I Missed the Morning (Lamentation of a High Chief/Aide to the Don)

By Dr Bassey Ubong


My body clock went AWOL for it failed to tell me to rise.

The church bell stopped on the roof of my residence when it sounded at cockcrow.

The faithful must have finished the morning duty to the Potentate when I woke.

And the cocks sounded distant as their voices became drowned by the active day.


Okriih the Bird had completed her morning duty as timekeeper and made dance steps around a pawpaw fruit.

I thought she danced to attract a male but Okriih concentrated her energy on the ripe fruit which she inflicted wounds on the yellow-green body.

Ubuuh and Okwaah appeared to have slept beyond the second but they joined the team of announcers of the new day.


As I slept, I missed the coyness of the sky while it negotiated with the aides of the Sun on terms of surrender.

Night had reigned undisturbed for ten hours and felt reluctant to hand the throne to the Sun.

Who, man-animal or animal-animal gives up power without a fight? I had no one close by to melt an answer from.

A neighbor who wakes with the cock engaged her mortar and pestle early.

I love to take a listen to the concourse between the mortar and the pestle from the nearby homestead.

The long-suffering mortar I believe wished she would take one more hour at dawn but the woman of the farmstead rose with the cock to prepare the homestead for the task of each day.

I missed the morning.

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