Shiny stars, still evening,
Smooth, breezy companion,
A shepherd’s lonely hymn
Shiny stars, still evening,
Smooth, breezy companion,
A shepherd’s lonely hymn
A Crow was sitting on a tree
Doing nothing all day.
A small Rabbit saw the Crow,
And asked him, ‘Can I also sit like you
And do nothing all day long?’
The Crow answered: ‘Sure, why not.’
So, the Rabbit sat on the ground
Below the Crow, and rested.
All of a sudden a Fox appeared,
Jumped on the rabbit and ate it.
Hi everyone! How was your day? I have a story to share. So bring your seats and mats to the fireplace, listen attentively and may the nightingales sing us a lullaby when we retire to bed.
Once upon a time there lived a wise man by the name of Mamad. He never lied. All the people in the land, even the ones who lived twenty days away, knew about him.
The king heard about Mamad and ordered his subjects to bring him to the palace. He looked at the wise man and asked:
” Mamad, is it true, that you have never lied?”
” It’s true.”
“And you will never lie in your life?”
” I’m sure in that.”
“Okay, tell the truth, but be careful! The lie is cunning and it gets on your tongue easily.”
Several days passed and the king called Mamad once again. There was a big crowd: the king was about to go hunting. The king held his horse by the mane, his left foot was already on the stirrup. He ordered Mamad:
“Go to my summer palace and tell the queen I will be with her for lunch. Tell her to prepare a big feast. You will have lunch with me then.”
Mamad bowed down and went to the queen. Then the king laughed and said:
“We won’t go hunting and now Mamad will lie to the queen. Tomorrow we will laugh on his behalf.”
But the wise Mamad went to the palace and said:
“Maybe you should prepare a big feast for lunch tomorrow, and maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe the king will come by noon, and maybe he won’t.”
“Tell me will he come, or won’t he?” – asked the queen.
“I don’t know weather he put his right foot on the stirrup, or he put his left foot on the ground after I left.”
Everybody waited for the king. He came the next day and said to the queen:
“The wise Mamad, who never lies, lied to you yesterday.”
But the queen told him about the words of Mamad. And the king realized, that the wise man never lies, and says only that, which he saw with his own eyes.
I’m memories away from you
Yet you live just in my heart
I look up the skies to see your face,
And each star glitter with your smile
I’m left with memories of us, so blessed
It’s been 15 years already and I continue to miss your love and care. For DSc Nduka Iroegbu, my father.
Sun set slowly above the wood
Shadows appear, shepherd dreams;
Soft breeze upon evening tide,
Smell of sheep dung,
Slices of malted bread,
Songs from the wine inn,
Situated by the river bend,
Sober men drink their heart fill,
Silent hills, retreating birds,
Sally may sing her radio favourite,
Something to celebrate our countryside,
Scent of marigold and rose,
Sleepy sheep bleat gratefully,
Safe from roaming the land,
Some wish for morning already,
Sops and grapes grow wild,
Sheep love to nibble on those
Smiles bring back what are the shepherd’s;
Sweet darlings are his memories for the day
Sometimes it’s hard to stop a rolling stone, but whenever it may roll, it always seems to find its way back home. Brett Boyett
Dear motherland, I’m proud to call you my home. I’m reminded of sunset, it tells that it ends where it began. From tree branches on the hilly countryside, I see shadows of land retreat with the setting sun. When the sun travels away the shadows of trees and shrubs fall upon the ground, timid firmament blocked by passing grey clouds and day becomes a shadow of itself. Such beautiful landscape and sight I’ll give all to behold every day.
Dancing figures of butterflies and fireflies contradict day and light. Light, dark. Sunlight, moonshine. Beautiful wings spread over this damp earth my fathers walked and tilled.
Everything is magical when I think of you Africa. I truly love you.
My beautiful home sits up those ancient majestic hills and spread across fertile green valleys. A land carved by Providence itself, combining both the simplicity of the forest land and sophistication of human civilization. When cold hands of night descend, the beauty is unmasked and seen through mist and moonshine. If you must see, you will wait for the moon. When the moon appears, she is dressed in white. It let’s her light upon the great land and the vast wilderness. Forces of light and darkness may battle. I ponder on what courage that walk the dark night but queer fireflies that fly in droves and glitter randomly. Their light add to the night’s beauty, which words cannot describe exactly. Then I ponder further, fearing for the future of this beautiful land and her people.
I wonder oh Africa, how much gold you worth and yet fall to the wicked hands of poverty. I wonder how you love and in return you are hated. I wonder why there’s so much but yet little to go around. I wonder if I’ll ever grow out of this love I’ve for you. I wonder if I can retain this loving mindset for man and nature forever. But how long should your children wait to become great again?
I heard the Wind tell this story
Gather my friends. It’s time to tell a story. It’s time also to hear a tale. Gather by the fireside, warm yourselves. Bring the little ones to the centre. Keep them warmer, for night and her cold hands is nigh. Sit under the branches of the mango tree. From there everyone can see streaks of moon light on the grassland. As you watch the fire lick those dry wood pay attention to this short tale of mine. I’ve heard the wind and sky tell it in different tongues, styles and climes. Listen, because there may be a lesson or two. If not, it might just be another lullaby waiting to help a good night sleep! A good day ends with a good story. Will you like to tell me the lessons you picked? Ifochakpii!! Waaaa!!!
The Hippo and his seven wives
Long time ago when things were not as it was today, there lived a proud Hippo chief. He had seven wives as was the tradition for wealthy animals then. He had a secret name known only to his wives. They knew to keep it unknown to anyone.
One day the Hippo hosted a party and when he made his speech, he put out a challenge to his village people. “I’m afraid my people, if you can’t reveal my name you have to go home hungry. The dishes here will only be available to all when you reveal my name!” The whole congregation was left aghast. All those mouth watering dishes will be left unattended to. Ah! Well some tried to guess his name but got it all wrong.
The animals dispersed hungry. And they say a hungry person is an angry person. Many weeks passed and he hosted another feast. No one was able to reveal his name. Many animals guessed and was wrong. Then the Tortoise rose to speak. “Sir,” he started. “Since you have shamed us severally, can I ask what we stand to gain apart from the feast you have here?” The chief replied him, “Well, I’ll give you my land and retire to live in the river!” It was a tough challenge. He really believed that no one could get his name right. The crowd dispersed hungry again.
Now the Hippo and his wives had a favourite bathing stream, just by the foot of the great baobab. It was a luxurious and private bathing spot acquired by the Hippo for his household.
One day the hippos went down to the stream for a dip. The Tortoise well aware of their movement dug and hid on the soft sand with his hard shell stuck out but disguised as stone. He waited and waited. At last the hippos started back to the village. The chief led the way and was followed by the eldest wife. They went in a single file thereby leaving the youngest wife behind.
When the last wife came to the soft sands the Tortoise raised his shell a little, so that she struck her foot on the hard shell and yelled: “Nnayi ukwu dim oma my husband, come and help me. I struck my foot on a stone!” When the hippos finally left the scene, Tortoise ran back with joy.
A few weeks later the hippos hosted another feast. They had fun mocking other animals. When it was time for name revealing the Hippo marched majestically to the podium to allow animals guess his name. All the animals tried but none could get it. The Tortoise was the last to try.
“Your name is Nnayi ukwu dim oma!”
There was complete silence. Which was broken by a round of applause and sudden feasting when the Hippo’s face dropped. Without words the hippos marched to the river with their belongings. To this day my friends they lived in water. Never to return to land again!
Retold by Oke Iroegbu
Beginning and end
Light after dark
Dark before light
With dancing fireflies
And glittering stars
A shepherd’s lore
Down the country
Sheep and goats,
Green and gold,
Patches of life,
Water and fire,
Dust and wind,
Heaven and earth
All in fine contrast
But happy unison
Shallow roots shoot
Of life or death,
Again beginning and end
An old man once told me the story of how as a young man, his mother used to ask him: “What is the most important part of your body?” Through the years, he would take a guess at what he thought was the correct answer. First time, his answer was: “The ears.” The mother replied: “No, many people are deaf. But you keep it and I’ll ask you soon again.” Several years passed before she asked him again. His second answer was: “My eyes”. The mother told him: “You are learning fast, but the answer is not correct, there are many people who are blind.”
Then a year later, his father died. Everybody was hurt. Everybody was crying. Then the mother looked at the graveside and when it was their turn to say their final goodbye to their father, she asked him, “Do you know the most important body part yet, my son? He was shocked when she asked him by the graveside. The mother said to him: “Don’t be confused or shocked. This question is very important now and it shows you have really lived in your life. For every body part you gave me in the past, I have told you that you were wrong and I have given you an example why. But today is the day you need to learn this important lesson.” Then the mother looked down at him and threw her head to his shoulder and hugged him. With tears in her eyes, she said “My son, the most important part of your body is your shoulder.”
Wow! This young man was forced to ask: “Mum, it is because it holds up my head?” She replied, “No, it is because it can hold the head of a friend or a loved one when they cry. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes in life. I only hope that you have enough love and friends that you will always have a shoulder to cry on when you need it.” There and then this young man knew the most important body part is not a selfish one. It is made for others and not for yourself. It is sympathetic to the pain of others.
People will forget what you said and did. But people will never forget how you made them feel in their crises times. Good friends are like stars, you don’t always see them, but you always know them when they around you. No wonder a wise man said “If you want to be wisely selfish, care for others.” Yes! It will come back for you. Be someone’s shoulder today.
Culled and editted from the ODM.
Dark clouds slowly grow and gather,
The fast wind starts her grim asunder,
Along her path, she flung away things; rooftops and paper
So that unhappy owners may come looking for them later
August is a beautiful month and my month of birth. In seven days time I’ll be a year older. Have a beautiful month!
The breadth of earth lay wet
But the sun rise from the east,
From vague sights and mists
The dark jungles, hot and serene
Yet lions stride through the green
Fearing neither man or faun
A shriek up the skies…
Eagles soar high; many miles
Hopes high, they seeth thru’ times
The wind surfs wild oceans…
Whale’s horn blows far beyond
All tremble, sea-dwellers and stray crustaceans
Now if the skies were conquered by a bird,
And the jungle by a fearless king, crowned,
And the waters by a giant strongly revered
Then this little piece is written specially for you
To bring you a blessed combination of these virtues
This is a thank you poem for all my readers and followers. You guys are awesome. Let’s do more.
Okay guys, I traveled to my country home or just say my village. I was welcomed by squirrels racing on the rooftop. I thought it was a cat at first but cats don’t fly on tree branches. I finally saw one skinny squirrel holding his chin. It wouldn’t wait for me to get my camera. Honestly I have heard about snakes on a plane, puss in boots but not squirrels on the roof. So I’m going to write a nutty letter to this squirrel mafia, terrorising my rooftop.
First of all, I’m not mad at you. I’m not in any way mad. I wouldn’t blame you too. Though I love trees, I blame them for growing too close to my house. The branches shoot over my roof and you now have a new playground for your family. Your tree-barn has become too little, not enough for your nut provision that you introduced your nuts to my rooftop. My roof is your barn now.
I arrived home to find you my roof’s new landlord. You brought your siblings and your kids maybe. And they are all naughty, yes they are nutty. You probably expelled some of the lizards that pack in to homes left for long. So you are up there, feeling invisible – out of my brooms reach. Throwing nuts through cracks down my room and bed. I sometimes wonder how you summoned this courage to live in my roof, exercising vigorously at my disadvantage. You squirrel is something else, beautiful and surprisingly strange. I had never seen squirrels live in rooftops.
During your noontime play, I caught a glimpse of you, holding your chin with those broom-like hands and maybe thinking about your nutty economy. Dear new landlord, I’m grateful that you sleep at night, just like myself. If not, I would burn this roof and watch your nuts disappear with it.
– A distressed squirrel tenant.
When I wait under the old mango tree
I count the glittering stars far away
And laying on soft sandy soil
I get a better glimpse of the dark skies
The wind is my guest,
She rent her cold self to me,
She whispers tunes of nature
And drag tree leaves to fan me,
It’s an evening of quietness and cold,
Moments of thought wandering,
Of travel through stories and time,
Now the cold night draw nearer
I will watch my beautiful stars glitter
There’s a land behind those ancient hills
Hidden in the thick greened forest,
One of mighty foliage, brushes & roots
Dark green shrubs gather by the riverside
Ripe fruits plunge into the quiet waters
And fish schools scatter in excitement
Brown and black crabs meet to get drunk
Squirrels watch them, amused from treetops
The forest is awake, nature’s fine circus
At all times, the quiet cloud is navy blue
And king of forest do fall in love with it
When the cloud blush it rains softly; mildly
And little creatures which live in the land
Look up to the ever smiling forest king
‘Oh, how handsome his face look’, a cricket said
‘He is really in love with the selfish cloud
But we won’t understand why she always refuses
To love the handsome king back!’ some pigeons answered
‘I tell you that she is possessed, who should resist the forest king?’
The wolf alpha added, as he looked up
‘The forest king won’t talk yet, all he did is stare and smile
How savagely awful!’ Some pine trees whined
‘If for nothing but admiration is the reason to love
I choose not to love’, the philosophical Woodpecker concluded.
I like to watch the sun rise, to wait while she cast her beauty on earth,
So I wake early to fly my kite, to gather the stray bugs, worms and locust,
The fields are my playground, a partner to hides and seek,
I watch the sun, her golden smile, and light it brought to my community,
I adore pretty butterflies that dress in fine hues and dresses,
I dig holes for my little flower stalks, hoping they grow in no time,
I wait for the moon to rise at night, peeping through the window
With hope that when it comes, it will wait far into the cold night,
And if she came I would watch her shine through those dark skies
I danced alone in loud evening storms, raise my hands
To grab slippery raindrops as they fall mildly upon me
Even when lightning sang and her cousin thunder clapped,
Each day and night was always a new beginning
Memories of home are joyful and happiness
When twilight came
I took a walk, for some air
And down the roadside I went.
There a young man stood
Bearded heavily unlike myself
Throwing corn seeds into his mouth
And grinding them with such relish
That his brown teeth showed off
He stood a little close to my fence
And I decided to go chat with him
He smiled when I came close
He doesn’t look like someone from here
Yes, I seen those tribal marks somewhere
He must be from the North,
‘Sannu!‘ I hailed
‘Sannuku!‘ he replied
Eying me carefully
‘Do you wanti some agwado?’
‘No thank you.’ I replied
I saw his garment flow up,
Sailing with the mild breeze
Like a kite on rampage
The dress leaned deep into his flesh
And his muscles exposed
‘Kai, do you speak Hausa?’ he asked
‘No, very poor in that regard,’ I answered
‘Okay oh,’ he turned to call his cattle
Then I realised he was a shepherd
I relaxed a bit, wearing a new smile
My new friend must have something
To tell me about his travels and animals
He saw my smile and grinned
‘Tell me about your best and worst times,
Of shepherding and your herd’
I started without thinking…
‘My best time is when my herd feed
On a valley full of healthy green grass’
He said in nearly perfect English
‘When the sun is high above the firmament
When cows give birth in the dead night
And when I hear my favourite calf moo,’
He closed his eyes to remember more
‘What about your worst moments?’
It seemed I shoved him back from his dream,
For he suddenly opened his red eyes
And shot a blazing stare at my mouth
‘Why are there wars in Africa?
Why men kill each other?
Why are streams dry
And oceans rising?’
He asked with a frown.
‘I was born into such society
That settle disputes with violence
There’s hate, tribalism and distrust
Tribe against tribe, people against people
And hate is substituted for love…’
He pulled a twig off the long grass
‘How can we live in a society without love,
Without faith and trust for one another?
Why fight and not dialogue to achieve peace?
Why bomb a land already stricken with drought?
And cause lack of food and drinking water?’
The air grew colder…
‘I tell you I have seen things. It is time to go home…’
He said painfully, holding his stick back
‘Well as for my worst moments
I see people suffer, Yes I have
For nothing sake, I hate to see children suffer
And people suffer for other people’s crimes and atrocities
It makes little sense to me but that is the world,
We love and live in. Injustice, inequality, intolerance, ignorance…’
I could see through his pain…
‘It is only love that can save us all,’
He said as his flock gathered together
Tssski-ing, he called them, making a clicking sound from his tongue,
Hanging his long stick and hat behind his back,
He waved heartily and marched off, leading his cattle away,
I realise that the world still have some beauty and good in it
Sannu… Hausa salute
Agwado… Corn in Hausa
The Hausa/Fulani is a tribe spread across West Africa and predominantly in present day Northern Nigeria. They are known for their unique culture, tradition, arts and food.
Gather around the fire and read this story with me. It’s a long bedtime tale.
An honest farmer had once a donkey that had been a faithful servant to him a great many years, but was now growing old and every day more and more unfit for work. His master therefore was tired of keeping him and began to think of putting an end to him; but the donkey, who saw that some mischief was in the wind, took himself slyly off, and began his journey towards the great city, ‘For there,’ thought he, ‘I may turn musician.’
After he had travelled a little way, he spied a dog lying by the roadside and panting as if he were tired. ‘What makes you pant so, my friend?’ said the donkey. ‘Alas!’ said the dog, ‘my master was going to knock me on the head, because I am old and weak, and can no longer make myself useful to him in hunting; so I ran away; but what can I do to earn my livelihood?’ ‘Hark ye!’ said the donkey, ‘I am going to the great city to turn musician: suppose you go with me, and try what you can do in the same way?’ The dog said he was willing, and they jogged on together.
They had not gone far before they saw a cat sitting in the middle of the road and making a most rueful face. ‘Pray, my good lady,’ said the donkey, ‘what’s the matter with you? You look quite out of spirits!’ ‘Ah, me!’ said the cat, ‘how can one be in good spirits when one’s life is in danger? Because I am beginning to grow old, and had rather lie at my ease by the fire than run about the house after the mice, my mistress laid hold of me, and was going to drown me; and though I have been lucky enough to get away from her, I do not know what I am to live upon.’ ‘Oh,’ said the donkey, ‘by all means go with us to the great city; you are a good night singer, and may make your fortune as a musician.’ The cat was pleased with the thought, and joined the party.
Soon afterwards, as they were passing by a farmyard, they saw a cock
perched upon a gate, and screaming out with all his might and main.
‘Bravo!’ said the donkey; ‘upon my word, you make a famous noise; pray what is all this about?’ ‘Why,’ said the cock, ‘I was just now saying that we should have fine weather for our washing-day, and yet my mistress and
the cook don’t thank me for my pains, but threaten to cut off my head tomorrow, and make broth of me for the guests that are coming on Sunday!’ ‘Heaven forbid!’ said the donkey, ‘come with us Master Chanticleer; it will be better, at any rate, than staying here to have your head cut off! Besides, who knows? If we care to sing in tune, we may get up some kind of a concert; so come along with us.’ ‘With all my heart,’ said the cock: so they all four went on jollily together.
They could not, however, reach the great city the first day; so when night came on, they went into a wood to sleep. The donkey and the dog laid
themselves down under a great tree, and the cat climbed up into the
branches; while the cock, thinking that the higher he sat the safer he
should be, flew up to the very top of the tree, and then, according to
his custom, before he went to sleep, looked out on all sides of him to
see that everything was well. In doing this, he saw afar off something
bright and shining and calling to his companions said, ‘There must be a
house no great way off, for I see a light.’ ‘If that be the case,’ said
the donkey, ‘we had better change our quarters, for our lodging is not the
best in the world!’ ‘Besides,’ added the dog, ‘I should not be the worse for a bone or two, or a bit of meat.’ So they walked off together towards the spot where Chanticleer had seen the light, and as they drew near it became larger and brighter, till they at last came close to a house in which a gang of robbers lived.
The donkey, being the tallest of the company, marched up to the window and peeped in. ‘Well, Donkey,’ said Chanticleer, ‘what do you see?’ ‘What
do I see?’ replied the donkey. ‘Why, I see a table spread with all kinds of good things, and robbers sitting round it making merry.’ ‘That would be a noble lodging for us,’ said the cock. ‘Yes,’ said the donkey, ‘if we could only get in’; so they consulted together how they should contrive to get the robbers out; and at last they hit upon a plan. The donkey placed himself upright on his hind legs, with his forefeet resting against the window; the dog got upon his back; the cat scrambled up to the dog’s shoulders, and the cock flew up and sat upon the cat’s head. When
all was ready a signal was given, and they began their music. The donkey
brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock screamed; and then they all broke through the window at once, and came tumbling into the room, amongst the broken glass, with a most hideous clatter! The robbers, who had been not a little frightened by the opening concert, had now no doubt that some frightful hobgoblin had broken in upon them, and scampered away as fast as they could.
The coast once clear, our travellers soon sat down and dispatched what
the robbers had left, with as much eagerness as if they had not expected
to eat again for a month. As soon as they had satisfied themselves, they
put out the lights, and each once more sought out a resting-place to his own liking. The donkey laid himself down upon a heap of straw in the yard, the dog stretched himself upon a mat behind the door, the cat rolled herself up on the hearth before the warm ashes, and the cock perched upon a beam on the top of the house; and, as they were all rather tired with their journey, they soon fell asleep.
But about midnight, when the robbers saw from afar that the lights were
out and that all seemed quiet, they began to think that they had been in
too great a hurry to run away; and one of them, who was bolder than the rest, went to see what was going on. Finding everything still, he marched into the kitchen, and groped about till he found a match in order to light a candle; and then, espying the glittering fiery eyes of the cat, he mistook them for live coals, and held the match to them to light it. But the cat, not understanding this joke, sprang at his face, and spat, and scratched at him. This frightened him dreadfully, and away he ran to the back door; but there the dog jumped up and bit him in the leg; and as he was crossing over the yard the donkey kicked him; and the cock, who had been awakened by the noise, crowed with all his might. At this the robber ran back as fast as he could to his comrades, and told the captain how a horrid witch had got into the house, and had spat at him and scratched his face with her long bony fingers; how a man with a knife in his hand had hidden himself behind the door, and stabbed him in the leg; how a black monster stood in the yard and struck him with a club, and how the devil had sat upon the top of the house and cried out, ‘Throw the rascal up here!’ After this the robbers never dared to go back to the house; but the musicians were so pleased with their quarters that they took up their abode there; and there they are, I dare say, at
this very day.
Good night 😊
An extraordinary land
Africa is a land of diversity and extreme beauty. From the rising golden sun to swift flowing rivers and peaceful, grazing black wildebeest spread across the brown and green savannah, one can always have a glimpse of nature’s beautiful paradise. And nature has a way of healing everything…
If you ever had the chance to visit Africa, you will have a life-long memory to cherish and will be glad you did. Don’t take my word for it, come and see for yourself.
One beautiful thing I love about Africa is in its diverse wildlife. There are numerous species. There are lions, leopards, wild hogs, crocodiles, wildebeests, panthers, alligators, turtles, tortoise, jackals, zebras, elephants, giraffes, antelopes, buffalos, cheetahs, wild dogs, foxes, skunks, springbok, honey badgers, porcupines, giant anteater, spotted hyaena, civets, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, tapirs, lemurs, ostriches, and different species of snakes, apes, birds, insects etc… and there are flourishing vegetation all over the continent. You can see many species in one location. What can be more exciting? Africa is indeed blessed.
Just like the kangaroo which is native to Australia, some species like lemurs, zebras and more are native only to Africa and so may not be found elsewhere. Of all quadrupedal, I love zebras most. I took special interest in this beautiful single-hoofed animal when I fantasized riding one as a child. But when I learned that it could bite and kick, I reconsidered and respected their distance.
The African Zebra
Now the African zebra is related to horses but you wouldn’t want to ride one. Zebras are strange examples of the saying: looks can be deceptive. It is aggressive and in several occasions had killed lions and other cats with its kick.
With black and white stripes, it is a spectacular beauty to behold. Scientists say the stripes act as camouflage; predators may not know the exact number of individuals when they stand together in a herd. Also, the stripes blend with their habitat. Each zebra stripe is unique.
They are very fast animals when they run and can reach up to 65Km/h. As herbivores, they move in groups or herds feeding on fruits, leaves, grasses, barks and roots. There are many species and they occur in different locations.
Most of zebra population is primarily found in Southern Africa. Individuals occur in West and Central Africa. South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Eastern African nations record most populations. They are seen in protected parks and reserves.
Zebra’s natural predators are mostly the big cats, crocodiles and wild dogs. Man, unfortunately kills zebras too for food. Measures are being taken to protect them as they go extinct in some African countries.
I invite you to visit Africa, maybe you will be lucky to bump into a solitary zebra or watch the herd head towards a waterhole to drink after a long sunny day.
Your voice wakes the wild nature in me
When you sing the lyrics gladden my soul
I adore those moments you look over your shoulder
To catch my happy stare; as you dance away, laughing
You dress like tulips that grow on the farmyard
Fresh, delicate pink, lively as green bean pods
Scenting the room with your flowery perfume
When we walk on the beach, you lead this scent
So when night come upon our weary selves,
You make me close my eyes and dream away
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!
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
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.
Writing a poem
is like picking flowers
in a minefield.
Lay down your life
so that the grass,
sharp as syllables,
won’t cut you.
Let your fingers
test the soil.
Don’t tug at the roots.
negotiable at the border
between war and peace,
all the way back
DAVID THANE CORNELL
Copyright 2012, 2020.
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
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 👪
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
Morning wind, crisp smell,
Moist dew, sun rise, beautiful land
Take it all in and live in it,
Inhale deeply before it’s gone
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
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
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.
Bird songs, colourful butterflies and sun rays,
Are fruits from Nature’s basket of kindness,
To man, his clan she gave tranquility and peace
Clouds mock me
Yet I touch the sky,
I have no wings
Today I met this round twins, sumptuous red fruit
By the garden they grew, so I’ll make a muse for it.
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
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
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
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
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…
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!
Originally written: March 14, 2015