(On Reading Niyi Osundare’s

“Blues for the New Senate King”)


“Power is something of which I am 

convinced there is no innocence 

this side of the womb.”


                                      – Nadine Gordimer


The wise Muse must know her place

Or risk a whipping by disgrace.

Why lend a voice to a jaundiced claim

And set one’s name on the path of shame?


We know that power, in full undress,

Does not resemble holiness.

They read our sordid world amiss

Who see it nude and think it does;

Or it’s that the eye that sees

Portrays its vision at a loss.


The credo of power, even for a brother,

Is one bad turn deserves another.

Its lust can take a rival’s head

Or leave them worse than living-dead.


If in doubt, go ask his soul

Which yet may lay immersed in dole;

I mean that kindly Williams’s son

Whose given name begins with F.

Or ask Cicero who was head

And lord of justice in our land;

Or ask the nine who, in their ken,

The sword was seen to trump the pen:

The fated souls The Goggled One

Noosed out on that cheerless dawn;

Or ask that hefty Izon lord

Laid low by power in fierce discord;

Or that hulk who kept the law,

Who rode a bull and felt its gore,


And fell down bleeding from his side,

Wounded from his power ride;

Or ask that one whose bank of dough

Has lain prone from power’s blow

Years after the villain struck

With a fist as hard as rock.

And all their tongues will testify

That the Muse I speak for does not lie.

Ikeogu Oke

Power is such an evil chef

That cooks to have his rivals dead;

And yet he serves them with a smile

His very dish that’ll bring their end.


In all our land his scions abound.

Why pretend it’s just one man?


Ikeogu Oke

July 12, 2015

Email: [email protected]

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