Kru Child


Kru child, Kru child.
Barefoot in a pond
of grass and water.

Kru child, Kru child.
Strutting round the sour-sour tree,
whistling to the chirp of weaver birds.

Child of the tropical ocean
wreathed in potato leaves
fishing with a revolting worm on a lone hook.

Kru child,
bold and beautiful
skin glowing in the radiant West African sun
displaying those even-sized-almost-brown teeth
colored from days of chewing.

Son of wre (music),
daughter of nachal(laughter).
vibrating their tiny waists
to the chant and chorus of ancestral sankpa.

Son of uncommon powers,
surfing against the tide
on a board of broken canoe --
Wrestling the black cobra in daylight!

Daughter of the full moon,
braided hair smooth as eel,
exuding exotic exuberance,
smiling in shadows of bamboo.

The whirlwind was here.
It tore through Kru town,
rattling hutments of zinc and wood.

Oh I see!
Mama fed you dugbalee.
Papa paddled pass
Piso to safety.

The soothing sea breeze blows.
You yawn and stretch in the morning sunrise.
Fresh fish pepper-soup is served...
Now, you sing zilch-gewalt --
Oneness in sweet and sweat.
This is who you are!

Timothy Ogene was shortlisted for the 2010 Arvon International Poetry Prize. Most recently, his works have appeared in Poetry Quarterly, Contemporary Literary Review India, aaduna and other places. He lives in Wimberley, Texas after living in a fishing village in Liberia for about two years.

Kru child, Kru child.
Barefoot in a pond
of grass and water.