For Victor Uwaifo

For Victor Uwaifo

By Niyi Osundare

Siwo siwo siwo siwo…

Your voice nestles in the eaves of my memory,
Its red-earth vigour tremulous
Between sappy laughter and a silence
Which left its echoes in the larynx
Of throbbing legends

Wafting past the lyrical beauty of painted thresholds,
Through doors which breast the streets
Like defiant sentries, and shrines where once
Gods swayed through the portals of the sky,
Leaving their word and wand behind

Do Amen Amen dooooo

You sing of Dawn and mysty Stars
When Earth was music
And Rivers danced towards the Sea
With a chorus of capering minnows
Your melody came before the rhythm of the First Rain

Oh that haunting sonority,
That mellow magic in the elbow of a voice!
The guitar’s wailing incantations,
Rainbow drums which prompt
Every moment into an eternity of motions


So rivetting, the rhythm of your Red-Earth City
Rhythm of Clay, rhythm of Bronze
Rhythm of ancient hands proclaiming
Miracles of mask and meaning
Rhythm of the snail’s millennial sigh at Siloko Market

Echoing forests, pulse of the Panther
Skirted undergrowths dense with daring
And when my Hunter-Minstrel charged
His lips with a flute
Trees broke into a dance beyond recounting

Melody Maestro,
The universe glows in the melody of your magic;
Your athletic virtuosity, the prodigy of your gifts
Unborn seasons thrive on the honey of your voice
The ivory sonority of your endless song

Joromi jo mi o, jo mi jooooooooooo….

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