"The Lament of the Masks", one of Okigbo's last poems, was written in commemoration of the W. B. Yeats centenary….
It was appropriate that Okigbo should write a poem to celebrate Yeats and his influence on other poets since contemporary African writers coming up then had been much influenced by the tradition of modern verse represented by Hopkins and Yeats, Eliot and Pound. Interestingly though, Okigbo does not use a modern English style in this poem; rather, he sings Yeats in the style of the traditional Yoruba praise song in which the attributes of a hero, ancestor or aristocrat are hailed in animal imagery and analogy from nature…. Section III of the Lament combines the direct address and the...
(The entire section is 1798 words.)