A new poem sent to us by Amore David Olamide. The title of the poem, Oríkì Ìbẹ́ta, translates from Yorùbá into English as “Praise poetry for triplets.”
Commenting on the celebrations that traditionally accompanied the birth of triplets in Yorubaland, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu said that in the past it was the custom for the Oba (royal chief) of the town to be immediately informed when triplets were born and for him to give everything that he was wearing at the time of the announcement to the children as gifts.
In the same speech, Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu also declared that the village of Oko Ile located within Ògbómọ̀ṣọ́ in south-western Nigeria, was the place that it is claimed the first set of triplets were born, leading to the traditional name of Ẹ̀ta òkò being bestowed to all triplets. (1)
The scion of Ìrèsé (2)
Three masterpieces that cannot be assailed
Three shimmering stones
birthed into a sprauncy home.
You who hold a thousand promises
Like Olúrèsé of Ìrèsé (3)
For you’re bound to ride on the crest of waves
Where your detractors have failed.
Ẹ̀ta òkò the offspring of Wòyírà (4)
A penchant for luxury
An analytical pawn trader
Who abhors lethargicism.
Where do they say you linger?
If not where opulence thrives
Where do they say you live
If not where life flourishes?
You the preening pigeon,
That cannot linger otherwise
You the inseparable pebbles
That cannot be disentangle.
You’re the ostentatious turtledove
Who never lose their magnetism
At where they are ensconced.
You are the Red Canary
Who adorned itself with camwood
And left its arms, unachromatic
As a vestige of dandyism.
You are the enigmatic one
Who causes squabbles in the market
When your disparagers were wrapped
In the duties of gathering woody gourds.
It is you
Who sparked a war of words on the streets
When adversaries were growing vines in the woodland
For what Ẹ̀ta òkò feels
Is what he revels in.
Do not be angry that I addressed you by name.
You, whose buttocks weave a thousand clothes
You, whose hair strands are curlingly fascinating
You who rejoice even after being guilty
You who spread rifts in all places.
Òkò ìrèse investigates thoroughly,
Lest you fall prey to doom
Lest you end up with bad slaves
For bad slaves are known to carry a puddle of drool.
You are the one with a deity-like enigma.
Offspring of an undeviating effigy
Who has unwavering vibes.
The one that gives more,
Like the crops of Okro
For the more you pick the okro, the more you’ll get.
The more you look after them, the better you become
for their divination is budding and inseparable.
by Amore David Olamide.
- “The Alaafin’s Royal Triplets – Traditional Yoruba Custom of Oyo Kingdom”, published in Nigerian Tribune, June 3, 2009.
- Ìrèsé: A region located of Kwara state in Western Nigeria.
- Olúrèsé of Ìrèsé: The King of Irese Land.
- Ẹ̀ta òkò is the name given to triplets and Wòyírà means to look thoroughly before making a purchase.