something that echoes Birago Diop’s “Vanity” in a new light of the Yoruba-Ifa poetry.
Ernest O. Ogunyemi writes from Nigeria. A short story writer and poet, his works have appeared in magazines and blogs such as NaijaStories, Tuck, Parousia, Acumen Issue 91, AfricanWriter, and are forthcoming in the Kalahari Review, the BPPC Poetry anthology (2018). He was a top ten finalist in the BPPC May Poetry contest, for his poem This Dream and was long listed earlier this year for the Art Prompt Writing Contest for his three-hundred-word story Without Life, which later appeared on his blog: ernestiyanda.wordpress.com. When he is not writing he is reading or dreaming or listening to Brymo or watching the beautiful cover of great books, they have a healing-feel to the mind.