THE TYRANNY OF MÀMA DÉRÓ
Gossips of me being nothing but a greedy clown
The rat at home tells it to the farm rat and to the squirrel
Even the Irúnmolè informs the ancestors of our quarrel
This woman that I married was once sweet and delightful
Her hourglass figure and fair face that looked so beautiful
But now, the roar of a lion is nothing compared to her intimidating tone
Chai! Mama Déró’s words are quick and sharp — cutting into my very bone
The talking drum of Àrèmo murmurs something about my manhood
My own friends and relatives are afraid to visit me in the neighbourhood
They are not even sure if I am the true son of my Father, the great warrior of Ìjèbú land.
My God! I wonder if my manhood is still intact.
Mama Déró is a terror to all — to the Chiefs and even to the Elders.
She once tried to poison me but the Lord was my Shepherd
The old women shake their heads at me when they see me pass
I live under the tyranny of a woman called Bashòrun Gaa
Kai! I married trouble. Perhaps I was under a spell
Perhaps she was an angel of Lucipher from the pit of hell
Her fair skin that glowed in the dark hid her true colours
I actually thought she was a woman with learned cultures
Aso-òpá mewa, fifty gorodom of epo-pupa
Forty-two tubers of yam and two cows, she asked for her son’s birthday
Haba! Kílódé? Is it a sacrifice to appease the gods?!
Where does she want me to get the money from?!
In fact I wonder if Déró is truly my son or a bastard
O jìgbìjìgbìjìgbì! I cannot even send my own son on an errand.
“Don’t kill him for me,” she says, “Go and get it yourself.”
Egbàmí kè! Can’t I send my own son on an errand?
Oh! I should have known Mama Déró was not a saint
I should have known when she cursed the deaf man that lives down the street
I should have known when she agreed to marry me against her Father’s wish.
Little did I know her father was only trying to warn me that his daughter is a witch.
O wretched man that I am! Who shall save me from the tyranny of Mama Déró?
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