Why we fear but can’t let go of the Baobab tree…

Coming and going this several seasons Do stay out of the baobab tree, 

Follow where you please your kindred spirits

If indoors is not enough for you.

True, it leaks through the thatch

When floods brim the banks, 

And the bats and owls

Often tear in at night through the eaves, 

And at harmattan, the bamboo walls

Are ready tinder for the fire

That dries the fresh fish up on the rack.

Still, it’s been the healthy stock

To several fingers, to many more will be

Who reach to the sun.

No longer then bestride the threshold

But step in and stay

For good. We know the knife scars

Serrating down your back and front

Like beak of the sword-fish, 

And both your ears, notched

As a bondsman to this house, 

Are all relics of your first comings.

Then step in, step in and stay

For her body is tired, 

Tired, her milk going sour

Where many more mouths gladden the heart. 

African literature will never be the same without the likes of John Pepper Clark, and his soul piercing poem called Abiku. If not for anything, this poem described the mystery beyond the Baobab(Kuka-in Hausa) tree, here in the motherland, Call it superstitious but it is our tradition. The Baobab tree had meant the doorway of the obanje/Abiku spirit (reincarnated souls), and the tree of life; a torture to mothers but a symbol of continuity. It is called the mothers Dilemma.
Recently it has been proven that the baobab tree is getting extinct. Is this the fate of the anomaly of our reincarnated souls or is this nature telling us how disappointed it is by our lack of naturality if that’s even a word?…


  1. That poem is so well written. Though I’ve never really been good with Baobab trees. They scared me since I was a child, mostly cause of stories of how demons live there. I think I have some unresolved issues…😂

    Liked by 1 person

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