Family Portrait: Following Routine
and a Sapper. You perfected your creations.
War's over and you are back from Burma; you're back home
fresh from the army! You shine and your portfolio
of outstanding military record rings loud and clear.
Proud to be veteran's son.
You show army discipline in your footsteps.
Here it is. They're buoyant and evocative,
and they crush rock under your feet -
rhythmic, harmonic, back and forth.
You're up bright n early.
You billow orders, 5 am usually,
and it rings loud and clear in ears
of those deep in their sleep, to herald
the household. Everyone arises to
respective duties. Back door's open now.
Ehh! Such a solid bolt on back door,
and it roars, smacks of your strength.
Truly, this bolt's symbolic of your
strength - iron clad!
Following routine we do house shores
I scrub dishes, Chukwuma older
and cleans the yard. Uhh, foul smell!
the new born twins, Onyisi (Peter) and
Ejime (Mathew) did it again, defecate as usual.
Time? 5 am. Sanitize! It's all clean again.
Chukwuma's off to Government School,
early. Your give him spending money
and I envy his status. But you buy
me sumptuous meal when I visit
you at work, and I appreciate it.
I meet your employees where you
write street signs. I greet them.
I sit at your desk where you
work - father's special desk and
I take a peak at your elegant penmanship.
You're foreman. I ride with you back home
in your Peugot car, full of flower.
Okorie's oldest and just finished
Cambridge secondary school exam.
Am 7 years old.
We learn 'Boys wanted. Boys wanted.
Boys of muscle, brain and power.
These are wanted every hour.'
5 am, and we're off to the farm, we carry fire
ember to light fire and roast and eat yam.
You're off to work early, 7 am and we
a stay busy, to give account when
you return. I miss you ...
I remember it like it was yesterday.
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This Poems Story
Speaker in this prose poem, passionately reminisces life as it was early in life in a particular cultural setting and we learn from him, the routine practices in a unique family life. He speaks in own dialect, from the standpoint of a boy of seven years old. Then, his father, fresh from engaging military combat at Burma in world war 2 adapts military culture and discipline to the upbringing of his children in his household. His sanitizing skills in the army which carries over to the grooming of the children is revealed by speaker in 'sanitizing when new born twins defecate' and in cleaning of dishes.
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