Read time: 1 mins

Before the forest was widowed

by Kunle Okesipe
19 May 2020

Before the forest was widowed,

And postcards allayed the death of the Javan tiger,

In the beginning were rhymes of fraternal rivers,

Arias of willow, savannah curated by sunshine.


Before the cooing of passenger pigeons

Became a truant on the playlist of the woodland,

Reading the forest like a love story was the gazelle

In stilettos of hoofs, the ibex unshaven,

Limelight of antlers, the quagga in a cape of striped damask,


Before the silent roof of methane, tantrums of oceans,

Reindeer beneath the snow, seals in a breaststroke of mercury,

Before digital lemurs ascended in 4-D perjured trees in an honest forest,

And nervous flowers rehearsed the flame of future fire.


Remember, too, the whisper of the Amazon leaves

The village auctioned for the purchase of oxygen tanks,

Elegies in frescos for Antarctica’s memory of ice.

Remember the dialect of the earth before the forest was widowed.




Image: ‘Struggle between Tiger and Bull’ by Henri Rousseau. Image sourceUS licence.

About the Author

Kunle Okesipe

Kunle Okesipe is a Nigerian poet and playwright whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Revolution Relaunch (TRR), The Tiger Moth and a number of anthologies. He has also won prizes for his plays.