A true selfless act always sparks another – without fail ~ Klaus
A true selfless act always sparks another – without fail ~ Klaus
Going with the flow of life
Rather starting to do so
Just as water flows naturally
To form runnels, streamlets
To join the rivers which
Also, flow to meet the ocean
So our life’s flow onwards
To join the great sea of eternity
The marvelous oneness of which
We are all part intrinsically
To accept all of what is
Stopping fussing and fighting
What we cannot alter
Flowing effortlessly forwards
Into the oneness of life
Things will not always go
The way we want them to
People may have different views
That’s all okay there just opinions
Different colors life’s picture
All are precious
For all are one
Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. To celebrate this icon I decided to post some of his quotes.
1. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
2. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
3. The time is always right to do what is right.
4. A riot is the language of the unheard.
5. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies. Our friends’ silence ends.
6. Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.
7. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
8. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’
9. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
10. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Know that whatever you will become is a function of your thoughts. We are what we think. With our thoughts, we make our world. What you picture in your mind, your mind will accomplish for you.
Consider the image above. While the world saw a cat, the cat saw himself a Lion! We could be greater if we can guide/guard our thoughts.
Resist low thinking, self-pity, self-comparison and depression. Be positive. Equate thoughts of failure with success, miserliness with wealthiness, pain with joy, hopelessness with hope, strife with peace and hate with love. Be determined to control your thoughts.
Think big and achieve big!
Proverb: A chameleon that wants to survive from the burning bush must abandon the majestic walk of its ancestors.
Origin: When there’s a fire in the bush, all living things around there fly, crawl, run for dear lives. Even the slowest among them will make a drastic effort to escape the fire.
Chameleons are slow-walking reptiles with teeth attached to the edge of the jaw. Many species come in different colors and can change colors at will. They are adapted to climbing, live in warm habitats that occur in Africa and Mediterranean Europe. Their tails are short and curled. Indeed, these characteristics make them seem ‘majestic’.
Meaning: The proverb translates to doing things differently to survive, dropping pride, or whatever to achieve a purpose. If you want to make a difference in life, you must change the ordinary ways of doing things. Sometimes tough times can alter convention.
Global Warming Is Real
If you are in West Africa, you will notice that the harmattan winds didn’t blow this past year. Growing up, it was the norm to witness dry and intense storms that blow morning, noon and evening. Then exposed body parts will turn white unless you used a particular type of oil pomade. Lips will crack up under the heavy gusts that blow, and if you try to lick them up, you cause more harm. Hands shiver and the flu is common. If one happened to get bruised, it would take the whole harmattan season to heal. There was no rainfall, but the eyes are always wet. Grasses and trees turn brown. The earth becomes red mud. This was the harmattan season I grew up knowing. This was the harmattan season I looked up to see, but last year none of those events happened.
On my way back to my hometown during the yuletide, I couldn’t help but notice that many things remained the same. Early January there was a huge shower, and I wonder what is going on. Global warming is real, and we are living in it. The human race needs to figure a way to do things right. I hope that the harmattan wind blows again.
Twist and turns
Over the hills sunset
Clouds foam, fold away
Summer and winter
Times reverse and reset
The distant twinkling stars are his friends,
The sweet, mild breeze his companion,
Day may end with sleep full of pleasant dreams
I read this excellent piece, and I fell in love with it. I should share it with you. This is from Nicole Coventry’s poetry book The Chaos of Letting Go.
I had mistaken you
For the sea
And soft sand
But you ended up
Being the hurricane
That destroyed me
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
Heed my call, dear wind
Listen and let your strength
On every dry land and life
Gather turf, swoop down
Upon the vale and hills
Let my voice echo down valley
Provoke dry bones to receive life
Let it be quiet upon the still fogs
Early when night battled dawn
Let this life-giver wind restore all
Lost and bless men one more time
Some men possess magical abilities to control wild animals. Watch the Hyena men from the rural parts of Northern Nigeria perform in the streets of Lagos. These men mastered this roadside circus from a tender age.
I’ve caught a glimpse of their live-action once. I confirm that their performances are phenomenal and not for the faint-hearted. As nomads, they live and move about with dangerous animals like the spotted hyenas, crocodiles and alligators, monitors, cobras, pythons, baboons and other species.
Video: Real Wild
It’s Friday! What better way to spend the sunny weekend but to enjoy the refreshing African magic beer?
Observe the excitement on the faces of laborers when they remember home and the waiting beer.
Nature loves the courageous. Dream the impossible and the world will not grind you under; it will lift you.
Pace alongside cassava stalks
On a bright, sunny day,
Let the wind blow hot air
When masquerades stomp
Hear the hawk call out
Watch her float up the sky,
Stay off from the untamed bush
Urge the wind to wait till sunset
Nudge the funny crabs away
Soak in the ecstatic springs
Drink her life-giving waters
See how joyful its waters leap!
Wade in quiet creeks
Watch fish schools nearby
Listen to the fussy forest
Touch the heartbeat of nature
Gather for bowls of hot codfish soup,
Take a deep breath, grab a spoon
When the stars gather to watch
Relax with some folk music and tale
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it – Edith Wharton
When I got enough confidence, the stage was gone. When I was sure of losing, I won. When I needed people the most, they left me. When I learnt to dry my tears, I found a shoulder to cry on. When I mastered the skill of hating, someone started loving me to the core of the heart and while waiting for light for hours when I felt asleep, the sun came out – Sophia Loren.
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear, and obstacles vanish – John Quincy Adams
These two virtues make the difference between success and failure, between accomplishment and disappointment. If one can adopt them then he/she can conquer the world. Ponder over this.
I wrote this poem on January 2, 2017, upon my return from Northern Nigeria. Before this, I have always viewed people from other tribes suspiciously. This is because of the bitterness and rivalry amongst Nigeria’s tribes. But having had experience living in several parts of Nigeria, things took a spin, and I started seeing the humanity in everyone.
I schooled in the South, in the riverine region. I have been to the West for seminars conducted by my fellowship and then served in the National Youth Service Corps in Lafia, Northern Nigeria. Through my stay in all parts, I have witnessed humanity and looked beyond tribalism. I have learned not to judge people by their tribes. I still believe in my mantra: whether a Northerner or Southerner, black or white, farmer or banker, leader or follower: we are the same and should have equal opportunity to succeed in life.
This poem below reminds me of my friends and how they tried to make me feel at home during my stay away from my land. I have edited some of the lines, and still, the message remains intact.
Nigeria should rise above hate and tribalism. We can do better with good leadership.
You have smiles on your face
Reminds me of my beloved siblings
I need not see you thru your race
You are you; one, unique and winning
Igbo kwenu! Kedu, olee, how do you do?
Come in, have a sit, taste this dish
You come in peace, I surely know
So to you, good things I gladly wish
Have you seen or heard the names we bear?
We are the people of God; Oluwa, Tamuno, Abasi and Chukwu
We are unique; our food and the dress we wear
We say ‘oshe‘ which mean the same as my ‘kwongo‘
Kei! Listen, my cattle moo behind the huts
Can you hear it? Do you like to taste this morning’s milk?
When the nights come, gather for some cream sauce
Don’t forget; come once, come all, salaam walekum
I can be Berom or Mumuye; I can be Efik or Igala
Don’t seek first my race before meeting me
I am Ijaw or Bini; I am Hausa, I am Ibibio and Idoma
So don’t judge me because I was born a tribe to be
I am Nigeria.
Kwenu, kedu, olee: Igbo greetings.
Oluwa, Tamuno, Abasi, Chukwu: Names of God in Yoruba, Ijawa, Ibibio and Igbo respectively.
Oshe, kwongo: Yoruba and Isuikwuato ways of saying thank you.
Kei: exclamation used by cattle rearers.
Salaam walekum: Arabic greeting meaning peace be unto you. The northerners who are predominantly Muslims use this.
Berom, Mumuye, Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Ijaw, Edo, Bini, Ibibio, Idoma, Efik, Igala, etc: Nigerian Tribes. There are more 250 of them.
My heart dances & lives to laugh,
Under this beautiful moonshine,
With my troubadour & cheerful strength,
This heart remains in my hometown
Even as dreams live in another country
I follow these dreams far away
To return to this heart someday
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
A new year is like a blank book, and the pen is in our hands. It is a chance to write a beautiful story for ourselves. Happy New Year.
It’s midnight West African Time, and January 1st, 2021, is finally here. Let me start by wishing you that is reading a Happy New Year.
Amid the fireworks, I stare up the still-dark skies. Everybody is celebrating the new year. It’s beautiful up the hill, not only for the pretty colors from fireworks but the floating fog that masks the moon momentarily. Some clouds are darker than others, yet the stars glitter even in the darkness. This new year is favorable and optimistic despite all that happened last year; that’s the cloud’s clear message.
Uwaoma hill stood like the giant it was. A titanic towering over the valley and her inhabitants. I’m familiar with the community that surrounds me. The beautiful colors displayed from exploding fireworks remind me of my childhood. The skies tell stories, stirring, nostalgic feelings. I touch the skies with my hands raised. As a religious person, I feel and worship the presence of a Supreme God. Indeed, the new year is a time of gratitude and reverence.
My small village is usually quiet, but tonight it’s a different story. Everybody seems to be awake to partake in the new year welcoming. I meet people on my way back from the crossover service. It’s pleasing to greet and wish every passerby: a Happy New Year.
To you, my followers, and colleagues, I hope you have a fulfilling new year. I thank you for your likes and comments. I am grateful to have your support. Let’s do more this new year.
Failure Is Not Final
“What did you learn in 2020?”
That is the big question for everyone. So I’m going to share a bit of what 2020 taught me and how I have evolved into a resilient individual.
Indeed a lot had transpired this year; wars, disasters, locust infestation, Brexit – EU trade issues, MAGA, novel coronavirus, US-Chinese tit for tat economic warfare, global anti-government protests, racial and gender equality campaigns, and recently Trump’s electoral defeat and the Israeli-Arab peace signings. You will agree that 2020 has been a tough one, and some of the subjects mentioned above contributed to that.
Even amid the chaos, I have learned a lot. I evolved into part-time human rights and environmental activist. I became more courageous to advocate for human rights, good governance, quality education, and youth employment in Africa. Instead of withdrawing into my shell when things go wrong, I spoke up.
I became a man too. I have, with the help of other family members, nursed my sick sister and witnessed her last days on earth. I saw her being lowered down six feet below, realizing it was a final goodbye. I remained positive and strong in times of adversity, and this gave others hope. I have assumed responsibilities I never dreamt of and helped many people in my little way.
I also improved my writing skills, made excellent networks abroad, and broke out from a portion of the introvert cocoon. I took up the sole responsibility to start a blog for my church messages. I currently volunteer to help human rights organizations and other NGOs. I taught some friends and students how to start a blog and use it to live meaningful lives. I’m equally available for any legitimate virtual work. Thanks to the novel coronavirus that contributed to the changed work standards, I can work remotely.
Generally, the pandemic taught everyone a lesson or two. For me, I acknowledge that owning a business is prudent. Many firms could not afford to pay their staff during the pandemic, so they laid them off or applied cuts to their salaries. Even though some businesses couldn’t survive the time, but many did come out stronger. Those who failed could take a lesson too. Also, the pandemic had shown that what the world needs are talented and creative people. We could see how industries and organizations raced to find solutions to the myriad of problems that surfaced this year. Face masks, vaccines, alcohol-based disinfectants, and more were produced en masse to curb the spreading virus.
In a few hours, the year will be over. I’m also aware that in some parts of the world, it’s already January 2021. I have a piece of advice for everyone; lay aside your doubts and fears. It’s time to start afresh. I will see you in 2021!
Let’s make this wish together for better things to come. What has 2020 taught you? Delightful New Year everyone 🙂✨
We can’t replace trees that are thousands of years old. But we can plant new ones; we can instill hope for our future generations.
Sequel to my earlier post on uncontrolled bush burning, which destroys plant and animal habitats, I decided to write further on this sad image I stumbled upon.
Man and trees are life partners, but greed has caused one to harm the other. But there is hope. Even though we may be unable to take the world back to its original state, our little acts today can help it heal. The truth is, man is carried away by personal gain that he forgot the value of his own life.
The picture is from TJ Watts and explains a lot about human involvement in environmental degradation. It portrays how man is busy destroying the magnificence around him. By cutting down these trees, man is slowly strangling himself. It’s just a matter of time for nature to return ‘full’ hostilities to him.
It’s awful to realize that the world is not dying, but we are the ones killing it. It’s not very pleasant too when people cut down what they didn’t plant – for personal gains. This is not progress at all. Our actions aid the disasters that plague our environment. We are yet to witness more landslides, avalanches, tsunamis, and floods. But it’s time to change for good.
These forests support the lives of many organisms, including man. They give oxygen, food, shelter, and more. I am worried that whole histories are lost with these century-old trees. Thousands of stories are gone when trees are hewn down. What will take its place, a lifeless building?
I call on everyone to create awareness of this. Youth and environmental organizations must play an active role too. We need to include teaching conservation in our schools; children need to know how important it is to maintain the earth’s forests. For governmental agencies, 2021 will be the perfect time to begin implementing ecologically friendly policies starting from grassroots street and local councils. Let’s start the coming year with a resolution to end all manner of injustices, not only to man but to all members of his environment. A little deed can go a long way. We can never know.
In addition to protecting our forests, let’s plant trees; we instill hope for our future.
Masquerades in Umukwu-Amune
Today was the Masquerade’s Day in Amune, Ovim. I was on a visit when I came across this masquerade band. In a situation, one comes across the masquerades face to face; it is crucial to ‘acknowledge or plead’ with them by calling out their names; if you desire not to be whipped. Sometimes you can offer them gifts to let you be. Masquerade floggings are traditional. To avoid those, one must stay as far as possible.
So I wrote the little poem below to talk about the sudden appearance of masquerades and the commotion they caused.
Threads hold fast upon your coat of colors
When the stage is set, you are the conqueror
All village folk flee from you, but older men sit
Gazing into space when men transform into spirits
Uniform dyes are of several displays
Dark green, brown, yellow, grey
The dust raised over the rooftops
Signals the onset of celebrations
Children hide, but hawks circle the sky
Many believe your arrival from ant holes
Others think you are ancient deities
Or spirits engaging the past and present
Reincarnated through the mortal man
Attending to the interests of the clan –
A place where hill dwellers call home
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
It’s a full moonlight tonight. The evening air is modest. We are all sitting outside, just in front of the house, discussing the day’s work. Some lay, rolling on mats spread close to one another. In between the lead tale teller’s story, distracting dialogues transpire, though as whispers. Incessant noises made by insects break the general stillness. The highlands bring down cold air. The hills continue to nourish the village with sleepy breeze. The moon stayed put, her glow however intact.
I’m drawn to nature’s beautiful lyrics, such that came from nocturnal insects and animals. Suddenly, from a distance, I observe a thick smoke rise. A massive fire accompanied it. In no time, soot started to descend upon the hamlet. I could smell the acrid smoke and realized at once why many insects hurried toward our gathering. They were running from the blaze. I’m pretty sure that the person who started this fire left it unattended. It could spread to large swaths of land, you know. It is awful that people still burn wild bushes without considering the impact of their actions. I can’t imagine those once happily vocalizing insects scampering for safety, away from the comfort of their dwellings. Unfortunately, many won’t make it out alive.
Well, several dangers accompany uncontrolled bush burning. We lose whole soil organisms, soil texture, and soil fertility. The earth’s vegetation cover is destroyed, leading to soil erosion. The air is polluted, and insects and animals’ habitats are destroyed. We still have a lot to do. We should certainly make an effort to save this planet. It’s worth trying.
Back to my reality, I just had a loaf and half of the cassava flour (akpu) with tasty oha soup. I’m nearly heavy. My little cousin, alongside his sister, play with my stomach, saying a lot of strange things. Indeed, this traditional meal is the real deal. Some people may think differently – it’s not my favorite anyway. But this sudden smoke and fire took away a portion of my amusement.
While we gist, I’m absent-minded. I am profoundly reflecting on the best ways to encourage everyone to play a role in protecting our beautiful planet. We still have a long way to go in conserving our land, and indeed uncontrolled bush burning should be one thing prohibited.
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.
The oak fought the wind and was broken; the willow bent when it must and survived.
– Robert Jordan, The Fires of Heaven
Tut, tsi, tut, tsi,
Do you think I was talking to myself?
Haha, not in any way! I call on my sheep that way
So we bond, using this unique code
When they disperse over the pasture
I sit to play my guitar, a song hallelujah
Trembling fingers, dry in the noon sun,
The flavour of mountain dew on my lips,
Ha… lle… lu… Yah…
Lu… Yah, lu… Yah
Oh what view from the brook
How glad they peacefully graze
Ha… lle… lu… Yah…
Lu… Yah, lu… Yah
Oh, will you like to take a look
Of sheep scattered across the grass?
Pillow of silk
Night of dreams,
A wish, a good night
A song hallelujah
A silent night from the inside
A noisy one out in the wild
Nighttime for cricket buzzing
Lullaby against a sleepy wind
Let’s build a world where women don’t have to become violent just to be respected by men.
Tree leaves dance when they fall, trembling quietly
Brown leaves, some dull in red and lighter green
All manoeuvre in the same direction of the wind
When bold leaves fall off the branches
They twist and sail through the wind
Some set up leisure, settling on the moist below
Sailing off, noiselessly to other stream banks
But those who fell on the ageless rocks
Clasped to the grasp of the fern
Idling patiently for the wind to free them
Tiny insects seeking nectar fly around the river greenery,
Slowly, the water finds its way through rocks
Rushing peacefully, polishing pebbles, shoving stray fish off
The air is icy cold, so is the beautiful waters of the stream
This dawning paints a modest, peaceful scenery,
One which waits quietly for the noisy bird cavalry
What I Think of Poetry
We’ve discussed many issues in the past, but in today’s Poets Corner, we will be talking about poems. Poems are known by other names, namely: verse, ballad, ode, dirge, elegy, passage, lyrics, songs, hymns, stanza, epic, haiku, and more. I will say poetry is a function of mood and situation. It all boils down to the expression of personal thoughts and emotions.
For me, it’s a perfect way of letting off steam. When I write, I am delighted to play with words. It gives me peace. Poetry is expressing thoughts in a manner that provides stability and succor to the writer.
Other Poets Thoughts
As usual, I will take some time to reproduce what each poet thinks of poems. Of course, poets will always color up definitions, and poetry defined won’t be an exception. Most poets, like myself, feel it’s an expression.
I will start with April Joie Marie Cruda; it’s an art of expressing someone’s hidden feelings. It’s another way of telling what the mouth can’t utter. Jessie Love agrees with this definition, hear her: “all the words that your heart wants to say, but your lips will never speak.” Boogieman Fatts says: “call me simple if you may, but to me, a poem is a spoke a word that rhymes.” John Andrew Villan believes it’s what we feel and how we creatively define life. For Makola Lēfā, it’s expressive interaction between feelings and nature. I can relate.
B Mathepe Seerane explains thus: Poem is an expression of emotions, nature, storytelling, and message. This includes things around us, which are in the past, present, or future, things we cannot relate, but poems can with deep thoughts and beautiful descriptions. Poems are the circuit of life through our own experiences; it comes to you how you want to write. Many poems are free verse. Tsegaw Weldeyohaness says it’s a language of a soul.
For Freeabuky Jamal, it’s the truth. A breath of relief. Dennis David feels that it’s the best word in the best place. “It’s the full expression of one’s feeling and the feeling itself,” Vincent Raphael Dirain says. Safiya Shehu thinks it’s inner mind thoughts put on paper using an aesthetic expression. Isn’t that wow? Julie Foreman was more academic in her approach: a collection of either perfectly rhyming or none rhyming phrases or sentences that run on or end but always end up making you question something.
Mézõ Phürå’z Måthå opined that a poem is a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their beauty and sound and are carefully arranged, often in short lines that rhymes. This is a beautiful definition, indeed, but poems don’t necessarily rhyme these days. Gift Clifford Ngobeni believes it’s the description of life. Itumeleng Ramohomane says it’s a blast of carefully selected words by the poet inside the host. The poem is all the questions and answers put in one. Ibrahim Ansari says it’s a way to dress up a feeling in a cloth of language. Bona Peruse quipped it is the extension of one’s soul.
Eunice Ndagi says that a poem is a feeling expressed through the choice of words. Leo Castilar Bragais believes a poem is a rhyme of words from emotions and experiences. Rachel Kaufmann says it’s the recasting of life and thought into meter and rhyme. Simon Cosmas says it’s a work of art written in a heightened language to express ideas. For Gautam Jain, it’s the license to put a line break wherever you want.
According to Sally Skeleton: “A poem to me is something that I can express my feelings when I’m sad, happy, lonely, or depressed. It sometimes gets me through the day lately. It’s just been rare.” Nyx Nanin believes they are the unsaid words of a writer that cannot be expressed verbally. Mensaje Ever says it’s the hidden mystery of the world which it takes great thinkers to bring to reality.
“There are many great things that you can say when it comes to poems or creating them. We do have a wide variety of explanations on what it is. For me, a poem is something you start to embrace your ideas and perspective in the world. And it’s also your feelings, emotions, etc., as long as you express yourself in a creative way of using words. That’s a poem for me.” Paolo Cruz explained. Maybe Madi was creative. She said a poem is a ‘Piece Of Everything Mental.’ Notice the capitalized words? For Ellie Ellie, a poem is life, and for Infant Prabhu, it’s words of your soul.
Mudasir Ul Islam says it’s just a feeling. Isn’t that an honest one-word description? Obaid Karimi, it’s dipping words into sense. Bin Bas Dawaki has this to offer, “Poem is a literary piece of writing which produces pleasure and imaginative productive of thought.” Emmalyn Monteroso says it’s little words with limitless meanings. Hmm! That’s a deep one. “Poem defines our personality and experiences.” Unspoken Words says. Prince Ynicia Pepito’s idea is that it’s a way we write our tears, either joy or grief.
Wāmë Bëē says a poem is the art of feelings. For Andrea Badiango, poetry is a way she expresses her thoughts and feelings; she could construct a poem if it’s from what she feels. Stiina Saluste says poems are words of one’s soul and heart. Phumla Mchunu says it’s a sequence. Just like numbers, it’s unending. It’s a pour out of purity, adventure, and discovering the limits of words and the feeling of letters. Though I agree with this definition, I still feel that those who write dark poetry are not doing pure justice. Don’t you think?
It is the devotion of emotion for Queen Dot Jah Ladi. It’s telling a story full of feeling expression for N’wana Mhani Khensani. Vanessa Fafali Kpenyo thinks it’s the expression of feelings in the form of writing. I do think so too.
Teendoor Mike Takaz says it’s a strategic way of expressing the inexpressible. For Wilma Erin Eros, it’s like a song. Shannon Scott says it’s an expression of one’s thoughts. Nodana Odidnac says it’s a compilation of thoughts and ideas, and that is art. Ihyisham Ahmed defined it as a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines. “A special way of expressing. If the poet considers what he or she has created is a poem, it’s a poem. Whether or not it’s a good poem is a matter for the person who considers it.” That was from philosophical Tom East.
“A poem to me is therapy; it’s a way for me to express all of my demons and say things that I can’t talk about because my mind won’t let me, in poetry I can’t explain it, but I feel free and can write down anything that I think.” Austin Mickle said. Nia Sanders believes it’s another language to speak. It’s your thoughts and emotions formulated into words. It’s freedom and clarity.
How do you define a poem?
A King Without A Crown
I used to take on a noble character whenever it comes to acting among my peers. I remember performing King Nebuchadnezzar in a high school drama class. It was sport hearing my classmates address me as the king. Nebu – the short-lived nickname that followed after wasn’t much fun. Please don’t listen to me; I enjoyed the attention. Haha!
Spending my holidays in the countryside was fun. I won’t forget my childhood moments and those who made them memorable. I recall not-so-cozy train rides to and fro the country, hunting rodents with my buddies, running an insect zoo (this is very personal to me), killing straying poisonous snakes and chipmunks that destroyed furniture in the house, swimming in shallow streams, and catching crabs, wrestling with other boys, numerous farm adventures, and more. These are stories to be told. It gives me extreme joy when I recall them. Hence, I’m grateful for the experience. I try to keep records of stories and lessons learned in my evolving blog. A lot has been written here and elsewhere, but sadly much is nearly or entirely forgotten. Well, I will work hard to put the pieces together.
More to Africa…
There’s a lot yet to be revealed about Africa. While many may choose to focus on the ills in African societies, many good things are going on in the continent.
I launched this blog to document my past and future nostalgic moments. I aim to promote the dignity of the African homeland and her rich heritage. Also, my blog seeks to persuade people to acknowledge their humble beginnings. It is the past that made us who we are today. As for me, my life experiences made me resilient and desirous of contributing to positive change.
My love for Africa goes beyond boundaries created by man and perceived primitive traditions. It saddens me to see such a beautiful continent wallow in poverty and deprivation. It is my dream to travel the length and breadth of the continent – to tell more stories. Indeed, storytelling is Africa’s foremost tradition because it unites us all, and everyone has a story.
It’s my wish to see much of the African hinterland, to fright lions with the Masai, swim in some of her greatest rivers, live with and learn the ways of local tribes, collate much tribal folklore and poetry from budding African talent, start a series about this beautiful land and spread the message of hope. Now, I won’t be needing a crown to continue to spread this hope and love to my people.
Suppose you didn’t play in the mud as I did while growing up; you may not understand how dear this is—good night from West Africa.
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
A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of – Nelson Mandela
Everyone has got a role to play in our society. Even the smallest can contribute to positive change. Often, people think that responsibility is only a leadership process; consequently, it is the leaders’ duty. I think otherwise. I believe that responsibility goes beyond being led. It’s a commitment to seeing things done right. A changed person who looks beyond the mirror called self seeks to make a difference in his community while transforming himself to be the good he seeks in others.
Suppose we could look beyond ourselves, imagine what the world could look like. Let’s be the change we seek. Let’s be the book that millions of children and youth read. Let our lives preach responsibility and love because everyone has got a role to play. If not at present, ultimately in the future.
This responsible change we seek begins with us. It’s in our hands to make our communities and the world a better place.
When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him – Ashanti proverb
This excellent Ghanaian adage is self-explanatory. I’ll try to explain some salient points.
Generally, it’s an African believe that a child who goes nearer to his father grow up acting and speaking like him. Indeed, this is true in every society and even the animal world.
‘Father‘ here symbolises anyone who one observes or follow. For instance, if John, a Zimbabwean, is obsessed with American pop culture, he will end up dressing, talking and living like a pop star. In other words, we are influenced by who we look up to as role models and what we chose to feed our minds with.
A similar proverb talks about chicks watching and learning while the hen scratches and picks seeds from dirt. What do you think?