the wife of fire
the eye of the night.

wife of Lisa
Mother of seven children
seven children that proceeded
from the spear of the sun
nurtured in the womb of the moon.

your children rule the earth
they rule the mighty bodies of water;
Ogun the god of metallic ore
became a being in the coolness
of your womb.

glowing light,
guiding light,
light that never leads astray.

mother of seven gods
mother of weak children
we rest in the calm of your palm
here in your arm let us heal.


Author’s Note: “Mawu”, a praise poem for the Moon-goddess (known as Mawu in most West African states, including Dahomey). It beats in and out of different myths and my personal interpretation of these myths. Allusions are made to those myths, but this also takes a libative path when in the closing lines Mawu is being begged to heal us. Lisa, the Sun-god in African mythology, husband of Mawu, is also mentioned. This poem is therefore a praise poem that ends on a libative note, the way it does in most African traditional poetry praising the Orishas.


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: 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.

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