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Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion proverbs

Igbo (African) Proverbs

Hello there! This is a post on selected Igbo proverbs. I wrote in Igbo language, translated in English and then gave its meaning. I did a blog post on proverbs used in the novel Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe sometime ago. You can access it here. Have a great day!

1.

Igbo: Nwaanyi muta ite ofe mmiri mmiri, di ya amuta ipi utara aka were suru ofe.

English: If a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the foofoo before dipping it into the soup.

Meaning: One should learn to change tactics to suit a situation.

2.

Igbo: Onyeubiam adi(ghi) aza “Omeokachie.”

English: An indigent does not take the title of “Omeokachie” (i.e. one who completes whatever he puts his hand to)

Meaning: Don’t make false claims.

3.

Igbo: Agwo emeghi nke o jiri buru agwo, umuaka achiri ya hie nku.

English: If a snake fails to show its venom, little kids will use it in tying firewood.

Meaning: There are times when one defends ones capability.

4.

Igbo: Ukpana okpoko gburu nti chiri ya.

English: The grasshopper that is killed by a Crow is deaf.

Meaning: Once forewarned of danger, flee except one is deaf.

5.

Igbo: O na-abu akota ihe ka ubi, e lee oba.

English: Whilst farming, if one encounters what is bigger than the farm, one sells the barn.

Meaning: One who incurs what is beyond one’s ability may sell all one has.

6.

Igbo: Okirikiri k’ana gba ukwu ose, anaghi ari ya-elu

English: The pepper shrub is not climbed but circled.

Meaning: When faced with dicey situation, approach it with caution.

7.

Igbo: Egbe bere, Ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwaa ya

English: Let the eagle perch, let the kite perch; if one does not want the other to perch, may his wings break.

Meaning: Live and let live.

8.

Igbo: Ugo chara acha adi(ghi) echu echu

English: A mature eagle feather will ever remain pure.

Meaning: One well trained will stand the test of time.

9.

Igbo: Anaghi eji na aguu na-agu noo ukwara.

Meaning: No one swallows phlegm to appease the pangs of hunger.

10.

Igbo: E gbuo dike n’ogu uno, e ruo n’ogu agu e lote ya.

English: Kill a warrior during skirmishes at home, you will remember him when fighting enemies.

Meaning: Don’t destroy your leaders.

11.

Igbo: Aka a na-ana dike bu itube ya (abuba) ugo.

English: Appropriate handshake for the valiant is to cap him with an eagle feather.

Meaning: Noble deeds should be appreciated.

12.

Igbo: Oke soro ngwere ma mmiri, mmiri guoro ngwere agagi ako oke.

English: When a rat swims with a lizard, his hairs won’t dry as the lizards.

Don’t do what others are doing; you are not the same.

Meaning: We shouldn’t copy others just for the sake of copying. Every human has a distinct identity.

13.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na olu oha di mma, mana oriri oha na-aka ahu.

English: The tortoise said that many hands at work is enjoyable, but many mouths to feed can be embarrassing.

Meaning: It is not easy to feed many mouths.

14.

Igbo: Nkụ onye kpara n’ọkọchị ka ọna anya n’udu mmiri.

English: Ones actions today will determine his position in the future

Meaning: Good or bad, today’s acts may either come back to bless or to haunt.

15.

Igbo: Ngwere nile makpu àfọ n’ala, mana onweghị onye ma nke àfọ n’asa.

Meaning: Everybody in this world have one or two problems; it’s only our dressing that covers it.

16.

Igbo: Onye tétárà n’ùla na-atù mkweke, ò bû mmadù kpótere yá?

English: Someone who woke up from sleep and still staggers around was he/she forcefully woken by someone else?

Meaning: Don’t be found wanting on his/her statutory obligation.

17.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na e jighi ehi kwa nne ya di na nso, mana a si ya wete na ya enweghi.

English: The (king) tortoise said it is an abomination not to conduct his mother’s funeral with a cow, but if asked to produce one he couldn’t afford it.

Meaning: Emphasizing the importance of the necessity of an object even though one cannot afford it.

18.

Igbo: Eze mbe si na nsogbu bu nke ya, ya jiri kworo ya n’azu

English: The tortoise said that trouble is its own; that’s why it carries trouble on its back

Meaning: One should try and shoulder one’s burdens and responsibilities.

19.

Igbo: Ada agwa ochi nti n’agha esula.

English: You don’t tell the deaf that war has broken out.

Meaning: Some things need not be announced, their occurrence stands as enough announcement.

20.

Igbo: Ukwa rue oge ya, o daa.

English: There’s time for everything.

Meaning: Things should be done when the time is right for them.

21.

Igbo: Udene na egbe anaghi azo nri: udene na-eri ozu; egbe na-ebu na nkike.
English: The vulture and the kite do not scramble for food: the vulture is a scavenger; the kite, a predator.

Meaning: Don’t demean yourself by competing below your level.

22.

Igbo: Si kele onye nti chiri; enu anughi, ala anu.

English: Salute the deaf; if the heavens don’t hear, the earth will hear.

Meaning: Let’s endeavour to do right even if no one is watching.

23.

Igbo: Oboloko abughi aha ejiri luta nwanyi, kama obu aha onwu di guru ya.

English: Widow is not a woman’s maiden name, but it is as a result of her husband’s death.

Meaning: Nobody likes suffering, but it is always a bad circumstance that leads to it.

24.

Igbo: Onye tétárà n’ùla na-atù mkweke, ò bû mmadù kpótere yá?

English: Someone who woke up from sleep and still staggers around was he/she forcefully woken by someone else?

Meaning: Don’t be found wanting on his/her statutory obligation.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems

Gilded Rays by Robin Bliss

The slender gilded rays
Of Winter sunshine,
Brightens up this room.
Where I sit writing.
Hitting glassy surfaces,
Of bottles,glistening.
Feeling the warmth pleasantly,
Warming my arms and legs.

Your love my dearest,
Is just as these beams.
For your sweet tenderness has,
Lightened up my dullness,
And the warmth of your,
Gentleness has captivated me,
And melted the cold,coldness;
That was within me,
And I rejoice.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love haiku love poems nature poems Poetry

Haiku: Home

Night fall dreams
A ride through moonshine
Home may tell tales

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle Nature opinion

Modern Scramble for Africa

A Bitter Pill

What comes to your mind when you hear about Africa? Savages. Poverty. War ravaged. Disease. Uneducated? Let’s face it, Africa is what it is today because ‘the world’ contributed in keeping it so. We’re only poor by the world’s standard. This is a bitter pill.

Another Scramble for Africa?

The economic hustle and rivalry between the East and West is rooted in selfish interest and greedy conquest. Capitalism vs Communism. Colonialism. Imperialism. Gold-plated forms of modern slavery, with Africa almost at the middle of the tug of war. It’s unfolding to me that some nations are already on course for a second conquest of Africa. It’s easy to play on the gullible African mind. So we trust so easily. We corrupt easily too. The first recorded conquest began late 18th century, when European nations sat on a table to share Africa’s land, people and resources (Scramble for Africa). Not even an African was present to discuss his people’s future but many will play roles in keeping the roots of colonialism watered later. I’ll like to note that more nations has joined this hustle for Africa’s resources. Recently, African children and women in search of greener pastures travel abroad to work as laborers. Some end up in drug peddling and prostitution. Late 18th century saw the European slavers draw up agreements and maps that will enable them exploit Africa’s abundant resources. Now these countries in addition to new arrivals sabotage each other economically to achieve their aims. Every Greek gift; loan, grant and aid play a role in modern slavery. Foreign governments want African resources for themselves and this is not because they care for Africa. I follow trends concerning Africa. I see how Africans are treated abroad. Yet these countries are foremost in exploiting African people and resources. I’ve this to say to all modern slavers: Stay away from Africa.

Kafala System

Have you heard of the Kafala system? The concept is based on buying people to work in private homes abroad. I’ll tell you why I used buy. This idea originated from the Middle East and it’s backed by law. Normally a sponsor (family) pays local and foreign agents to recruit domestic workers (mostly females from Africa and Southern Asia) to work in their homes. On arrival most of these workers are converted to slaves. They are exploited and treated inhumanly by their sponsors.

Let’s look at what may qualify one as a modern slave: when physically abused for no reason, personal belongings like phones and travel documents seized, under fed, locked up in the house when others go out, raped and sexually abused, not allowed to sleep on a bed or couch, sometimes not paid as when due or at all, ignored when sick or just asked to take pain reliever for every kind of sickness, works from morning till night (with little or no rest) and not allowed to socialize. What will you call that? I made the list after my interaction with many victims of the Kafala slavery. Some who had the boldness to speak to me revealed that their mistresses value their dogs over them. Some countries have failed to make laws that protect the rights of domestic workers. This is shameful. Shame to anyone who treats another human as slave. We’re not free until every man is free. Now activists ask that Kafala be abolished. I’m in full support. Abolish Kafala now or make laws that will protect the rights of domestic workers. Abolish all forms of modern slavery now!

Modern slavery goes beyond this flawed Kafala system. Consider rich nations that control the resources of another. That’s modern slavery. When a country instigate chaos in another country. That’s modern slavery. When a country interferes in another’s election or economic decision. That’s modern slavery. Those points may not define slavery exactly but as far as there are elements of exploitation and lack of total freedom, it’s slavery to me.

The end

By now you might have noticed my obsession for Africa. It’s a beautiful place honestly. It’s only bedeviled by bad leadership. Bad leaders contribute to Africa’s suffering. Yet some are only corrupt because of foreign influence and interference. So I won’t blame all African leaders completely for Africa’s woes.

I’ll end with the words of Pocahontas: If you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew. We’re only poor when measured by the world’s standard.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry

Writing a Poem by David Thane Cornell

Writing a poem
is like picking flowers
in a minefield.
Lay down your life
spread-eagled,
so that the grass,
sharp as syllables,
won’t cut you.
Let your fingers
test the soil.
Don’t tug at the roots.
Seize adjectives
for hostages,
negotiable at the border
between war and peace,
leading you
all the way back
to silence.


DAVID THANE CORNELL
Copyright 2012, 2020.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry

Path to Harvest – Poem

Joy is fruit blossomed in the heart of farmers
Their smiles are meshed with toil and sweat,
Patch of earth print upon their faces
And on shoulders they carry huge baskets
Marching towards the fields, when it is harvest…

Fields are ripe, and trees are heavy with fruit
Birds sing from tree tops, monkeys dance it out
Evergreen forest is alive, farmers walk their path
Marching through mist, grass, and animal dung
The morning path led through cool streams,
Farmers may stoop to have a taste of water
Which smell like a mixture of dust and dew
The path led the farmers deeper into forest land,
Where shrubs are scanty, trees more numerous,
With thriving bird colonies, Nature’s secret hives
Bamboo forests stand aghast, daring the farmers
Waterfalls drop water balls which bounce off rocks
Once, they arrived the plantation, work must begin
When they sang of places, far far away
Where wheat are gold and cow milk immaculate,
They whistle country music while they gather grain
At last harvest became a pile waiting to go home

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education lifestyle nature poems opinion

Poets Corner: What Is Beauty?

JUST A LITTLE STORY
Let me tell you a little story. I remember a picture story of a man that sat close to a girl in a park. The first image portrayed the man as ugly, dressed in unbuttoned black shirt, with all manner of rings, deep scars and tattoos. The pretty girl was dressed in angelic white gown with curly hair. Now both had one hand behind their backs so that no one could see what they held. People (including myself) admired this lovely girl (and oh my, she was cute). On another image their hands were revealed. The raggedy man held a bunch of flowers and the pretty girl had a sharp knife. The knife made me rethink how lovely I previously thought she was. Looks are deceit.

WHAT BEAUTY IS TO ME

Beauty is everything that makes someone or a thing pleasing, attractive or fine. To me beauty goes beyond the physical. To some it may just be things they see or feel. Blue clouds, sunset, corn fields, white beaches, red lips or moon shine may appeal to sight. Yes they are natural things we feel or see. Another person may look at them as common and nothing special. Everyone has a viewpoint. When I admire flowers that grow by the roadside, it may just be a weed to someone else. Beauty is when we see things differently. An Indian actor said that “Beauty is in the eyes of the beer-holder.” I agree but one may not need a beer to see.


I love it when poets discuss issues. I and Adekunle Ridwan VW moderated on the topic and compiled what poets has to say. I hope you enjoy this.

WHAT IS BEAUTY?

Rose Marie Raccioppi says that beauty are WORDS… Letters that call to be sounded, silent ones in support… and so BEAUTY calls to Being, Exchange, Aspiration, Unity, Truth, Yielding to the grace of creation. Be this known heart to heart. The petals of a flower, the fingers of a hand… Beauty in its manifestation, in its giving. Maxwell Rae says it’s seeing beyond the flesh of anything and seeing the beauty in everything.

Ricky Guiang said beauty is calmness and serenity. Beau Blanchard says it is a recognition of peace and comfort in and with another individual. Ashley Yelhsa has this to say, “Beauty is the magnifying radiance and essence of all things good and pleasant with a hug and a kiss of grace with Its loving kind and gentle nature. It’s the sweet savoury of all things pleasant and good.” Theo Perry says “a Poet’s perception to beauty is a line of being genuine, a display of confidence, a portray of positive love. Each one entails more to please with a smile.”

Cathy Deslippe aptly put it thus: “To some beauty is what you see. To others it’s a scent. The sound of a child’s laughter. A gift you haven’t opened yet. For me beauty is the opportunity, to write poetry.” Bella Michel puts it thus: “Little details. Small moments. Genuine emotions. Spectating on large events and taking in the details as an observer. Silence is beauty. Solace is beauty.”

C. J. Mitchell has it that beauty is whatever intrigues and inspires the soul in any given moment. Esther Cenat said beauty is subjective. Left to interpretation. Barbara Newman said that beauty is colours. Rich Granvold opined “Beauty is what is seen with the eyes of our hearts.” R. Paul Howell said beauty is transparency.

David Gammon has this to say, “beauty can be many things to us. For me personally, it is a space, an area of nature. Rolling hills and valleys. A sunrise, the smell of wet ground after a shower. To me, beauty is defined in words and actions. If I meet someone on my rounds that isn’t obliquitious and judgemental, then that is beautiful. I have met people who look pretty outside, but inside have nothing but bullshit to offer. You know the sort, the one that will bad-mouth you.
Some of the best people I have ever met and known in my 50 years existence have had mental illness or not been good looking. I embrace our imperfections, because that is what makes us human.” He went further: “Beauty is defined not in the fine lines of a careless whisper, but in the actions of one.” Kami Velasquez supported, “Beauty is the gift of giving with no thought for anything in return.”

“Life itself is proper definition of beauty. With all its ups and downs, happiness and sorry… because one side is always incomplete. And what can be more complete than life.” Pranaj Raj. Mattie Green says “Beauty is in everything I see, live and breathe it. Beauty is what the eyes cannot truly see it’s a healing that took place before life and even after death it’s a beauty that no one can see. It’s an aroma. It’s a taste and see with your mouth lips and tongue. It’s as refreshing as the morning light and as beautiful as itself is indeed. Beauty has no definition but can be defined by others.”

R. J. Williams believe that there’s no one correct universal answer. “To some, beauty is a flower with a bee pollinating it. To Jeffrey Dahmer type people, beauty is dismembered body parts on a dinner table.” Read A. Paul Owens, “Beauty is everything that inspires any kind of lust. From sexual to just. Beauty raised 10,000 armies and rode peace on 10,000 sunsets. Beauty is living each day in the moment with the absence of regrets. Beauty is making love to someone you can’t live without. With every orgasm growing greater the absence of doubt. Beauty is the innocents in a childs mind. As they fulfill their dreams playing with toys they find.”

To Ugomma Ezewuiro, beauty is simply life! While Hitendra Kumar Shrivas said beauty is Nature, nothing else. Sameh Ibrahim quipped that beauty is being. Dom Capobianco offered that beauty is just a human concept. Nancy Melendez says it is authenticity and Bethan Williams called it truth. Charlotte Gunning’s offered that “it is not a shape but a mindset and the best indicator of it is self confidence.” Elizabeth Folsy says it’s that which makes the heart sing.

Kristine Perito’s idea goes with mine. She said “Simply put, beauty is different things to different people.” Vanda Kudlackova said beauty is being yourself. To end Millie Richie Kiefer says it is everything and nothing!

FEATURED POEMS ON BEAUTY

Mike Noxaura

A baby cooing.
A star going nova.
The smile of a bride.
The blush of a teenage boy.
The laughter, unafraid of a grandma
The solid advice of a grandpa.
The wind in the trees
A tiger on the hunt.
The smell of sage and sweet grass burning in a sweat lodge.
The peyote and ayahuasca visions.
Fresh grilled veggies.
Laying in the arms of love.
A healthy poop.
A cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day.
Children playing.

What is beauty?
Life in action, but just contemplation.

Bryan Perkins c/o L. N. O.

The currency of the mind
In my eyes
It’s the flaws that drive me crazy,
To me the true beauty of a woman is in her flaws,
That’s what distinguishes her from the all rest
Every man desires a beautiful woman
But no man desires a flawless woman
And when you find that woman
And fall in love with her flaws,
You have then found a flawless woman
Imperfection is everyone’s
Most brutally beautiful feature
So thank you,
For being perfect,
Not for the world,
But perfect for me

Anju Kalra Sethi

Thank you dear God
For down by my sidewalk
Under the shining Sun
I saw a pretty little purple butterfly
It stirred me up
In stillness I grew and encountered the hidden me in mine
Underneath layers and layers of shields and swords to linger on
to the thought I dwelled in
Caressing love leaf twinned pines and roses
Further more
While I kept the walking feet the pretty creature fathomed
Filled me with more some love
Thank you might today tomorrow be let it .
Listen memories in this moment I am fine

Adekunle Ridwan VW

What’s beauty?

The world of creation;

The gentle smile of a little child.
The sparking of the stars and glimmering sunshine.
The radiant colours of the rainbow.
The grace that flows from a river that never runs dry.
The sweet melodious song emanating from the skylark.
The abyss of the ocean.

What’s beauty?

The smile;

So tender
Contagious
Captivating
Heart melting
Crystal clear.

What’s beauty?

The words;

Soothing
Appealing
Pacifying
Alluring
Enchanting.

What’s beauty?

A virtue;

Love
Kindness
Honesty
Respect
Forgiveness.

Beauty is

A great phenomenon;
Indescribable
Unending
Immeasurable
Overwhelming

The world is beauty!
The heaven is beauty!!
God is beauty!!!


So what comes to your mind when you hear the word beauty? Have a great day.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nature nature poems Nigeria

Reflection: The Virus and China

Not so cuddly thought…

As I lay on my bed I had a thought. A thought that actually provoked many questions. Maybe someone can help me understand these issues better if my opinion does not reflect reality. This is the first reflection on racism, the next will be on Africa. NB: I speak for people, and not governments.

China, Oh China!

I love China. Yes I do. I love Jackie Chan. I love the funny movie Shaolin Soccer where football became a whole new form of thuggery. I’ve several Chinese friends on Facebook and WordPress. I’m amazed at their creativity and industry. I’m amused each time Chinese movies portray people performing martial arts mid air (honestly is that even possible?) I watch Chinese comedy too. My geography classes taught that there are a lot of people in China – that it is the country with highest people population. I read about the Great Wall of China in high school and how it kept bandits and China’s political enemies away. I know a little about the culture and dynasties, language, technology and cities. We sure have a beautiful world and history, don’t we? Talking about Chinese cities; I admire Hong Kong and Macao the most. I can say that they are European flavour in a Chinese soup. Maybe that’s a silly metaphor. The capital city Beijing is so big that it could take in the total population of my home state! There are many big cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are other beautiful things to see in China. Apart from the serene countryside, numerous flowers, rivers, mountains, lakes, and more abound. I’ve seen videos of this beautiful land. I love China indeed.

But…

But I won’t forget Wuhan. No one will forget the city in a hurry. But it’s just a name like New York. Wuhan has engraved itself in the hearts of so many. So history will remember her for the disastrous gift. Let me be plain, the corona virus pandemic started there.

Why the pandemic may have originated from Wuhan, I can’t see this scenario: the local fishermen packaging contaminated food to be shipped abroad. I agree that human interaction helped in spreading the virus. But people won’t deliberately export this virus. People might be innocent. I can’t say that for any government.

I can’t conclude that every Chinese is responsible for the pandemic. That’s quite unfair. I mean we can hold the government and policy makers responsible. Every economic sanction, sabotage or revenge will affect innocent people too, just as the virus ravage distant places. The bad guys are in every nation. We know them.

I deliberately avoided the bad sides of this great nation. I could have mentioned human rights violations, racism against foreigners (will talk more on this later), cruelty to wild and domestic life and labour camps. Let’s face it, every nation has a history, good and bad, just and unjust. But I’m no judge.

For those calling for blood or revenge, there’s absolutely no need for that. The common enemy now is the virus and it’s leading a global warfare. We’ve lost a lot already to it. This is time to stop the blame game and racist attitude. We need China, the same way we need Africa and America and Europe and every other nation on earth. Some governments do not represent public opinion.

Diversity is strength. I prefer to see the good side of every nationality. I only pray that one day the bad guys will have no stake in our political future.

This is just a humble reflection. Have a good night.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love education opinion

Opinion: The 2020 World University Rankings

As children in the typical agrarian world of Northern Cross River State, Nigeria, it was the tradition for mothers to leave their young babies in the care of the older ones while the mothers went to distant farms. Across the day the older children grappled with the occasional frustrating cries of their baby-siblings, sometimes grappled with hunger and even with the sheer anxiety of being left alone at home to fend for their younger siblings without an adult. At the onset of evening hours mothers began trickling back from the farms. For the child whose mother had not arrived, it was a great moment of anxiety, of frustration and worry; and it was this situation that gave birth to the usual children’s short song, addressed to the beetle called “Whukpalib” in the Bette-Bendi lingo. The short song goes: “Whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, whukpalib-eh, whukpalib, everyone else is arriving [home], but my mother isn’t arriving!”

This was the song that leaped to my lips early this month as I flipped through the list of names in the 2020 world ranking of universities as released by the Centre for World University Rankings. My non-arriving mother in this case was, first, the name of any Nigerian university, and then the name of any African university. Three of the first four mothers to arrive were neighbours from South Africa: the University of Cape Coast at number 268; the University of KwaZulu-Natal being number 477; while the third neighbour was University of Johannesburg, which is the 706th on the list out of the 2000 universities recorded. The other African university is Cairo University, Egypt, which is the 558th on the list. The next neighbouring mother to arrive was Uganda’s Makere University, which was established in the same 1948 as Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, by the British colonial government. Makere came up as the 923th best university in the world; yet, my real mother, the first Nigerian university to arrive, didn’t come up until I got to serial number 1,163, where I found our own great University of Ibadan. This places this best Nigerian university four times below the best in South Africa, University of Cape Coast. Down the list another Nigerian mother arrived at number 1,882, the University of Nigeria. This is only 118 universities away from the bottom of the list of 2000; and that ended the arrival of my Nigerian university mothers from distant farms.

Beyond the anxiety about seeing or not seeing the names of Nigerian universities coming up on the list, there were musings and reflections and some fun, too, around me as I went down the list. I was always pleased to find the names of some of the universities around the world that I’ve had some close career and professional involvements with, or have heard about, or whose histories I am familiar with, or in which I have some friends. For instance, my heart experienced glow when I saw the names of a few of the universities in New York which I’d visited as a Fulbright scholar. Similarly, I was excited to find on the list names from among the cluster of universities in India’s Tamil Nadu axis, whose doctoral candidates I have examined for over 15 years now. The Ghanaian age mate of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan, University of Ghana, Legon, whose campus I am reasonably familiar with, came up also a bit late at number 1,346. Even at this number, it turned up earlier than Kumasi’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, which surfaced at number 1,460. The arrival of certain four universities or so stirred up goose pimples all over me. They are Wuhan University (243), Wuhan University of Technology (555), Wuhan University of Science and Technology (1381) and Wuhan Institute of Technology (1494). Whenever a Wuhan name appeared, I thought of my nose mask and hand sanitizer as emblems of covid-19!

Malaysia’s Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (National University of Malaysia) has some special significance to me. I was at this great university in 2005 when the results of the world rankings of universities for that period were announced and Malaysia’s best universities shifted a little backward from where they had been in the preceding rankings. The reactions from Malaysians shocked me pleasantly. The daily newspapers were awash with queries and criticisms and anxiety by almost all Malaysians; and it looked like the citizens were going to ask for the sacking of the minister of education. I bought some of the papers just to show Nigerians what education meant to citizens of some other countries. But not many persons I gave the papers to saw anything striking in the fact that the entire citizenry were so concerned about the state of the nation’s universities. Also, it was at this university that I saw how much serious-minded governments cherish intellection as a necessary synergy between the gown and the town. Here was where I found directors from government ministries participating actively in the international conference and taking down notes most furiously and copiously to factor into the business of running government. And it was here, too, that I experienced the then-former Prime Minister (He is back as Prime Minister at over 90 years, though), Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed, presenting a keynote address on the nation’s language policy, and making vital intellectual contributions that define the boundary between the need to promote one’s mother tongue for use in the domestic domains, and the English language for global and international communication. Yet, Dr Mahathir Ibn Mohammed is a medical doctor by training.

As I went down the list, my mind also reflected on the Nigerian university system. Here is a nation whose University of Ibadan was rated among the best ten universities within the Commonwealth at a time Commonwealth nations looked down on the American university system, generally; but today Ibadan can only take a miserable 1,163th position among world universities. Here is a nation whose universities’ products Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu boasted proudly of as being responsible for the scientific and technological feats the Biafrans recorded during the unfortunate Civil War. Here is a nation whose children who have managed to find their way out of the country are excelling everywhere they find themselves in the world. Here is a nation whose products as teachers and researchers are making breakthroughs in all manner of human endeavours wherever the environment is education-friendlier. Here is the same nation forming a huge valley among the world’s universities today. And as I went down the list, images of some of our current gladiators in government flitted past my head. I could see the Honourable Minister of Labour seated, his beard of affluence in place, sipping a healthy cup of coffee or tea, a resting newspaper in front with just the labour-related stories asterisked for him as he thinks of what rough tackle to use in “defeating” the nation’s striking university lecturers. I can see the Honourable Minister of Finance, her venom whetted and ready to strike further at the university lecturers’ salaries. I can see her loyal subaltern, the Accountant-General, with his Director in charge of IPPIS, ready with a fresh punch at the lecturers’ lean earnings. And then as I continued down the list, my eyes stumbled on the image of the Honourable Minister of Education struggling against odds to explain the tragedy entailed in killing education. He looks strange and alone among his colleagues in his favourable posturing towards ASUU’s system-saving interventionist measures.

These images invoked severe pain in me as I looked at my great nation almost absent from the comity of world’s universities. Not that all Nigerians do not know the truth about ASUU’s struggles for the survival of public universities, two of which are the ones represented on this year’s rankings of world universities. Many Nigerians know and are truly sad about the situation. For instance, while we, the Nigerian lecturers, were deliberately starved during the Covid-19 total lockdown, my great friend, Kayode Komolafe of Thisday newspaper, strengthened me much. He assured me that when the history of this country will be written, ASUU will have a place of gold in the account as that is the only union that is sincerely fighting a lone battle for the survival of Nigeria’s universities. When he mentioned that ASUU is fighting a battle that all Nigerians ought to be fighting, I remembered my Malaysian and Ghanaian experiences. At independence in 1957, Ghanaians decided to insulate education from politics such that any government, military or civilian, that tampers with the nation’s education, faces the wrath of the entire citizenry, not just the actors in the education sector alone. Another great mind, Pastor Udeme Ukpong, used the story of the snake which bit repeatedly the hand that wanted to save it from a fire as an illustration of how Nigerians are destroying or biting incessantly the ASUU that is battling to save the nation’s education system. And who are these snakes? The government, which should take the glory for having a healthy system of education, the parents who should be happy that their children are being given a globally competitive education quality; and the students themselves, who should be appreciative of being properly baked for survival in a competitive world. The student body, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), especially under the successive treacherous and leadership of Yinka Gbadebo (under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan) and Bamidele Akpan (under the current administration of President Mohammadu Buhari) simply spent more time daring the lecturers to please the government than fighting for the improvement of the education sector.

Further, in a rather pensive, almost mournful tone, one of my most gracious and promising former students, who now resides in Britain, said to me, “Sir, we all know what ASUU is fighting for. The Union certainly wants the system to survive, but I doubt that the Union will achieve its goal because the British economy will be seriously and negatively affected if the Nigerian education system regains its good state of health. You need to know how much this country [Britain] makes every year from fees paid by Nigerian students; and the people here [in Britain], who control our governments back home would never allow any positive changes in the state of our education”. Not that this was new to me or to my colleagues; but the import of the statement is that it was coming from a non-ASUU member, a patriotic, altruistic and well informed Nigerian who told me she was still proud of her Nigerian university education background in spite of the lack of facilities and the strikes that had truncated her learning while here.

In sum, while the atmosphere in other countries must be charged now with robust discussions about how their countries fared in this year’s world ranking of universities, Nigerians, with only two out of the nation’s over 200 universities making the list at 1163 and 1882 respectively, are quiet and going about their businesses as if this nation is no longer a part of the world – or can only share the world’s woes such as in Covid-19. Still worse is the fact that while the rest of the world’s governments are either celebrating the enhanced positions of their universities in the rankings or working towards improvement in the education sector, the gladiators in the Nigerian government led by the ministers of labour and finance, and armed with the crude implement known as IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System), is busy plucking the few feathers that are left in the body of the bird called Nigerian University System through the current sacking of contract and visiting lecturers. Thus, like the racist former American White police officer, Derek Chauvin, who savagely pinned down the African American George Floyd to death late last month with his knee, the knee of the Nigerian government is on the neck of the Nigerian university system, and the system cannot now breathe given the sacking of lecturers on contract and visiting appointments, government’s dragging of feet over the renegotiation of its agreement with ASUU, government’s reluctance to pay the lecturers their long overdue earned academic allowances, government’s repeated reneging on the provision of fund for revitalization, and the now routine amputation of even their already paltry monthly deceptions called salaries. Strangely, however, the Nigerian students themselves, their parents and most of the Nigerian populace are either urging the government to press its knee harder on the neck of the lecturers or struggling to lend a knee to government’s murderous one already on the neck of the nation’s education system, while the advanced economies that have programmed the system to this death watch with satisfaction, their universities showing up very early in the list of any world rankings of universities. Meanwhile, the Nigerian nation remains represented in this year’s world rankings by only the University of Ibadan, which comes up at 1,163, and the University of Nigeria, which takes the 1,882th position out of the 2000 universities on the list.

– Professor Joseph A. Ushie

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems Poetry

And So I Fly by Robin Bliss

When I am
Downtrodden.
Trampled into the mud.
Deserted by all.
Misunderstood.
Left for dead.
Despised.
Forgotten.

You! My beloved,
Are there for me.
Your love,
Lifts me up.
Rising above,
The mud and mire.
Your love is,
Unending,
And I fly.

Soaring on Gossamer
Wings so high.
You never let me down,
And I fly,
Far, far above,
All troubles and cares.
Into the realms,
Eternal I go.

Drifting upwards.
Into the infinite,
Eternal love.
Love that embraces all.

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle love poems Nature nature poems

Sunlight – Poetale of Gratitude

Why am I so happy to see the sun rise and smell her sweet fragrance? I may not explain exactly, but this is why.

Before now I slept like a log, snoring away, unconscious to the world’s drama. Nocturnal creatures crept, birds hoot. The night is innocently quiet but may have consumed many. My windows are open, the whistling pines sang a lullaby. Soft rain drum the rooftop. Pata-pata was her fair rhythm. The wind accompanied the rhythm with an invisible guitar, addressing my bed. Cool breeze rent, blowing kisses, caressing man who slept. It wooed man to dreamland, where he could see beautiful things. All these while, I am man, bones and flesh, helpless only to Providence and her benevolence.

The sun’s glamour lit the skies, it woke man. Golden rays filter through the curtain, a welcome to new day. Blue clouds wait outside, there the green field lay wet with dew. Grasshoppers, beetles and crickets play in them. When stick insects fly, their zithering wings create a tune. Termites are busy moving their quarry. Mantises cling like monkeys to tree leaves. Trees are calm, resting from the long cold night. Squirrels play up their branches, the wind their surfboard. Egrets, pigeons, turtle doves, skylarks, bluebirds and others enjoy the fresh air. Their cries fill the horizon with hope, they spoke of gratitude and joy, of seeing a new day. Grey and brown mushrooms sprout, squeezing out of earth little umbrella citadels for ants. Some shaped like the anthill down the road. Bright flowers dance in the morning breeze. They are dressed in different schools: white and purple, green and yellow, red and pink, or blue and orange. Their stalks a perfectly sewn uniform, each glamouring in her pretty dress. The canopy of green grass expands each morning. There’s carpet grass, mother nature’s rug. There’s the guinea grass, tall enough to hide bugs and worms. Butterflies roam the garden, sunlight behind their back. Tree leaves fall in circles, to meet the wind at the foot of trees. A stronger wind gladly sweeps them all over the garden – a queer rollercoaster without wheels. Yet sunlight came in installments, watching over all.

I have a friend who checks on my window each morning. She admires herself at the glass mirror. From the other side I laugh at her fluffy beauty. Straight beak sitting on a funny face. Two agile broom-like legs holding a big body. Those legs, a perfect weightlifter, just that it lacked muscle. Black feathers, white underbellies – a reminder of me whenever I wore a black suit. ‘But why are you so pretty every morning?‘ I wonder. I smell the flowers that live not far away. Hibiscus and Flamboyant, different colours, many scents. Strength in diversity. But colour has no scent. The wet clay smell nice too, in it the bull frog family live. The garden is a big theatre – a world of its own. If I ever knew the winds tune, I will sing with her. She sang slowly, sometimes high, other times low-pitch. So I hum in my heart and whistle when I am overwhelmed. I write a song in my mind. I will let the later morning hear it and trust that she keeps my tune secret.

I am grateful for the song on the roof. For those little angels disguised as birds that wake me. For the cool breeze that makes sleep enjoyable. For night rains that sing me a lullaby. For the green garden and her flourishing faun and flora. For dew that wet my foot when I walk through the green grass. For the insects and birds that greet the morning with a beautiful song. For the love, joy, peace and hope that comes with each bright morning. Gratitude is still the best attitude.

Do you now see why I am happy when I see sunlight? For me, to live is to be grateful.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems Nature nature poems opinion Pastoral Poetry

I am Poetry

I am needle, needless of pain, driving through fabric, to create a happy stitch,

I am dance, sometimes something sane, twists and turns, breaking within or without,

I am fury, memories may wane, trust on mere ink and paper, pale but yet transparent

I am innocence, a cry too soon, living for the weak, suns glam and joyous warmth

I am poetry, needle for needless pain, innocent cry not heard, dance within sanity and fury of many spirits


Happy Father’s day 👪

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems nature poems Poetry rhyme

Poets Corner: Why is Poetry Less Popular?

HOW I CAME TO LOVE POETRY

As an introverted teen I found solace in writing. All my thought was written in form of poetry. I also wrote poetry for my faculty and student magazines. Fast forward to many years, I submitted my first story and poetry to two different competitions. I didn’t make the shortlist for the short story contest but made third place in a National Poetry competition! Since then I decided to focus more on poetry. I made Google my friend and looked up local and international writing competitions. There were many story writing (prose) contests split into fiction and non fiction with huge cash prizes! The same went for drama competitions with mouth-watering prizes, but this was not the case for poetry. I mean there are poetry contests out there but few offered good prize money.

MY OPINION

That little story of mine formed the basis for my argument that poetry is not as popular as other literary genres. I won’t draw only from my experience. So I decided to engage my friends and mentors on long discussions. I also stayed late nights in many Poetry Groups to brainstorm with other poets. At the end I was able to collate some of their thoughts. I will share them here.

OTHERS OPINION

My first contact was Diego Donati, who believes that “to appreciate poetry you need to be sensitive and speak from the heart. And not many people are like that.” Mark Priestly provided a similar answer to Diego’s with a rhetorical question, “Because it only appeals to the poetic?” I thought so too. But must one be poetic to accept poetry? Soumya Naik supported Mark’s position as he believed that only poetic minds can understand the emotions in a poem.

My friend Steve Stone believes that good poetry makes people think and most are too lazy to be bothered with that.

“I think partially because it doesn’t get as much exposure because it doesn’t sell as well as the other genres. I think that might have to do with Rock and Roll becoming popular in the mid-50’s. Again with Rap and Hip Hop exploding on the music scene in the early 80’s. If there’s no market for it no one is going to promote so less people are going to discover it and read it.” Steve Howard aptly put.

Sarah Mulqueen quipped, “It doesn’t have to be written ‘correctly’, it has a law all of it’s own which I know drives my mother crazy.”

“I would have to say because it is often ambiguous and open to more than one interpretation. My cure for that is to write using common language in uncommon ways.” Tate Morgan supported. Kiran Sharan has this to say: “Perhaps because it’s much more difficult to encapsulate your feelings or thought processes in a few lines as compared to prose where you can ramble on and on unless of course you’re writing an Iliad an Odyssey a Mahabharata or a Paradise Lost.”

August Hill was more radical in his approach. “People are too stupid to understand metaphors and symbolism, they fall asleep with the rhythm if a poem is well done because instead of listening their mind can’t concentrate that much, honestly I’d argue mostly they just hear the rhymes. That’s my take actually.”

He went further to elaborate. “For what it’s worth the other day I was looking for a poetry circle in my city. Figured I’d look on the paper and internet and all I could find was articles about “Is poetry a dead art in my country.” So I’m not as optimistic as all the folks that say that poetry is up there. Plus if you look at it historically most poets that were historically and literary consequential died in complete poverty, mistreated by their society to the point of starving to dead, dying of disease or being chased away by their family. So this isn’t something new.

In the words of the French poet Baudelaire, “A poem never was worth bread.” I think it’s because of the abstract nature of poetry, a good poem is worthless because it cannot have a price on it, not because it is mind feaces, but because literally a good poem is world changing, and nobody could ever own a gift to humanity. Which is precisely the nature of poetry.” I agree with this. He went further.

“It’s not that poverty is part of the life of a poet, it’s just that we are forced into it and we find peace of mind through poetry. I’d say, if you wanna make money definitely don’t try to do it through poetry, now if you want to glance behind the veil of reality or if you have a message for the world, that’s a good motivation for poetry. You’ll be disappointed if you seek wealth through it, but if you know you seek something greater you’ll never be disappointed and you probably will reach it without even noticing it. People around you will tell you, you made it, and it will mean more than all the money in the world.

At the same time I wrote hundreds of poems, and what I noticed is that if you really want to write, you must write to write, not write for fame, not for money, not even for recognition… at best if you find kindred spirits you can share. But even then poems are not meant to be understood by a reader the way a poet writes.” August concluded.

“From my point of view (I am not dismissing how you see it) well admired is a bit of a stretch. I think people who like and admire poetry are few and far between and they might feel like it’s well admired because perhaps they see it more in their own lives. I feel like If I think about the entire country, football would be well admired and poetry, liked by some.” Emily Simmance said.

Akua Daps has this to say, “I think part of it is that people have lost the appreciation for the beauty of its interpretation. People want to be shown and told how to view it. Ex. Descriptive books and movies. Vs. How poetry takes your mind on a journey. People aren’t taught the literary tools to dissect poetry like back in the day.”

Luke Fallow has this to say, “Because a certain type of poetry has been perpetuated which is really self indulgent and depressing, so people assume all poetry is just writing about how sad you are.”

In the words of Steve Anc, “People prefer direct communication, but poets had twisted that already.
Therefore, they are confused.” Benjamin Davis supports this “It takes almost as much skill to read and comprehend it as it does to write it.” Cassandra Cassy added that “It’s more difficult to understand both in meaning and language. It seems boring to readers.”

For Michael Walsh poetry is a mystery for most people. “I mean, we do have the quite simple poem written about a simple subject, and anyone reading it is quite certain of what it is about.

On the other hand, we have a number of different types of poetry. Some almost never to be understood properly, and often no real idea about what it is about. I suppose in that regard, poetry is very similar to Paintings and Drawings. To some a simply painting is beautiful, whilst some you have to stand in your head with one eye closed, and still not get it. I think the ability to read poetry is probably a much harder skill than it is to write it.

In all of these matters we are talking about not just cerebral pursuits, but also entertainment. And people being entertained do not usually like to work too hard. For then, it is no longer entertainment, but work; and often very hard work. And people do not expect to have work to be entertained; those two for most people are diametrically opposed. People like to see and feel what is going on, and in the broad field of reading and writing, most prefer a good novel to read. It is there in front of you, and is relaxingly simple. Poetry, in a very general sense, is not easy, and it can be very hard or even impossible to understand. So what is the point? There is the adventure poem. I will refer here to poem about a horse in Australia. Not last century now, but the one before. Two movies about it. “The Man From Snowy River”. This is a long poem. Literally, a novel in a poem. It has an upbeat feel to it, some uncommon language, but by the end if it, you feel like you have ridden the horse. The poem literally gallop along. By the end, the heart is pumping, the breathing fast. You knew what you had done. One of my favourite forms of poetry.

And let’s face it, some poetry does absolutely nothing for me, and I love poetry.”

Ahmed Jouini gave a support response. “It’s less popular because it requires more effort from the audience than the other genres: in cinema you have everything in front of you; in music you can just zone out and keep listening as long as there is a catchy beat or some rhymes etc. This is just one of the reasons.” Abraham Conneh added further, “Poetry is either appreciated or not depending on people’s perception of it. If fuel and spiced well with some visual lay minds grasped its value. More exposure may get people to consider its value.” Also John Green has this to say, “The fact is, many people want something that is 100% tangible, direct, and doesn’t require thinking in the abstract with multiple meanings being possible.”

Nola Alvaro quipped that “Poetry is to be savoured in small amounts like the finest of wines.”

Marrero has this to say, “Cause people just don’t like to express themselves. Poets are realists. Most people ain’t. And not only that, but I believe it goes by generation. This generation is too distracting. Too many things going on around us. This is the era of modern technology, and mind altering substances. The list goes on, but you get my point.”

Colin Ward‘s opinion: “There are a number of reasons why English language poetry was entirely subsumed by song lyrics during the 20th century. Copyright law began the decline, the pseudointelligensia’s fascination with cryptocrap accelerated it, and the education system administered the coup de grâce when it ceased teaching its elements”

Ch’erie de Perrot‘s view is that lyrics for songs are written from poetry, tweaked of course to avoid copyright. “We are the inspiration of many authors, musicians, directors and movie producers. Alas, the underpaid brilliance behind so much, but for the love of it all, we keep going, and laugh when we see a slogan even on an advertisement… Smile to self.”

Tia Papillion agreed with my opinion. “A lot of non poets only seek poetry and interested by it till they actually need it or reach that point. A lot of people would rather go to get a love book v/s reading a love poem they don’t understand. Of course don’t have to be about love, but a lot of people think that’s all poetry is good for.”

‘OTHERWISE POETS’

Some poets like Benjamin Allhands thought otherwise because “Popular and or return on investment is difficult. Unless you self publish getting a book off is hard. Some spend decades trying.” Also James Horton argued that “there are elements of poetry in other literary genre.” I totally agree.

When Jay McDaid gave his opinion, it was completely otherwise. “That is simply untrue. It’s well liked. What you are thinking of is the fact that people are less likely to purchase poetry books. That happened when pulp fiction became the common denominator rather than the lowest. One need only drop into a gift card shop to see how popular the primitive verse is.”

Godswill Iren argued further; “That’s not true. Poetry comes first in the origin of the genres. Drama came through festivals and rehearsals which became adopted as a form of entertainment. But before that poetry existed through folklores and chants from praise singers. Songs and epic stories told in poetry form was the original work before other forms like prose developed.” Pretty insightful, right?

Haider Farooq opined that “Poetry is the fundamental reason of creations. Poetry is most popular. Even we like to listen to songs not fiction. We read fiction and sing poetry.” When I asked him why publishers prefer other genres. He replied “Please be informed that I’m not opposing other genres however, the publisher is a business man so he accommodates all.”

Kim Fleming bluntly disagreed. “I don’t agree! Poetry is usually about love it is the most exalted art form! Most of all religious scriptures of the world are in part or in whole poetry, and most song lyrics are poetry, look at how important love poetry is in religion and in song. Humankind has a natural desire to express the most exalted truth in verse and many songs are religious in theme. Personally I love Neil Diamond. He is my favourite singer/songwriter! I practically worship this guy. No matter who you are you have a favourite singer/ songwriter, I’ll wager!”


Knowledge is power, knowledge shared is power multiplied. – Robert Noyce.

That’s it for today at Poets’ Corner. What’s your opinion?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nigeria opinion proverbs

Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart: Proverbs and Meaning

Onye aturu ilu kowaa ya, ego eji luo nne ya efuola ohia.

Before I start this post permit me to greet Igbo people; those who own the proverbs I’m about to explore; Ndi Igbo kwenu! Ekelem unu o. Ndewonu.


•Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on Igbo traditional Isi-agu attire

INTRODUCTION: PROVERBS

There are many definitions for proverbs but as it is said that all routes lead to Rome, we won’t go far. Instead we’ll look at a definition that highlights the key points we seek. Proverb (Ilu in Igbo language) is a phrase expressing a basic truth which maybe applied to common situations. The Igbo defined it thus: Ilu bu mmanu eji eri okwu, (meaning that proverbs are oil with which we eat words). This explains literally that words are eaten and that proverbs helps to digest it. Proverbs are at the center of every African conversation. The traditional village council convene in proverbs, the trader and blacksmith converse in proverbs, and children even play with it. Parents speak to little ones in proverbs, so a visitor may expose himself if he is unable to follow the community trend. It is common to hear people speak in proverbs in Africa. This proves that proverbs are very important in African societies. Likening it to the saying that the “Leopard can’t shed its spots” – the average African won’t speak much without using proverbs to oil the conversation. African proverbs are rich sources of wit and wisdom. Now let us look at the proverbs we encounter in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.

PROVERBS IN THINGS FALL APART AND THEIR EXPLANATION

In the book “Things Fall Apart” the people of Umuofia which represented the larger African society used proverbs extensively. As a book set in pre-colonial times it dwells on the effects of colonialism and imperialism on the African society. In this section I’ll be exploring the proverbs Achebe mentioned in his book. I’ll explain its general meaning in context of modern usage. I will also set all proverbs on bolded letters.

1. Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.

This means that proverbs makes conversations easier and understandable. It suggests that proverbs are words of wit which gives deeper insight to statements.

2. If a child washes his hands he can eat with kings.

In ancient Igbo culture children are not allowed to eat with elders from the same plate. This is a show of respect and honour. So this means that a child is allowed to dine with his elders or the king only if he achieves or did something exceptionally great.

3. When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for walk.

This may read hilarious, the cripple is basically someone who has lost ability to walk. This proverb is talking about enticing opportunities that may strike up unrealistic hope.

4. A man who pays respect to the great, paves the way for his own greatness.

Is it not said that respect is reciprocal? Only that in this case we are more tilted to giving honour to whom it is due. The Igbo is a very proud people, they are known to disregard unfavorable royal order. It is believed that every man is king in his own house. Respect is earned and not just attributed in Igbo and other African societies.

5. Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too. If one says no to the other let his wings break.

In Igbo land the general philosophy is live and let live. This proverb summarize this philosophy.

6. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned.

People tend to be uncomfortable when negative issues concerning them are discussed.

7. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.

This talks about understanding strategies one can use to overcome issues. Life is dynamic, and people must learn to change with it.

8. Looking at the King’s mouth one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breasts.

If you consider how arrogant people talk or behave you may think they are invisible. We can also say that the king actually is representing the crown and thus say that he is too confident that one may think he is fearless. Which may not always be the case.

9. Those whose palm-kernels were cracked by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.

Some people are just privileged in life, while many are not. Some inherit wealth and empires while others had to build from the scratch as the case of Okonkwo in the book. The proverb speaks of being humble when one is more privileged than others.

10. A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.

This suggest that proud people may never know when they fail because of their attitude.

11. When mother cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth.

This suggests that we teach by our actions or deeds.

12. A baby on its mother’s back does not know the way is long.

It is left for the one who works hard to determine how much hard work he did. You can feed people with your earnings but not everyone knows how much time and effort you had to work.

13. If one finger brought oil it soils the others.

This explains that one persons action may affect everyone.

14. There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.

In Igbo land it is always assumed that people who make noise are cowards. The English version is the empty drum makes the loudest noise.

15. A child can not pay for his mother’s milk.

This explains itself. One won’t pay for what rightly belongs to him.

16. Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, know that something is after its life.

People do not visit another for nothing. They might have come to ask for help. Something must be the reason for every action. Another version of this is the toad does not jump during the day if nothing is pursuing it.


The explanation for the Proverbs are my opinion. I’m available for discussion on African literature and Igbo culture/traditions. Drop a comment or query here or on the contact me page.

© Oke Iroegbu

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love

Let that dream soar – Poem

Take charge today, be confident
Let the morning shine on your talent
But don’t just dream, bring life to it
Start working on your beautiful gift,
So it can soar and to other lives lift
It may be reasons why the world wait
But how will we know
If first you won’t believe in you?
So if not now when, if not you who?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love folklore lifestyle Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry quotes

Lullaby: Tale of the young Shepherdess

I will tell you a rhyme of the shepherdess who loved her sheep,

She lives in the country and could sing her community to sleep

Twinkle went stars nested far up the pregnant black sky,

When black clouds float, the gathering rain storm sigh,

“It will rain, but it might wait a little,” the young shepherdess prayed

She saw the stars disappear from the midst of black clouds

So quickly she led her tired sheep through the barn door

“Up you go, up you go, quickly climb up the dry hay, up you go”

She took the lamb up the higher stairs where a big lamp hung

The little ones nuzzle, when the shepherdess struck up a song

The country was not so far away, everyone could hear her sing,

And how she sang heartily, that the hamlet relaxed with the eerie wind

Suddenly a stronger wind blew and gave the little community a cold push

“Ah, it’s perfectly monstrous weather,” she said when it gave another swoosh

“I must retire before the storm catch me here,” the shepherdess exclaimed

“But tell me what you will like to see in your beautiful dreams,” she asked

And so because they won’t speak or maybe know nothing to say

They only looked on, blinked sheepishly, then maaa-aa away

Categories
Africa education Nature Nigeria

Yankari National Park

•Hippo Lake, Kainji National Park, Nigeria

West Africa is home to many nature reserves and Nigeria has a fair share. In-between those colourful coastal cities and hot towns of the Sahara, there are protected parks that are worth visiting. Yankari is one of them.

Yankari National Park is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria. It covers an area of about 2,244 square kilometres (866 sq mi) and is home to several natural warm water springs, as well as a wide variety of flora and fauna. Its location in the heartland of the West African savanna makes it a unique way for tourists and holidaymakers to watch wildlife in its natural habitat. Yankari was originally created as a game reserve in 1956, but later designated Nigeria’s biggest national park in 1991. It is the most popular destination for tourists in Nigeria and, as such, plays a crucial role in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in Nigeria. It is also one of the most popular eco-destinations in West Africa.

Yankari National Park is an important refuge for over 50 mammal species including African bush elephant, Olive baboon, Patas monkey, Tantalus monkey, roan antelope, western hartebeest, West African lion, African buffalo, waterbuck, bushbuck, leopards and hippopotamus.

There are also over 350 species of bird found in the park. These birds include the saddle-billed stork, guinea fowl, grey hornbill, and the cattle egret.

Yankari is recognized as having one of the largest populations of elephants in West Africa, estimated at more than 300 in 2005.

When you draw up your travel list, include this beautiful jewel in the heart of Nigeria’s savanna.

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love love poems Nature nature poems reflection

Peace: Declare war on War

Let storms clap and rain fall heavily
To wash fields free of blood & grease
Let snow clog boots & war machines
Let air blow deadly fighter jets off
So darkness may turn to green fields & blue skies again
Let the world know undiluted peace
When Nature declares war on War!


I pray for peace in our lives, communities and societies, and in all nations on Earth.

Categories
lifestyle Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry

Morning Wind

Morning wind, crisp smell,
Moist dew, sun rise, beautiful land
Take it all in and live in it,
Inhale deeply before it’s gone

Categories
Africa lifestyle Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry

African Dawn

**

Slope of pointed hills
Black against the horizon
Threat the sun with its fierce thrust
As thin clouds streak across the sky

**

Cloud underbellies glow reddish hue
Morning warmth fight the heady moon
Wide plains stretched, savannah grass paradise
Sometimes lonely trees stand with yellow grass

Ancient, raw, scattered lights slowly gather
The city below, hills stand guard like a soldier
Listen now, the Tsetse cause morning stress
But the heat will send her away with its grease
The road are shaded by thick groves of eucalyptus and vine
Nearby, human settlement; houses, huts are intertwined

Smell of ripe fruit romance the market pathway
Tomatoes gutted, grapes squashed on the clay
And when the hills let the sun rise above them
It is gold- unexplainable, like a budding worm

Again, when the humble morning rise from her sleep
The sun will rise from lands of the unknown deep
Smiling at the town she left for her solitary slumber
Yet she leaves all; fauna, flora to gracefully wonder

Now there is light, the brown Earth bright
And on all things old, the sun shines her gold

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry

Palm Tree

Beautiful ornament, guardian of my land
I salute you gladiator,
My great warrior!
Your strong fronds are high
To shade the village from heat,
You stand on those ancients hills
A pillar rooted deep into earth,
Little forests grow, here and there,
You tower over all, trees and fauna,
But yet a citadel for great and small,
You gather a parliament over our hamlet,
Where you precede as king of all
Stretching your kindness across valleys,
Your roots are seats for farmers
It provides succour for travelers,
It is said that you are close to skies
Because you must keep her from falling,
So I now know why they treat you as a deity
Ancient as hills that you tower over, a tree-god

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love lifestyle love poems Nature nature poems Nigeria Pastoral Poetry

Orie Market Day

It’s Orie day here. Orie is a big market day in Isuikwuato. Everybody will be heading to the market to trade. People from different places buy and sell here. I walk through the quiet hills to get some fresh air and pick some flowers.

Thankfully I have the quiet road to myself. I also have imagined poems for these majestic hills and diverse flora. There’s a deep pond close by, it gave a sweet smell of dry clay mixed with water. I will pass. I am not a fan of ponds.

I have noticed new farms. I have seen several farmers till their fertile land. I helped tie up yams and process cassava. These past few days I have only eaten fresh vegetable and fruits grown here. I will seldom see fresh food in town.

This is one of the hills sheltering Umukwu Amune, Ovim. There are more just around the bend. This explains why it’s cold all morning and night. During noon time, the sun is hot. As I write, I sit under thick foliage to listen to different birds and draft down poems. Indeed nothing compares to quiet places. Stay tuned for more poems.

Categories
Africa lifestyle love poems Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry Series tips

Nature’s Kindness

Bird songs, colourful butterflies and sun rays,
Are fruits from Nature’s basket of kindness,
To man, his clan she gave tranquility and peace

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love haiku Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry

Haiku: I touch the sky

Clouds mock me
Yet I touch the sky,
I have no wings

Categories
Africa folklore lifestyle love poems Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry Series

Amuse: Tomato Poem

Today I met this round twins, sumptuous red fruit
By the garden they grew, so I’ll make a muse for it.

1.

Hanging down hopelessly as their weight was a clear burden,
Close to a busy ant hole, where ants traversed without care,
Their redness portray the sun’s ire but they seem quite unperturbed
I looked at them again, they bounced about, shy, when the wind pushed
A huge fly buzzed above them, loudly, bothering me that stood far off
They stared back at me, blushing with the loud fly, I shrugged
‘Well, hello. You’ve seen enough already. What do we owe your gaze?’
‘I’m just a passerby, I happened to notice an unusual beauty in my garden’
‘Oh okay, the last time we checked we ain’t in a museum that’s why we asked’
They seem embarrassed on my presence, I also felt same too
Toh, your beauty has dumbfounded me, forgive me fair tomato,
‘I haven’t seen much of anyone, who combined both grace and grass in such beauty’,
With a wave of their leaves, I think they danced or maybe, just accepted my apology

2.

Now if I let myself ponder on their puny life, how lonely they seem,
Fulfilling though that they sat on good clay, and the wind their bossy anchor
Yet, I came to learn from them, of their benevolence to saucy and noisy neighbours,
Their humility and perseverance in stubborn winds and intruders,
Their patience in the warm sun, the embarrassing ways passersby stare at their nakedness
And their compassion as a citadel to bees, ants and man who find them a delicacy
This tomato had made me fall in love, not just with my heart, but with my stomach too

Categories
Africa love poems Nature nature poems Pastoral Poetry rhyme Series

When Waterfalls sing

I told trees of your songs and they are jealous,
When you drop, birds and the wild stop to listen,
To hear you sing a melody from the long fall
And watch you wash your garment on the rush below

Categories
Poetry proverbs quotes reflection

Quote: Compassion & Confidence

Categories
Africa love poems Nature nature poems opinion Pastoral Poetry

Traveler

is.jpg

The traveler is like the sun
Which traverse the length of Earth,
Seen her people, food and cultures
He is like a blast of the wind
Blowing cold and hot at times
And fine dust is his companion
The traveler is like a compass
Searching for North pole
Seeking gladly new lands
The traveler is a big book
Though he may have read little
Pass for a walking encyclopaedia


Image taken from http://www.wiautism.com

Categories
Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry reflection rhyme

The Day May End But Not Our Love

image

Look into my eyes
And see how special you are
Feel my heart jump with joy
That is because you are here
Let’s watch the setting sun
Let’s admire her jealous laughter,
With a kiss she says a goodbye
The day may end but not our love


For everyone who loves genuinely. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Categories
culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry reflection rhyme tips

Imagining Love

Imagine riding a horse into sunset
Or sitting with kids to hear rare stories
Or listening to country late into the night
Or picking beautiful flowers & berries,

With the one you truly love…

Start a blog here.

Categories
Africa lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

A Tree Poem

Sitting under a long leafy tree
On a mild and serene noon
With Nature’s finest creatures;
A stray buzzing bee,
A colony of black ants,
A handful of wild mushrooms,
And some twittering birds
Cool breeze blew at intervals
Bringing smell of cattle to me
While tree leaves tried to see
Those who took refuge under her shade
Blushing at the admiration on our eyes,
Falling off in excitement and glee
While fruits dangle with the wind.
What sight and moment it is!
Of cute plumage on birds,
Or a quiet and calm noon
With man enjoying a tree’s warmth!


Image by ‘Jindu Iroegbu

Originally written: March 14, 2015

Categories
lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature opinion Pastoral Poetry reflection

Warm Hugs from Africa


Dear Friends,

We wake up to awful happenings around the world. The media churn out stories that make people sick. Nothing makes sense anymore. For the past few months horrible things had happened. We lost many good things and people.

But don’t despair, don’t give up yet. There’s still good in the confusion, we need to keen our minds to see it. This cold morning I send warm hugs, prayers and thoughts your way. Stay safe and sane, trusting that things will make sense soon.

Please send someone a beautiful message of hope and love. Let’s a have a beautiful week ahead.

From Africa with Love ❤
Oke’
Categories
Nature Pastoral Poetry

Little Frog

image

Oh little looking weebly-woobly Frog
Jumping about on a quiet blue lake
Dob-wob, Dob-wob‘, it croaked into evening
Calling to all nature’s big and small,
For some short but lively weebly-woobly dance

Start your blog today.


Image provided by Mary Grace M. Salomes, MGMS.

I decided to write a short piece for children. My friend, Mary from The Philippines had long taught her neighborhood children this poem.

Categories
Africa education haiku lifestyle Nature opinion Poetry reflection rhyme Series

What I think of Poverty (Poetry)

What if I told you a poem of poverty
Will you wave it off and call me silly?
I will tell you what I think
Why communities continue to sink,
School children trek miles to get a bus
Their worn-out shoes make it worse,
Bright girls will deliberately miss school
Sanitary pads their excuse, without it a woe,
There is a lad sitting near the street bend
His foot sore, his hair torn in the wind,
He is a victim of poverty, he has no home
So he and others sit it out, in rain and storm,
Slavery, a grandchild of poverty takes
People, in order to help for goodness sake,
She humbly breaks the back of hard-working men
And throw their conquered will into her mothers den,
Cold night won’t help anyone either
She is cruel to both the rich and the pauper,
Poverty gave a meal once a day
To wish deceitful luxuries away,
If poverty was a product and so man-made
It is dished as soup in fancy bottles of pomade,
Now will you sit with me and reason
About wealth that is tactfully hidden
And enjoyed by those we trust with votes?
You will agree that poverty is not by choice

Categories
lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Reflection: Respecting our Environment

Most of my quiet times are for self reflection. Each time I prepare to reflect, I take nothing along, invite no one and try to keep my brain free of thoughts. I assume that I’ve nothing save from myself and my environment.

During my stay in Workers Village, Tudun Amba in Lafia, Nigeria, I take long walks away from home. I pick a quiet place where I can enjoy uninterrupted connection with my environment. Luckily green fields surround my neighborhood. I only had to find a good spot, under some tree shade to reflect. Our environment returns whatever we give to it, respect is reciprocal.

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We won’t know the true extent of Providence if we continue to ignore the impact of our activities on the environment. We are tenants and the Environment our landlord. No good tenant treats her landlord wrong, vice versa.

I remind myself that peace and tranquility is an extraordinary mix gifted to man by his environment. This is the best time to reflect on ways to treat our environment better.

I speak for green things, the trees and wildlife, and everything that considers itself living. Happy World Environment Day.

Here, read ways we can keep the environment safe and clean.


The picture above was taken in my favourite hangout spot in Tudun Amba, Lafia, Northern Nigeria. I now travel and live both in urban or rural communities of Southern Nigeria.

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Categories
Nature Pastoral Poetry rhyme

Night rain

rain

Now it rains heavily with thunder,
And with cold, her breezy messenger,
I watch the rain fall from my window,
Fast, soft drops crash into glass panes
This heavy rain ploughed, and sow,
Her lullabic seeds across my land,
Soft, sweet breezes reign with her
Battling a stranger for his umbrella,
In pitch darkness cover, so to mar
The path of this wary stranger
I pity but wait to see this little drama
While it rain heavily with thunder!

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Image from http://www.erdaren.com

Categories
lifestyle Pastoral Poetry reflection rhyme

Draw the Sun

summer-sun-wallpapers-1024x768

Draw the golden sun, let it shine on dreams,
Trust little beginnings, hope for the best,
Reach for the stars, live this colorful dream

Start you blog today.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Love and Christianity opinion Series

Quotes on Children

Seeing a child laugh or smile at me gives me exceptional joy. As a math teacher, I am privileged to work with them. I have collected some quotes on children to celebrate my love for them.
  • “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.” – Wess Stafford
  • “Children are like wet cement: whatever falls on them makes an impression.” – Haim Ginott
  • “Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” – Henry Ward Beecher
  • “You have to love your children unselfishly. That is hard. But it is the only way.” – Barbara Bush
  • “Children make your life important.” – Erma Bombeck
  • “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” – Diana, Princess of Wales
  • “The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” – Orlando Aloysius Battista
  • “Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” – James Dobson
Let’s put smiles on those little faces. Have a happy day! 😊

Start blogging today.

Categories
Africa education lifestyle Nature opinion Pastoral reflection

Letter: Heal today

Dear Friends,

I always talk about forgiveness because someone out there needs to let go. Life is designed in such manner that people may not always have it as they wish or want. So disappointments, heartbreaks, hurt, betrayal and pain are unfortunately part of life. Being good does not guarantee that people will be good to you. Loving does not guarantee a returned love. But letting go is best attitude. It is in our best interest to let go. Never go sour because the world is sour. Be different and heal your world.

I want you to heal today. I want you to let go of waiting for appreciation or apologies, of worrying about unreturned affections, of crying over the past. I want you to forgive yourself and everyone who had wronged you. A life lived on gratitude, love and peace is priceless. May you receive the love you put out there today.

Love ❤,

Oke

Categories
Poetry

Forgiveness: The Interview

Dear Friends,

Here goes a beautiful story that teaches forgiveness and compassion. I hope you enjoy it. Have a beautiful June 2020.

Love ❤

Oke


Six years ago a guy looked at me face to face, and boldly told me; “I don’t like you!”

I immediately fired a response, I asked him that day; “Thank you for the honest feedback, but those that you like, how has it made their life better? How does your liking people pay their bills or take a bank loan? Brother keep your like, I only need God’s love and that’s what guarantees my future.”

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One day I joined a CEO friend of mine in an interview panel to recruit some new staff, it was a long session. As we returned from a coffee break to continue the hectic interview session, here was this same guy walked in with his grey jacket and CV coming for the interview.

Our eyes kissed by fluke, we immediately recognised each other; “the world is indeed spherical”, I soliloquized.

He felt very uncomfortable through out the interview, one could clearly see the volcanic eruption ongoing in his whole nervous system, he even mistook his date of birth for his last date of employment.

It wasn’t yet my turn to ask him questions so I allowed everyone to take their turns with him and deliberately opted to interview him last.

When it got to my turn, the first thing I said was, “I like you so much, you look to me like a brilliant and intelligent person, but it seems you are not doing well now because something bothers you, true?”

“That’s very correct Sir!” He responded.

“OK look at me straight in the eye, I was never offended that day, it is very normal that sometimes as humans you just don’t like certain people, but I wasn’t bothered either, because whether you liked me or not, it was inconsequential to my life and my success path – as you can see, fate has brought you to my lair.”

I stood up and beckoned him to come and embrace me, everyone on the panel at this point were at sea – wondering if we had expeditiously recast an interview session to a Hollywood movie scene.

He hugged me so long and deeply that I felt it. Then I told him, “now get your confidence back bro and answer the questions like a Pro Shark that you are, we all burst into laughter, everyone suddenly liked him and the room became livelier – the interview became more like a discussion, well to cut the long story short, he got the job!

Lessons:

1. Be careful how you treat people when they appear to be in their vulnerable state, your next level may be hanging in their balance; somewhere in the future.

2. If you dislike someone, it is not their fault, it is your fault, work on yourself to find good in people and reinvent your mind to see everyone as likeable.

3. Don’t spew hatred vocally just because it came into your heart, you may say it to someone who will keep it forever and use it against you when you find yourself in your own low moments and need them.

4. Learn to forgive, overlook people’s dislike and hatred for you, don’t punish people just because you have the position and privilege to do so, bless them rather – that’s how you court God’s blessings, favour and protection.

5. Share this post, someone needs it to heal from their past burdens of unforgiveness they have been carrying which has been hindering their promotions and inhibiting God’s blessings flowing their way!