Penalty of Godhead

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*Penalty of Godhead*

The old man's bed
of straw caught a flame blown
from overnight logs by harmattan's
incendiary breath. Defying his age and
sickness he rose and steered himself
smoke-blind to safety.
A nimble rat appeared at the
door of his hole looked quickly to left and
right and scurried across the floor
to nearby farmlands.
Even roaches that grim
tenantry that nothing discourages
fled their crevices that day on wings they
only use in deadly haste.
ousehold gods alone
frozen in ritual black with blood
of endless tribute festooned in feathers
perished in the blazing pyre
of that hut.

© Chinua Achebe

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