Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry

Cranky Old Man: Anonymous Poet

A brief intro

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later when nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. This old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!


What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man… not very wise,
Uncertain of habit… with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food… and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice… ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice… the things that you do.
And forever is losing… A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not… Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding… The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse. You’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am… As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding… as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten… with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters… who love one another
A young boy of sixteen… with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now… a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at twenty… my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows… that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five, now… I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide… And a secure happy home.
A man of thirty… My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other… With ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons… have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me… to see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more… Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children… My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me… My wife is now dead.
I look at the future… I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing… Young of their own.
And I think of the years… And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man… and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age… Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles… grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone… where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass… A young man still dwells,
And now and again… my battered heart swells
I remember the joys… I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living… Life over again.
I think of the years, all too few… gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact… that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people… open and see.
Not a cranky old man
Look closer… See… ME!!


PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM!
The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Poetry

Poets Corner: What have you gained writing Poetry?

Poetry

Poetry is a composition in verse or language exhibiting conscious attention to patterns. The bolded are key to understanding the true nature of poems. Poetry has been in existence for centuries. As an art that survived centuries, I was curious to find out why poems are written for so long. And to those who write them, what they benefit from it. So in this blog post we will focus on what a group of poets has to say on what they benefited from writing (poetry).

For me poetry is more than art…

Poetry is more than art. It can be produced and performed. It is styled and can rhyme. There’s a plot even. It tells stories. It creates fantasy and teaches in subtle ways. It has deeper meanings which may require a certain amount of attention and exposure for readers. Poetry made me see and understand life from a new perspective.

Poetry is rhythm played softly into the night by a lonesome guitarist. Poetry are songs that creates emotions, it understands the times we live in, and play life’s videos. Poetry is the soul of meditation and reflection. Poetry is a bucket where all other forms of art grow from.

Many authors have different definitions and ideas of poetry. But this post is focused on what poetry has done for poets.

What has poetry done for you?

Truth is that there are reasons why we do the things we do. Be it for fun or business.

I will start with Philip Philo Kassner. Poetry dissipated his anger, helped him organize his thoughts, gained confidence, put him on the stage and he met his wife. How poetry helped him meet his wife, he didn’t reveal but that’s sweet to me. Allanah-Elizabeth Higgins says “it cracked me open to the very core and allowed my souls highest expression to flow through me.” Rupal Caricature said that poetry made him find another better way to spend time alone. I can relate to this. Erin El Kalla said it gave her the confidence to be herself. Artie Shorts gratefully said “It has reminded me how very very clever I am. Thanks poetry!” Yaqub Muhktar opined, “Nothing materialistic… I enjoy its beauty and creating the beauty. Poetry has made me happy and more self confident. The joy of writing gladdens my mood.” Hear Helen Freya, “Writing it is currently helping me to work through some past trauma; reading it is helping me to connect to brilliant minds.” Evie Ivy said it made her world a beautiful place. Satischandran Matamp says “Some poems can heal and empower, breaking the glass ceiling. Some can bring hope to the disappointed and a breeze of consolation to the lost. Some poems are like sunrise, while some others are like the sunset. Final interpretation rests in the hands of the readers.” David Allen says “it gave me a great creative outlet and introduced me to some extremely interesting people.”

Arlene Rocero said that poetry helped keep her sanity. “It has helped me find out more of myself. It has helped me express my inner feelings and thoughts better by writing. It is significantly helping me a lot through my battles no one knows about.” Deborah Mears says “it made me laugh, cry, feel sad and mad. Brought out my creativity, humour and introspection. And I made lot of great friends.” Cozett Dunn has this point: “Allowed me to create in higher states of consciousness and express more of my true self.” Tracy Pflieger has this opinion: “I find that poetry is a way for me to hit my deepest emotions when I actually allow myself to get into the writing of it.” Kondwani Stanley Simwaba said it kept him alive. Kenneth Wright writes that “poetry provides a tangible connection to that place in the mind where problems too big for me are under constant review.”

John Green says “it made me laugh, it has made me cry. It has made me ponder adversity and to wonder why. It has made sit in silence and in awe, question the law, what has been established. Parts of society and those who have been black-listed. Colours of the rainbow, LGBTQ, what people have been through, and what I have no clue. Lives touched by violence, touched by love, touched by more adversity, and those who have seen push come to shove. Where has poetry taken me? On journeys most never want to experience. The pious, the fake, the real, and the deviant. I don’t relish where I have been, it creates a pickle. It either pours down troubles or it is a slight trickle.” That’s a pretty serious one, don’t you think? For Sara Bourland it helped her heal from serious traumatic brain injuries. Paul Gardiner says it opened his mind. Paul Armando Gabuat says it made him a better writer. Here is Steve Howards: “Provided me with yet another neurological gibberish translation device.” Jarmara Black said “it kept me reasonable sane through some very tough times.” Beaux Thorburn said it showed her inherent talent and (which) is so good for venting. Justin Robert said “not to be dramatic, but it has saved my life.”

Hobby Jones says, “I never thought to look at it that way, but it’s done a lot – taught me to read closely and write carefully, helped me parse my own thoughts and feelings, given me fresh perspectives on the world (inside and out), filled my mind with ideas and my heart with song, and provided many, many hours of mindful pleasure. So, thanks, Poetry! You have my undying gratitude.” Alex Silverstein opined “The poem is the prize from having something that was awful to deal with or it can be an expression of appreciation for something good that has happened. What has it done for me? Made me me a little more brave by sharing how vulnerable.” Josh Smith says “It gives me a space to express how I feel without worry of being judged. Words I’d like to say to people, but can’t, or wouldn’t know how to word it otherwise.” Kristy Lewandoski says “Given light, helped me to understand things that I couldn’t name on my own, helped me not to feel alone, made me feel alive, feel inspired, taken me on adventures, given roads to empathy and insight into life and humanity. So much!”

Steven M. Mwalusi has this to say ” it made me find another way of living. It will outlast me and speak to future generations.” I sincerely adore the outlasting part. Mohammed Ahmed Daldoum says “I use what I write to understand myself, it helped me to cope with life and overcome my insecurities.”

For me it has connected me to people whom ordinarily I wouldn’t have met. I became confident in my writing and can imagine anything.

What is your take on this? How has poetry benefited you as the writer?

Featured Poems:

DEADLIEST CRAFT by Colin Smith

To scream softly is the poet’s gift — one of whispers so gentle as to shatter illusions, then to expose the power of truth and beauty.

The poets of war have held the souls of so many. Yet the poets of love, for a moment, have stilled the hearts of lovers yet to be.

Simple poetry in natural form describes the elegance of a tree or anything as it may be.

Poetry is the science of language sharpened, the expression of Gods, as the ancients now speak to those who care to listen.

Practice this most deadly craft, for it can stir an army to sweet victory.

The Wife I Never Had by Bernard Arkoh Asante

Poetry turned my pain into art
After I lost someone I loved dearly
My college girlfriend called Ruby
To another man, Another Bernard
The pain was the genesis of this special gift
As I let the blood within my veins
Flow through my pen, I scribbled my first masterpiece in fine piece like Italian tapestry.

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

Tale of Wild Woods: Summer Arrives

When summer finally came, a lot had changed
The last snow melted and the sad land woke
Grasses started growing, covering the outer earth
So those who burrow scrambled out from the dust
Soft airs and tidings surround the mountainside
Sending sweet emissaries around the valley below
Vines, myrrh, mistletoes and pines sprout happily
In the morning, the sunshine will not glitter on ice,
Instead the heat grew and the wood inhabitants felt it
First, the Squirrels thought the world was going crazy
And their cousins, the burrow rats seconded them
‘The frog choir will soon resume’, a brown Cricket observed
‘And if they do I am going to go crazy!’ a Sparrow replied
‘Not if they played on a softer note at least’
A Linnet added to the conversation
‘No way, they have all got bass! Male, female all bass!!’
A sad Bee, which sat on the tip of a tree leaf answered
Now, fresh grass brought the Deers and mountain goats
At the Otherside across the rocky land, the Stream flowed
Leaps of water, joyful that her prisoner had let her free
‘Crap! I mean did anyone notice that the cats are back?’
Some stray mice broke the niches silence
‘They have our land smeared with urine, them Bobcats!’
‘Yes, they think it is their fatherland. Well we better hide’
Now the wolf pack had no cold anymore
So they prowled the earth with more ease
Picking trails of rodents through the thick woods
The Mountain stood, usually a still, motionless figure
One that kept some admirers intrigued
As the ice melted, water trickled down to the land
And the wild wood fauna felt sad for her
For they believed she was weeping at her loss
‘She has been like this since the Ice King left’,
The soft voiced black and white Pigeons sang
‘She is heartbroken! Why will the Ice King be so cruel?
He even took her icy cloak and see, now… now she is naked!’
A duck said closing the eyes of her young with feathers
‘I think she looks pretty amazing, so much joy in pain
No one cares much enough, I think she needs a hug’
A tortoise with a huge shell opined
‘No she needs a gift’, the Wolf pack alpha barked
‘She is the worst person I ever met!’ he added
The other animals had to retreat to their homes
Or if you are too small or slow, just find a hideout
For the wolf pack, the villains of the valley
Had no mercy and they do as their word sound
‘What do we offer her, a fine rose shrub maybe?’
Another wolf suggested as the roses around hid
‘No, well anything. If she continue that way
I bet you the streams will overflow and we will have no land
To hunt, to plunder and to rule!’
‘Well, if being solitary is the best way of getting rid of vermin
Then it is the best shot at self discovery’
The philosophical Woodpecker reasoned from the tree top

Categories
Africa, Poetry and Love Lessons from Experiences Love and Christianity Nature opinion reflection Series

Self Confidence

When you believe in yourself anything is possible.

Why not?

If you are lucky enough to find your passion, then how could giving up be an option? Giving up means accepting a lifetime of wondering what could have happened if you just believed in yourself enough to follow through. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, just keep going and don’t lose hope.

But you may not achieve much if you are not self confident. So let’s consider attributes of a self confident person.

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Attributes of a self confident person

Smile: For me, smiles are facial dresses. People love and admire people who smile. Not the one that begins and ends with the mouth, the one that starts from the eyes. Genuine, loving smile attracts people, creates friendship and unlocks doors! Be a genuinely happy person and show it by smiling at people. Smiling makes one confident.

Humility: Humble people don’t lack self confidence! In fact it takes humility to have self confidence. When you learn to accommodate all class of people, you learn to serve others. That makes you grow dynamic and open minded. You also learn to be respectful and submissive to authorities.

Confidence: Confident people are attractive any time. Knowing who you are, pursuing your dreams, vision, passion and goals makes you a confident person worth investing in. When you find your passion you approach life with a positive mind set. You become energetic and believe in yourself. You have a sound self esteem and people are irresistibly drawn to you.

Friendliness: Being friendly is different from being desperate. When you go out, attend positive programmes, conferences, seminars, workshops, symposiums and serve in your local church or volunteer, you build a network and grow your confidence. So enjoy meeting people and getting to know them purely for friendship.

Generosity: Be generous to people. Be generous with your smile, love, talent, service, money, prayers, whatever you have that can bless lives. Generous people are like magnets, they never lack admirers. Compassion is a beautiful virtue. It builds self confidence.

Forgiveness: Forgive your past. Forgive all who disappointed you. Practice advance forgiveness, forgive people before they hurt you, because more people will offend you. If you find it difficult forgiving people, you will grow bitter and that kills self confidence when people stay away from you.

Intelligence: People like and admire intelligent people. Know when, how and where to talk. Know what is going on around you. Read about every topic. Know a little of everything. Intelligence builds self esteem.

Neatness: Dirtiness does no good. A disorganized and rough person lacks coordination to say the least! Take good care of yourself. Haircuts are essential. Tattoos and rings are not made for everyone. Appearing neat and presentable boosts self confidence. Because you don’t need to worry how you look or smell. Is it not said that cleanliness is next to godliness?

Dress sense: Wear something that fits you, not what is in vogue. Get a good tailor who can sew clothes that fits your body shape. Learn about your body shape and wear something that flatters your figure. Make-ups should be moderate. A good dress sense makes you sweet to look at and simply irresistible! Remember, the way you dress is the way you will be addressed.

Love yourself: You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. Celebrate yourself and your uniqueness. Accept yourself the way you are, because you are simply the best. No one will be as unique as you. Don’t envy people because not everyone has what you have.

Godliness: Godly people carry golden virtues. Those virtues are in fact the summary of all attributes listed here. Honestly people find good godly people irresistible.

There’s a goldmine in you!

Take charge now. Start working on that talent. Bring your ideas to life and never stop believing in you. If not now, when? If not you, who?

Categories
Africa Africa, Poetry and Love opinion Pastoral Poetry reflection

July Wishes

Dear Friends,

I’m grateful that we made it to July 2020. You’ll agree that the year has been a stressful one. I hope you’re well and keeping safe. Don’t be anxious, things will make sense soon and we’ll live to testify.

Few hours before new year, I made a wish that I wanted to see a happy me in a peaceful world. New year arrived with a Greek gift. While we got news of this strange virus, I lost my elder sister and several relatives. I even lost several academic and career opportunities. Then came global rioting and demonstration caused by the killing of George Floyd in America. The world wallowed in suspicion, distrust and economic warfare. We never had it this tough for decades. I’ve never seen anything like it.

The outbreak exposed human fallibility. We trusted so much in science. The outbreak exposed that human activities hurt our environment. Yes it exposed science and its weakness. It exposed that we only love in lip service. It exposed how selfish, ignorant and wicked hearts of men can be. It exposed that governments don’t really care about the people. It exposed the beast – greed in man. Nature recovers slowly. We can’t help much, but we can encourage it.

As the world face a pandemic that knows either creed nor colour, we need to love more and show strong faith. Love is mother of all good things. Yes, the world can heal with love and faith gives the assurance of a better tomorrow.

July is here and we’ll surely progress through it. Remain focused on your goals. Show compassion. Be kind. Be courteous. Forgive freely. Remember the destitute, the homeless, the ones without food and clothing, when you give. Pray for one another.

I have this prayer for you: The sun, the moon and the stars will shine for your good. Divine Providence shall protect you. You shall prosper in good health and riches even more than your expectations. My soul rejoices with you for great testimonies. Happy new month.

With Love,

Oke’

Categories
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.

Want a blog like this? Click here.

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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