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Their Idiot Song

These fellows, the old pagan
said, surely are out of their mind-
that old proudly impervious
derelict skirted long ago by floodwaters
of salvation: Behold the great
and gory handiwork of Death displayed
for all on dazzling sheets this
hour of day its twin nostrils
plugged firmly with stoppers of wool
and they ask of him: Where
is thy sting?
Sing on, good fellows, sing
on! Someday when it is you
he decks out on his great
iron bed with cotton wool
for your breath, his massing odors
mocking your pitiful makeshift defenses
of face powder and township ladies' lascivious
scent, these others roaming
yet his roomy chicken coop will
be singing and asking still
but YOU by then
no longer will be
in doubt!

Written by Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)


Mr. Africa Poetry Lounge