Nigerian Nocturne


Below corrugated iron sheets
The cement-mixer sleeps
Like some futurist rhinoceros
Or prehistoric tank. Moon’s
An amulet time has thumbed
Into a kind of face. One blink
And it might become an eerie drum
Whose beat is silence. Still
The near beyond pulsates
With fiddle-legged crickets,
Bullfrogs’ comic bass
Now sleeplessly I ponder
How to define these colours
For which day has not yet
Found a name – horizon bars,
The shadowy gape of nim trees
As stars take up position
Behind hump-backed clouds,
O sights and sounds lasting
Far into the morrow,
My head an attic cluttered
With phrasal jetsam,
Mirrors turning dusty,
Furniture that does not
  quite fit...


Dark, then, be my umbrella
Shelter me with your coolness
which is the loom
of hills distilled Solitude

Don’t worry yourself so
You’re doing fine here
where frangipani
close their eyes awhile

and everything’s drowsy
with the scent of trees
From verandah to sky then back
Night goes bush

(Kaduna, Northern Nigeria)

Martin Bennett | Mudlark No. 12
Contents | Arabia Deserta (Riyadh to Al-Kharj Road)