Zaftig as a Stockholm summer,
the revenant of the strolls remain.
And a short street sometimes sings
of long rivers and bulletproof coffee.
Walk up the street and there, beyond the glass reflections,
is the 7-Eleven, a blonde lady from Uppsala and her pert Pekingese.
Walk down and watch Tranströmer levitate
through aromas from Thailand and Bellagio,
so many spices in the air and none from home –
except that a moving party of the Nordic young
is dancing from their hearts to Afrobeats!
Today in history, the talk of the street (whispered)
is of a circus come to town
with its bloat of hippos, a cantankerous zebra,
and bears from the vanished Arctic.
The other talk is of the future
for who could have predicted snow
falling a full foot thick in autumn
or a summer twice as warm as milk?
And what is the future if nothing
from the past remains? What are journeys anywhere
if no streets keep the rhythms of our steps?
There amidst the burden of the rafters,
in the lattice-work of history, is the shade of Albion
tossed now to truth and then to a dream
of small islands. There is a book of deeds
and reckoning open, a long list of names
futile as the Falklands and the Malvinas.
Destiny is a fork in the road, a path turning
into other paths returning the tired spirit
of crusaders to their hearths in the homeland.
Where is the love promised the knight after conquest?
Where is the rest assured the diligent seeker
in the quest for what is now at hand? Albion
knows but breathes as one with the silence.
Tade Ipadeola is a Nigerian Lawyer and poet who has three published volumes of poetry – A Time of Signs (2000), The Rain Fardel (2005) and The Sahara Testaments (2013) to his credit. He also has other notable works such as translations of poems of W.H Auden and Tomas Transtromer into Yoruba. He has also translated Daniel Fagunwa into English. He has published many short stories and essays. In 2009, he won the Delphic Laurel in poetry with his poem ‘Songbird’, in Jeju, South Korea. His third volume of poetry, The Sahara Testaments – a sequence of quatrains on the Sahara – won the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2013. He was chosen by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 12 artists, scholars and leaders from around the world to be Residents at the Bellagio Centre in 2015.