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Lines Written in Blood
Written by John Stratford   
Sunday, 21 October 2012 15:39


For that which the Maker gave them
In his infinite mercy and wisdom
They were mown down like a pack of wild dogs
For their oil, their blood flowed
Black stream, red stream
Side by side, in a marriage of doom
God gave them oil, but
Man gave them death.

Bleak clouds darken the horizon
In this vale of gloom -
The fields are scorched and burnt out
Like a spent shell
The cries of the people in a stormy crescendo
Waft to the high heavens
Bemoaning their sad lot
Acid rain, polluted rivers, wasted aqua-life
Bleached vegetation, livestock gone, livelihood lost
Weeping trees, putrid bloated carcasses of wildlife
Spectres of Hiroshima and The shadow of death
Hang heavily over this valley of tears.

Like the isle of the dead
Charred, sad and desolate
The mournful wind moans from the sea
Sounds its dirge o'er the barren land
The ancestral spirits are all abroad
Screeching, shrieking and wailing in agony
For lost innocence, for brutal rape.

I looked at an Ogoni tree
Once full of life
Now a tree no more
But a withered husk.

I beheld a gory sight
Lying in gnarled repose
Was the body of a young man spouting blood in torrents like the body of Banquo
From diverse bullet holes.

A demented Hitler,
Hatchet man for a blood-thirsty cabal
Of oil Chiefs and Government agents
In command of vagabond troops
Took credit for the slaughter.

Beating his military chest in glee
And grinning like a maniac
With his blood-stained boot
Resting comfortably on the hapless
Body of an Ogoni Youth
Slain at the threshold of his life
He surveyed the bloodied scene of his mayhem
The terrain littered
With the bodies of Ogonis
Like a scene from the Iliad or Waterloo.

This Great warrior, conqueror of unarmed
Women, old men and suckling babes
Boasts of his exploits in a loud voice -
This Hannibal of our times, Great Tyranno
So clever, so vast in military tactics
He knows two hundred and twenty-one ways
Of dispatching old men and children
To the shores of Hades
This ordained apostle of butchery
And inspired murderer
Derives his kicks
From the death throes of the defenceless.

The Robber-Barons, iniquitous cabal
Of oil Chiefs and Government agents
Partners in infamy and iniquity
Bloated and padded with superfluous flesh
Dance dizzily to the strains
Of Wagner's "Twilight of the Gods"
In a celebration of the orgy of death*
Wearing their shinning tuxedos
And their shinning faces
Gobbling Caviar and Pizza
Swilling champagne red wine and cognac
They toast the health of the demented Hitler
For ridding the land of vermin
The red wine flowed in their glasses
Whilst the blood of the Ogoni flowed in the fields.

And a voice was heard in the wilderness
Against their bullets and guns;
He brandished his pen and his voice -
For daring to cry to the World for justice and redress
To Golgotha he was led
Like a sheep for sacrifice.

Georffrey Amaghereonu
Lagos, Nigeria.
(Requiem for Ken Saro-Wiwa)