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The Flight of the Eagle: Tribute to Chinua Achebe

The news of your transition came suddenly,
Like a bolt out of the blue, turning my morning to misery,
Bringing shock, disbelief, pain and grief,
So unexpected was it that I was stunned for days.
There I was far away in the calm city of Charleston, USA,
Swimming in a river of pain, bewildered.

Death invaded the literary community, stealing a valued griot.
What does it mean? How does one begin to understand?
That your calm and inspiring presence is lost forever?
That your gentle and winning ways, always visible,
Must seek a new realm to glow and shine?
That the great storyteller, has joined the ancestors.

You wove together Nigeria’s story, a coat of many colours,
Revealing how things fell apart, the hopes and impediments.
Then there was a country aborted just before birth
And there is a country still staggering like a toddler
That must be guided past the precipice,
A superhuman task now left to us, the living

Though gone, you sure are in a place where creativity thrives.
A literary icon you will remain till the end of time,
The path you illumined will never darken.
Farewell, Omenka: master artist, now a revered ancestor.
Many more like you will walk the path you cleared,
For as you taught us, it is morning yet on creation day.

Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo
English Department, University of Lagos.


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