Chinua Achebe

POETRY: Misunderstanding, by Chinua Achebe

October 29, 2014

My old man had a little saying he loved and as he neared his end was prone to relish more and more. Wherever Something stands, he’d say, there also Something Else will stand. Heedless at first I waved it aside as mere elderly prattle that youth have to bear till sharply one day it hit home to me that never before, not even once, did I hear mother speak again in their little disputes once he’d said it. From then began my long unrest: what was this Thing so unanswerable and why was it dogged by that relentless Other? My mother proved no help at all nor did my father whose sole reply was just a solemn smile… Quietly later of its own will it showed its face, so slowly, to me though not before they’d long been dead — [...]