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A River Unfolds ©

H Marshall

Written on the occasion of the Richard Lander 200th Anniversary Expedition to Nigeria in November 2004 to commemorate Lander's discovery of the source of the River Niger.

In 1795 the Scottish explorer, Mungo Park had already started his discovery of the source of the River Niger and in 1805 he sailed over 1,500 miles down river to Boosa, where he was killed and was unable to complete his journey.

Later, in 1830, Richard Lander, together with his brother John, discovered the course of the River Niger in West Africa.

And down its twisting course the Niger runs
For all time, with sure, pre-destined flow,
People should understand where they did go....
What they have done.

First, when a fresh and untried explorer
Sailed to Africa and went ashore.
Into the wild land, ever to the fore....
Went young Lander.

As river banks surge past the wide-eyed gaze
The adventurers' yarns come flooding back,
Of how they pursued a relentless track....
In distant days.

Discovered names round each river bend.
Here was history the pioneers made,
The explorers' trials - names that won't fade....
Though rivers end.

And now these names are etched on the map -
Yaoorie, Boosa, Kiree and Brass.
Each, a challenging stage striven to pass....
Without mishap.


Here is another poem to mark the same occasion and to express the historical bond between the people of Nigeria and the UK ..... A Bond Renewed

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