This poem calls out for the church to repent for not preparing future generations.
Shall we wash our hands? “as the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with Kings” - Chinua Achebe
Shall we wash our hands, sit with the ancients
Shall we drink from their well?
Shall we learn from our teachers?
Shall we hear their stories?
See the birth of a nation, with no real constitution.
Plenty of illusions, the youth, so much strength and conclusion.
Unable to make decisions, they say, the past, is it relevant?
History, heritage and inheritance, the elders have traveled the same road.
Shall we wash our hands, walk in their footsteps?
No! We shall take our own journey, Create our own path.
We don't like your story, so we must write our own.
My children have had a strange education, it was taught by a foreigner.
They have a new perspective, soon they will be leaving, exploring the earth.
Treasures beyond reason, they must take their share.
They say, “I too will sit with princess, let me go I beg!”
They will not wash their hands, home is where they lay their head.
Wages is their inheritance, Our words, an irritant.
Their patience, is hasty, our truth is nonsense.
We are teachers with no student, our value has no riches.
Our smoke has no fire, our person no identity.
Our lesson no wisdom, we are fathers, with no children.
Our treasure has no value, our character no integrity.
We are a country with no patriots, there is no inheritance in the fathers.
The great men are foreigners, our songs too are alien.
To their fellows the youth say, “shall we wash our hands?”
To the elders they say “continue in their fables”, to them our religion are rosaries and labels.
How we long for our children to say, “we will wash our hands!”, and to their fellow “let us wash our hands”.
We will hear the words of the wise, the wisdom of the ancients is treasure indeed
Their pain our healing, their reproof is our change.
Their scope our terra, their travel our journey.
We are children of history, our heritage their labour.
My inheritance is in the fathers, we are children of wealth.
Their bosom is our home, how they have weaned us.
Our glory no longer is in our shame, ee are children of strength.
Co-labourer with our fathers, shall we wash our hands?
Our horses are ready, we will ride as princes.
We will fly like eagles, we are lions, kings on the earth.
Our reign cannot be disputed, children of covenant we are.
We are governors in our land, loyal are we in our pledge.
Our hair will become grey, our words is tomorrow’s creed.
Yes we shall rule over the mountain, even when things fall apart.
We will not depart from our constitution, let the seas roar, we will stand on the waves.
We are a generation unmatched, we are a rock impenetrable.
A house of kings and queens, our hands washed, sitting and eating with the kings.
A tribute to a father of a nation, Chinua Achebe
Washing our hands, knowing things fall apart.
He who has an ear, let him hear.