An African Elegy by Ben Okri

We are the miracles that God made

To taste the bitter fruit of Time

We are precious

And one day our suffering

Will turn into the wonders of the earth

There are things that burn me now

Which turn golden when I am happy

Do you see the mystery of our pain

That we bear poverty

And are able to sing and dream sweet things

And that we never curse the air when it is warm

Or the fruit when it tastes so good

Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters

We bless things even in our pain

We bless them in silence

That is why our music is so sweet

It makes the air remember

There are secret miracles at work

That only Time will bring forth

I too have heard the dead singing

And they tell me that

This life is good

They tell me to live it gently

With fire, and always with hope

There is wonder here

And there is surprise

In everything the unseen moves

The ocean is full of songs

The sky is not our enemy

Destiny is our friend

February 1990

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