A Soiree for Soyinka (for Kongi @ 88)

By Iboro Otongaran

A time had come for dance and pithy songs
And also for a moment to clear the forest
In a feast for a man whose theatre sparkles
With dance and drums, and casts a timeless
If enigmatic look on life, leaving critics with
Eternity of work to ensure him immortality
In endless search for meaning from a pen
Whose verses paint a canvas of life foibles
Plus other genres of brilliance and ecstasy

So devotees gathered and also those drawn
By a name they admire but find forbidding
Dense beyond reach yet tantalizing by fame
The gathering was a big promise, thanks to
The Club that choreographed imagination
Of feast, Soyinkan theatre and illumination
For a weekend of escape and education
This was the pull for all, especially those
Hungry to slake their accustomed taste
On the vintage cuisine of the genius’s oeuvre
And wanted to sip from his fabled palm wine
And more so for new minds whose hearts
Pulsated with a quest for a break to pry open
The much-lamented armoured door that bars
Them from the much touted literary brew
From the peerless pride of the Black race

Nothing speaks better than outcome, they say
The evening looked the part, did it taste the part?
Yes, there was theatre filled with songs and dance
Worthy of Soyinka’s art in cadences that dripped
With history and language arresting in delivery
And raw to the feel, but was the forest cleared
Of tangled foliage to let in light for clear sight?
Did we open the door to admit the young people
Out at Watbridge, thirsty and eager that evening
To grab at any hint leading finally to the Holy Grail?

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