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Caged Birds: A Poem In Defense Of Press Freedom By Emmanuel Ayoola Babalola

March 30, 2020



The titans that chameleon into vultures 

Break your beaks upon our mountainous natures 

How swift the ticking robber lurks 

Around your redwoods, and peddlings quirk

Why must the parrot cease to air

The pristine courage, the mother of fear?

The crowns that wear the bench’s sole

Seek not to mend our transducer soul

The sleuth bearer of unseen contents

How long will the papers taste of torments?

The frizzling cords choke the white lungs

And the black flesh are stabbed by dumb prongs


The thrones that quizzed our three days personage

To beguile us into a haunting sacrilege

That we might say the cup should pass o’er us

For fetching the Hippocrene for our legal verse

Arrest our noble labour into the glasshouse scheme

Why this blaring over unknown, innocent victims?


The knells that silence broken voices

In wanton tolls from sceptered places

Infringe our deific stereo tutelage

Against some stainless snatchers of that privilege

Teacher, show us the labyrinth away

From the ambush of imperious stay.


Shush! We are seated at Alphabeta

Like a new pupil. Sister

Cosset us to learn this little rhyme

And absorb the simple lilting line

Composed in the smearing synagogue

Of shrewd and holy pedagogues


We are the Hermeses of grief

Stuck in strict letters brief

We are like the homeless orphans

Free slaves of waiting golden bars

Fear is the ink in our deaf pen

Talking like the Agidigbo drum, five scores and ten.


Ye heads that through our suffering lie

On your mourning cosy couch by and by

Your ménage leaned by the tyrant’s folded arms

Deploy your strongest thoughts against lifeless harms

Tutor your tongues lightly lightly to tell

The o’erlord, “Thou must quench the raging hell”.


Employ thy connate will to useful toil

Thou ought not short thy power to savage council foil

Untame your speech amid inventors of forlorn stories

Brace us, cosmic forces and timid houses

Upon an honest man’s fortune. Awake

Into the morn that shapes your restless stake.


Have you heard the sounding timbrel?

She is a dumb folk among her kindred

Will the lyricist sing without his lyre

If not to put this friend on a wise trial?

Our priests you fly your preying kite

Will you hear us sing in that silent night?


Break thy scythe, ye untamed beasts

Tear your predatory nets like wasted sheets

Ye ageless hunters of Bitter tongues

Go chide, with your gothic songs

Break thy scythe, let the tulip grow

Keep those claws, for the cock will crow.


Emmanuel Ayoola Babalola is a Nigerian Campus Journalist, Essayist and Political observer. 

[email protected]