The little dacha in Peredelkino
Has windows that close at sunset
Its walls, wily-wired, are ringed
With rosebuds, a rich orchard beyond the terrace
And shadows, eyes trained to smell treachery
Stalin’s dachas hang like rosettes
In the shrouded plains of Peredelkino
Caught in cobwebs of necropolitics
Dissolving into camp dusts
At night, sometimes through the barrels
Of a purge that leaves only paeans in its wake
The little dacha hangs precariously
By Stalin’s starched lapel
Slowly scribbling the intrigues of Dr Zhivago
Slowly weaving a cat’s cradle that will entrap you in its web
Slowly poking the peat of the Emperor’s soul
Moscow wore the garb of bad humour. Poet of isolation
You rejected the garland brought by Dr Zhivago, caught
In the mesh of its jagged history, haunted
By the souls of the dead-undead in the service of Revolution
A willowy sparing frame
By the garden gate, thinking
In ellipses, hoping the windows
Of your beloved dacha would close at sunset
And reopen in the morn, to a world
Free to mourn the dissolution of your will.
WAR AND PEACE
Kazumi Hachiya, an eighty-four-year old hibakusha
Minding a teashop in the south of Hiroshima
Lives in the oneiric wasteland of flying sorties
In the isolated mountains of graying times
Thin lights of death fall lightly across his face
A grim Reaper flying in North Waziristan
Drops a gift of peace on Eid day—
A payload on a family of six seeking parity
With Malala’s dream of a world free to love and learn.
The youngest lost a limb. And Nabila’s grandmother smiles to her death.
It’s Rosh Hashana in East Jerusalem:
The rabbi raises a toast to heaven, intones
Twelve canticles for peace.
But no shofar’s sound presaged the gunmen’s
Entry. Only blood and gore remain to testify
To these Christs’ purgation of the ancient synagogue.
The children of Chibok chose the Book of Life:
For those to whom books are an ossuary for the damned
All paths lead to misery, lead to the decapitation of a people’s
Free will. We ask for the path of safe return, for the children
Who left without farewell. They dance on their grave. Even the devil,
Fork-tongued, knows when duty calls.
Yomi Ogunsanya lives in Ibadan.