For Yemi Ogunbiyj at 75 (The Road Never Forgets)

Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi


By Niyi Osundare

Step after step
We ply life’s Road
Through dust, through clay
Through the airy amplitude of the seamless sky

The winds whirl or whisper
In accents so brisk and broad
As the roadside grass sways to the rhythm
Of seasons which oblivion forgets

From the geography of Pain
To the archaeology of Pleasure
From the heart which knows
And the mind that feels

The Road walks us through
Its web of wit and wonder
Its house of endless echoes, its poetry
A running fare of hint and hyperbole


Hail, then, this Wayfarer
Whose feet bear the dusts of many roads
From far desert-fringes to the thirsty ocean
Polyglot who savours the glide of many tongues

Confluence of many rivers
Whose bridge prolongs the Road
Dibia* at the Crossroads who doctors
The riddle of the knotty distance

Rain, drought, rain
The Road molds the mud, distills the dust
Etches your memory on the endless milestone
On its epic span. Sun and star en-lamp your path

Step after step after step
Echoing footsounds re-mind
The corridors of the Moon
The Road never forgets

*Diviner-physician, an Igbo word

Niyi Osundare