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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 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 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 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 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
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 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 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
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
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

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lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Reflection: Respecting our Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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    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 […]
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lifestyle Pastoral Poetry reflection rhyme

Draw the Sun

summer-sun-wallpapers-1024x768

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

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

Quotes on Children

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

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Categories
Africa education lifestyle Nature opinion Pastoral reflection

Letter: Heal today

Dear Friends,

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

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

Love ❤,

Oke

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Love knows no colour

Love knows no pink, no blue, no colour; it knows no creed, no silence, no mumblings, no religion or association. It will learn nothing that brings shame or pain or hurt to others and one’s environment.

Love preys on no one, it knows no greed and no self. Like fresh leaves falling quietly away from the mother tree, love spreads gifts of kindness and compassion wherever it goes.

Love someone genuinely today.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition lifestyle

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem my Muslim friends. Remember love is central to human co-existence.

Salam W’alaykum.

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle

Successful Vs Unsuccessful people (Images)

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lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

You’re my Style

I know beautiful words are healing to the soul, but I write not because words are beauty but for your beautiful self. So I want you to sit back and enjoy this rhyme, this African style. Everyone has got a style, loving you by beautiful words is my style.

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lifestyle Nature Pastoral Uncategorized

Five rules to Success (Video)

Arnold takes us on five basic rules Successful people follow.

VIdeo: Goalcast.

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Categories
culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Quote: Pride & Humility

Pride is the father of shame
Humility is the father of fame

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Four Poems: Let’s Take A Walk

I. OUR TRYST

Breezes bring your memory; mild rosy fragrance,
The wind sing with you when you sang of the Nightingale
And now we wait to tryst, craving beautiful sunset

II. HAPPY MEETING

We must make haste, for night is a cold stranger,
For the great Baobab where our love blossomed,
Cold nights steal our warmth but time will keep memories
Of our merry evenings; me, you, beneath a pretty moon shine

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III. LET’S PLAY

Now let’s play hide and seek before the youth arrive for tonight’s tale
Let’s cuddle while we wait for happy girls and grumpy boys,
This night I shall surely bare my mind, I’ll have no timidity
And if my wit tries to escape from me I’ll take hold of it

IV. MY JEWEL

I’ve not come to hear stories nor see anyone but you:
My Jewel, I’m your Lion, the one who loves you in silence
And before this night tales are spent
We’ll live our Romeo and Juliet!

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Diaries of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 8

That morning before the early hunters left their homes for the forest, Papa was already on his way to Ndi-Ikele to welcome the priest, newly arrived from Trinidad and Tobago. It was breezy and cloudy that morning, it seemed it would rain any moment. Trees, especially the palm took to joyful procession when I stepped out to look around. Heavy breeze shook the forest and the skies grew darker. Birds took flight, stray dogs barked. People took in laundry previously spread to dry. The wind blew dust and tree leaves about and I had to retreat back to my room. It was dark inside but I could hear Nene playing with her dog near the kitchen fire while Mama prepared breakfast. Mama knew well enough to get food ready before Papa’s return and while Papa may not bother about himself, he will definitely want to know if his first son has been fed. Men’s queer world, I shrugged.

I took a pen from my school box and started writing on an old wooden seat in my room:

I’m but a soul in a cold tumbler
I catch the wind with my palms, but my life is lived by another

I only wake to live another’s dream…

I was still scribbling and thinking of this strange rhyme when Nene walked into my room without knocking. She quickly scanned my room with her eyes and then delivered her message. I was wanted by Mama. Nene was the inspector in the house and always had something to report to our parents. She was talkative only when she wants something and had a bossy way of getting things done. She was the miniature version of my father.

“My son, your food is ready.” Mama recalled me back from my thought.

“Thank you, Mama.”

“Nene, take his bowl of water to his room.” Mama said to Nene. After a short protest and smirks she finally took the bowl to my room, mumbling and spilling some water on the way.

“Be careful Nene. Don’t spill water on my mats.” I said to her. She took a short look at me and disappeared from the door.

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***

Tinkom tinkom, tibaliba
Dadi nkem o, Dadi nkem o
I we hapu m oo, wee jewe Lagosi
Muna onye ga ebi…

Children sang and played outside our compound. The noise wouldn’t let me reason or rest. Nene and Kiri, our cousin from few compounds away were the leaders. The game was played by softly hitting the palms of your opponents in numerous styles to rhyme with the beat sang by members of the two teams. Both led a team of three followers. The game progressed peacefully for a while, and Nene’s team led in total score. Suddenly she mistakenly put out her left hand instead of the right one and lost a game. Kiri and her teammates shouted and rejoiced over their gain and Nene pained with the mistake bursted out angry.

“It seemed that you’re happy for nothing. I still lead the total score… See your tummy like that of a pregnant frog.” She yelled at Kiri, hands akimbo.

“See this one, she is angry that she lost a game. You’re a loser!” Kiri retorted when she learned her rival was bitter.

“If you don’t close your mouth, I’ll help you deliver that foetus in your tummy.” Nene shouted again. Their team members were enjoying the scenario when Mama walked in from the back.

“Who are those children that won’t let us drink water and rest in this compound. Ssshussh children, run away!” She shouted and clapped her hands. The fighting parties disengaged and ran away from the compound to regroup somewhere else and continue with their game.

To be continued…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature

Boss Vs Leader (Images)

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Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry

Grateful Christian

l feel Your warmth Jehovah
The peace and comfort You gave
Now sunshine through my curtain,
Strings of beautiful colours I see
Oh Jehovah, You’re Awesome
The skies blue cloud stand at ease
You stand out, You’re Handsome!

The love I feel, undescribable
The life I’ve, gracefully blessed
You loved me to love others
My voice, my warrior, my power
My strength, my icon, my Lord
My dream, my Saviour, my master
My Supreme, my Almighty God

For in You I see first beauty
And in all Your creations,
You’re my salvation
My inspiration, I’m Abraham’s seed
And I address You in my African way
For people call me The Lord’s blessed
Ara na azu nwa, Chukwu di ebube

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What if there was no colour in my eyes?
What if I had no feet for shoes?
But You wouldn’t let me suffer,
Your love made me perfect,
None can Your intentions mar
Your ways are mighty and astute

Good lands, valleys and hills
Rivers, skies and people
You cause my eyes to behold;
I’m forever grateful for Your love,
For beautiful flowers and the bee,
For morning dew and suave,
And for new blessed week

Commentary.
Ara na azu nwa: Igbo language for ‘the breast that feeds a child’
Chukwu di ebube: My God is Glorious

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Waterfall

Listen to Nature sing from waterfalls,
She thrash her garments upon rocks
And wash them with her soft palms
She sends soft waters crashing into the pool
Watching the blue skies as her fingers work
When the water descend they form
Fine curtains of white mist
As the water touch the pool below
It changes into bubbling green
Loose soil cling to Water lilies & Fern roots
Slowly falling water push crabs to their burrows
Echoing nature’s still song till evening

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni New Show

It’s not everyday that you get this close to the fastest land animal on Earth!

Don’t miss a new episode of #AnimalBites with Dave Salmoni, Fridays at 12PM ET.

Visit Africa.

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Life’s pretty hue

I speak without much words
For all I say is but a fraction of my thoughts
I find no perfect word(s)
In there, in my mind where all are soft

So when I sit without my human friends
I watch Nature turn to pretty painting,
As I fed stray ants my soft bread
And consider tree roots kingly thrones

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The birds sing a tune I know
Down hill, on the stream I hear children play
They swim and throw water blows
I smile at the shy Ladybird that won’t stay

When I hear this evening wind roar
I must return home, away from this view,
That I long for, cherish and love,
Life is little without Nature’s pretty hue

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Since I met you

Many times I told myself that love is but a lie
It comes into a life and leaves without a trace
But since I met you, I feel more ambience;
The way you make me do things I do,
The way you smile and cherish life so

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition Lessons from Experiences lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral

Humility Vs Pride

Humility and pride are two brothers that see the world from different perspectives. In this blog post, I’ll compare them to see how they differ.

Humility apologizes first even when he is not wrong but pride is the longest distance between two people.

Pride is concerned with who is right, humility is concerned with what is right.

Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16.18. In James 4.6, God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

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Proud people seldom learn, it takes a humble character to be submissive to instructors.

Indeed pride is the mother of arrogance and it could turn angels to demons and humility can change sinners to saints.

Let’s end with this Vietnamese proverb, ‘The higher you climb, the heavier you fall.’

Good morning and have a beautiful day!

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Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

If I do love you

If I do love you
I would make me a green hut at your gates
Drum and call upon your name
I would of your virtues write long poems
Sing them in the dead of the night
So it sounds among the ancient hills
With Echo, the talkative spirit of the air

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Africa culture/tradition education lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Quotes on Kindness

‘Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.’ St Augustine.

‘If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.’ Arabian Proverb.

‘To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better.’ French Proverb.

Plant flowers in other people’s gardens and your life becomes a bouquet. It’s not that successful people are givers; it is that givers are successful people.

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‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.’ Mother Theresa

Categories
lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

I see you here by Arunav Barua

Make your presence felt,
No you, happiness withheld
Complete, with you here…

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(c) Arunav Barua (I.I.T Guwahati, North Guwahati, Assam)

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Poetry from Skies

There was poetry before we learned to write
Awesome rhythm rendered as a strong wind might
lyrics penned down by clouds, as such
And when singing, green vegetation bows
There was poetry before we learned to hear
Drums that tender soft beats, far but near
Brief gaiety across the heavens
Heard passion when it stills the night
There is poetry down this African hill
Perhaps Hyena’s laughing near the mill
A flying stone sings from its hearty swing
While infants draw lines in Arcadian minds.
Oh poet! Listen to the sky!

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Wattle by Robin Bliss

Wattle blossom, Wattle yellow
Makes me feel kinda mellow
With your flowers, brilliant bright
Fills my soul with much delight
Saffron, citron and festive gold
Buttercup and colours bold
And so I loiter on my way
In your presence I would stay
Yes your sweet scent laden breeze
Sets my soul and mind at ease

9/5/15

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Categories
Africa culture/tradition lifestyle Love and Christianity Nature Pastoral Poetry Series

Love’s Silhouette

wpid-gb.jpg
We have our silhouette against sun rise,
When we stand, staring in our grey eyes,
Yet the sun may bear witness to this tryst

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