Augustine C. OhanweThursday, November 1, 2012




n the animal kingdom
there exits no legal setting
where the weak and the old
can ventilate their grievances
against the open-ended impunity
with which the survival of the fittest reigns..

And remember, itís unwise
to expect a legal code
from creatures
that are fated to look downward.
And because the inhabitants of the jungle
suffer from eclipse of wisdom
they cannot inaugurate the criminal procedure act.
Wild and lawless they practise trial by eating.

In my sleepy village,
chickens move freely
instead of being confined to the coop
and be fed with chicken feeds.
Free from criminal record
villagers see no reason to define them as chained gangs
and to house them in what looks like a huge prison cage.
But the price of such freedom
had brought pains to many, including my grandma
whose chickens had been depopulated
by the untamed Lords of the sky.
Livid, yet she still prefers to grant them
the democratic right to move freely.

Once, on one harmattan noon, I watched
her chickens feeding voraciously on grains
near her backyard barn.
Up in the air a clan of kites carpeted the sky,
their keen eyes
sweeping the rural village like an x-ray machine,
scouting for prey.

And I could not, but with horrified admiration
for the surgical precision, like a guided missile
with which the kite swooped low
in acrobatic dive
and hit its target with mathematical accuracy,
a feat from creature that had never attended geometry class!
Yes, with triumph of might over weakness,
it snatched a chick from the hen,
a chick from my grandmaís poultry!

Nine years and a half old only, I was then
and watched helplessly
as the kite swiftly soared up the sky with its catch
while its victimís pathetic cry cascaded down
with cadence of sombre tone.
Make no mistake, its cry, was not a plea
for the uncouth kite to release her from its firm grip,
but for the world
to hear her voice and bear witness
to the injustice of the jungle law.

The kite has had its day
while the hen mourned for the loss of her precious chick.
Now, letís get down to brass tacks Ė
Itís hunger that compels the animals of the jungle
to engage in cannibalism.
Yes, they kill for food and eat what they kill,
but man, in his perceived wisdom kills his fellow out of hate
and does not eat what he has killed.
Here echoes the gong of the naked truth.

Augustine C. Ohanwe
November 31, 2012