Thursday, July 30, 2009


ọsanyin
african tankas

bring the calabash,
ubiquitous forest womb.
inseminate it
with tortoise feet, head & heart
& essence of turtledove.

behold, the life charge.
the fructifying spirit
sings; quickens the gourd.
add vines, amansa guapo,
wakibanga & sapo,

eyes & tongue of cock,
seven human teeth, jawbone
of a goat, a piece
of bone from a lonely grave,
its owner’s name on parchment,

dirt from the gravesite,
seven dimes, seven live ants,
seven mate seeds,
eight aguardiente drams,
& bury in an ant hill.

in twenty-one days
one will come; a slender one
with a pointed tail.
one versed in the use of roots,
who moves as if he would fall.

a one armed wizard,
a one-legged sorcerer
born with his magic
who speaks in the tongue of plants;
who heals in the name of plants.

baba osanyin
the personification
of healing power,
the owner of the forest,
awo òrìşà l’ode

© Joseph McNair; 2009

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