Those Wings with which
We soar beyond
The mesh of time;
Light that blazes
Through the darkened
Domain of power;
That Impulse to tear down
Shackles of the soul
Put there to make us
Bend to fear and control;
Prometheus's first cry
And his enduring gift;
Meaning of myth
When it is decoded
As fire and light;
Prima materia that changes
Black earth of suffering
Into the red dragon
Of bold overcoming;
Last flame of a defeated
People, first rekindler
Of their resurrection;
Yellow path up
To the crowned mountain,
Where destiny, mind-forged,
Becomes the green ladder
To the lanterned  heavens.
Secret song of flowers,
And beauty's torch.
My father's injunction,
And my mother's revelation.

(Copyright: Ben Okri, 2014; all rights reserved)


Ben Okri has published nine novels, including The Famished Road trilogy and Starbook as well as several books of poems, essays and short stories. He won the Booker Prize for fiction in 1991. His work has been translated into twenty six languages. He was Fellow Commoner of creative arts at Trinity College, Cambridge. He has been a journalist, broadcaster, poetry editor, and a board member of the National Theatre, London. He has written plays and a film script. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he has been awarded the OBE as well as numerous international prizes, including the Premio Grinzane Cavour, the Commonwealth Writers prize for Africa, the Paris Review Aga Khan prize for fiction, and the Premio Chianti Ruffino Antico Fattore. He is a vice-president of the English Centre for International PEN, and was presented with the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He is a recipient of numerous honorary doctorates. He was born in Nigeria, where he witnessed the civil war, and lives in London. 

His latest collection of poems, Wild, is published by Random House.

While government watches you, who watches the government?