The Pledge

As a child, in shoes polished until they reflected faces and my Spiderman backpack on my back, I said the Pledge every morning on the assembly ground. My little hand resting on my little heart, trying to stand a little straighter, too, I promised all those chivalrous things—we all did—to Nigeria, my country.

Today, in an unused hostel kitchen where a cement-weighted dumbbell lies on a decaying mattress and 8-month-old cobwebs dangle from a rusting sink, it came to me—what a pledge really is. It came to me in this song.

A pledge is not a thing of words; it is deeper, a soulful something. Not a thing to be said without contemplative thought, without that brooding pause. A pledge demands something, demands everything. Do not say it without considering Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, the jiggling silver of the Pharisees, the annoying bus conductors, the den of lions, and the knee-shy skirts of happening babes; the stripping and the whipping, the stoning and imprisoning...do not.

To the Love that will not me go, I give myself. To that Light that was, is, and will ever be, I yield this flickering torch that is my life. At the Cross that lifts up my head, I leave myself. At those feet, punctured and red, I throw myself. To the Love that will not let me go, I pledge myself.

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