The Root|Michael Taiwo Oloyede|Poetry


I prop myself against the wall of history,

trailing ancestral marks on the tongue of the lost sons of a besieged soil.

I rap the brazen knocker into the good book of contemptuous strangers; bearing corns of friendship as I covet the crumbs in their wrinkled palms with gracious eyes.

I splurged the ashes of platitudes into the creeks of running waters as libation to the memory of withering names with resilient charms.

Then straighten like an arrow, the heads of children whose tears and hope are dumped in rafia bags while we watch the splendor of sunrise hang over the silhouette of skipping rams.


I stand like a prodigal alphabet in the journal of haunting memories,

Compelled by chance to school these rustlers of miserable slaves about the iron jaws of karma,

And remind these black caravans of pursuit about the thatched roof of their happy homes, built into glittering mansions with prestige, blood, sweat and pride.


I come from a lineage of herbs in saline water,

Effective mysteries in a jar of clay,

Virtues hewn from folklores and rods

Fortune cast like dice on tablets of stones; skittering like squirrels at the short end of a double edged stick.

Orange sunset brushing the navel of the tumbling sea

Shells, candles, and supplications; floating in rippling bubbles to unknown shorelines.

The sound of African Kakaki reverberating at the noise of water-pouts.


Where warriors cloister on the hill of single-eyed men, with the bloodline of gods;

wearing the name tags of bruised orphans and virtuous daughters

The estuary of a race with infinite blood.

I come from a lineage of kings and warlords with upright spirits in broken bodies;

chanting songs of deliverance in the plains of servitude.

A village of indentured seeds; leading strangers down the frame of its aching root.

The carapace of unhinged hospitality and socio economic exploit for blessed hearts.

And if you are befuddled at the reason the locust of mental slavery and racial discrimination do not eat up the flowery shoot of our will to blossom, albeit, flanked by a mammoth flipping fleas of afflictions,

Then you know that Black is the river of joy coursing through the trenches of resurgence to wash all the true natives of the soil back to the root.

And Black is my root.


Photo by Pinkasem Muisri on Unsplash


Oloyede Michael Taiwo is a poet, storyteller, copywriter, scriptwriter, screen-writer spoken-word artiste, playwright, producer and philomath.

He has appeared on different TV and Radio stations propagating the gospel according to poetry and holding conferences on politics and economic issues.

He wrote and produced the play, ‘Wrinkles, dimples, naira and bets’, during the Lagos Theatre Festival, 2020, in partnership with the British council.


He has performed in several literary events and one of the largest gospel concert in Lagos – Cross Concert.

He curates diverse didactic and literary events, such as:  Learning with celebrities’ conference, Lagos poetrython, Fireflies & Bumblebees and the Lagospoetrython spoken word academy.

He has been shortlisted for the Etisalat prize for Flash fiction and long listed for the Quramo writer’s prize for literature.

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15 Responses to “The Root|Michael Taiwo Oloyede|Poetry”

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Wow! This is beautiful and captivating, I found myself reading it all over again with so much interest. It’s so strong and powerful. Yeah black is my root.

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Oloyode bridges or attempts to, the nuance of poetry referred to as ‘modern African poetry’ of the pre and post independence era of the 50s to the 70s, with a post modernistic twinge alloyed strongly by the desire to maintain the standard of classical poetry of the last century. This piece is quite good.

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