“Child, weep not
Mother will be fine”
Still Tonye’s voice went out
Surpassingthe rolling drums
To win mother’s attention,
Her hands stretched forth
Forcing body through dense crowd
To mar mother’s drunken steps,
She, solitary Lass, soaked with her tears,
Weaved a cry:
What have they done to you mother!?
It’s me your daughter!
But all were health tips for pigs.
Dancer, canoe to the unseen paddler
Dancer, slave to the spiritual native banter
Feet, chalk-patterned by her painter
Body, clad with white and red George-wrapper,
Dancedforward, danced backward,
Danced drummers-ward, danced viewers-ward,
Danced, Shell to her marine partner
Dancedshe, beats after beats,songs after songs,
Swung,palm leaves at wind’s gate.
Ah! Severalfresh eggs went lost to her belly.
Then I replaced the soil on my soles with another
Weaving pity in my heart
Pity for viewers, lostin spirit’s huddle
Spirits who seek for more canoes to paddle.
By Fubaraibi Anari Benstowe
Orukoro dancers are women who dance to certain drumbeats under the influence of a marine spirit, at these times, songs and drums are played by members of their Orukoro society. Viewers usually come out in their numbers to witness the dance-steps.The word Orukoro means the coming down of a deity, In this case it is usually the marine deity that possesses a person.
The Orukoro societiesare worshippers of marine deities in many Ijaw communities in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States of Nigeria.