No Admittance


By Tanure Ojaide


In Urhobo Language In English Language



Mi kue ibosu vwiyo-o 
mi kue ukpebo vwiyo-o.
Ane me rue ogua r’Egba-a.
Mevwe orharha.         
Agba je dje idimarha   
ne evu r’ogua r’adjene.
Odie iyeri eje              
ariri mue-e.     
Ohwunu de she,
odie efoke r’arirhiri-i.  
Ona vaye abo.            
Ukpe avwe ame ke vwe da,
aya jovwo k’idimarha vwo ho.  
Obo re se ohwo okpo
v’obo re rhovwo ohwo
die ovuovo-o.             
Ne obara ve ofigbo so.
"Akpo wene"              
ode omo r’omiovwon.
Brabo obo ase ke vwe
rhuere rhoma si vwe?  
Ire sie ero nu              
cha be ero kue avware.
Akpo okokodo,         
amre oto roye-e.         
Me ya sheri    
ogiribo ki hwe vwe-e.  

I wear neither the red, nor
the white uniform of sectarians.
I am forbidden from Egba's shrine.
I am the stranger.
Let them also keep away the larvae
from the medicine-man's shrine.
Not every fish
can be caught with a net.
When a gun explodes,
fear not for the tortoise.
This one has eluded them.
Instead of giving me water to drink,
they left it for larvae to swim.
What irritates you
and what bites you
aren't the same.
Think of blood and palm oil.
"Life changes,"
elders impress on all.
How many times what I am denied
turns out to save me?
Those we have ignored
turn out to laugh at us.
Life is so deep,
its end cannot be seen.
I didn't go far
before a thunderstorm soaked me.


Tanure Ojaide

Charlotte, NC

March 29, 2004