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DO NOT FORSAKE US MOTHER

Peace mother,
Let the tempests quell,
Let the thunders cease,
We bring our tattered souls before you,
Rams, wine, yam, cocks and goats in hand,
We bring our naked souls before you,
That we may live,
We unworthy children.
We beg that you spare our lives as we leave,
Our ways are rotten.

We must face the strange lands in good fate,
Knowing we do not deserve life,
But do not forget us mother,
Do not forsake us in the strange lands,
As we stand naked before your shrine in supplication.

We walked naked in the market square
For seven days as penance,
Do not forget our humble entreaty;
The world have seen our nakedness,
Children laughed and made jest of us,
People threw pebbles,
Spit and dump refuse on us,
We are disdained,
Like people that ate yams with oil-palm made for the gods.

We cannot dwell among your people,
We are like lepers,
Our shame has separated us from the living,
We are exiled,
We are ashamed to be called your children
We are brothers and sisters,
That has defiled each others' nakedness.

We met in far-away land
Where men and gods drink from the same wine vessel,
Where freedom ruins humanity's standards
And morals are taught within four corner blocks.

We fell in love ignorant of our parents' past,
We are just casualties of a flawed and faulty parentage.
Not that we see our punishment unmerited,
Far be it we question the gods,
But as we face this exile forever in a strange land
Do not forsake us Mother.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
In West Africa, there are still some places where the traditional customs overrules the state's laws and constitutions. The setting of this poem is typical of the Ibibio people of Southern Nigeria where the punishment for incest is banishment. In this poem, the narrator is an incest culprit saying his last prayers and making the necessary sacrifices to the goddess (Atim Akpo Ebot) as he sets to be banished from the Ibibio nation forever. The narrator according to the poem slept with his sister although they had no fore-knowledge they were siblings as they happened to meet somewhere far away. According to the tradition, they had to go naked walking around the village market square for seven days for purification lest the gods strike them dead, then make sacrifices to appease the gods from harming the entire community before they are expelled from it forever.
Editing stage: 

Comments

again you have offered me, the reader, the background of a traditional tale, and then taken it and built a very strong narrative. It takes the stance of a Greek play, but with a different offering...perhaps that is the African in you.
For a young poet you have found a great source for a first collection. The only small additions I might suggest is to add a little more landscape of the uniqueness of Africa- how people dress, how the marketplace has its own unique flavors, smells, things only you could know.

I might consider also not telling us so directly, as we know from the introduction of this aspect:

Mother we did not know,
We did not know we were siblings;

and

We fell in love ignorant of our parents' past

Lastly, and just a thought...I would consider a "moral" or ending to close the narrative, a moral purpose.....the consequences of being exiled.
This requires some thought and gut reaction, to give the poem a universal..for example, the result of their exile might be slavery.

But otherwise, you are on to something in these poems. You have a way of getting the reader engaged with fierce and charged words.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

The clash of cultures is euphemistically called 'multi-culturalism' but more often causes violence, intolerance alienation and personal loss of identity.

I have started reading your works from the beginning because I owe it to you to experience your power and skill in poetry.

Also we have had a couple of little tiffs about the structure of workshops. Please bear with me on this as until we find a better way this is the best structure we have come up with in 10 years.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Managing Directors, with Richard (themoonman)

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