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ÀBÍKÚ

I pay obeisance to all Málọmọ́
To all Kòkúmọ́, to all Kúdáyísí……

When the lion roars
All animals keep calm
When a cock crows
Its members accompany it
When gángan drum sounds
Both old and young dance to it
When Àbíkú displays
The whole household is thrown into confusion

They called him Àbíkú
Predestined to death
The spirit child of two worlds
The first time he died on the night of his christening
He threw the family in anguish
While he rode joyously in the rainbow of the winds

The next time he came
He didn’t last two years
Father named him Káṣìmawòó-let’s wait and see
With cowries and bangles
Baba Ewéjẹ́ strung his wrists, neck and ankles
He brewed herbs and gave him a tribal scar
So he wouldn’t go back to his kingdom
But he returned and made him appear an amateur

Mother had five deliveries
But stillbirth has made her a laughing stock
In the midst of dead children
She is caricatured by the village market
As one who wombs spirit children

At his last coming
She took him to Yèyé the priestess
She was attired in white
As they made propitiations

Amidst flowing tears
Mother called him Málọmọ́
She begged him not to go again
she said Báòkú ìṣe òtán
If we are not dead there is much to accomplish
Bánjókòó, Kòkúmọ́, Kòsọ́kọ́
She begged him to sit with her
She said this will not die again
There is no hoe anymore for digging grave

Kúkọ̀yí- Death rejects this
Àkìtánkọ̀yí- The dunghill rejects this
With teary eyes she called him Dúrójaiyé and Dúrósinmí
Stay back and enjoy life
Stay back and bury me

He was moved with compassion
He decided to stay back
But his mates rose in revolt
They threatened to harm him
But he refused to go back

*Dedicated to all mothers who have suffered stillbirth.

Written by: Albert Seraphin
Edited by: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

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