Uren! The river of my childhood dreams
How often I longed to stand by your banks
And splash and splatter with all your water
That murky fluid of yours that stood lucid in the morn
But it seemed to me that God did not approve of it
For my desires and hopes were never fulfilled
Till that dream died and faded and passed away
With the rest of its kind, buried with my childhood

Every day I saw them as we rode back and forth to school
Riding over you, the humble servant that you were
They washed and bathed, and swam while naked
All the people of the town whom you faithfully served
You never did complain of their many filthy plunges
But quietly disposed of their foulness and stench
Like the blood of the Saviour, to a place far away
And awaited their return on the very next day

I often imagined that you sprang from the highlands
The lush green hills I saw from our laboratories
And in turn imagined you would lead me there
That against your wish your tides would take me there
Beloved River, I would ask you this one thing:
Did you really spring from those lush green hills?
For if it were not so, then I had hoped in vain
I really wonder if you could answer me now!

Bathed in splendour, you shone like a star
Reflecting the honour of the sun from afar
What has become your fate in the present days?
Snaking your way through the lowlands of Ikenne
You bore a name that was like no other – Uren
Your fame went afar, beyond the reaches of your home
Through villains like us who could not match your feat
And spread abroad, even to the very ends of the earth

Uren! The mysterious river of my schooldays
From whence did you acquire such peculiar name?
You were shrouded in the mystery of that name
And the thorns and bushes that covered your banks
No one dared to trail you beyond a point
Lest they lose their bearing and their way
And so you proudly stood aloof of every soul
Serving steadily, yet unable to be served

Your name is forever stamped on my heart
Wherever I go on the face of the earth
And even though you be so far away from me
I shall never forget those moments I treasure
When we exchanged glances as friends to be
And passed across silent thoughts of bliss
I may yet find a way to come back to you
But if I do not, I am always still with you
Toyin Taiwo, 2012

Author’s Note:

Uren is the name of a small river in Ikenne, Ogun State. I used to ride over a bridged road that crossed the river while commuting to and from school every day. I never got a chance to get into Uren River.

2 responses to “Uren”

  1. Daniel Adeyinka Avatar
    Daniel Adeyinka

    “But quietly disposed of their foulness and stench
    Like the blood of the Saviour, to a place far away
    And awaited their return on the very next day”

    WOW this part 🤯

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