For the Love of Eshu

By way of editorial comment: In the Yoruba-derived West African religion of Ifa (which is also the name of an Orisha of divination as well as the system of divination that He governs–still with me?), every person, regardless of race or station in life, is said to have her head “ruled” or “crowned” by a guardian Orisha. That Orisha’s influence will more than likely have manifested in the individual’s personality, as well as in shaping the person’s True Will, or Ori in Yoruba, in her lifetime. I wrote this praise poem (oriki in Yoruba), “For the Love of Eshu,” in honor of my guard and guide, my Baba (“Father”) Eshu, also known as Elegbara. In Santeria, He is Elegua. Ago mo jubara, Baba!

Eshu, Opener of the Ways!

Eshu, Opener of the Ways!

For the Love of Eshu

Eriwo-Ya!

I received your calling card—red on one side, black on the other—

three times seven times

O Akánle,

Paá paá wàrà

You who conduct your business in fast motions

Ever hurrying, ever sudden

And just this week, on the Washington Street bridge at Wacker Drive,

the grinning old man,

Omokùnrin,

Son of the Sons of Africa

Skin the color of the repository of secrets

curly white hair

red t-shirt, black pants

protruding Styrofoam cup with the jingle of coins, rattled like a call to order

Eriwo-Ya! Continue reading