Poetry by Favour Orlando
When the umbilical cords that attached us to our mothers were excised,
The crafted words of our people, of our land, defined us,
Not the high-pitched voice of colonialism,
Or its firm iron fist pressed on our rigid backs
While we laboured under the vibrant sun.
This black fountain on our heads, like a bird’s nest
Were what defined us—our glory.
Our black, black skin, like the earth’s
Were what defined us—our uniqueness—
These features told our story.
We knew not of chocolate, light or dark brown;
It was the harsh hands of colonialism that had sprinkled blindness into our eyes,
Taking the lighter skin from the fields
And they became kings and queens to us,
While the darker skin with no struggle became like the night.
We had let this blindness settle into our land and our unborn children,
So even after we drank of our liberation and twirled,
We were already like north is to south
A diaspora of Africans,
Like dust in all continents
Where our brother says I am European, American, I am of the Pacific—
Society made us forget the one root that had birthed us.
Sound this red gong to our children at home
And to our children in foreign lands
Where their black skins are the definition of thrash
And they seek recognition like food
So their ears come running to listen.
Tell them of our history before the divergent of our people
So they do not wear masks only to belong.
Tell them of black Africa and how she fears not the roasting sun
So they know of her true beauty.
Tell them difficulties thrive everywhere, even amongst our own
So they seek triumph and peace and do not despise one another.
Teach them, Africans or blacks; they too can grow green miracles where their seeds fall,
And can also watch the future rubs its tummy pregnant with their harvest.
Teach them no race or colour can truly define them
And remind them they were first fierce warriors.
Favour Orlando is an award-winning Nigerian creative writer and microbiologist. Her work “Our Dear Earth”, a children’s poem, has been published by writers Space Africa
Originally published December 20, 2023