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Wole Soyinka (Nigeria, 1934)

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria, 1934)

Ah, Demosthenes!

I shall ram pebbles in my mouth
Demosthenes
Not to choke, but half dolphin, half
Shark hammerhead from fathoms deep
Ride the waves to charge the breakers
They erect,
Crush impediments of power and inundate
Their tainted towers –
I shall ram pebbles in my mouth.

I shall place nettles on my tongue
Demosthenes
Then thwart its stung retraction. Oh,
Let it burn at root and roof
Let rashes break from every pore
Just so it sear the tyrant’s power
With one discharge
I shall place nettles on my tongue.

But have you heard of werepe
Demosthenes?
Not all your Stoics’ calm can douse

The fiery hairs of that infernal pod.
It makes a queen run naked to the world
An itch that tells the world its flesh
Is whorish sick –
I shall place werepe on every tongue.

I’ll drop some ratsbane on my tongue
Demosthenes
To bait the rodents with a kiss of death

I’ll seal their fate in tunnels dark and dank
As habitations of their hostages
Denied of air, denied of that same light
Their hands had cupped to immerse their world
I’ll drop some ratsbane on my tongue.

I’ll thrust all fingers down the throat
Demosthenes
To raise a spout of bile to drown the world.
It’s petrified, Demosthenes, mere forms,
Usurp the hearts we knew, mere rasps.
This stuttering does not become the world,
This tongue of millions fugitive from truth –
I’ll thrust all fingers down the throat.

I’ll let the hemlock pass
Demosthenes –
Oh, not between my lips – I’ve shared
Its thin dissolve in myriad throats
At one with that agnostic sage.
They did not stutter like the world they left –
And I know why –
Their lives were spent with heated pebbles
On their tongues, Demosthenes!

Wole Soyinka, was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, July 13 1934. Playwright, poet, novelist, critic, professor, lecturer, actor, translator, editor and political activist. In 1986 he became the first African writer and the first black writer in receiving the Nobel Prize of Literature. He attended the University of Ibadan, and the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom. During his stay in England, he was librettist, actor and director of The Royal Court Theater in London. In 1960 he founded the Theater Company Masks, with which he would present his first major dramatic work, A Dance of the Forests. In 1964 he founded the "Company of Theater Orisun". In the 60's, during the civil war in Nigeria he was imprisoned two years. A mixture of the African mythical world with the European cultural traditions, his work is inspired by the tribal traditions, such as the Yoruba, under western forms. Poetry books: Idanre and other poems, 1967; Poems from the prison, 1969; A Shuttle in the Crypt , 1972 and Ogun Abibiman, The long poem (Ogun Abibiman,) 1976. Among his novels, they stand out, The interpreters, 1965. Philosophical Works: The Inhabitants of the Swamp; The Strong Breed, 1963; The Road, 1965. Theatrical pieces: Death and the King´s Horseman, 1975; Kongi's Harvest, 1967; The Lion and the Jewel, 1964; The Trials of Brother Jero, 1964; The Bacchae of Euripides, 1973; Opera Wonyosi, 1977; A Play of Giants, 1985; and Requiem for a Futurologist, 1985.
Última actualización: 28/06/2018