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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Niyi Osundare Celebrates Ayo Banjo’s 90th Birthday

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Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo

Seasons come, seasons goBut your virtues remain steadyUntouched by passing fancies

Below is a slightly amended versionOf my ode to the TeacherTwo remarkable decades ago….

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*

Old teachers never die;They simply wax wiser with passing moons…Old teachers never die

The wine of age is winking in your glass,Sip it in style;Sip it with relish.

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For when you sat in the saddle*,You never rode roughshod upon our earth.Your voice called up our depths

Your silence gingered us into songOur growing scrawls mellowed into hieroglyphsOn the tender papyrus that was your palm:

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(Allophones we all, of your happy phoneme)Liberal star, compassionate moon.Scion of a stock in league with Light

Let your ebony laughter unknot our browsAs we journey all season from sky to skyPowered by the wind of your word.

Morning by morning**We count your blessingsAnd regard our days

Old teachers never die;They simply wax wiser with passing moons..

** In the Saddle and Morning by Morning are two exceptionally crafted and evocative autobiographies of Ayo Banjo.

Niyi Osundare, one of Africa’s foremost poets and academics, is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of English, University of New Orleans. 

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