Peace Corps Writers
Songs from Africa (page 2)
Songs from Africa
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Transforming Lions

I heard this story in my village. I also heard similar tales in Oaxaca, Mexico and in Mozambique.

When I was young,
The lions would come
At dawn to the edge of the fields
My father would say
Son, don’t you stray
Lest the changelings take you away
Lest the changelings take you away

It’s an ancient legend
Told around the world
Curious Strangers
Talk to boys and girls
Offer you candy
Take your hand
Then you vanish
With the dust of the Harmattan

We pay the River People,
The Kotoko
For the right of passage
To the other shore
We are so frightened
We pay what we owe
They’re crocodiles
Who’ll eat us whole

From desert, jungle
To the Great Outback
City sidewalk,
Suburban cul-de-sac
The Shadow People
From the Other Side
Are here and hungry
Won’t quit till satisfied

When I was young
The lions did come
At twilight to the edge of the fields
I didn’t obey
I wanted to stay
With the boy who bid me to play
But my father grabbed me away
My father saved me that day
From his arms I saw a lion saunter away

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