Affection to loved ones is half the journey; the rest is learning to recognize the pain of others.
Affection to loved ones is half the journey; the rest is learning to recognize the pain of others.
As the golden day breaks,
It gave scented fog of hope
When the lovely sun of joy rise
So ina murna – I’m delighted,
When you look at me each morning
To share this unerring, loving smile
To admit that you love me like bread loves butter
When tree leaves drop
That’s nature trying to teach a man,
A lesson on the audacity of hope –
Reason to live, trust and love again
on ship sails
and up the horizon
if one won’t look down
brings distinct gust
rapidly take it in
and claim another win!
she wears pleasant flowers
and bakes cakes made of flour
she sings in the morning
and my heart dance with her song
I came home yesterday and saw my dad’s favorite Oscar Wilde book of tales. The selfish giant is my best of them all; there’s a big lesson in it. I’ve applied a minor revision to the original story.
The Selfish Giant
Every afternoon, as they were coming from school, the children used to go and play in the Giant’s garden.
It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. Here and there over the grass stood beautiful flowers like stars, and there were twelve peach-trees that in the spring-time broke out into delicate blossoms of pink and pearl and in the autumn bore rich fruit. The birds sat on the trees and sang so sweetly that the children used to stop their games to listen to them. “How happy we are here!” they cried to each other.
One day the Giant came back. He had been to visit his friend the Cornish ogre and had stayed with him for seven years. After the seven years were over, he had said all that he had to say, for his conversation was limited, and he determined to return to his castle. When he arrived, he saw the children playing in the garden.
“What are you doing here?” he cried in a very gruff voice, and the children ran away.
“My garden is my garden,” said the Giant; “any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself.” So he built a high wall all around it and put up a notice-board.
He was a very selfish Giant.
The poor children had now nowhere to play. They tried to play on the road, but the road was very dusty and full of hard stones, and they did not like it. They used to wander round the high wall when their lessons were over and talk about the beautiful garden inside. “How happy we were there,” they said to each other.
Then the Spring came, and all over the country, there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant, it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. Once a beautiful flower put its head out from the grass, but when it saw the notice-board, it was so sorry for the children that it slipped back into the ground again and went off to sleep. The only people who were pleased were the Snow and the Frost. “Spring has forgotten this garden,” they cried, “so we will live here all the year-round.” The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden and blew the chimney-pots down. “This is a delightful spot,” he said, “we must ask the Hail on a visit.” So the Hail came. Every day for three hours, he rattled on the roof of the castle till he broke most of the slates, and then he ran round and round the garden as fast as he could go. He was dressed in grey, and his breath was like ice.
“I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming,” said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; “I hope there will be a change in the weather.”
But the Spring never came, nor the Summer. The Autumn gave golden fruit to every garden, but to the Giant’s garden, she gave none. “He is too selfish,” she said. So it was always Winter there, and the North Wind, the Hail, and the Frost, and the Snow danced about through the trees.
One morning the Giant was lying awake in bed when he heard some lovely music. It sounded so sweet to his ears that he thought it must be the King’s musicians passing by. It was only a little linnet singing outside his window, but it was so long since he had heard a bird sing in his garden that it seemed to him to be the most beautiful music in the world. Then the Hail stopped dancing over his head, and the North Wind ceased roaring, and a delicious perfume came to him through the open casement. “I believe the Spring has come at last,” said the Giant, and he jumped out of bed and looked out.
What did he see?
He saw the most beautiful sight. Through a little hole in the wall, the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see, there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms and were waving their arms gently above the children’s heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner, it was still winter. It was the farthest corner of the garden, and in it was standing a little boy. He was so small that he could not reach up to the branches of the tree, and he was wandering all round it, crying bitterly. The low tree was still quite covered with frost and snow, and the North Wind was blowing and roaring above it. “Climb up! Little boy,” said the Tree, and it bent its branches down as low as it could, but the boy was too tiny.
And the Giant’s heart melted as he looked out. “How selfish I have been!” he said; “now I know why the Spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever.” He was very sorry for what he had done.
So he crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly, and went out into the garden. But when the children saw him, they were so frightened that they all ran away, and the park became winter again. Only the little boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears that he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the Giant’s neck, and kissed him. And the other children, when they saw that the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring. “It is your garden now, little children,” said the Giant, and he took a great ax and knocked down the wall. And when the people were going to market at noon, they found the Giant playing with the children in the most beautiful garden they had ever seen.
All-day long, they played, and in the evening, they came to the Giant to bid him good-bye.
“But where is your little companion?” he said: “the boy I put into the tree.” The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.
“We don’t know,” answered the children; “he has gone away.”
“You must tell him to be sure and come here, to-morrow,” said the Giant. But the children said that they did not know where he lived and had never seen him before, and the Giant felt very sad.
Every afternoon, when school was over, the children came and played with the Giant. But the little boy whom the Giant loved was never seen again. The Giant was very kind to all the children, yet he longed for his first little friend and often spoke of him. “How I would like to see him!” he used to say.
Years went over, and the Giant grew very old and feeble. He could not play about any more, so he sat in a huge armchair, watched the children at their games, and admired his garden. “I have many beautiful flowers,” he said, “but the children are the most beautiful flowers of all.”
One winter morning, he looked out of his window as he was dressing. He did not hate the Winter now, for he knew that it was merely the Spring asleep and that the flowers were resting.
Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvelous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were all golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath it stood the little boy he had loved.
Downstairs ran the Giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass and came near to the child. And when he came quite close, his face grew red with anger, and he said, “Who hath dared to wound thee?” For on the palms of the child’s hands were the prints of two nails, and the images of two pins were on the little feet.
“Who hath dared to wound thee?” cried the Giant; “tell me, that I may take my big sword and slay him.”
“Nay!” answered the child, “but these are the wounds of Love.”
“Who art thou?” said the Giant, and a strange awe fell on him, and he knelt before the little child.
And the child smiled on the Giant, and said to him, “You let me play once in your garden, to-day you shall come with me to my garden, which is Paradise.”
And when the children ran in that afternoon, they found the Giant lying dead under the tree, all covered with white blossoms.
It’s the season of love, peace, and joy. From here, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
Evening lurks behind
Even as sunset float ahead,
It heralds the end of daylight
So we watch it go in installments,
We feel softer airs traverse
Drifting with pure grace
Upon our hair and coats
It gets darker; nature’s notice
We wonder what it meant
To follow orange twilights
As it glides down the horizon
Leaving all for evening
But the silhouette of love
The best of it we keep for us
Staring into your pretty eyes
Is my favorite sunset moment
I champion good leadership, love, peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. That’s why so much of my stories and writing emphasis those virtues. I like to borrow a leaf from Mandela, who, after encountering great tribulation, did not adapt to his prosecutor’s ways.
The short story below was copied from a friend’s Facebook timeline. I decided to share it after applying a minor edit.
Our journey is short, indeed…
A young lady sat on public transport. A grumpy old lady came and sat by her side as she bumped into her with her numerous bags. The person sitting on the other side of her got upset and asked the young lady why she did not speak up and say something.
The young lady responded with a smile: “It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant; the journey together is so short. I will get off at the next stop.”
The response deserves to be written in golden letters in our daily behaviour and everywhere: It is not necessary to argue over something so insignificant; our journey together is short.
If each of us could realise that our passage down here has such a short duration, to darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others, ingratitude, and bad attitudes would be a waste of time and energy.
Did someone break your heart? Be calm; the journey is short. Did someone betray, bully, cheat, or humiliate you? Be quiet, forgive; the journey is short.
Whatever penalty anyone serves us, let’s remember that our journey together is so short. Let us, therefore, be filled with gratitude and sweetness. Sweetness is a virtue never likened to bad character nor cowardice, but better compared to greatness.
Our journey together down here is short and cannot be reversed. No one knows the duration of his trip. No one knows if he will have to alight at the next stop.
Have a great week ahead!
Your pretty face reminds me of the sun,
When she rose from the back of many hills
Dragging her gold blanket before farms
So if I am to paint this beautiful muse
I would imagine sunrise over wheat fields
And fast approaching evening when birds fly home
tumbleweeds I send
Love is a waterfall
A river behind
come back to me
in the end
The fragrance of undying love –
Sweet perfume from the lavender
I sit, I admire you from the fireside,
I realize how lucky I am to have you
Your love is a balm to my heart
Like an elixir, it refreshes my spirit
For each time I lay beside waters quiet,
Streaks of golden sunlight retreat
When sounds of water splash – a dulcet
We dream of stars without, while a galaxy glitter within.
Love is a tiny seed that grows silently and evolves into a tree. It’s green leaves, and strong branches give succor to all that run to its shelter. It’s kind and compassionate.
Love knows no religion or tribe. It does not shame or get jealous. It dreams and, like birds, soar above all. It is humility and unselfishness – an umbrella that accepts all races and creeds.
Love brings hope and positivity. It may be the little green butterfly flying about the treetop. Her soft wings gladden the soul and bring happiness to the beholder. With the wind, it floats as the fragile cottonseed to faraway places.
Love tolerates and corrects; true love is unconditional and lives forever. It creates and reproduces. It respects and adores, and sees the best in everything. Love builds bridges and colors the world in peace.
Love is a story of perseverance and resiliency. It is a sunset over the African countryside, the beginning and the end of the day.
All life is capable of love. When one looks within, that’s the first call of love.
You are the song in my heart
The moments I crave within
Red petals, green tan
Three singing hornets
And a happy, happy sun
Hovering above the scent
Marrying my words with yours is so good a hibiscus.
Scenting every phrase with juice
Always remember that we are considered human when we show kindness to all that Providence placed under our care, and when we love others as we are born compassionate beings.
Let me lead you this way
I found thorns with honey just for you
Wishes I stroll you farther, for the intense of my instinct is all warming
While along, I was going to tell you,
But every passing sunrise, my words are rolled back to breathing you
My fume is reluctant, craving you as
Just this path, Just this way
I’ll unravel my thoughts.
A greater percentage of the population in Northern Nigeria speak Hausa language. I lived in Northern Nigeria for roughly a year. Looking back to those months, I will say it was eye-opening and fun. I learned some of the culture and traditions. I met great people and made friends who were ever willing and available to teach me the lingua franca. I was impressed with the language. In fact, my interest in it had made me to enjoy discussions when soft spoken lovers interact with it. When lovers address each other in Hausa it sounds romantic to me. It’s more like French when compared to other European languages (I do consider French the most romantic language).
This poem is to the memory of great friendships, particularly the ones I left behind in Northern Nigeria. Part of my soul still lives there.
Love, tolerance and respect is all we need to drive positive change in Nigeria and Africa.
I’m happy to express this with pen
Ink fade but memories live it again
I believe in love and its many hues
And that life is good when love is true
You were once a dream to me
A dream that made me a beauty
Now you are like fresh rose petals
Flourishing out the morning garden
When I watch you turn and dance
Your glittering sweat trickle down
Like sparkling wine upon glass
Loving you was a sweet experience
So here’s to celebrate this love
Ina son ki! And I meant I love you!
And also celebrate the moments
And joy you brought to my soul
*Ina son ki: Hausa language for I love you
I’m glad to see the rising sun
It tells by sight stories unspoken
And paints my curtain perfect green
Divine love woke me to a new start,
A new life, something to celebrate
When I gather the curtains
To glance through tree lines
And green field glittering in the sun,
The rays catch my breath,
Birds chirp and take flight
Morning is my grateful moment
Power in words
This is a touching story. When I read it I felt very bad. It’s not imagined.
In South Africa, an 11 year old child committed suicide on his mother’s birthday as a birthday gift to his mother.
He left a letter saying, “On today’s special day, I want you to be the happiest ever. Everyday you used to say that happiness left your life the day I was born. You told me dad left because of me. So today, I want to change things. I want you to be very happy and live as if I never existed. You told me you’d never look at me with love but I always loved you and admire you as the best mom on earth. I hope one day you will think of me, I hope in heaven you will finally hold me and kiss me. The best gift I could give you is leaving your life as you’ve always told me you wished I was never born. I love you mom. Happy birthday”.
Please parents be careful of what you say to your kids. Words do cut so deep.
Tradition can be wrong
Sometimes tradition can be wrong. This story is a good one because it tells of a good hearted woman who saved innocent babies and it’s a gruesome story because it exposes the wickedness of ancient African tradition.
Mary Slessor, Scottish missionary in Eastern Nigeria, was born in 1848 in Aberdeen. Her father was a shoemaker and her mother a deeply religious woman. The family moved to Dundee in 1858 where Slessor began working in the linen mills at the age of eleven. She joined the local Christian Youth Club and became convinced of a call to be a missionary.
In 1876 the United Presbyterian Church agreed to send her to Calabar as a mission teacher. She worked first in the missions in Old Town and Creek Town but in 1888 went alone to work among the Okoyong. For the rest of her life Slessor lived a simple life in a traditional house with West Africans, concentrating on pioneering. Her insistence on lone stations often led her into conflict with the authorities and gained her a reputation as somewhat eccentric, but she was heralded in Britain as the ‘White Queen of Okoyong’. She was not primarily an evangelist but concentrated on settling disputes, encouraging trade, establishing social changes and introducing Western education.
Slessor frequently campaigned against injustices against women, took in outcasts and adopted unwanted children. In 1892 she was made vice-consul in Okoyong, presiding over the native court and in 1905 was named vice-president of Ikot Obong native court. In 1913 she was awarded the Order of St John of Jerusalem. Slessor suffered failing health in her later years but remained in Africa where she died in 1915.
Mary Slessor lived for a long time among the Efik people in Calabar in present day Nigeria. There she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy. Witchcraft and superstition were prevalent in Nigeria when she arrived there because traditional society had been torn apart by the slave trade. Human sacrifice routinely followed the death of a village dignitary, and the ritual murder of twins was viewed by the new missionary with particular abhorrence. Her dedicated efforts to forestall this irrational superstition were to prove a resounding success, as photographs of Mary with her beloved children testify.
She died in Calabar in 1915 and was given a state burial.
My mother lent some of her knowledge: Though as a growing child in thee village, she recalled twins being disposed in forests. As she told this story I imagined crying infants, left in the open forest, clad with nothing but blood fresh from birth and when they cease to cry what fate that befell them.
Mary Slessor was indeed an angel sent to liberate natives of West Africa from barbaric traditional practices.
It is pleasant to sit in the green wood,
and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold,
and the Moon in her chariot of pearl.
Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn,
and sweet are the bluebells that hide in the valleys
and the heather that blows on the hill.
Yet love may be better than life,
I ask can the heart of nature be compared to the heart of man?