Dereliction (A Poem) by Chinua Achebe

I quit the carved stool
in my father’s hut to the swelling
chant of saber-tooth termites
raising in the pith of its wood
a white-bellied stalagmite

Where does a runner go
whose oily grip drops
the baton handed by the faithful one
in a hard, merciless race? Or
the priestly elder who barters
for the curio collector’s head
of tobacco the holy staff
of his people?

Let them try the land
where the sea retreats
Let them try the land
where the sea retreats

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

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