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Abiku – J. P. Clark (A Poem)

Coming and going these several seasons, 
Do stay out on the baobab tree, 
Follow where you please your kindred spirits 
If indoors is not enough for you. 
True, it leaks through the thatch 
When floods brim the banks, 
And the bats and the owls 
Often tear in at night through the eaves, 
And at harmattan, the bamboo walls 
Are ready tinder for the fire 
That dries the fresh fish up on the rack. 
Still, it’s been the healthy stock 
To several fingers, to many more will be 
Who reach to the sun. 
No longer then bestride the threshold 
But step in and stay 
For good. We know the knife scars 
Serrating down your back and front 
Like beak of the sword-fish, 
And both your ears, notched 
As a bondsman to this house, 
Are all relics of your first comings
Then step in, step in and stay 
For her body is tired, 
Tired, her milk going sour 
Where many more mouths gladden the heart. 

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