In my first life on earth, I was born a king. A king who ruled empires of ants. I mean that literally. I was King Peas of ants. What does it really mean to be a peasant in a country like Nigeria? A land where the rich grow richer, the poor go poorer and each and every day we hear that there’s a brand new load of riches found in a skyscraper that my father’s sweat built.
Being a peasant is very different from being poor. Being a peasant is being all the way to the bottom of all areas of life – in mind, in spirit, in health. Being a peasant is having no motivation to get out of the hole you’ve been dug into. Being a peasant is painful and heavy on your back – it’s a state of hopelessness… a place where suicide becomes a viable option. You can have a lot of money in your bank account and still be a peasant. Do you follow?
But being poor is a bit different – you have been dug into an abyss and from it, a diamond can be formed in the heat and the struggle. Something mighty can be forged from the rubble and the flintstones will manoeuvre you to higher heights and higher might.
In my second life on earth, I was a star. I stood on the moon and sewed jewels into the horizon in the shapes of hoes and precious stones. Back then, the rings of Jupiter fit around my fingers and I would get pecks on the tips of my wrists from fluorescent birds and delighted children.
Back then, a savage bevy of ravens came. They had their beaks sharpened by the axes of shade and my light could see no lustre. They held me down and like the princess, pricked hefty peas into my back. They tore open my head and forced calamities into it. They tied it with a bow and left inside my gentle brain, the arrow.
In my new life, I am not a peasant. I’ve grown from peasant to poor and now my riches reach for heaven’s gate, knocking at the door. I scream with abated breath asking for a condor that could fly me away into the blue deep. I would dive down into the oceanic forever as I backstroke through the endless era of happiness. True happiness. I would sing songs of my ancestors and how they conquered savage beasts and made love to mother earth and with her, they ruled the galaxy.
I was a peasant. I am a peasant no more. I was a woman who couldn’t see the light shining through the hole that they put me in. I am a peasant no more. And the ravens, in their trollops of flesh, simmer – simmer feverishly – in the noon day sun.
Written by John Noble