Adeeko Ibukun

Noah’s Ark

The Menagerie by Melchior d’ Hondecoeter

I tell you.

                       It is this box like some bad furniture
.           Rickety with years. It is the world too. Mahogany mooning
At the center of the house and able to hold
         The bodies on the lives’ sea like the Noah’s Ark.

I tell you.

No world is ending, and this is what
.           Someone is saying to me
When I named it our ark and mean this place is our place, and
It will know you too, a paradise, a saving sail, you, my mother, my father,
My siblings, you, who brings in the flood saying all of
History is about journeys and loss and wars?

You, who says, no bird is released to test for the end of a rain
After the end of a world. No word means, I sail across the flood.

I am set to name what I see as my mother gives to me
This ark of mouths and words, as if listening across the world
Is our only duty. And she says to me, “this, too,
You must keep.”  You that is a song. But half a story is about the unsung,
And half the world means we can be lost too,
And the mouths and words are the eager guides like the bearings of all
Our animals in our little ark of the world set on our flood.

I tell you.

.                         This is how
.           We learn the stories, our memories growing
Into our ark like the wound in the light and I ask
.           My mother and all, what about the eyes with which
I can see the world in our light, our paradise, and name
.           What I see, you, my mother, my father,
My siblings, you, who says all feet grows into journeys
And a sight is only of use when we’re not gone,
You, who argued we are all only trying not to be lost,
Bearing with us our gifts of mouths and words.

But what is of home that isn’t constructed by words?
And where have we been that our mouth and words will not take us?
The world happening to us is memories and dream, and somewhere it only means
A rain is falling over us, and you that’s the flood, and it merely means
Our entire events after events leaving everything drenched.

Once, I ask you, who brings in the flood, you, my mother, my father, my siblings,
What is the gift of mouth and words, looking at our family picture.
Once, I am only taken by the silence wearing the robe of nights,
The crickets’ hum needling with the chorus workings of our clock’s
Insistence on its journeys. Once, I feel I can now hear through my ark’s little talks of
The mouths and words, saying, we are always trying to go across
With the oar of the long arm of seconds, paddling through our flood.

Still, there many ways to live through a story like a dream,
But still, I tell you.

                       I too own my world,
.           Our history not letting us off, and it means our animals eating
Through our prized box of memories, our home, our little rooms of secrets, our sea
.           Lifting off our little ark like lifting through our lights,

Our private paradise of each small space of laughter
At each family time at our dinner table, all the world that is our symbolic little Noah’s ark,
Each of our animals we feed, each mouth and word
Retelling our stories with every
Unique bite of ache.


About the Writer:
Adeeko Ibukun is an award-winning Nigerian poet. He was awarded the 2nd Prize in the Sentinel All-Africa Poetry Competition in 2012 and his poem, “A Room with a Drowning Book,” won the 2015 Babishai Niwe African Poetry Prize in Uganda. Ibukun was also a guest at the Lagos International Poetry Festival and Ake Arts and Book Festival in 2015. He lives and writes in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Image: The Menagerie by Melchior d’ Hondecoeter (1636-1695). Oil on paper. 53.1 x 45.6 inches. Circa 1690. Public domain.