By Wole Olaoye
His artistic gift was of elephantine proportions,
So, to each encounter-er, Jimi Solanke was at once
the compelling thunderclap amidst the loudest of silences
the coarse hair of Ajanaku’s tail mounting sentry
behind an otherwise hairless mass
Those piercing eyes conveying visions from unshared secrets
— Lamp posts of an aerobicised body
Ernest and persistent, commanding and pleading…
If six blind beggars are telling different tales
About the same mass
It is because they feel the elephant from different sides.
Is it the ivory of the tusk that tickles your fancy?
Or the rough tarpaulin of the body?
Or the four pillars with which it pounds the earth?
Or the trunk— nature’s straw
Enabling the slaking of thirst?
The elephant lies down like a hill
On its death day
Carvers bearing cleavers gather…
The last question on the elephant’s mind
Is, “Who will mourn my demise when I expire?”
The heavens and the earth know
That Father Time’s unseen eyes do bear witness
To Lakatabu’s connection of the dots
Between the cradle and the grave
And they lead the cortège…
Yes, they do
to attest that this funeral blurs the line
Between a requiem
And an alleluia
As Baba Agba does his trademark bata dance