C'est Grande Monde

Okwudili Nebeolisa


Madagascar was pulling out of Africa,
clumps of calcified ground ferried on water,
following the windward trail that produces
another year, row upon row of harbours.
Even to the man walking by the beach
his steps weren’t his own. The seed-bearing plant
we saw today died in the afternoon heat.
Come upon classified ground: out of bounds.
Light, for the first instant, was born to us
and it came in its fullest intensity,
went through and shattered a thick pane of glass —
the seas moving on symbolical grace.
C’est grande monde, splay your biotic splendour
to this exclusive heavenly expanse.

O smoke from our refinery town,
six years our blackened lungs have been
sealed with oil, the music old women sang
with croaking voices, clapped with blistered palms.
How did we all suddenly recognise
how divided we had been all this while?
The moment waters started parting to found
new alluvial lands. A limp fly leaping
from light to light in its scene of crime.
The Anthropocene, even the badgers
were reported to have fled this epoch
for they could no longer perceive the mould
in the fresh damp leaves strewn in the forest.

Ships aboard the Atlantic, ships full
of consignments expected to arrive
the following week but nothing arrived.
People excavated graves and didn’t
even find the coffins they buried
with their own hands. It was the age of light.
One man had witnessed a thousand inventions,
another had recorded a thousand deaths
since the city was founded during the gold rush.
C’ est grande monde, offer your offspring reward —
swine heading for the sty, their snout in the ground.

Okwudili Nebeolisa

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