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Harmattan

posted Dec 5, 2014, 1:50 AM by Ranmini Perera   [ updated Sep 22, 2019, 12:23 PM by Upali Salpadoru ]
Harmattan is a season from November to March in countries such as Nigeria. It is a strong cool, yet extremely dry wind that is laden with fine sand and dust collected from Sahara Desert that characterizes the season. How it affects the environment of Nigeria is described in this poem which was written in 1983.

1. The fronds of tall palm trees

    Swayed in the gentle breeze;

    An elegant teak, dropped

    The coppery leaves

    Making patterns on parched fields.

 

2. We hailed a flock of white feathers.

    Where only the  brown vulture hovered.

    Nava u! It’s a good omen.

   Isn’t white better than brown?”

 

3. Speeding Peugeot on a laterite road

    Raised a cloud of dusty smoke.

    Grass cutter , the large ground rat

    Scampered across the vacant field.

 

4. Suddenly the door clanged

    And the windows creaked

    The zinc roof screamed,

   “Beware. we are Igala .”

 

5. The Fulani getting the message

    Packed the pots and pans

    On to their cattle caravan

    Trudged towards Niger

    In search of pastures greener.

 

6. The tall elephant grass

    Sounded an ensemble in brass

    The fields of yam and corn

    Lay tattered and torn.

 

7. Thin lipped Fulani maids

    Brought no butter and ghee

    Dark lassie, with a bosom efflorescent

    Sold no oranges, seedless and sweeet.

 

8. Cracked soles permit no tracking,

    Chapped lips prevent tasting.

    So we merely gulp down

    Pounded yam and pepper soup.

   A crime committed in ancient antiquity

    Could only have caused such a calamity”.

 

9. Mikania  blossomed, laying a funeral sheet

     A naked tree, displayed a crimson wreath

     Never creek nor a croak

     Was heard from a cricket or a toad.

     The setting sun in a red glow

     Kindled the pyre below.

 

10. The fire blazed, razed over land and field,

      Climbed the palms, reaching the sky.

       A vulture dived into the smoke;

      An act of devotion or to get a roasting snake.

 

11. The roaring flames danced through the night;

       Whilst the friendly spirits

       Seeped through the thatch

       Marking the Igala babes, with a trident patch.

 

12. Over the misty mounds

       The sun came up in the morn

       Seeing the ravage through the embers.

       Summoned help from the wintry lands

       Then blew the ‘Harmattan’

       Throwing dust on the worriers of the Igala clan.

 

13. “Khai ! This Harmattan

        I can no longer stand”

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