Discovering Psalms by Tolase Ajibola



So the songbird sings of the city below the sea.

Perhaps it’s on the same water that I learnt

what it means to travel with home in my pocket.

Ours is a house of songs. Father,

a bald musicologist fingered his piano for a

ballad before an open window

through which we bore witness to the aesthetic

array of cloud patches.

Other days, you could catch father asleep

with a rhythm clutched to his chest.

Mother, a songsmith, usually bent over a wet floor

or broken china thinks of kintsugi  as an art of renewal.

But that was early, before the voyage through the sea

in search of a hymn.

Father could have sworn he heard the sea say his name

at the coda of his performance,

of course I should write from inception:

Father steered our boat clear of known places,

to cut through morning haze into a museum of songs.

Arrayed as artefacts in their cases, 150 of them, awaiting an audience.

Father, lost in an epiphany, arched his head at an angle

as if to align his ears with the frequency of water.

He entrusted the oars to me in a sea where I’m no captain,

we plunged deeper into the water:

here’s a school for learning the enigma in the creation of pisces,

designed as though there’s a foretelling

of water as a home of songs such that squiggle too is a dance move

this we know as ritual.

The inequality of grace put father in a class of saints.

I return, with a plethora of dirge, to mother who now is broken.



Creative works (literature, art and culture) emerging from Nigeria.

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