Father and Daughter

To: eyes that pensively look
minds that ponder in thoughts deep
evil in some form is everywhere
but I deplore that sanctioned and
somewhat made holy by tradition.

I’ve not my childhood pal asked nor will I
why he no longer bears his family name
since he took a wife, nor will I
why his stunning daughters that had dreams
have passed their prime without partners.

Ask? I dare not –
prey right from minutes after birth
I had oft thought aloud how every being
born to Ndigbo, marked OSU, are
treated with inhumanity and indignity.

He or she even after being domesticated
must be tamed like a pet lion cub
caged at maturity to the lowest degree
of humiliation, far below beggary
out of ignorance – out of a godless old wife’s tale.

For a to-be bride or gloom, happiness is an illusion
mere notions of his or her pedigree
an unsigned death warrant;
Misfortune of marriage, triggered by
nothing more than the flint of superstition.

Tradition! Why are you a corpse I can’t convince?
often have I imagined if we’re Christians
we would this burden they bear burning hurt
on their shoulders relieve
but I’m not a Christian! We’re nothing in spite.

Good, God! Who judges equity with what gall
with what clings to custom
we insanely denounce you,
churches we build, Holy writ we profess
are mere edifices of our vanity and hypocrisy.

Yet I must stand before my kin’s
upturned faces and try to teach them
something they’ve not known and may never –
“Superstition is death that lurks
within the house that houses them.”

© Ugo Nkwoala | TheVillageGong | 2004

Featured image: Father and Daughter is a painting by Matovu Derric

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