June 3rd is rosy: An eulogy to Alao-Akala at 71

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A poem By Minkail OLAITAN

I
This poem starts in transit
riding horseback down a road
To a house where the custodian of golden
horses resides; where horses are dressed
with jewelry and a luxurious horse pad.
Here, your ancestors bear wealth as name
before they metamorphosed and found their
homes among spirits, among valiant spirits
That’s protecting their descendants.

II
Alao, you are the unfathomable granite
that crushes the meeting of talebearers
like eggs.
Let the ground burst open and swallow
your enemies like swine.
Your father is known in this land,
In this savannah called Ogbomosho.
No need for verbal trading, you are the son
of the source before anything;
you are the bright light burning nonstop.

III
Bayo, hear my voice resounding furiously like
a gong beat from a nearby spot.
Count the strands of words in my voice,
hear how your name resonates with your success;
See how joy evades faces in the marketplace
at the mention of your name,
You are the balm. You are the soothing balm
which continuously caress their minds,
snatching them from the chasm of brutal despair.
Bayo, May you live forever.

IV
Listen! Hearty son of Iya-Alaro,
I know nothing about the mother of gorilla,
but I can tell you the father of the ape,
Alao. Those born to follow are many;
Those born to rule are few, among who you are.
Ask around, ‘who’s the Husband -in- Chief
Among husbands?’ Hold your ears
and listen as the surge of answer blast
You, shouting your name — the leveler of
Florence and Oluwakemi’s elephantine
Dowries, the husband of all widows.

V
Agaja, the Tiger himself, prowling,
unrushed in the deep of mysteries of
political night. Woe betides the father of
a fearful warrior that runs from war.
Agaja, the Chester of war, the winner of all.
A political mountain, stiffly erect above the
ground. Who dares ask a son to pay tribute
in his father’s territory?
You are the tall millet stalk peering into
the eyes of the intruding enemies,
What else are you, Bayo?
Have I not said you are the giant iroko
With wide, deep bough in the league
Of elders?

VI
It’s a long journey but not tiring.
No place is safer and lovely as home.
Alao, today you were born-the teeny teensy
Boy has grown up. He has winded past age like a gulf
Sweeping off the field. Bayo, can you see
That age is one huge walkway like Rubicon —
No turning back. Let bright memories collide
And form wings for you, let them travel you
around, let joy take over you,
You are a happy man, a man whose
heart is a flowering city open to everybody.


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