Writings / Poetry

Sanya Osha

As the Leaves Fall

(For Tyna Onwudiwe)

It is the tears of dusk that hurt the most
After the bird cry of dawn…

My friends are like words,
I remember them for their sparkle and cackle
And for their falsity and meanness too.

I recall too this planet
Broken by accidents
Pulling a limb through
And sometimes a pierced eye
Hoping the sun with all its indifference
Would save something as a treasure…

And all the while
The sands sail on, heartless
As the pitiless reign of blind worlds
Where you will be left
For a grain of sand
Lost and forever forgotten.

You remember the bright sunshine
Of her out-stretched palms
Reaching out for you
But you were too frail
To build a hut of sunrays,
Too small to ride the brusque crest…
The night-sea fell silent
By the patiently waiting grave
And on those palms
Were grey hairs, torns and loss.

The desert of the heart
Is surely the strongest
Where you wake after every death
With a heart-rending yawn…

The plains of the winding sigh
Are the harshest
Abandoned by gods and men
And you walk those stretches
Until you’re swallowed by fog.
And scattered souls walk about
Without voices and shadows
The loss is all that is left
And it is what consumes us all.

The way out of the tunnel
Of dark leaves is shorter
Than I had thought my dear,
I had thought I would see
Your face wizened with age
On the other side
Instead I see leaves
Floating towards the cemetery
I wear my heart like a great dark overcoat
And each foot step feels heavy
Each grief, a soundless wail.

If only I could bear
The sightless blight of the tunnel,
Out with missing limp or a slit eye
And the great overcoat of a heart
Strides through the deadening plains
And the deceptive rain…
I might see through
A slice of sun
Leaves calm and numerous
Sailing past the tears and pain
To the silence of the one true grave.

Now you know the pretense of the storm
Nothing lasts including the pain
The hovering deathlike face
At night about the old window-pane
Nothing lasts my dear
Except the fading tremors of the dream.

The Boneless Song

Little by little
And kiss by kiss
The heads of monsters rise
Out of the land of smoke
Tales of the dead
Promise to remove the bone from the song.

This song ought to be boneless
So that I shall no longer have nightmares…
The boneless song is a tune
Laughing among sunrays
Fresh as a new-born babe
Unaware of the gnarled seed.

Smile by smile
The tears drip of blood
For this is the time
The dark broken strings
Find their most naked rhythm.

This is the tale of endless ripples,
The aftermath of the broken land
And the storm-tossed heart…

And after all the upheavals,
The uprooted trees
And the bone littered debris
All that remains is the lone leaf
Hanging like a kiss.

The Best Sounds

The best sounds are made
When the blue keys of a piano forte
Waltz with ceaseless flourish across an azure sky…

The best sounds are made
From a girl’s blue body
She, whose bone was formed by a smile,
A yellow smile
That gave a healer his art.

The best sounds are made
From giving out of nothing…

They are moulded
From the hunger of our dry selves
From the toil that blinds us
And deforms the veins in our necks…

The best sounds are given
By the fingers of a dream
And the promise of the pyramid
And from the image of her
Reclining on a plinth
That is also a blue garland.

About The Author


Sanya Osha holds a PhD in Philosophy and is a senior researcher at the School for Graduate Studies, University of South Africa. He has also published extensively in the fields of anthropology, politics and critical theory. He is the author of Kwasi Wiredu and Beyond: The Text, Writing and Thought in Africa (2005) and Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Shadow: Politics, Nationalism and the Ogoni Protest Movement (2007).

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