Rust is ripeness, rust
And the wilted corn-plume;
Pollen is mating-time when swallows
Weave a dance
Of feathered arrows
Thread corn-stalks in winged
Streaks of light. And, we loved to hear
Spliced phrases of the wind, to hear
Rasps in the field, where corn leaves
Pierce like bamboo slivers.
Now, garnerers we,
Awaiting rust on tassels, draw
Long shadows from the dusk, wreathe
Dry thatch in woodsmoke. Laden stalks
Ride the germ’s decay – we await
The promise of the rust.
WOLE SOYINKA was born in 1934 in Abeokuta, southwestern Nigeria, which was then a British colony. He is a major force in African and world literature  He is a poet, playwright and essayist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
Imprisoned in Nigeria in the 1960s and self-exiled in the 1990s, he continues to protest against oppression worldwide.
Season by Wole Soyinka , from Idandre (Methuen 1967)
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