Thursday, July 9, 2009

iyami aje (15)

iyami àjẹ

iyami’s deep primordial waters received with
gurgling delight the golden sand &
baobab root from
oriş’nla’s shell. endured with
muscle-rippling pleasure,
the exquisite scratching
of a purposeful five-toed hen
placed on sand &
root to create something solid; a lush
venerated land, a place of dispersion & a fresh

new matrix for the coming forth of òrìşà, ile-ifẹ,
a holy city,
born of a chicken’s natural claw.

iyami, whose mountainous breasts rock, whose
buttocks roll, who walks her walk with
leisurely gait,
received with secret amusement,
olorun’s special gift –
the exotic bird in a covered
calabash – a parrot adorned
with showy red
tailfeathers, whose cry sounds out its name –

an àşẹ blending power without guilt with love
without doubt;
that creates & destroys, that harms
& heals, balances &
completes pairs; acts against
the arrogance & negligence of men.

who is iyami but she who maintains & treasures
the secret
of life, who shifts the preponderant
scales of the world to
balance; the miracle which
brings forth life & the force that
constrains it. our
mother who eats; our mother who balances,

who punishes those who break her laws.

iyami, full of seeds & hopes to grow. whose vulva
is the sacred
& divine & must be celebrated. yemọja,
iyami’s oldest aspect,
danced her swirling, kinetic
dance, a red feather & wooden images
balanced on
her head, metal anklets on her feet – it was the dance

of àjẹ. she made ẹbọ with mashed corn, ègbo, on clay
dishes &
conceived while dancing, ẹfẹ who rules the
evening, the mischievous
masker & fat fleet-footed
gẹlẹdẹ in the afternoon. with dance, ẹbọ
& progeny,
iyami honored the mothers.

as sweet ọşun, iyami champions women & protects
the mothers.
another gateway to the àjẹ, osun is thrice
effective as salt & grows
long arms & hands for dancing.
osun who carries iyami’s àşẹ; who
danced down to the
village of women to do what şango could not do;

what ògún could not do; what obaluaiye could not do –
defeat the
mothers. with a cock & pigeon, cowries &
calabash & a skein of thread,
she made ẹbọ; she made
the mothers dance & bound them to their
gave them the power to make kings since no man could

defeat them.

& as ọya of the terrible face, iyami, who has water in
the house but
washes her face with blood spoke the oro,
words of power, that unleashed
the turbulent transform-
ative power that elevated şango into an òrìşà &
oro to àjẹ, that feminine force that gave the word the
strength to
effect change. present at the moment of
death, she calls forth iku, the
stealer of breath, & opens
the doors to the ancestral realms; mother of
she parleys with ancestral mothers, iyami-who-is-ọya,
vagina one can never approach.

we praise u, iyami-who-is-iya moopo, & we fear u,
totemic feminine
trinity, most ancient of earth mothers,
the pillar that holds up heaven,
the sacred vortex igniting
all life. u are iyemowo, the fiber of purity,
who like an
umbilical connects all life. u are iya loode, mother of outer

spaces & nana buruku, mother of şọnpònná, who binds all
species &
ecosystems together.

i hear u in the night birds’ call; when i am on the street
or at the
crossroads at hours when no one should be there,
when the afefe wind
blows badly sending before it echoes
whose talons rend the night,
drawing forth like blood
a fear that one can neither see nor hear. i know
to lay
myself defenselessly down & rub my body raw with
pepper; that i am safe for the night, but still,
when in the presence of
this feminine, this iyami,
i am sore afraid.

© Joseph McNair; 2009