Black Boy

There is a clock
two hundred and fifty-eight years
old, so its story will get you cold.
But know its not the almighty
Big Ben at the North End
of what you know as Westminster,
with four bells struck on the outside
at fifteen, thirty and forty-five minutes
before in a magisterial sway
Big Ben has the hourly say.

There is this clock
at what the chart claims
and Google map affirms
is a place called Stroud,
out there in Glouchestershire-
a clock of pain and offence
moulded in seventeen seventy -four,
displayed around that town
like something of a crown,
till its current fixture
in eighteen forty-four –
a red-lipped black child
holding a club in a leaf skirt –
one of twenty existing examples
of how they think of us
from that template
of slavery and colonial conquest.

So this Black Boy clock
has raised a recent ire
and a storm is rising in the air,
but they say it’s only a few
trying to be woke with righting
a wrong and I wonder
how they feel,
when they kneel
on that ancient pew.

Emman Usman Shehu resides in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where he works with the International Institute of Journalism. He is also involved with the Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), and is the editor of the literary journals - Cavalcade and Dugwe. Passionate about facilitating writing workshops, his poems have appeared in several print and online publications, including Okike, Kakaki, Sentinel Poetry, PoetryWales, Stone Throw, Panoply and Best New African Poets Anthology He has published four poetry collections: Questions For Big Brother, Open Sesame, Icarus Rising and The River Never Returns. His email is Read other articles by Emman Usman.