Iyawo – a poem



by Nany Kipenzi Vieira


A few words heard from afar, someone touched my feet.  A summoning or sweetness?
Time to wake up!
The sun has yet to rise, but Iyawo it’s your time.
Don’t say a thing, you just finished conversing with your ancestors during your sleep, sacred time.
You need to return to the world of the living, by way of that which refreshes, purifies and calms: water, my mother, come to me!
Black soap, herbal bath, skirt, pantaloons, blouse…
Body wrap covers my womb, head wrap protects my head.
Yes, now: I revere you with my head to the ground.  Water, fire, earth, air, trees, ancestors.
I salute those who came before me!  They gave me life on this journey.
They took me apart, they made me whole, they awakened the divine essence that slept within me.
The sun also awakens, I feed the body and the soul.
Pots, brooms, flowers, prayers, songs, chills, dances, emotion, laughter, tears, plates, cups, curtains, cleaning, food, people, more people.
Starched Baiana, skirts and more skirts, devotion, respect, communion and faith!
Food for the soul, equilibrium of life, and we sleep for tomorrow is another day.