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Till at Anchorage | Enobong Ernest Enobong

i was a toddler at the coast

watching older children

nailing their own canoes,

set for their own sails,

set for their own start,

away from their beginnings.


i was a toddler at the coast

watching older children

enter the fleet as helmsmen,

cruising into cold coast contest

of voluntary, mandatory confinement –

a babylon, finely dissolved in freedom.


we sing this hymn of how we set off

from bouncing, budding babies

to sleepless, peaceless sailors

clutching helms and paddles,

at dawn, at dusk

and dawn again.

we sing this hymn

of how our society whistles us

into lifelong captains on oceans

where waves succeed waves

in rumbling rounds of rigour;

where ships crush canoes

in a merciless race

without zebra sailings

without traffic lights

without water wardens

only the rule… ‘win!’


and today,

few years after that time,

i hum this hymn from my own canoe –

with a paddle in my hand.

with a yoke on my neck.

with spectators littered round.

with deafening screams from all around –

“row faster… go harder..

they’re behind you, they’re ahead”

i hum this hymn

of our initiation

into a voyage beyond our will;

this hymn of a tussle

that will see no end,

even tenth-a-breath-ago

before we rest in peace.


so brethren,

till we see at the anchorage…

till we see on that shore

where we’ll dock to paddle no more;

till we see…

i wish you a safe, violent voyage.

Photo by César Abner Martínez Aguilar on Unsplash

About the author:

Enobong Ernest Enobong is a Nigerian teenage writer resident in Lagos. He has particular interest in creative writing and essay writing; and has written several short fictions and poems (including haiku) that cut across subjects including nature, humanity, culture, and social and national consciousness. He has also authored a number of essays and articles. His works have been previously published on Praxis Magazine, Haikuniverse, Nnoko Stories, The Kalahari Review, Nasara Creative, Poetry City and elsewhere.
Currently, Enobong is a law student of the University of Lagos.
You can find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Published inPoetry&Musings

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