Categories
Poetry

Isuikwuato

One wakes to the call of Nature everyday, with the sun ushering the day
Huhuhu-lalala-kiki, all sort of songs welcome the sun’s golden streaks
Crickets quiz, wasps and bees buzz, snakes hiss away, the clock ticked
Familiar sounds echo, strong wind rushing through the high tree lines
Underneath the vegetation, silent waters flow, but we hear her soft current

On the hills of Ovim, where the butchers sell their quarry
Vultures and kites circle around the smoke which rose from a fire
Down the hills, pretty girls giggle and walk toward the stream
Disturbed lazy mambas drag through the dust to escape contact with them
Millipedes fall from the tree tops, the mud grabbing their oily bodies
Great winds surge through forests, shrubs twist in a native dance I knew
As the seeds of trees crack and fall into the cool and quiet waters of Kpere

Pots of wine rattle at the back of wagons, happily setting for the market
Smell of squashed fruit bless the blazing day, with smoked melon balls
Which tastes unique, the palm oil mills churn out fresh sweet smelling oil
And when you see the farmers yams, you will understand why they are happy

Now I have water- rain water, plenty of it, in the farms, at home
When the rains fall, the heavy clouds turn to our village drum;
Drumming beats of fulfilment and joy and hope and profound love
On the trees, birds build many nests, singing out their hearts
The partridge call from the forests, the sounds echo, 
The hawks circle the skies scouting for stray mice, 
The woodpeckers work on their tree, minding their business
And yet they all combine to one event; one I behold daily

Commentary. 
Isuikwuato is the name of my local government area. Ovim is my hometown. This is a beautiful place, my source of inspiration. 

Categories
Poetry

The Countryside


Evening airs bring blessings to the sleepy hamlet
The cute hut chimneys churn out thick smoke
And the smoke scatter once they meet the wind
The smoke suggest cooking food; fresh cabbage
With cooked brown beans and fried Salmon
Which was caught in the early morning,
Just off the hamlets quiet but great rivulet
The rivulet came from the hills, up there
Crashing noisefully through the pine forest
And cruising softly as it approached the hamlet
Beside the waters, a dairy mooed away the day
Fresh green grass fields surface here and there
The cows love the smell it gave in the evening
At the back of the forest, boys fish and swim
Gathering several shells and stray crabs for soup, 
Watching the still waters flow peacefully to town
While the sun set behind the great hills before them
Tasty men, home from the Deer forests
Gather with game: mountain goats and some deer
At the rivulet, they keep their quarry for a quick bath
Behind the gardens, mothers cut vegetables and pick snails
The color of the evening changing with each passing wind
Birds quack and fly away, the echelon an amazing sight
Across the wild and cloudy horizon
A signal to all to gather, back to the huts safety, 
For it was time to seal the day in the countryside

Categories
Poetry

Poetale:  The Traveler and the Witch’s lair


There came a traveler weak and weary, 
Fatigued with the heavy bag on his back
And many tiny stones inside his shoes
In his bag he carried a guitar for he could play well
He fainted slowly, clinging closely to his life, 
Hoping to see an inn or a well for water
For he had sang all the way and had his water exhausted

The evening was fast behind his heels with
Darkness; a vile and unpleasant creature 
Which found joy leading tired travelers astray
The clouds gather solemnly, the winds grew, 
Further away, the road beckoned to the man
Casting shadows of smoke rising from houses
But when he came to the bend, it was rocks, 
Huge rocks sitting all about the open field
Fueling the fears that the traveler’s heart held
In the growing darkness, he finally found a place
With his final strength he dragged himself to the door
A silent prayer left his breath as he leaned on the wall

Grasses stood at the doorway with patched gravel
And some quarried stones which lay littered about
He thought someone was counting, counting numbers, numbers… 

Suddenly the door flung open! 
Alas a miracle, he thought
A young lady looked out… 
She brought out an arm
Then a leg, then other parts
Of her body, in instalments
‘There will be a storm soon
The weather and night is here
And if the rain storm came
You won’t find your way home
Come in, have some warm tea… ‘
She soothingly offered the traveler 
Surely the emissary of the rain came
Followed by another, and many more
There was no time to think, 
So the traveler followed her in

In the night it rained heavily, so the roads were not seen
Pieces of grass, torn from plants squashed at the window
The house lamps glowed in the thick darkness
Rain drops battered the windows hard
Seeming to call out, to the weary traveler
Yelling his name, knocking at the glass windows
But the tea and lady’s beauty caught his fancy
The traveler reserved most of his trust to himself, 
He won’t let the lady steam some water for bath
And will not take the nut bread she offered too
Lying down at the window, he observed the open fields

From whence he came, he was glad he found a place

Lightning drew cracks across the wall, the cold made him shake

The fire licked the wood in the chimney and sleep worried him

No one could say though if the lullaby came from the rain beats

Or from the sugared tea cup offered by the lady, 

He thought he saw a fiery creature in one of those lightning flash

And decided to force himself to stay awake through the night

‘What’s the matter?’ The lady spoke finally

She must have perceived the travelers unease

‘I get fever in storms, rain storms, do you mind if I played my guitar for a while?’

‘I don’t mind, so far you won’t get me sleeping!’ the lady laughed hysterically

So the traveler pulled out his guitar and stroke the lines gently 

Closing his eyes he began to sing as his fingers worked mildly

He sang of the crazy fat frog which stole a pretty maidens voice

And the poor orphans who got lost in the Wild woods

He sang of the three cunny wolves up the rock cleavages

And the pain of traveling alone… 

As the rain’s cold grew, he sang the tale of love

Taking his time to romance his guitar chords 

Finding true words to fall in with the rhythm

And before he could raise his eye the lady was asleep

Snoring deeply and in her sleep she had dropped a knife

She held, hidden in her long dress

He played more and kept on until the morning 

But then as he woke the lady, she became worried 

Wondering why she slept and why the traveler was standing 

It wasn’t long, the traveler was on his way home.  

Categories
Poetry

Muse: The Rising Sun

When mornings come, it blankets the Earth with her mist
Then the bees must search for nectar as the flowers wait, 
The green and yellow hoppers stay in the sun, patient 
Eating the full of the land; munching at the wheat
Unconcerned, if the farmer will have enough to harvest
Then the warmth of life will slowly, steadily come, at some point, 
Waking the man who wandered and lived in grass tents
Who then happily witnessed what he saw coming forth, 

He pointed to the East, where a shimmer of gold rose in haste
Drawing the strenght of the humble day with all her might
Clouds glittered across the horizon, with fine firmaments
Sometimes, the cloud bellies glow a mild and light scarlet
But the sun will rise, it one day will shine joyful in the East! 

Categories
Poetry

The Castle called a man’s Heart

Have you heard or seen the dens or prisons where free men were kept? 

If not, let me tell you about it, about the little details which no man told

First, those men put their trusts in imaginations and false hopes 

Clinging to the mirror, others casted for them for self discovery

The colors they see are crazy, the views about the future vague

Painted illusions, thoughts of what-would-be light the heart

Giving a moment of hope in the Castle’s rooms, that is how it began


Hope threw charcoaled sickles up the spiky ceilings and spikes fall

Thorns weave their way out of creepy mistletoes, as wrinkled roses shrunk

When a ghost pass, her breeze push over the old tray, tumbling the ashes

And when the old clock chimed the hour zero, strange figures came to trade, 

Pricing their wares- fear, sailing through the wind like a piece of paper!

At all corners, spider webs generously stood to greet any newcomer, 

The soot from ages of Chimney burns design the walls with grim ferocity

Black hues, some on the floor, some seeming like a reddened blood patch

Also the windows were not spared, the beauty could be seen ages past

At the end of each hall, rat colonies thrive, with lots of hay and dust

In the dark evening, the night lit up with fireflies scaling the ceiling

Dancing to unheard music, blinking their lights at ghostly galleries 

No, no one, but few would actually see the imagery that lived there, 

The blood of prisoners of war, their cries and sputum and mangled flesh, 

Innocent sighs, disillusioned spirits, become a great piece of disappointment


Now men live in various castles created in their heart of hearts

The taste of defeat lure the endless stream of men to those castles

Forcing some to accept Destiny, as their only mentor and citadel 

Those who knew the tricks played by the heart of hearts of men

Will chose to stand just outside the Castle’s walls to see more

Categories
Poetry

Lafia

Lafia when I looked up I saw you, I saw life

I saw tomatoes squashed and gutted by the roadside

And some tall mallams washing their legs and hands, 

With their faces to the sun, preparing for the evening prayers, 


I raised my eyes further, towards the East

And lo, the route to home was trooping with people, 

People returning, craving for the comfort of their homes

I saw roads which bring hope and two different worlds together


I saw the rains that came with lightning and deafening thunder

In all I saw your peace and tranquility, the joy of a united people

The people are happy, at least they have bread, meat and liqour

Sell of oranges and sugar cane stalks litter everywhere

The cattle dung is special, the fragrance of grass in the morning

A sweet invitation to livestock, I see them lick their tongues

The sun gave different hues and shades, for the fine quiet city

Is set to have a nap, but wait not yet, not just yet! 

The nights awoke the other side of the city, it brought life! 

Men went to the inns around for burukutu, while the women cooked

Boys and girls played in the sand and the dogs watched lazily

In the heat of the nights, scorpions visit the open walls for fresh air

And rodents ran after each other, enjoying the freedom of the night

Lafia wakes up in the morning to buy cereals for breakfast

But sleeps late in the night when the darkness came fast

Commentary: 

Lafia is a town in Northern Nigeria where I did my one year National Youth Service. I miss the city and her little luxury it gave me.

Burukutu: strong beer

Categories
Poetry

Nature’s Forest


Take me to the quiet streamside, where no mans traverse, disturbs
Take me to the land, where my eyes see the beauty of your love

The sound of swooshing forest trees bring peace 
Actually there is no name for such queer tranquility, 
The amusement provided by the choral forest enchants
And the sight of slow flowing clean streams brings joy

Collected dew gather on tree leaves
Then merging, one with his brother
Flowed in a fast row of fine water
Drop, down to meet the waters below
Creating ripples, now and then

The cold firmament above is covered in mist
Quietness, great silence shield the green forest
Now, the tree leaves dance, waving quietly
Brown leaves, some dark red and light green 
All move with the winds direction
Some bold leaves fall off the branches
Dancing- turning, twisting, surfing the wind
Some found leisure, settling on the water
Sailing off, quietly to other stream banks
But those who fell on the ageless rocks
Stuck to the grip of the Fern
Waiting patiently, for the Winds to free them. 

Tiny insects seeking nectar fly around the river mouth 
Slowly, but quietly those waters find their way thru rocks
Rushing peacefully, shining the pebbles, pushing stray fish off
The air is icy cold, so are the sweet, fine waters of the stream

Now, the morning paints a mild, quiet scenery, 
Which waits, quietly waits for the aves cavalry

Categories
Poetry

Biafran Babies

I heard your songs soar through the thick forests, through the fields

But the wind hid the song, your voice and your face from the world

You were told to keep quiet, but if the hunger won’t let you from crying out

Daada will have to drop you, so that the soldiers won’t find our hideout


I hail thee children who saw the famine ravage our land

Those who stood watching their teachers and fathers march

To fields of no return, to early graves and destroyed hopes

We heard granny calling out to Daada, crying as she learnt he has gone

Gone to fight for his land, with bare hands and dummies for Biafra had no gun! 

We cry when evening fall and the sounds of machine guns halt

The canons speak, we hear them destroy our home and farmland 

Tomorrow Mama will visit the market, yes she will try to find food

Our belly hurt, they hurt so much that we ate raw leaves and worms, 

Mama told me to tell you all that if she wasn’t seen before nightfall

That we all should stay in the bush and must not return to our hamlet

I will not dream of walking back, our foot ache, the forest is our refuge

Now I am confused; there is still a lot of death up the hills

There is pain and frustration and hunger and stagnation

The rivers always bring the taste of blood to our drinks

Now I hear them bombs whistle: ‘Tau! Tai!! Tau!!! Leave here, Die there’! 

‘Dear Heaven! I call on You! Hear me, hear my babies! 

Will it end today? Will Daada ever come home to us?’

‘Why are they killing us? Why is there so much hate in Africa?’

‘Did we do anything wrong? Why must soldiers kill everyone?’

I must sob silently, I must not let the younger ones hear me

But they are all awake, with fright and tears in their little eyes

Searched me, catching  it all, the grief I tried to hide from them

I am sorry little ones, I am sorry indeed, my heart spoke

‘Did Daada start the fighting? Should we take some of our food to him? 

Daada must be very hungry wherever he is!’ Louise said

‘No he won’t want us near him or the soldiers

He will flog us if we ever try to, let’s just sing softly his favorite: 

Anyi no n’obubu agha
I bu agha megide uwa
Ya na Ekwensu
Ya na ajo muo
Anyi no n’obubu agha



Note

*Daada:  Father

*Anyi no n’obubu agha

I bu agha megide uwa

Ya na Ekwensu

Ya na ajo muo

Anyi no n’obubu agha: 

We are fighting a war
Against the world
Against the Devil
And every evil
We are fighting a war 


Commentary

The same issues that brought about the unfortunate war still play in Nigeria. The christians are being killed in the north and elsewhere. Nigeria, though wealthy sit as one of the poorest countries of the world. Biafra still seek to be independent and needs no war to achieve this. 

Categories
Poetry

Folk: the Warrior’s song

They call me Dike, yes!
I ran the thorny forest barefooted,
Even as the rough hills stood 
I danced in the strong heavy rain
When the thunder graced the storm
Dike na Dimgba! Odogwu!!
The one who fetched firewood from the land of the spirits
And threw the deity’s messenger in a wrestling match
I beat my chest, yes they say the warrior has come!
Ebube Dike, the warrior who manned the whole clan
The one who fought off the Leopard that took our livestock
Yes, I am the warrior, I am the Crocodile that lay in ambush
I have married the Kings first daughter, she holds my first child
I farmed yams and cassava, I hunt the boar and the antelope
I fought the clans neighbors, I won the race to the Evil forest,
I won the title of drinking the most of the steaming palm beer!
Call me Dike, the true warrior of his motherland!

Commentary:
The Igbo people are proud and take pride working hard to be recognized by the society they find themselves in. The Igbo are known for their strength, creativity and courage. They have survived several conditions with this attribute of daring to try. Igbos have a deep culture that is rooted in enterprise and community.

This piece therefore discusses a Warriors proud song. A folk which is known through the land when a warrior is allowed to praise himself.

Dike: Igbo for Warrior. 
Dike na Dimgba: The mighty warrior
Odogwu: the great
Ebube Dike: the Glorious one


Categories
Poetry

Colors

Colors are very beautiful
They tell a lot about all;
And a little about this and that
The ocean, the sun
The mice that live across
The busy street roads
Or the golden corn field
And the wild, the deserts
And the ice of Antarctica
Colors describe our feelings
Red with rage
The royal purple…

Each day wakes with colors
Take the flowers as an example,
Some grow so pale like the purple
And some, like the blessed color of harvest
Gold, the suns’ face upon a field of wheat

The soft and mild wind move about, quietly
Up the great green trees where the pretty birds live
And on the grey soil where the mushrooms thrive
But none is able to paint her till this day
Why? I wonder, but none can truly say

Okay let us paint a color, a fair one
Just any color which comes to mind
Flaunt the blues, make a little mound
Of nice sweet dreamy hue of orange
With a bunch of hogs walking to forage

Okay, let us talk about the eye hues
About the red that signifies danger
And the blood-shot eyes of the Hyena
Brown, that makes all images muddy
And to me seems a lot more nasty

What if there was a color of feelings?
Now let us try to paint a color of love
Like a surge of water upon the wharf
How amazing it is to add a drop of ruby
A humble hue, just for you and me?