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Waltz Beyond the Veil | Obongofon Etuk

Waltz Beyond the Veil | Obongofon Etuk

Watlz Beyond the Veil by Obonofon Etuk

By  Obongofon Etuk

(In Memory of Enobong Ibanga Inyang)

I can’t begin with anything endearing,

In the land where the sun sets ablaze.

To you my good sir, my lady or whatever you be,

This dirge shall flow with the rhythm of drums,

And with the whistling of the wind and the pounding of feet,

Melancholy will sway the mourners’ hearts.


But I am not to cry,

I, Odogwu no be pikin.


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be. 

I know you as a body, now becoming a ghost.

Though your body fades and turns to dust,

Tomorrow, we’ll find you in the bustling market,

As the sun retires, you’ll cross the village path,

To the hunters’ nest, your soul shall hide.


Odogwu dey see things,

Odogwu no fit fear.


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be, 

I pray, whisper to me the tale of that narrow sea.

Where you’ve crossed is a Bermuda, and you have been lost in a crowd of souls.

In this funeral ground, we’ve searched for hope in despair,

Your name may be found amidst our wails,

Or within the whispers of the talking drum’s flair.


But I cannot sail with you,

Odogwu no fit kill himself.


My good sir, my lady, whatever you be. Ewo!

I feign a stronghold, layered on the fragility of my frame. 

Pain is the stool I sit upon,

Remembering you, my soul grows meek.

Why do people die? I ponder on.

My thoughts are not mine to guard.


Odogwu dey disguise,

Odogwu sef dey see shege.


I remember a friend I once loved,

He was a soothing friend and brew in himself a potion of talents.

My soft friend was too tender to swim across death’s tide.

He drowned in the tide you so sailed upon.

Odogwu now cries, facing his plight,

My dear friend lost, oh, how he did die.


Odogwu says, “this life na scam.”

Odogwu too dey feel pain.


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be.

The sun shall no more grace your head,

Nor hear your wives nag over your meagre pay,

Nor your husbands with young girls misled,

But enemies gloat amidst the mourners’ display.

You have failed, they have won.


Again, Odogwu dey see things,

Odogwu dey hear things.


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be.

A fierce king most truly knows,

Amidst the cacophonous glamour of his pals,

He must keep his friends close by,

And his enemies firmly tucked in a casket.

A fierce king must know his friends from his foes.

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Odogwu should not be fooled,

Odogwu no fit be maga.


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be.

As I tango to the wailing dirge, I know you’ll tango with me.

One for the road, a farewell grand,

For if the tears burned by this sorrowful throng,

Hold no power, then dance to the underworld’s band.

Hell must grant this one.


Ekpo too should know how to dance,

Ekpo sef fit be Odogwu


My good sir, my lady or whatever you be.

If you will be Ekpo, join us with your goodies and mirth.

Appear happy, but not with hell’s dark friend.

Remember my tender friend and bring him hence with you.

His laughter still echoes, his spirit won’t bend.

For one last time, my tender friend shall smile again.


Sacoza, I no fit forget your name.

Odogwu wan see you again.


I now end with all things endearing,

To you my good sir, my lady or whatever you be.

Your memory must not rot within me.

To save you from hell, my soul is caring,

At this funeral, tears and prayers shall be.

I’ll seek your trace, “What is dead may not truly be dead.”


Odogwu seeks Ekpo, in the eternal embrace,

As spirits dance and laughter finds its way.

Obongofon Etuk is published in Brittle Paper amongst others.

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