Fancies from Infancy

Memories from my childhood had often lingered in my mind. However, I was inspired to write them down following a comment made by a colleague that i was a village boy. Then i began to recount all the beautiful scenaries of the village, the simple games we played growing up to entaintaint, the wonderful natural foods, fruits and snacks we enjoyed and then i realised how much she missed by not being a village girl.

Fancies from Infancy

And she told me, you are a village boy

And I replied, yes I am, a proud one at that

How I wish you had an idea, the beauty in being a village boy

How I wish you ever saw the ground swell with seeds of weed

After the blessing-laden rain on Holy Thursday in Nandom
And the farmers in Goziiri look on with hope for the next rain

As if farming were a hobby, denied them by drought

How I wish you knew a straw mat, woven from the thin end of the guinea corn stalk

Or knew the soundness of ever sleeping on it

Waking to the beauty of those beautiful straw marks contouring your body

How I wish you ever made for yourself a grass hat to shield you from the summer heat

Or ‘drove’ in that toy car when sent to fetch the glittering baobab leaves

Cars made not from empty tins of canned foods as you did in the city

But from the fleshy straw of guinea corn

And return to gulp a calabash of cold water

From the clay pot under the mud roof of that cool room

Or slept on the roof top, enjoying nature’s ceiling fan when the sun laid itself to rest

How I wish you ever played football in the mounds

Football made not of plastic or leather but from rounded gourds and socks bloated with rags

How I wish you ever woke up to the call of caring mum

Come enjoy the ‘guinea corn malt laced unfermented pito’ on a Friday morning

Or if you ever had to sieve the malt away to enjoy the tasty brew

Wish you ever enjoyed the saccharine savour of the shea fruit

Fruits not ripened on the tree, nor with chemicals

But buried in the soil or covered in ashes, with friends for 2days and 2nights

Each friend trusting the other, not to sneak to take them out and consume uncaught

How I wish you ever tethered goats

Or got drenched by rain, after going too late to untether them as the rain was imminent

How I wish you ever followed cattle to graze

Or enjoyed the tantalising taste of corn, roasted from the embers of wild dry sticks

Fire made from stones and cotton

Then you would appreciate the powerful little gifts of nature on which we survived

Then today you wouldn’t drive past the beautiful farms

And exclaim at the sight of the fresh flourish of a growing rice field

Not recognising the scarecrows, the sling, nor the catapults we made,

To drive the birds away and to hunt also, the lizards

Birds to return to their abodes on the trees, where they chirp melodiously to entertain us

Wish you ever played music on the xylophone

Or danced to music from it, even matched to class from the music of the xylophone

And sang dirges of wisdom, to match the music from the xylophone, to escort the dead home

Wish you ever gleaned for groundnuts from a field after harvest

Whilst searching for cow dung, to be used to trap termites

For the truly home-reared chicks and little guinea fowls hatched from the same hen

And not from an incubator         

Though your cheeks are fattened from consuming fried rice and chicken with such relish

Which can’t compare with my TZ and soup, made from pumpkin, kenaf leaves and groundnuts

Or my lunch of mashed dawadawa powder with a droplet of salt

If only you knew the beauty of life in the village

You’d asked to be born a second time

And fast and pray to be located in the holy village of Goziiri

For to be raised up in the village, is to be upraised to appreciate life

Fancies from Infancy

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