The Peregrine Muse

Poetry of Olutayo K. Osunsan


Waiting like the Koi

For the oceans to expand

To spread my wings wide.


Lotus blossoms
Bloom with the smile on her face.
Lips of hot cherry,
Face powdered with the hand fan;
Poems pour from her dark eyes.


Cool trees that sing softly,
Healthy fruits that call your name;
Weary hunger yields.

My Daughter

To Hannah & Bethel


When I held your hand
The day you where born to me
Life made perfect sense.


Being your father
To give you life’s very best
Just to see you smile.


Your translucent cry
And the warm pulse of your heart
Calls my name till now.


Each slow step you took
I stood behind with my heart
To guide your focus.


When you uttered ‘dad’
I knew God knew me by name
And He favored me.


My dearest daughter
To me you are heavenly
God’s gracious love gift.


If I ever fail
It would be because of much
That I could endure.


Years may come
When you doubt my love for you
But love never dies.


A wife and mother
Still you remain my daughter,
God’s kind smile to me.


For you my daughter
My last breathe will be for you
Just to see you smile.

Aids Orphans

Pack up the house, empty the accounts and auction all the children.
Tell them their father is no more, tell them he is dead.
Their heritage is the memories they cling to and the stories he told.
Let life be drained of everything, but sorrow. Deep heavy sorrow.

Their mother walks blindly into the future, hallow and fading,
Her days are numbered like certain famine after a poor harvest.
Soon her cries will be no more and all that will be left is silence.

Silence. Pure silence.

Silence like an eternity on a charcoal stove. Burning.

First the smell of human flesh, then the squealing of her spirit.

To the children, it’s a nasty cut that can never heal. A cut that can kill.

I Beg You

By faith I have loved you.
A love that denies its power
To silence the restless spirit.

I have loved you with love
That speaks only with action.
A love that will always be found.

And by this love I beg you
To only love me half as much
As I have always loved you

Good Morning

It starts one good morning with enthusiastic citizens
Going away into adulthood to fight in a movie;
The same song young women in love hear
Before they became young widows.

Deceitful politicians say it and believe it.

For from home, it rains bullets on melancholy fields
And blood floods places their families will never locate.
Alone in the melody of nostalgia, under the ringing
Of endless rounds of ammunition seeking their lives,

They start to doubt on which side are the good guys.

It’s not for hate or pride they fight, kill or die;
It’s for God and country, and possibly a demanding father
Who can only be made proud by a family tradition of soldiers.

Family pictures and love letters the enemies left behind.

In another life they could be friends, classmates, brothers in-law;
In this life they all want to go back home to admit their emptied zeal,
To know what it’s like again to wake up and smile good morning.

They shot a guy in the face and he squealed for his ebbing life.

The war is over, and battles too where won. Only ghosts return with medals.
Their existence is confused with nightmares visiting in day
And good mornings will never be, or sound as good, again.

The Rain

Like a stranger, the rain comes naked and covered under the wings of the cold, its steps stutter at the windowpane.

The drops tap quietly at the window like a recently homeless beggar hesitantly asking for pocket change and trying to avoid the gaze of those who may recognize him.

The taps get stronger and the color of the rain turns cold with the bursts of dust dying.

Sometimes it's magnificent the way the hostile drops kick away from the pane and head for the brown fields to turn them green.

The rain is always a stranger left outside under the changing complexion of an erratic sky.

The Publicist

Be the hero, the one that saved the world before breakfast twenty-nine seasons ago.

The lunchtime millionaire who sold his bread in crumbs and made a fortune in an hour can be you.

If it's pity you want, I can brew it like fine Sunday evening tea and serve it in priceless china with affirmations.

The victor and the victim can be crafted and placed by dinnertime. It will go well with blue wine and green-eyed monsters, under the lilt of Masai music.

Whatever you want boss; you are the boss, as long as you tell me what you really want. I can always paint it grey if it is not white enough or if it is too black.

The Color of the Soul

The color of the soul is hard to define:

The nudity of innocence right at birth, pure white illuminant cry that wakes all that is good, and the tiny warm clinging of its hand on anything it can touch.

The black death of a coarse soul, harsh like a pebble in my party shoe; silent, but painful like a needle piercing the most sensitive flesh, inflicting misery one last time.

The knowledge that artists have the power to blend white and black in endless shades.

African Lions

At the sun’s roar, African lions rise.
Brave in the crude strides in a pride,
They survey the land for what to eat.

From the shoulder of an ancient rock
Their manes dazzle in the morning’s wind,
Their tails drag behind like princely robes.

Kings lust the fear their presence commands
When their barrel eyes focus on a dwindling prey,
The way their claws rip into the crusty ground
Pulling everything in the distance closer and closer.

Warriors desire to be remember by the lion’s heart,
Pounding on serene rage with such precise control
That bursts out in seconds, ending with blood-drenched soil.

Their prey, not necessarily the weakest,
But fate always has its peculiar ways of choosing.

Untitled: Letting Go

It’s easy letting go. 

                        But an eternity to forget.

                                                                      The good times.

                                                                      The simple times.

                                                                      The hard times.

                                                                      The bad times.

I wrote you endless letters to explain how my heart pumps dust

into the rest of my body; my soul is decaying within me.

I wrote you endless letters, every single day of the year

but never mailed a single one.

And eternity is filled with the shadows of your voice roaming in my head.

Mother Song II

Sing my son, sing. Songs will drain your worries

And set you at peace, giving you a reason to live.

They might laugh at your voice and mouth,
But it is the heart that sings, not the face.

Sing the songs of a million mountains
That your proud heritage ordained.

Be the man of your word that life
Can never break or even bend.

Everyone will have their views
Make sure yours is the truth.

Always learn from wisdom,
No matter how young.

These songs are words
Waking up your spirit.

Sing my son,

Have You Ever

Have you ever felt this is not your life,
Maybe someone snatched yours from you
While you were still young and obnoxious
And you just made do with anyone you could find.

Have you ever felt like you weigh more than you look,
You used to float in the air gracefully like a ballerina
And now sandbags are tied to your exhausted ankles.

Have you ever felt life and every single thing in it is empty,
The hyperness is just void and all the eloquence is trash,
The whole process is a big fat waste of your time and space.

Have you ever caught a minute glimpse of your life,
The way it could have been, not perfect, but yours at least.

Have you ever felt the way I feel when I was writing this,
Like I am from somewhere else and definitely not here.

That Tree

That tree stands in the distance of watercolor green
Crafted by the lithe hands of the endorsing African sun.

A monarch in its own right over the damp tea leaves,
Beetles, birds and everyday life on the tea plantation.

Footprints that fade in shriveled lines below it tell stories
Of success and loss about feet that have once walked them.

Heard the conversation of plucked tea leafs washing in baskets,
Tears of women whose husbands drank their wages overnight.

Laborers laugh at their after-work conquests in local bars
And has been the umbrella sponsoring lunchtime naps.

Skinny and firm to the base, it defies the wind, time
And the plantation master’s axe and unresolved mind.

Gingerly gracious when the shadows walk around it,
That tree reminds me of the brevity of my existence.

The days that have found rest under its branches
Predate perspiring laborers, lost nomadic lovers,
And loud imbeciles trying to make life a misery
When wages are postponed to next week because
Price of tea has dropped on the global market.

It Rained

It rained early this morning by my window,
It flooded the panes and dampened the curtains;
I stood by the window gazing at life
In every droplet I can hardly see.
Forming a huge pool of mud water and
Eroding the ground in a mighty torrent,
It rained the whole morning without end.

My pillow waited for me on the warmth of the bed
And a blanket as consoling as my mother’s arms,
But I stood by the window staring at the rain.

Somewhere in my soul there is a vast drought,
Squashing sun by day and cruel winds by night.


It is always cold before the hunt,
The piercing eyes of the beast
Like a phantom under the tinted
Shade of a wide branched acacia.

Her eyes emits fear and then terror
On everything that moves on the ground,
Like the constant nagging of conviction
Telling its preys to run while they still can.

Her heart pauses for a few seconds
And she can smell the euphoria of blood.
Her eyes shut to pity and her ears focused
On the dying squeal of a weaker beast.

The hunt is always over before it begins
And the prey for the hunter is marked;
The vast Serengeti will know the queen
Has made her presence felt for the day.

The king, under the same acacia tree
With the cubs waiting for the kill,
His eyes are fire; his roar is raging thunder
Setting everything ablaze with paralyzing terror.

His roar triggers her killer instincts into action.
His roar rekindles the heat of the sun.
His roar sets her entirely on fire.

Linger With Me
                To Judith

Linger with me; let me sip this moment till it dries up in the passing decades.

Let everything you stand for be all I will ever need in my life.
Let your love be my strength; your grace, my peace; your faith, my salvation.

Be my wife and let my life be complete with your smiles every new morning.

Together let’s walk down this path in a gentle stroll that will have hindrances
we will always overcome in each other’s eyes.

Dance with me, my sweetness, let me hold your hands close to my heart
and feel the rhythm of life carry us away. Far, far away into the dreams
we thought we would never achieve.

Linger with me, my love; when we are old and revise our wonderful memories
as our grandchildren play, we will know we have it all.

Linger with me, my darling, and I will not let sickness or death deny me
the pleasure of being your love.


The Wife

May the wife of your youth

Be the wife of your old age;

Her beauty like the morning sun

Shinning brighter as the days age

And gracefully setting at the end of days.

Her voice be the sound of your conscience,
Filled with grace, elegance and wisdom.

The heart is its own person, but may yours
Always yield to the call of her soothing spirit.

May the two of you grow entwined to become proud parents,
Honored grandparents and privileged great grandparents.

May the Lord grant you long life and fill your days with happiness.

The Children

May your children grow like Olive shoots,

Expanding in intricate wisdom and sturdy humility.

Their leaps filled with joy that echoes

The hallways of your long and fruitful life.

Their voices the songs of your satisfied soul

And their smiles are tokens of your unconditional love.

May they grow taller than average,
Wiser than most and be nobles in their conducts.

May their hearts always be close to home
Even when lands and oceans stand between you for years.

May your love for them bring memories of their youth
In their old age and even on their dying bed may they smile.

Let all the nations call them royalty because of the name they bear.

Your name.

The Man

May you always be the head with the heart of a servant,

The strength of a mighty warrior and the courage of a King,

That righteousness may reign in your home

And your children will learn from your determined strides.

May your wholeness be the making of the Lord
And not of wealth, authority, position or anything from man.

May your face reflect the love of your wife
And your voice the gladness of all your children.

May all that love you forgive you in your failings
Let them give you the strength to rise again, to move on.

May you be the champion of your people, the voice of hope,
The pillar of strength, an ordination of the Lord God of heaven.

A blessing.

What We Share

Waltz with me into this love of ours
To celebrate the simple ticking hours
We pulled through in the strength of love.
Pure and white with the gentle coo of a dove
Is this feeling that travels within my mind,
It tells me that you are one of a kind.
Your words are tucked deep in my heart,
As an inspiration that we will never part;
Run away with me my kindest love,
Into the dreams, hopes and aspirations
That are divine trickles from heaven above.
What we share will span generations.

Untitled: The Anniversary

A man at the bar taking two shots at a go with a melancholic smile written on his face under the tilted shade of tobacco smoke and darkness.

A woman, her beauty refined by her age, across from him shyly chuckles back to the absent soul.

She is thinking of their wedding.

He is thinking of his last affair.

Two decades and a year ago.

My Wife
      To Judith

Her smiles like the stars in procession, one after the other they come, never ending in magnificence or number.

Her eyes are the first glance of the most beautiful of mornings, leaving me craving poetic words yet to be born.

The moon smiles down on me every night and I always smile back.
Her envy is my joy.
                           My joy is my love.
                                    My love is my wife..

Olutayo Osunsan was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lives in Kampala, Uganda. His poetry has been published in anthologies and magazines on four continents and some poems have been translated into other languages. Olutayo is the author of three collections: Strange Beauty (2004), The Poet In May (2006) and, most recently, The Alchemy of Butterfly Memories (2011); all are available on He enjoys traveling, listening to music, reading the bible and watching good movies. Favorite Poets include Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.