Where Intelligence Meets News Analysis.

African Poetry Series #3

Today is a national day of Thanksgiving in the United States–a tradition which historically has religious and cultural roots. For this, I thought it would be apt to hear some thanksgiving from the motherland.  The poem below is indeed an Ibo traditional poem, and as such, does not belong to any single poet. “This poem, from igboland, is a personal prayer for protection against all forces of evil which might destroy the supplicant.”  But first, like the Lord’s prayer, it starts out by giving thanks–which is what this day is all about.


My God and Ancestors


My God and ancestors,

I thank you

For letting me see this day;

May I continue to see more

Till my hair becomes white;

May the hoe never cut my feet;

Protect me and my household

From evil men and spirits;

I wish no man evil,

But if anyone says I’ve lived too long,

Let him go before me to see

What it is like in the land of the dead;

The man who holds on to ọwhọ

Cannot get lost in his journey.


**ọwhọ  – a sacred staff which symbolizes righteousness and so protects its owner.

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