Just beyond our tiny village

Miles afar from the big city

Stood a forest dark and evil

Greatly feared by young and old


There the trees made a large canopy

Under which dwelt the wildest beasts

Amidst them the yellow woodpecker

Picking at the bark of the sacred tree


The green mamba watched in silence

Waiting for the right time to strike

Its slimy body splattered by litter

Droppings of the lousy owl above


At the edge of the evil forest

Where the trees were fat and short

The tree-canopy bent to the floor

Reaching to the leafy shrubs


There the little black mole

Ran for his precious life

Pursued by a wounded viper

Hunting for an evening meal


At the centre of the forest

Where no foot must ever step

Sat the ancient boundary-stone

Set in place by our fathers


Standing tall among the trees

Of the dark and evil forest

Is the great ‘iroko’ tree

Still regarded as the greatest


Now I see it from afar

Towering above all others

At the centre of the frame

Giving meaning to its name


I should never hope to rest

‘Neath its giant leafy structure

While it’s sitting at the centre

Of the dark and evil forest

Toyin Taiwo © 2012

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