Like ants to the big cake they come in droves
Patient in appearance but impatient at heart
Waiting for their turn at luck - with perseverance;
Some get what they want, others not a chance
But they all keep trying nevertheless - hoping,
Someday, Somehow, Someway,
They'll get a chance at a piece of the cake.
The lucky ones who are able to extract a lump
Come out bearing it with a grateful smile
Thankful for a chance at their daily bread, while
For the not-so-lucky ones the toil continues.
In the scorching sun they used to stay in line
Outside the building with tall, secured walls
Like the ones before them they, too, all hope
That luck, or God, would smile upon them and
Allow them a break from the stifling austerity
(Or a shot at fun in another land with plenty)
And so they dream of a land far, far away;
A land 'of many opportunities', some would say -
Where wages of the willing always make a way
For whomever in the sunshine will make hay.
One by one they all are called to their fate,
Of Messages of good tidings or not alike.
On Eleke Crescent the building stood, imposing
And busier than others around the waterfront.
Every now and again a luxury truck rumbles through
Gliding in or slithering out, windows tinted dark
With exhaust pipes the size of large water mains.
The guards are local but it's hardly evident
For they appear removed, or even hostile,
To the mostly compliant people on the queue.
Instructions are growled rather than issued -
Often in marked difference to the tone
Of the foreigners who own the building.
Now they needn't queue in the sun anymore though
It's a different time, it's a different approach,
Adopted by the same folks who own the building.
Everyone now comes at his own appointed time.
No more standing in line from the break of dawn;
No more renting-out of seats to old ladies looking forlorn;
No more acquiring a spot in the line to be re-sold.
Instead they must appear with their papers
One at a time, along with their photos
And their money - plenty of it. For an arm and a leg
Is what gets you the visa to visit that land.
A ton of money we're told they make
At a Mission we're told is self-sufficient - and possibly,
They say, one of a few that can survive
Without subvention from The State in DC.
It is why, like ants, they still come in droves
Patiently waiting, alas, impatiently,
For a chance at a new lease on life across the shores
Here at the mission they can't use leg. Or bribe.
And so they wait on God, with money in hand,
Hoping and praying that their prayers will be heard
For a chance to start afresh afar in another land.
They sit and wait their turn, with some musing:
First they berthed our lands and, for pennies,
Bought us as slaves before took us away.
That was before taxes were sought. And paid.
As 'subjects' to Royals across the seas.
Thus it went for a while - before "independence".
Now it's been Two Score and a Decade since
And not only do we remain dependent still,
But we actually are still paying - literally
And figuratively, in taxes and through our noses.
We get raped, we then pay, hence why they say.
Who speaks for us - who fights for us? Tell me
Is it an aged Nelson or Robert from the South? Or
The Murtalas, or Jeremiahs and Patrices of yore?
Pray who really stands for our interests -
It's like we don't have anyone on our side and
Either God's deserted us or vice-versa for
Not only do we remain perpetually at
The Ladder's Rung, but
We seem content to belong there:
Permanent in the same old ship.