The Woyingi Blog

Poem: The Call of the River Nun by Gabriel Okara

Posted in African Literature, Countries: Nigeria, Nigerian Literature, Peoples: The Ijo by the woyingi blogger on August 14, 2009

This is Gabriel Okara’s famous poem.
The Nun is formed when the Niger River splits in two, forming the Nun and Forcados rivers. This poem is all the more poignant now to Ijaws because Shell is dredging the River Nun .

The Call of the River Nun

I hear your call!
I hear it far away;
I hear it break the circle of these crouching hills.

I want to view your face again and feel your cold embrace;
or at your brim to set myself and inhale your breath;
or like the trees, to watch my mirrored self unfold and span my days with song from the lips of dawn.
I hear your lapping call!
I hear it coming through; invoking the ghost of a child listening, where river birds hail your silver-surfaced flow.

My river’s calling too!
Its ceaseless flow impels my found’ring canoe down its inevitable course.
And each dying year brings near the sea-bird call, the final call that stills the crested waves and breaks in two the curtain of silence of my upturned canoe.
O incomprehensible God!
Shall my pilot be my inborn stars to that final call to Thee.
O my river’s complex course?

Further Reading:

Interview with Gabriel Okara in the Sun News Online

Interview with Gabriel Okara in African Writing Online

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2 Responses

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  1. Obaji chinwe patricia said, on May 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Okara’s work:The call of the river nun,is educative and has a way of impacting knowledge on the readers.it gives the reader an insight to what the society used to be and how sweet it was before it was overruled by the corruptions,exploitations and mis management of fund by its leaders.

  2. adenike said, on June 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    its a wonderful poem…full of life and passion.


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