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

Since I met you

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

Start a blog here.

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

Messenger

igbo-gong

Kokookoroko kokorokoro
A greeting called from afar
The children ran out excited
As if the message was for them
But then who knows?
Heads up, listen attentively
Komkom korookom
Another beat rang out
Pushing the mild hit
Into the ears of the heaviest village sleeper
‘Oh how cute, it is one of the King’s messengers’
‘A tall and fine one for that matter’
A group of young women chatter

The morning of a market day
Even before the sun starts his journey
The gong goes before the man,
A metal gong tells the whole clan
The tidings of the hamlet
The days not to visit the rivulet
The day to farm the deep forest
And when a service the King request,
The boxing day, a vengeful day,
Of long brooms stalked away
Up the roof barns where fish smoke,
And the wielder showing teeth tobacco soiled

When the messenger comes
Mama will always say
To bright little ones
‘Listen attentively, listen with your ears
They might have a message for you or you,
From the King or the brave hunters
Come from across the seven hills
And seven rivers of Far Away Land
So you must listen attentively
There must be wisdom in every muttering’

Then each time it all comes to me
Even now I on my face keep beards
I still listen when all is quiet
Then in my mind goes Krookoko-kom-kom!

***

Start your blogging here.

Krookokom… As in Onomatopoeia of sound made by gongs.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Tale of The Musk Rat

Once upon a time
In a land far, far away
Where the forests were untamed
And animals had clans and kingdoms
There lived a young musk rat
Who loved his mother so much
And took good care of her
He would go hunting for fruits
And exotic vegetables from the forests
And brought them home to feed
The mother and himself

A particular day came
And he found a bed of vegetables
Growing by the side of a pool
He gathered them
And in all he brought home nine baskets
He was overjoyed that the vegetables would last
Longer than he expected
And so he handed it to his mother

But when the mother cooked the vegetables
The nine baskets shrunk to two baskets
When the musk rat discovered that he had only two baskets
Of warm vegetables he questioned
His mother and wasn’t satisfied with her answers
So he killed her out of his rage

Another day he went to the poolside
And lo, fresh vegetables blossomed
And he picked to his fill once again
Carrying the nine baskets home
He boiled the vegetables and it all shrunk again
To two baskets and it dawned on him
That vegetables are lighter when boiled
And that he had killed his mother in vain
And again out of anger
He killed himself too…

Anger and impatience are no man’s friend. We must learn to control them.

Categories
Africa folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

My Love Song

I love the smile on your lips,
The dreams you bring to me
I love the taste of your pudding,
And the smell of boiled walnuts
I love our evening walks
While we wave the sun bye
I love the feel of evening rain
And listening to your lullabic songs
I love the memory games we play
When we sit by the hissing chimney
I love the quiet mornings
And the chirping of happy birds
I love to see you laugh and dance
And when you watch me stare
I love the fact that I love you,
And that I’m grateful to have you!

Categories
culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Amuse: Singina likes my tales


“I remember your funny and lovely tales,” she yawned
“You complete my day with those poems of yours!”
At first I wasn’t sure of what I did right exactly,
But as a shepherd I find pleasure writing about life,
Telling of my travel, of my long days and how it ends
Now, tomorrow I shall tell you another tale
If seriously you love these tales I tell you,
Then you must pay attention, for it is not a lullaby
But some tales are ill: when I fought my fears;
To swim in the great river which flowed west,
And when I caught a forbidden crab from the river
I must tell you for you wished to hear of the Python
That took a traveler who was saved at the last point
Do not gasp, pay great attention, for some of my lyrics
Are not just songs, but words others say or teach me
So you must pay great attention to what I say, Singina

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Movie: The Ghost and the Darkness

As we observe our social distancing, I started seeing old favourite movies. I remember this historic film back in the days. Trust me, this is a thriller you will enjoy. Plot from Wikipedia.

****

Plot: In 1898, Sir Robert Beaumont, the primary financier of a railroad project in Tsavo, Kenya, is furious because the project is running behind schedule. He seeks out the expertise of Lt. Colonel John Henry Patterson, a British military engineer, to get the project back on track. Patterson travels from England to Tsavo, telling his wife, Helena, he will complete the project and be back in London for the birth of their son. He meets British supervisor Angus Starling, Kenyan foreman Samuel, and Doctor David Hawthorne. Hawthorne tells Patterson of a recent lion attack that has affected the project.

That night, Patterson kills an approaching lion with one shot, earning the respect of the workers and bringing the project back on schedule. However, not long afterwards, Mahina, the construction foreman, is dragged from his tent in the middle of the night. His half-eaten body is found the next morning. Patterson then attempts a second night-time lion hunt, but the following morning, another worker is found dead at the opposite end of the camp from Patterson’s position.

Patterson’s only comfort now is the letters he receives from his wife. Soon, while the workers are gathering wood and building fire pits around the tents, a lion attacks the camp in the middle of the day, killing another worker. While Patterson, Starling and Samuel are tracking it to one end of the camp, another lion leaps upon them from the roof of a building, killing Starling with a slash to the throat and injuring Patterson on the left arm. Despite the latter’s efforts to kill them, both lions escape. Samuel states that there has never been a pair of man-eaters; they have always been solitary hunters.

The workers, led by Abdullah, begin to turn on Patterson. Work on the bridge comes to a halt. Patterson requests soldiers from England to protect the workers, but is denied. During a visit to the camp, Beaumont tells Patterson that he will ruin his reputation if the bridge is not finished on time and that he will contact the famous hunter Charles Remington to help because Patterson has been unable to kill the animals.

Remington arrives with skilled Maasai warriors to help kill the lions. They dub the lions “the Ghost” and “the Darkness” because of their notorious methods of attack. The initial attempt fails when Patterson’s borrowed gun misfires. The warriors decide to leave, but Remington stays behind. He constructs a new hospital for sick and injured workers and tempts the lions to the abandoned building with animal parts and blood. When the lions seemingly fall for the trap, Remington and Patterson shoot at them; but they flee and attack the new hospital, killing many patients and Hawthorne.

Abdullah and the construction men leave, and only Patterson, Remington, and Samuel remain behind. Patterson and Remington locate the animals’ lair, discovering the bones of dozens of the lions’ victims. That night, Remington kills one of the pair by using Patterson and a baboon as bait. The three hunters spend the evening drinking and celebrating but the next morning, Patterson awakes to find that the remaining lion has slaughtered Remington as he and Samuel slept. After the two men cremate Remington, they burn the tall grass surrounding the camp, driving the surviving lion toward the camp and the ambush that they set there. The lion attacks them on the partially constructed bridge, and after a lengthy fight Patterson finally kills it. Abdullah and the construction workers return, and the bridge is completed on time. Patterson reunites with his wife and meets his son for the first time.

Characters:

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Stars Glitter for you

Stars glitter for you
When you look up the skies

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

Diaries of a Village boy: The Leopard spirit 7

Papa said I had to be strong to attend the next Tales by Moonlight night. He also promised I could play and hunt with other children if I got well fast. So I took my medication and exercise seriously. The moonlight night tales come once in a fortnight, sometimes it may be delayed especially during the rainy and farming season. It was every child’s wish to listen to those ancient tales sitting outside, under a tree and the feel of fresh air on their bare skin. The old women who told the tales were called mama and sometimes brought fresh coconut juice and pieces of dried bush meat for everyone. The moonlight nights were secret rendezvous for young lovers. In fact, this was the major reason many teens looked forward to the event. Before the tales are told, some older children organise quizzes, talkshows, debates and games like wrestling, hides and seek and nchokotoro, which was girls favourite game. The boys will gather, not to play but to cheer their crush. I can’t remember exactly what moral I learned in the past tales but I was determined not to miss the next.

But who knew what may happen to me next? All the dibia, Papa brought had failed to cage the spirit and each time I came under an attack I was left at the mercy of other people. So I couldn’t control it. Each day, I grew afraid of myself and wished I could live my life as a normal boy. Who says you are not normal? I felt a voice question. There were strange voices in my head. Mild, sometimes harsh but never sinister. I could connect to it somehow, but not for long. This was a mystery unknown even to Papa and he was not happy seeing his son suffer for nothing. Maybe I could find out what I could achieve with this power. Just maybe, only that a Leopard is not faint hearted like myself. I shrugged at the thought of comparing myself to Leopards. In character and thought, I was just the opposite of it.

My friends came that afternoon to check on me. I smiled at their goofy locally made fishing suits. Odo had made one for himself from a fishing net. He wore it to my room and was narrating how the villagers admired and watched him as he walked through the clan. I knew he was bragging, I saw nothing special in his new fishing net suit. The boys brought some Udala and mango. Ah! I knew my friends were not privileged like myself to attend school but I would never trade them for anything!

“Thanks guys!”

“Have you heard that the strange crocodile has resurfaced and is even digging again?” Obi asked, cutting my greeting off.

“That’s old news. The animal has turned our clean stream water into mud, we can’t even use the stream anymore.” Odo replied.

“Really?” I asked. “I thought it was captured when I was away?”

“No nah. The hunters caught a beaver. A beaver is not a crocodile.” Chimdi answered. She was the only girl friend in our midst. She seldom spoke and will always be the first to laugh when the boys come to mischief.

“Can you cook or bath with mud?” Odo ignored her.

“Well, the Igwe has summoned a hunting party at his palace. I knew because my father is a volunteer for the hunt.” Ekeledi added. He was handsome. But he was a stammerer and pronounced each word after striking his foot on the floor. He got angry easily and will hit anyone with any available object…

To be continued…

Categories
folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Beauty

Beauty is the ladybird
Waking in the midst of dew
To enjoy a quiet and lonely walk

Categories
Africa culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Self Reflection 12: Patience

The law of sowing and reaping may take time to manifest sometimes, but it will surely come to pass.

Categories
folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Muse: Meet me

Meet me at the tunnels end, there I’ll wait…

Categories
culture/tradition education folklore Nature Pastoral Series

Muse: I choose you

I’ll choose you any day; today and tomorrow

Categories
culture/tradition lifestyle Nature Pastoral Series

Self Reflection 4: Gratitude

Gratitude is an attitude that creates doors in walls and hearts.

Categories
lifestyle Nature Pastoral Poetry

Muse: My friend

You my friend is wild,
Yet your acquaintance is mild

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education folklore lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Images: Growing Up

These images show children having fun in the African countryside.

I can relate to most if not all…

Categories
Africa culture/tradition

African Proverbs 15

A tree is straightened while it is still young.

Proverb from Burundi

Categories
Africa Nature Pastoral

Image: Two African girls

Here is an image of two beautiful African girls. In Africa life is simple. This two girls posed for a picture, one smiling and the other hands on her head. What do you make of this image?

Categories
Poetry

There is more to life by Miracle Kelechi

I stumbled on this and think it is worth sharing. Thank you Miracle Kelechi for the reminder that there is more to life than worries.

Categories
Nature Pastoral

A haiku of the night 2

Soft wool, fluffy pillow, starry night
Three fellows bidding a shepherd sleep
Crickets sing from cracks in the wall

Categories
Africa culture/tradition education Love and Christianity

Love

Every child deserves to be loved. Children can be at their best selves when loved and would reciprocate this act while growing. So if love is lacking in the society, it may be that people failed in their first duty to love. A man who lacks love was once a child who knew no love! A child will become a lover because he was loved. Love allows personal growth and self discovery. Let’s ponder over this.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture

African Proverbs 14

Consider this proverb from Ethiopia; The mouse is silent while laboring, but when the baby is conceived, she cries.

Categories
Africa Nature

African Wildlife: Bongo

Bongos might be the largest antelope in Africa, but they are very timid. They scare easily and will run away and hide when frightened.

Categories
Africa

Friendship

There’s always a companion for everyone. There’s someone to confide in and share issues of life with.

Friendship is characterized by love, sympathy, kindness, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, altruism, mutual understanding, compassion, trust and ability to be oneself and to express one’s feelings.Even Africa’s wild agree that everybody needs a companion, a friend. Do you agree? ☺️

Categories
Africa

African Proverbs 13

The moon and the stars are not above us, the Earth is on the other side of our feet.

-Moroccan proverb

Categories
Africa

Diary of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit 2

It was evening when I reached Mazi Kenem’s house. Father had asked me to return a basket borrowed from the old man during the new yam festival. It was an old basket, most of the raffia used to weave it was damaged.

The evening breeze and cloudy skies painted a vague but hopeful imagery in my imagination. Birds flew in echelon. Their cries sounding across the horizon. I wished I could be like the birds, flying from troubles and people who create them to lands far, far away. I shrugged at the thought of leaving town. What if the Leopard spirit followed me to wherever I run to and there was no Dibia to pacify and cage it? I sighed.

Mazi Kenem was preparing to leave when I arrived. He had tattered white hair all over his face and held a walking stick as if it was his third leg. His hands shook with age and one eye lid sagged.

“Mazi, ndeewo sir,” I hailed him.

“Ndeewo, my child. I can see your father finally agreed to return my basket after so many months!” He gave a short laugh which made his moustache look like twigs sitting on his upper lip.

“He sends his greeting and gratitude as well.” I smiled and handed the basket to him.

“Come, my son.” He held my arm as I turned to leave. His grip was strong and for once I felt something, something extraordinary taking over me. It seemed I had blood pumping through my veins. My nerves tightened and I perceived a presence of something I’m yet to decipher. “Take it easy,” he said. “I just want to talk. Come sit with me for a while”. He felt my pulse and the tightening nerves and strange feelings went away. He smiled again.

“Do you know about me, sir?” I asked.

“Sure, my son. Do you think your father will send you to return an old useless basket?” He smiled again. He brought out an old box and generously fed his nostrils with snuff, shaking his head to hit his mark home. Some minutes passed by and it seemed like hours to me. When he finally got hold of himself he narrated the mysteries I feared most and how I can even control and bid the Leopard spirit to do my wish. “You see, I was your grandfather’s best friend in this village. He was a great Dibia of our time and no one dared challenge him. Once a stranger from outside this village challenged him to a race and when the day for racing arrived, a heavy storm came. The stranger attempted to run in the storm and was struck by lightning. Your grandfather ran all the way through lightning and thunder, through seven hills and across seven rivers and eventually won. He killed a Leopard during a hunt and the spirit of the animal was invoked on him as is our tradition” Mazi Kenem was nodding as he told the story. His eyes were nearly closed.

“But why did he chose me?” I asked.

“No warrior with an animal spirit dies without transferring his powers to living relatives. Your grandfather would have hidden this power or transferred it to someone not related to him but it can only be given to a blood relative. If he died with the power it will turn to a curse to his generation. He could have given it to your father but he chose you and there must be a reason! He was a great medecine man, he could conjure and feast with spirits of the dead. People rumored he could flood the village with rain and can make rain fall for a week! You might not know this but you bear a power, greater than a kings! But my child, this power comes with costs. You are very young, with time you will understand. There is no cause for panicking, if you follow my instructions nothing will harm your leopard or even you.”

I was scared to hear that if any harm came to my spirit animal then I will be harmed as well. I shrugged remembering the unexplainable pain I had one morning. My left arm was broken but when the physician who set bones came he discovered no physical wound…

To be continued

Categories
Africa

Diary of a Village Boy: The Leopard Spirit

When Dibia Ndem left our home that evening, I wanted to follow him outside my father’s compound. I wanted answers, I wanted to ask how he knew it was my Leopard that destroyed the Boar that almost wrecked my Uncle’s farm.

Yesterdays nightmare was the worst I ever had. I dreamt of a long brawl that resulted to the death of a Boar. In that dream the Leopard attacked a Boar which was busy digging up newly planted yam seedlings. In the morning my bones felt broken and I could barely move my legs and arms. When Nene served my breakfast of warm oil soup and boiled cocoyam, I asked her if she witnessed any event the previous night.

Dede, at a point I thought you had convulsion or epilepsy,” she replied. “You grunted like a buffalo, twisted here and there like a string in the wind and Mumi said you were possessed…” It was common for Nene to call me bighead, but on this occasion, she chose not to. Maybe she felt pity and my pain.

“Thank you Nene, that will be all.” I cut her short.

But eloquent Nene would not listen, she narrated how Dibia Ndem held my palms and squeezed crushed Alligator pepper mixed with chalk and other things into my eyes to keep me awake through the night. She walked away when I insisted that she stopped talking. She was too young to understand that I was possessed by Grandfather’s spirit animal. Dibia Ndem revealed that the initiation came long before I was born. I now bore the burden of another- a deceased grandfather who without consulting me, transferred his powers to me.

It was the talk of the clan, I overheard people discuss the wild cat that bothered the surrounding villages and each time they mention that it was a Leopard I shrug and hope that it was not my spirit animal. People around Nkilije had special powers to conjure and use spirits of animals for security, for power or even as a means of retaliation.

Father had brought several concoctions and charms for me and when Dibia Ndem advised him not to send me to college yet, he shook his head like a lizard stuck in a bottle. He has always bragged about his intelligent boy and how I will someday return to help build a school in my village. I never had considered finishing school talkless of building one in my village. That’s my father’s ideas, not mine. The person that got me interested in attending school was Fata, the young girl from my village who also wrote and passed the Entrance exam. She received her admission letter to City College, Mbammam even before me. She was fair with red cheeks that looks like roses in the noon sun. Mother was light hearted, she cried herself to sleep each time the spirit animal was on a mission and took possession of me…

To be continued

Categories
Africa culture/tradition Igbo culture

African Proverbs 8

What do you make of this Ovambo saying?

A Parasite can not live alone.

Categories
Africa

African Proverbs 7

The bush in which one hides has eyes

– Gusii Proverb.

Explanation: There’s actually no hiding place for anyone.

Categories
Africa

African Proverbs 3


Consider this proverb for the day: What has horns must not be hid in a sack.

– Zulu (South African) Proverb

Explanation: Something’s are not meant to said or done in the public. This is an African version of the English saying “Don’t wash dirty linen outside”.

Categories
Africa

African Myths 4

It’s a good and rainy evening.

Welcome, again to another episode of African Myths. I will take you through some of the craziest things you might have read today. Have fun.

As a growing kid we were told not to walk behind our elderly ones. If you do, you will see evil spirits and they will kidnap you! 🙄

If you are the type that likes hanging out with mirrors, hmm this is for you. Don’t look at the mirror in the night, because if you do, you will see your spirit and die. 😭

Do you know the mortar? It’s a wooden kitchen tool used to hold food meant to be grinded. Now if you sit on it you will never grow tall. The mortar was my favorite kitchen seat when I was little, I am tall now though. 😏

Aha! Have you heard that going to bed on an empty stomach will attract an evil spirit with gongs? Maybe the rumbling hungry stomach was the sound they thought came from their evil spirit. I will pass. 😌

Don’t spit on the floor if you don’t want your tongue to go perpetually dry! Wait, everyone is guilty of this but no one ever seems to lack moisture in there. 🤔

It is believed that when sudden quietness descends in a noisy place that a ghost just crossed. 😐

What about dwarfs? They are always rich, everyone of them and if you dare laugh at them you will become one of them. 😮

It’s believed that when it’s raining and shining also, that a wild animal just gave birth. Ridiculous right? 😳

The last for the night talks about keeping witches and ghosts out of your house by blocking the entrance with a broom. I may see some sense knowing that witches ride on brooms. 😬

Good night everyone!

Categories
Africa Igbo culture

African Myths 2

I biala. That’s Igbo for ‘you are welcome.’ Tonight I will be updating my post on African myths. So sit tight and read some of Africa’s do’s and don’ts!

Have you heard that you shouldn’t call a 🐍 by name during night time? Well, we were told that if you do, a 🐍 will visit you. I guess this was a way to scare children from playing in the night. Should you want to talk about errr… snakes during night time, use ropes and strings as similes instead.

It is believed that when your eyes or palms are itchy, something good was on the way! Wouldn’t it be nice if itchy palms equate to good luck? Just saying.

This one really gets to me. Maybe you will even agree with me. If you hear your name and answer without seeing the caller, you just answered a ghost call! Honestly, some part of me still thinks that this is true.

There’s this constant reminder then, that if you walk over a pregnant woman’s leg, she will give birth to a child that looks like you. If you are pregnant, you shouldn’t let me walk over your leg, unless you want your child to have a big head!

Now hear this: if you swallow the †Udala seed, you will have yourself to blame for a great tree will sprout through your head! When I eat fruits, I mistakenly swallow their seeds, including this Udala. Nothing ever grew out of my head except my hair!

And here I shall draw the curtain for the day. Let’s do more next time. Good night.

Udala is a tropical fruit tree that grows in West Africa. I am not sure what it is called in English.

Categories
education Uncategorized

Making most of Love 1

Singles and doubles, you can recall how it felt, loving someone especially when it was reciprocated. I always wanted to share a thought on creating happiness for loved ones. Here it goes.

Your spouse should be the first point of joy and happiness. Celebrate each day you spend with him/her. Always tell them how happy you are to have them, how you miss them (when you are not together) and how you love them. One man puts it this way, “don’t be too busy to enjoy the people God put in your life“. Food with no spice has no taste, same with Life with no Love.

So how do we make most of our time in love?

Truth is, no one can really offer a true guide. There’s no class, therapy or style that can completely teach us how to love. We’re naturally created to love. Our instincts is our first love compass. For what may work for Kim may not work for Kin and if you try braiding my hair while we chat, I may fall both in love and asleep. But I’ll share my idea.

I’ve tried this with close friends and it worked. Try wooing him/her all over in some other language (and it is not necessary that you speak the language. Google speaks many languages! Ahurum gi nanya, what? What I meant to say is I love you so much that I can’t even express myself in English!) Pay attention. Love should be dynamic, evolving with times. Many people react favorably to surprises. So try sending love notes in other languages. Who knows, it may spice up your love life.

You know Hakuna Matata, right? It means don’t worry. Relax sometimes, don’t always take life seriously. Even great things we take seriously maybe nothing on a closer look. Expel some steam and be a child. Yes play. Play with your loved ones, till you can laugh no more. BTW playing is not meant for kids alone.

Hopefully, I’ll drop some African love lines in subsequent posts.

It’s Sunday morning and I’ll be off to prepare for church. Have a lovely Sunday! See you all later.

Categories
Uncategorized

Introducing the African Folklore

Folklore are tales, legends, superstitions of a particular ethnic population. In Igbo and other African societies, story telling is unique, such that it is a passage to transmit the culture and tradition from one generation to another. These tales generally convey the history, messages and old knowledge. They are meant to teach morals and virtues to younger people. I have been privileged to remember some tales. I was very close to the older folk in the community. I love the rural life and always traveled with my aunt during school holidays to my hometown to stay with my Grandma. On one occasion, I recall traveling with my aunt and in the hurry forgot all my shorts save from the one I traveled on. As my Grandma had no boy and so couldn’t provide shorts I was made to wear skirts. It amuses me when I remember that; running around with other kids in my red skirt! I was very little and prefered the skirt to going naked. They still call me Mr Piper, after the famous Scottish wrestler and we all laugh over it.

Most times, tales are told in the evening, after dinner and when everyone was back from work. In extended and nuclear families, tales are normally told near a charcoal fire outside, preferably under the shed of a tree, on a moon light night. If the tale was to be heard by all, then it will be near the village square. The story teller mostly will be an elderly person. We the younger ones had tried our hands in story telling. I guess this was the origin of my interest in story telling.

Learn Igbo language here.

Tortoise is the primary actor or villain in Igbo tales. He is portrayed as a shrewd person who cunningly gets what he wants and sometimes fails. According to my Grandma and my aunt, Alibo is the name of the Tortoise wife. I can’t remember the sons’ name but it will not matter, he can always bear the son of the Tortoise. There are other notable characters in African folk; the dog, snake, boar, elephant, lion, crocodile, cricket, leopard and the rest. Mind you, the names one ethnic group give their characters may differ from another. I hope you enjoy the tales.

Categories
Poetry

Bamboo house

You have given us shelter and warmth, 

You have given us memories 

And reasons to smile… 
*

When sons of men laughed at your appearance then

Those wild boys threw stones and the earth pots broke, 

We hid in you at first afraid but later mocked their fruitless fight, 

But you, you stood bold and proud, letting the stones and words hit you

Sheltering us from the harm which men created in their caste, 

And returning nothing to them, nothing even one brick

And we can say it loud and clear; you taught us well! 

Now we have learnt humility, the need of not being vengeful 

We have learnt the need to be contented, to be satisfied with what we are

*

You stood proud even at the hungriest rainstorm

You stood tall when the sun rays bite the earth

We are proud of you, dear citadel

And now we see why we are grateful, why we must appreciate you! 

Image by Favor Chijindu Iroegbu

Categories
Poetry

Sunrise up the Forestlands 

Categories
Uncategorized

African Tradition: Calling upon the African rain storm

‘The land is hungry, so are my words…
Let’s make it rain… Let’s flood the dry earth and let the ink flow again!’

Now I seek to hear the sound of the rain fall
Yes let it rumble through the clouds
Like the stomach of a child about to purge
The vegetations here attest to the growing might
The stars are gone, gone out of the human sight
But this strange wind is not ordinary, it is the rain!

And when it rain, let it flood the drought lands
Let it fill everybodies pots, drums and calabashes
Let it water every sick vegetable all over the globe
Let it feed the cattle and wildlife everywhere on Earth
Let it fall and refresh the dying world
And let some rain dampen the ground on which we walk
In the morning we shall see a new seed sprout!

The tent doors shake with the coming wind
Here comes the might of the heavy rain herself
She twist and turns, hovers and manoevres, up and down
The great emissary of this rain; the wind plays about

Let me feel the smooth airs that come with it
Let me feel the wingless surge of the breeze
Let me feel the sweet whisper and kiss of mother Nature
Let the rooftop play me a fanciful drum of many beats
As my eyes close quietly, let a heavy rain fall!

Now I make the rain fall, wait and listen to it!

Commentary.

In Africa and some other parts of the globe, men are known to make rain fall. It is a craft which some have used for selfish reasons or for the general good of the clan.

This is purely imagined piece.

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Uncategorized

The Village chief

There was a chief in the wild plains,
A warrior and a leader of the clan
He fought in the war of the White men
And returned a warrior of other lands

” Igwe! Igwe o!! Igwe i ga adigide!”*
The men of the clan always hailed him
For he desired peoples praise than honor
And that was only when he could smile
He walked on the head of the downtrodden
Rode on carts carried by human muscle
And thinks himself a god or a demon
For he drew on his face a traditional tattoo,
Painting a strange image from the Cashew.
The King feared him, the whole clan too
He walked about, other men’s wives to woo
The choicest of lands and fields he took

He recruited for himself thugs and local militia
To do his bidding and mask his evil deeds
Bearing some powers, he molested the Kings men
He had a strange stick which spewed fire
Yes- the firestick can throw a hefty man to his back
And tear away chunks of his body, piercing even the toughest
So no man dared stand on his way, no one could confront him

And one day he got the smartest insult of his life
He had forcefully snatched a parcel of land belonging to another
Feeling obsessively invincible, he and his hench men
In the evening, a crowd of young men had gathered
Before his small palace, disturbing his peace with noise
And making his hench men tremble with confusion
In no time the hench men had disappeared
Leaving the old man with his fire stick
He was angry that the crowd dared treat him as such
Also he was scared for he knew he must be wise now,
His life was hanging on a stone balance

Now he stood glaring at the shouting mob
With eyes ferociously burning like sulphur,
Angry that the crowd dared challenge him
Trying to curse the crowd with gestures…
When a shoe hit him on the face, sparking him off
In a rage of confusion, pain and ire…
He set a foot aside, raised his shot gun
And fired into the clouds, as the crowd dispersed
Snotting like a wounded wild pig, he strod back
Into his palace gates, cursing the runaway crowd
And never again will he underestimate the peoples will

Commentary.
Igwe, Igwei o, i gadigide: Long live the ruler!

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Africa’s poetale

Africa is a budding cocoon
A shy, fragile and cute butterfly
With shaky wings meant to fly
Living, in a desperate world

Africa is the gigantic tree
That grows by the side of the river
Shielding the lengths of the forests
And feeding the lifes around it

Africa is a mountain highly peaked
With white snows melting gracefully
And herds of Wildebeest grazing
Quietly down the grassy green plains

Africa is a mild song
That plays when the sunshine
At the beach down, down the road
With brown and white sand mixed

Africa is a dream
Waiting to happen
Hope of the generation
A scenic beauty of land and nature

Africa is my home
The hills of serene Ovim*
And the wild catfishes
That move about kingly and fearless

Africa is love
Community and family
Desires and joyful times
And the moonlight tales of the town

The Victoria Waterfalls is Africa
…The Veldt, the Savannah
…The Lake Chad and the River Niger
…The Lions and the Cheetah
…The Crocodiles and the Hippo
…The Elephants and the Rhino
…The Baobab and the Iroko
…The Zulu tribe and Igbo
…The Guinea and the Sahara
…The Oil Palm and the Shea
…The Orange and Nile River
…The Ashante and the Boer
…The Yankari reserve and the Serengeti
…The bushmens’ home and the Kalahari
…The amazing wine called mqobothi
…The Zebra and the Ostrich

Africa plays my fancy
And in such sweetness
I love my motherland

Commentary:
Ovim is in Nigeria and the poet hails from there.

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Masquerades

Strings of flax fall from your stress
Hides carved from animal skin
And strange cloth embellish you

You swerve around like a drunk
Scaring children and younger folk
Caring for nothing but for asunder
The masks on you remind of the hyena
Your whip draggin behind you as you walk
As you seek peoples’ doors to knock
The dogs are scared of your appearance
For they cant stop your uninvited attendance
At homes, mothers yell for their kids
But you only care for your needs

Learn Igbo language here.

Now palm beer is brought before you
And some lobes of finest of kola nut
For appeasing of the spirits which is come
Unto men from the ancient hills and caves
Let the kettle see the pot as a friend
And not as a foe for they two are black
Let the Eagle perch and the Kite as well
None should forbid the other from perching
Now have your fill of your beer
For your next bus stop
The wine might not be as good as this

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Breaking the Igbo Kola Nut

God our tryst maker
Our lover and He who knows all
Chineke m, ke bi nigwe!
Maker of the Universe
He whom fetches water with a basket
To disgrace the bucket
He who whips us with one hand
And consoles us with the other
He who stills a raging sea
He who made the Kola nut
The King of all foods!
We come to You, our maker
We break the Kola nut
Before You, maker of the Kola
The food that never fills the stomach
But it is the King of all food!
We have the Cassava and the Yam
But the Kola is the King of all food
It is not eaten with Palm oil
It is not pounded on mortar
Nor stewed in a dish of porridge
It is not meshed in meat or fish
It stands alone, all alone
Like the Iroko on the forest!
It is not a food for children
But this food is for men!
Our farms shall be fruitful
Our children more fruitful
Our streams shall have fish
And our forests shall have vegetables
The heat of the sun wont scorch us to death
The pain of pregnant women
Shall become joy in the morning
The clouds shall water our gardens
We shall eat of our sweat
Make us contented with what we have
You have given us the yam
You have also given us the knife to cut it

Learn Igbo language here.

Let the moon shine when she must
Let the Sun shine when she must
Let the wind bring us good tidings
And let us see many smiles
On the faces of all in the hamlet
Let the Eagle perch
Let also the Kite perch
Any that forbids the other from perching
Let his wings break!
If one seek downfall for us
Let such befall those people
Let not our enemies hostile light burn us
We shall have our children as the Hebrew women
Our children shall have their own
And our children’s children
We break the Kola!
Iri di nwata na okenye nma!

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Commentary.
I have written this poem some time ago. I had find it necessary to revise and edit some lines of the piece, seeing that tradition is something dynamic. I seek to share a bit of my African culture. The Igbo is a South Eastern Nigerian tribe, an enterprising nation situated on the Niger Delta of the present day Nigeria. As a growing kid some
decades ago I have witnessed Igbo Kola breaking
traditions- a series of cultural ritual performed more like prayers. It’s normally used to welcome visitors especially on festivities.

Notes.
line 3: Chineke m, ke bi nigwe: Igbo language for My God who lives in Heaven.
line 55: iri di nwata na okenye nma! Igbo for food good for both the young and elderly
Study Questions.
1. What are the figures of speech present in the poem?
2. Discuss the imagery.
3. Would you classify this as a traditional poem? Why?

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