The Bombs do not Snub ~ Bayo Aderoju

Our history pants hopelessly

Under the burden of our complacency 

Like an old palm-wine tapper with a huge gourd

Balanced upon his crooked, creaking back. 

Our time, tired of regrets 

Spread around its sodden sands for too long, 

Has turned a rooster with a penetrating crow–

Deafening like the sounds of the trumpets of rapture,

Or rupture–so it can wake its emissaries lost in deep slumber

And ask whether it’s becoming to be aloof

In the face of deprivations and the attendant brewing rage.

 Or to say let’s withdraw into our ideal selves

Like a snail into its shell, 

Snub, and leave the smeary polity to the scoundrels

Or yield the soul of the land sheepishly,

Like a fool does his accidental wealth,                             

To the audacious megalomaniacs

And their perverse absolute indoctrinations 

This time has turned,

Into a rooster with a deafening crow;

Summoned a whirlwind to help it soar like an eagle,

Entreated companions from Cairo, Galkayo, 

Tripoli, Maiduguri; and the wild ones in Sambisa, 

In the banks of the Nile, Congo, 

The fast-shrinking Chad and Tangayika 

To perch atop the Jericho-walls barricading your cocoons 

And to rain barbaric crows torrentially, 

Because of the agonies exacerbating 

Like un-minded cancerous tumors; 

Because the bombs tied to the malnourished body of Aminatu, 

A twelve-year-old mother who has never been to school,

Cannot distinguish a saint from a scoundrel 

Because the ticking bombs 

Hidden beneath the comfy thrones 

Do not snub, 

Nor tell who’s upright from who’s mendacious.


The poem was inspired by the speech delivered by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during the 2018 edition of Ake Books Festival.

Bayo Aderoju is a writer resident in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a first class B.A. in English. His works appear in Praxis Magazine, Spillwords, Kalahari Review, Ngiga Review, Sub-Saharan Magazine, and forthcoming in The Shallow Tales Review. You can find him on Twitter @bayo_aderoju and Facebook @Bayo Aderoju.

Photo Credit: Photo by Travis Rupert from Pexels

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