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“Where Have You Been, Joe Ifah?”

travellerWhere have I been?
Where cocoons rest their time-bound lengths
On leaves that haunt their consciousness;
Where mud-fish take their seasonal sleep
In caking clay till the floods repeat.
I have swum the rivers and the creeks
Where fierce alligators bare their teeth;
Been shot and downed by frays of night
Yet kept by power beyond my might.
I’ve been to the gallows, by foes pursued,
Relentlessly pressed in life’s timeless feuds.
Yet like the burning shrubs of Moses’ puzzled stint
I stand here still, erect, unsinged!

Where have I been?
Where tomorrow’s slinger picks his choicest stones
Smooth for stilling some giant’s vulgar drone.
I’ve braved the smoldering flames of hell
On soulish trips too harsh to tell,
Where the fired sting from blistered feet
Beg so in vain for a moment’s seat.
I’ve spurned the plea of an aching back
Garnering mind gems in endless stacks –
You will find these in wildernesses,
Those lonesome danger-strewn recesses!
Now I return, old fugitive,
Find my place on His waiting team.


Joe Ifah,

August 5, 2016