The Call of the River Nun

Gabriel Okara
Nigerian
1921 – 2019

 

I hear your call!
I hear it far away;
I hear it break the circle of these crouching hills.

I want to view your face again and feel your cold embrace;
or at your brim to set myself and inhale your breath;
or like the trees, to watch my mirrored self unfold and span my days with song from the lips of dawn.
I hear your lapping call!
I hear it coming through; invoking the ghost of a child listening, where river birds hail your silver-surfaced flow.

My river’s calling too!
Its ceaseless flow impels my found’ring canoe down its inevitable course.
And each dying year brings near the sea-bird call, the final call that stills the crested waves and breaks in two the curtain of silence of my upturned canoe.
O incomprehensible God!
Shall my pilot be my inborn stars to that final call to Thee.
O my river’s complex course?

4 thoughts on “The Call of the River Nun

  1. Thank you so much. This blog began as a vanity project but quickly grew into an amazing journey of discovery, as I learned just how much poetry across the world (and across time) I didn’t know. Next year, I’ll add five more national origins to the 30 currently represented on the blog.

    Like

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