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Poetry: Young Farmer

Updated on March 15, 2012

Young Farmer

After gulping down a breakfast of overnight cassava meal

And agbono soup, my grandfather handed me the aboh

Containing a calabash of water and a small cutlass.

The perfumes of wild flowers filled my nostrils

And my dirty farm clothes so wet as I pushed

Through the overgrown bush of the farm road

Covered by glistening dew until the heat of

Climbing sun would burn it away.

Hawks circled overhead

Looking for prey.

As I cleared the weeds with my grandfather

He sang as if farming was the most enjoyable

Work on earth under a scorching sun.

Halfway through the morning

I was sent to the thatch hut

To rest and by mid-day

We had a lunch of

Boiled yam


Green vegetable mixed with fresh pepper and tomato.

As work commenced I mistakenly cut a yam stem

On my head and back descended my grandfather’s

Ibeli; and a piercing scream I gave.

Just as the sun began to turn

Crimson on the western


My grandfather

Fetched me a bundle of

Light wood to carry home

To my grandmother for cooking;

Rubbed with soot like a white soldier

Disguising for war I headed home.

The smoke drifting from the women’s kitchens

Was my compass back to the village which was not too far.

The closer the happier I became; by the time I sauntered into

My grandmother’s hut I was too tired to stand on my feet having

Being used to taking cabs in the city where I resided with my parents

My grandmother looked at me and laughed ‘Young Farmer welcome.’

Aboh is a woven rectangular carrier made of cane.

Ibeli is stranded whip used in the village by elderly men.

Agbono soup is soup cooked with grinded seeds of agbono fruits.


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