purple robes adorn our bodies
as oozes of stench from decaying
limbs signal turbulence.
we wine and dine in this room
where cadavers are laid like logs,
pulling the strings of our hearts.
we do not see cadavers but paintings
on the wrong canvas.
the land is green, but its dreams are deferred
till her civil war victims are canonized on the
altar of many truths.
make no haste to play dirges
for these fallen brothers.
it is not yet night in that land
where roses are rags.
here, we wear purple robes and make merry,
awaiting ghosts to send battle flames.
tell me, o merry king,
what now do we do to this
land that thirsts for nothing
but bloods of her offspring?
wait, you said to me;
how am I supposed to hear the
land asking for blood?
do lands suck bloods like vampires?
what manner of earth eats anything
more than roots of plants and carcasses?
you should know better, you said.
those words became stones,
hitting my eyes till I saw a flag,
flying at half-mast.
truth be told, my lord
these robes in their resplendence
are no true pictures.
the mirrors in this household
wear masks and show shadows
where bloods are shed.
the troubadours in this household
sing sweet lullaby when the land
is on its toes, racing away from its
wait, you said to me;
there is light in every darkness,
and darkness in every light.
haven’t sleep denied us?
haven’t our ears heard enough
to make these lights dim?
how then do we dance to the rhythm
of bullet symphonies in these purple robes?
these robes are heavy. yet, we wear them.
we wear purple robes
sleeping with an eye,
and sending the other to
guard at the gates.
whose life is costlier than
these spilt bloods?
these robes are costly, but a drop
of blood is costlier.
even so, we wear purple robes and
measure our heartbeats after each blast.
here, everyday is our death day.
yet, we wear purple robes.
like brides, our faces are veiled
in these carpeted corridors.
when night shall come at midday,
our veils shall be opened to behold
the true celebrants toasting with the
bloods of compatriots again and again.
then, we shall pass judgments on these purple robes.
Echezonachukwu Nduka is a Nigerian musicologist who writes poetry, fiction, essays and journal articles. He was the Bronze Prize Winner of the 4th Korea-Nigeria Poetry Feast. He was listed by The Kalahari Review as the most read poet in 2013 for his poem, ‘My Homeland’. His works have appeared in Sentinel Nigeria, NigeriansTalk Literary Magazine, The New Black Magazine, Saraba Magazine, The Kalahari Review, Black Communion African Poetry Anthology, Korea-Nigeria Cross Cultural Poetry Anthology, Sun, etc. He currently lectures at the Department of Music in Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Nigeria.