A silent night from the inside
A noisy one out in the wild
Nighttime for cricket buzzing
Lullaby against a sleepy wind
A silent night from the inside
A noisy one out in the wild
Nighttime for cricket buzzing
Lullaby against a sleepy wind
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
I champion good leadership, love, peace, reconciliation, and forgiveness. That’s why so much of my stories and writing emphasis those virtues. I like to borrow a leaf from Mandela, who, after encountering great tribulation, did not adapt to his prosecutor’s ways.
The short story below was copied from a friend’s Facebook timeline. I decided to share it after applying a minor edit.
Our journey is short, indeed…
A young lady sat on public transport. A grumpy old lady came and sat by her side as she bumped into her with her numerous bags. The person sitting on the other side of her got upset and asked the young lady why she did not speak up and say something.
The young lady responded with a smile: “It is not necessary to be rude or argue over something so insignificant; the journey together is so short. I will get off at the next stop.”
The response deserves to be written in golden letters in our daily behaviour and everywhere: It is not necessary to argue over something so insignificant; our journey together is short.
If each of us could realise that our passage down here has such a short duration, to darken it with quarrels, futile arguments, not forgiving others, ingratitude, and bad attitudes would be a waste of time and energy.
Did someone break your heart? Be calm; the journey is short. Did someone betray, bully, cheat, or humiliate you? Be quiet, forgive; the journey is short.
Whatever penalty anyone serves us, let’s remember that our journey together is so short. Let us, therefore, be filled with gratitude and sweetness. Sweetness is a virtue never likened to bad character nor cowardice, but better compared to greatness.
Our journey together down here is short and cannot be reversed. No one knows the duration of his trip. No one knows if he will have to alight at the next stop.
Have a great week ahead!
Sometimes things change, but we all begin and end with the family.
Never allow hate in your family because hate can build up in a child’s heart until it swallows them whole and leaves them empty inside.
Without forgiveness, love is not true
Letting go of the past is one of the hardest things to do in life. Forgiving people for their wrongdoings are even more challenging.
But what makes forgiveness such a fundamental virtue? For any man to go far in life, he has to inculcate the habit of forgiving. Indeed, people may cause unbearable suffering or pain to others but letting things go speeds up quick healing. The life history of Mandela is an excellent example. Bitterness prevails when there is no forgiveness. Grievance itself is a joy-killer; it seizes happiness whenever one gets to meet the offender and contributes to health problems!
Disappointment and grieving are part of life. Learning to live with them helps. One delightful thing about forgiveness is that it frees the soul. If you ever found yourself with an unforgiving attitude, it’s time to change because nothing lasts forever.
If you try to make people forgive you, and they won’t. Let go, forgive yourself, and move on.
Let go of everything today. It’s a sign of maturity and divinity. The fruits of forgiveness are exceedingly sweet.
Is it not said that sweet fragrances cling to the palms of those who distribute roses? Be Kind.
We dream of stars without, while a galaxy glitter within.
Love is a tiny seed that grows silently and evolves into a tree. It’s green leaves, and strong branches give succor to all that run to its shelter. It’s kind and compassionate.
Love knows no religion or tribe. It does not shame or get jealous. It dreams and, like birds, soar above all. It is humility and unselfishness – an umbrella that accepts all races and creeds.
Love brings hope and positivity. It may be the little green butterfly flying about the treetop. Her soft wings gladden the soul and bring happiness to the beholder. With the wind, it floats as the fragile cottonseed to faraway places.
Love tolerates and corrects; true love is unconditional and lives forever. It creates and reproduces. It respects and adores, and sees the best in everything. Love builds bridges and colors the world in peace.
Love is a story of perseverance and resiliency. It is a sunset over the African countryside, the beginning and the end of the day.
All life is capable of love. When one looks within, that’s the first call of love.
Memories fade, distanced more
Yet apart we wade, off
Tears are part of the roles
And distrust has become one too
Your words still cut through
I’m assured that love went wrong
I was rock but you made me gold
So I offer this little flower token
In appreciation to your absentia love
I always stand beautiful
Love made me wonderful
Good evening. Today I will share with you THREE COLOURS OF L♡VE poem.
In one’s lifetime one may experience only three kinds of love:
1. You love at a young age and let everything go down the drain because of stupid things
2. You fall in love and along the journey you get hurt, lied to and damaged
3. You fall in love without noticing, and you end up rising in it because of your joy and happiness
I hope you will enjoy reading the poem, if you experience any challenges as you are reading, I’m here to help out.
Enjoy the rest of your evening.
Thank You – Njabulo N.
You fall in love at a tender age,
Hoping to be loved much better tomorrow,
More than you were loved today and yesterday.
That blinds your eyes and mind,
Not noticing that you are growing apart,
Then you decide to call it quit over silly things.
Look at you now with so much regrets,
Written all over your skin and face,
Tears and heartbreak of a fragile human being.
You think that was not love.
It was love, a true one,
For what you know love to be.
It was not that deep like an ocean,
You were still young,
You were blinded by fairy tales and fantasies,
That happened in your head,
As you watched love performances.
Colour of love
You are not as hard as I had imagined you to be.
You fell in love,
You made yourself vulnerable and you got hurt,
I’m pretty sure you learnt your lesson,
You are now strong as a tortoise shell.
Fact that you passed all this,
Great pain, damage, lies and betrayal.
You have grown,
You know what you love about love,
You know what you don’t love about love.
Since you can’t read people’s mind,
You are now cautious, careful, closed and considerate,
Because you own a fragile loving heart.
This love taught you so many things,
Look at yourself,
You now know what you want and what you don’t.
The third colour of love,
Beware of the love that comes blindly,
Without any warming as it creeps on you silently.
This is the love that always get you,
You can paint the walls red,
But all that will be washed out.
Now you started to care about that person,
Without even trying to let it slide.
You don’t allow yourself to get lost in their eyes daily,
That is when you see beauty in their imperfections,
Not hiding even a single thing from them.
Look, you even want to get married to them,
Have a family together,
You thank the universe for them,
You just love them,
Without hiding your emotions
A greater percentage of the population in Northern Nigeria speak Hausa language. I lived in Northern Nigeria for roughly a year. Looking back to those months, I will say it was eye-opening and fun. I learned some of the culture and traditions. I met great people and made friends who were ever willing and available to teach me the lingua franca. I was impressed with the language. In fact, my interest in it had made me to enjoy discussions when soft spoken lovers interact with it. When lovers address each other in Hausa it sounds romantic to me. It’s more like French when compared to other European languages (I do consider French the most romantic language).
This poem is to the memory of great friendships, particularly the ones I left behind in Northern Nigeria. Part of my soul still lives there.
Love, tolerance and respect is all we need to drive positive change in Nigeria and Africa.
I’m happy to express this with pen
Ink fade but memories live it again
I believe in love and its many hues
And that life is good when love is true
You were once a dream to me
A dream that made me a beauty
Now you are like fresh rose petals
Flourishing out the morning garden
When I watch you turn and dance
Your glittering sweat trickle down
Like sparkling wine upon glass
Loving you was a sweet experience
So here’s to celebrate this love
Ina son ki! And I meant I love you!
And also celebrate the moments
And joy you brought to my soul
*Ina son ki: Hausa language for I love you
‘Excuse me,’ said he, ‘but that’s a question I never like to hear asked. What does it matter where a man is from? Is it fair to judge a man by his post-office address? Why, I’ve seen Kentuckians who hated whisky, Virginians who weren’t descended from Pocahontas, Indians who hadn’t written a novel, Mexicans who didn’t wear velvet trousers with silver dollars sewed along the seams, funny Englishmen, spendthrift Yankees, cold-blooded Southerners, narrow-minded Westerners, and New Yorkers who were too busy to stop for an hour on the street to watch a one-armed grocer’s clerk do up cranberries in paper bags. Let a man be a man and don’t handicap him with the label of any section.’
‘Pardon me,’ I said, ‘but my curiosity was not altogether an idle one. I know the South, and when the band plays “Dixie” I like to observe. I have formed the belief that the man who applauds that air with special violence and ostensible sectional loyalty is invariably a native of either Secaucus, N.J., or the district between Murray Hill Lyceum and the Harlem River, this city. I was about to put my opinion to the test by inquiring of this gentleman when you interrupted with your own – larger theory, I must confess.’
And now the dark-haired young man spoke to me, and it became evident that his mind also moved along its own set of grooves.
‘I should like to be a periwinkle,’ said he, mysteriously, ‘on the top of a valley, and sing too-ralloo-ralloo.’
This was clearly too obscure, so I turned again to Coglan.
‘I’ve been around the world twelve times,’ said he. ‘I know an Esquimau in Upernavik who sends to Cincinnati for his neckties, and I saw a goat-herder in Uruguay who won a prize in a Battle Creek breakfast-food puzzle competition. I pay rent on a room in Cairo, Egypt, and another in Yokohama all the year round. I’ve got slippers waiting for me in a tea-house in Shanghai, and I don’t have to tell ’em how to cook my eggs in Rio de Janeiro or Seattle. It’s a mighty little old world. What’s the use of bragging about being from the North, or the South, or the old manor-house in the dale, or Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, or Pike’s Peak, or Fairfax County, Va., or Hooligan’s Flats or any place? It’ll be a better world when we quit being fools about some mildewed town or ten acres of swampland just because we happened to be born there.’
‘You seem to be a genuine cosmopolite,’ I said admiringly. ‘But it also seems that you would decry patriotism.’
‘A relic of the stone age,’ declared Coglan warmly. ‘We are all brothers – Chinamen, Englishmen, Zulus, Patagonians, and the people in the bend of the Kaw River. Some day all this petty pride in one’s city or state or section or country will be wiped out, and we’ll all be citizens of the world, as we ought to be.’
‘But while you are wandering in foreign lands,’ I persisted, ‘do not your thoughts revert to some spot – some dear and – ‘
‘Nary a spot,’ interrupted E. R. Coglan flippantly. ‘The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, slightly flattened at the poles, and known as the Earth, is my abode. I’ve met a good many object-bound citizens of this country abroad. I’ve seen men from
Chicago sit in a gondola in Venice on a moonlight night and brag about their drainage canal. I’ve seen a Southerner on being introduced to the King of England hand that monarch, without batting his eyes, the information that his grandaunt on his mother’s side
was related by marriage to the Perkinses, of Charleston. I knew a New Yorker who was kidnapped for ransom by some Afghanistan bandits. His people sent over the money and he came back to Kabul with the agent. “Afghanistan?” the natives said to him
through an interpreter. “Well, not so slow, do you think?” “Oh, I don’t know,” says he, and he begins to tell them about a cab-driver at Sixth Avenue and Broadway. Those ideas don’t suit me. I’m not tied down to anything that isn’t 8,000 miles in diameter. Just put me down as E. Rushmore Coglan, citizen of the terrestrial sphere.’
My cosmopolite made a large adieu and left me, for he thought that he saw someone through the chatter and smoke whom he knew. So I was left with the would-be periwinkle, who was reduced to Würzburger without further ability to voice his aspirations to perch, melodious, upon the summit of a valley.
I sat reflecting upon my evident cosmopolite and wondering how the poet had managed to miss him. He was my discovery and I believed in him. How was it? ‘The men that breed from them they traffic up and down, but cling to their cities’ hem as a child to the mother’s gown.’
In memory of September 11 attacks on America.
Power in words
This is a touching story. When I read it I felt very bad. It’s not imagined.
In South Africa, an 11 year old child committed suicide on his mother’s birthday as a birthday gift to his mother.
He left a letter saying, “On today’s special day, I want you to be the happiest ever. Everyday you used to say that happiness left your life the day I was born. You told me dad left because of me. So today, I want to change things. I want you to be very happy and live as if I never existed. You told me you’d never look at me with love but I always loved you and admire you as the best mom on earth. I hope one day you will think of me, I hope in heaven you will finally hold me and kiss me. The best gift I could give you is leaving your life as you’ve always told me you wished I was never born. I love you mom. Happy birthday”.
Please parents be careful of what you say to your kids. Words do cut so deep.
Of all the magic in the world, none is more powerful than love.
…And that’s if we accept that any other thing qualify as magic.
Love is a driving force. It can change things; perceptions and imaginations. Great achievements are accomplished through it. Great writers wrote about it. It’s something beautiful to love. Imagine what the world will look like when we love genuinely. Show love today.
Someone is an answer to your prayers as you are to others
Seasons: Things just don’t happen
One beautiful thing about life is: there are seasons for everything so things just don’t happen. Everything happens to serve different purposes. Even in nature there are seasons. There are times for flowers to blossom, time for the night and day and time to eat or rest. In West Africa we have the rainy season and dry season. Each season has a role to play and must fulfil it’s purpose.
Here is a story from ODM that talks about selflessness and compassion. The lessons in this story goes beyond self.
A man was out taking pictures of eagles on a Sunday afternoon in Bellevue, Nebraska in the United States when he witnessed a Sedan (car) containing 3 men which lost control while crossing rail road tracks. The vehicle is a fire hydrant (big container where water is stored to put out fire) and then landed upside down in an ice-cold pond. According to ABC News Omaha affiliate station, KETV the man said “The car just came right in front of me; they hit the fire hydrant and I don’t think they even touched the ground They were airborne”. The man heard the occupants screaming for help and immediately jumped into action. He panicked when he heard the voice of one of them say, “Get me out, it’s filling of water”. But he overcame his initial fear, took a dive into the freezing water and managed to pull one of the car door open. Immediately he did, water started gushing out of the car. The man who screamed for help started making his way out of the car. He pulled him and got him out. He pulled another man and there after pulled another man. Gradually, he got three men out of the overturned and submerged vehicle. The man who was later hailed as the hero for saving the lives of this three men, said he will always look back at the pictures he took that day and be thankful because his timing was right and that he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Everyone on earth is here for a purpose. No one is extra human or excess human being. Abhijit Naskar reasoned thus, “Without purpose, we are just good looking animals.” Life is a place of inter connectivity! You were created to be an answer to somebody’s prayer. You are someone’s bundle of joy and someone was made to be your bundle of joy!
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.
Birthdays are rare
They come once in a year
Unique Birthday: A set of Eights!
Ah, it’s today. 8th day of 8th month of the year 2020. I usually write poems or stories to celebrate but this year’s birthday is unique. So instead of a poem I’ll muse about the actual numbers that made my birthdate special. My birth certificate reads that I was born on 8.24 AM in the year 198*. Even the minutes are multiples of 8, haha! If I had to scribble out my birthdate it will read thus: 8.24 AM, 8/8/8*. One princess from the United Kingdom share exactly this day with me.
How do I feel?
‘So how does it feel to be a year older?’ a close friend had asked me over the phone. I knew it was a rhetorical question meant to reflect on what I’ve done with my time and self since the last birthday. Normally I would have said I feel nothing since the question focused on my self. Personal achievements are not a yardstick to measure overall success.
‘I feel special. I feel alive. I feel fulfilled and I hope for better things to come, not just for me but for every good person.’ To be honest this is what I feel, at least for these past few months. The year 2020 had been a tough one. It brought death, disease, drought, and man-made disaster. Poverty is still at large. Many lost loved ones. I lost a sister, an uncle and some relatives and friends. The lessons I picked broke the mirror called self. I started engaging in humanitarian work and volunteering online for charities, foundations and organizations. This threw me out of my introvert shell. I met great people who had become a strong network. The opportunities I sought before the pandemic came calling and I grabbed them with both hands. I’m glad to be helping other people with my talents, no matter how little. That’s what I count as real achievement.
So I won’t dwell or reflect on my personal success. If I do, I’ll say I achieved very little this past year.
What do you wish for? This is the big birthday question. No one can give an appropriate answer in one response. At the moment, it’s futile to wish for some things. Nevertheless, I’m just happy to see others happy and successful.
So I make this wish for myself today; for longlife to continue in service to my faith, my nation and humanity, for prosperity to help the impoverished, destitute and be the voice of the voiceless, and for success to inspire children and other youth around the world. Finally, I wish that the world may know tolerance, peace and love. I wish myself a happy birthday.
As a growing Sunday School kid I learned a lot about love. Love can be defined when we explore it’s qualities or characteristics. Yet love is complex in every angle you chose to view it from. It is a mix of emotions, behaviours, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person.
My dictionary offered some definitions about it:
What is love from a Poet’s view?
Poets have different opinions on love. Let’s hear what some has to say.
Lucky Johnson puts it beautifully thus: “Love is loving those that hate, visiting the lonely, catching those that fall, being selfless to the selfish, forgiving the unforgivable, helping the helpless, and travelling long for a short visit to someone in need of a hug.” Elseta Campbell says that love is selflessness. The courage to show care unconditionally. The ability to see the person first before seeing their faults. Love is maturity. Love is forgiveness and freedom from bitterness. Love encompasses the physical and tops in on the spiritual. Love is purity of heart. This is insightful. Kiid Kgothi has this to say, “Love is hurt and disappointments that always break your heart. Love is a dangerous thing that has the power to build a relationship and a lifetime of happiness together or it can make someone give up their life because their hearts never stopped bleeding”. For Sara Elizabeth, “love is a term used to describe the deep underlying affection that is always there regardless of how you feel on the surface. To be in love is to be in thrall with one another in a psychologically and yes sexually satisfying way. To fall in love over and over means that you mean so much to each other that you always come back around to that place where you are in thrall and experiencing the release of oxytocin that draws you into that person. To love is to nurture, grow and find contentment within the lives you share. Being in love is a cycle of thrall that diminishes and swells on the hormonic wave of nature and passion”. Maybe you will agree that Sara is being too scientific with her definition of love. Tebogo Mogashoa said that love is a mystery unsolved. For Saul Mendo, love is connection. Everyone is an individual but we need to come together, out of love. Tina Layne said “the indescribable and unfathomable dance of the spirit.”
Marachimso Ajuolachi Chimenka said that love is a feeling that occurs unnoticed. Eduardo Ibacache Rodriguez opined that love is the reason poetry exists at all. Siti Atie Atka says that love is a noun and verb. Masiye Theledi supports Siti in this view. For Ntombi Vutomi Monareng, love is putting someone’s needs before yours. Love is a doing word not a naming word, you can’t always say “I love you” without action. Lulama Mbonambi puts it thus: it is starting to feel like nothing than an idea which materializes into whatever I imagine it to be. Pity most of my imagination is influenced, but the beauty in it is the infinite possibility. Like everything else in life. Joe Hall has this to say about love: “If you can confine it accurately, it’s not love. If it can be manipulated, to conform to desires it’s not love. We’ve box love; categorized, villianized, sexualized, therorecallized, all purposes of love until the purest form of love is invisible humbly before us in innocence and humanity. Steve Rawlingson says, love is as real in a poet as it is in any other person, only the poet may describe it out a little better. For Chris Hiatt, love is just a word. It’s the feelings of those people close to you that the word invokes which defines our karma. Nikki Jauron says love is learning to turn your failures into flecks of gold. Michael Munroe shared his thought: I believe that for anyone, love is when you put something or someone else above yourself. Tamar Millernas said it depends on which poet. There are as many different kinds as there are poets. As for Hudson Roper, love is ambiguous, there are many different types of love e.g. The 4 or 5 Greek words for love.
Latoya Chinnery offered that love is something you can’t explain, because words are unable to define love. No words can give love enough justice that it requires. “Love stands firm in the face of adversity… It’s not something that revels and shine during the sunshine and hide during the rainfall.” For Santa Flaviapa, love is a feeling that is usually over-imagined and over-stressed. It contains so many elements of feelings and emotions that its most important ones are often overlooked, such as commitment, perseverance, caring and caring for, union of spirit and soul, longing and needing each other. Things like joy and happiness and desire may be present or not, but are not love. Honestly I loved this particular definition. The Dreamy Idealist said that, for poets, love is accessible to all form, all perspectives side by side, love is deep emotions, feelings, for someone. Poets imagine their love in a way that no one could ever see. Unity of soul and body do not describe love in its completeness, but probably love is that part which forgets everything in the world except the soul mate. Poets imagined their love and live their own way.
Josh Gold, (untitled)
Love is not that great
Love can love to hate
Love can hurt and cause tears
Love is an alcoholic and their beers
(With all fairness there are lots of good things about love, but I think people miss the fact that it’s more like desire than universal principal of goodness)
What is love to you?
Grandma’s Cooking Stove
Grandma was a good cook. I always enjoyed her meals as a little boy. School holidays was fun for me as I had to travel home to her. She contributed immensely to those happy times. (God rest her soul.)
Whenever she made her delicious soup I usually sit by her traditional stove. I watch raging fire lick the wood. The metal stove is constructed in such a manner that there are spaces to plug in firewood and charcoal. I remember the way she worked expertly on her stove. Thrusting wood in and out, knowing when to pause, when to add more ash or charcoal and so on.
Well this little reflection is not just about my Grandma’s cooking but the lessons I got while I observed the burning wood in her stove.
Five woody brothers
Once I closely observed Grandma’s cooking method. She placed many little sticks and five strong firewood on the stove. When she lighted them the flame grew hot, gradually. It wasn’t long when the flame became fiery. I noticed that the five wood pieces had a stronger flame and whenever Grandma took out one or two to adjust her stove, the flames died down.
While reflecting on this, it dawned on me that unity is a powerful force. When the wood burned together they produced a huge flame but take them apart they can barely give much heat. I took home this lesson on the power of unity. We won’t make much progress while we are disunited. Unity is a powerful force indeed.
You’ll never know… Just dream. Dream big.
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
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
When you believe in yourself anything is possible.
If you are lucky enough to find your passion, then how could giving up be an option? Giving up means accepting a lifetime of wondering what could have happened if you just believed in yourself enough to follow through. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, just keep going and don’t lose hope.
But you may not achieve much if you are not self confident. So let’s consider attributes of a self confident person.
Attributes of a self confident person
Smile: For me, smiles are facial dresses. People love and admire people who smile. Not the one that begins and ends with the mouth, the one that starts from the eyes. Genuine, loving smile attracts people, creates friendship and unlocks doors! Be a genuinely happy person and show it by smiling at people. Smiling makes one confident.
Humility: Humble people don’t lack self confidence! In fact it takes humility to have self confidence. When you learn to accommodate all class of people, you learn to serve others. That makes you grow dynamic and open minded. You also learn to be respectful and submissive to authorities.
Confidence: Confident people are attractive any time. Knowing who you are, pursuing your dreams, vision, passion and goals makes you a confident person worth investing in. When you find your passion you approach life with a positive mind set. You become energetic and believe in yourself. You have a sound self esteem and people are irresistibly drawn to you.
Friendliness: Being friendly is different from being desperate. When you go out, attend positive programmes, conferences, seminars, workshops, symposiums and serve in your local church or volunteer, you build a network and grow your confidence. So enjoy meeting people and getting to know them purely for friendship.
Generosity: Be generous to people. Be generous with your smile, love, talent, service, money, prayers, whatever you have that can bless lives. Generous people are like magnets, they never lack admirers. Compassion is a beautiful virtue. It builds self confidence.
Forgiveness: Forgive your past. Forgive all who disappointed you. Practice advance forgiveness, forgive people before they hurt you, because more people will offend you. If you find it difficult forgiving people, you will grow bitter and that kills self confidence when people stay away from you.
Intelligence: People like and admire intelligent people. Know when, how and where to talk. Know what is going on around you. Read about every topic. Know a little of everything. Intelligence builds self esteem.
Neatness: Dirtiness does no good. A disorganized and rough person lacks coordination to say the least! Take good care of yourself. Haircuts are essential. Tattoos and rings are not made for everyone. Appearing neat and presentable boosts self confidence. Because you don’t need to worry how you look or smell. Is it not said that cleanliness is next to godliness?
Dress sense: Wear something that fits you, not what is in vogue. Get a good tailor who can sew clothes that fits your body shape. Learn about your body shape and wear something that flatters your figure. Make-ups should be moderate. A good dress sense makes you sweet to look at and simply irresistible! Remember, the way you dress is the way you will be addressed.
Love yourself: You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself. Celebrate yourself and your uniqueness. Accept yourself the way you are, because you are simply the best. No one will be as unique as you. Don’t envy people because not everyone has what you have.
Godliness: Godly people carry golden virtues. Those virtues are in fact the summary of all attributes listed here. Honestly people find good godly people irresistible.
There’s a goldmine in you!
Take charge now. Start working on that talent. Bring your ideas to life and never stop believing in you. If not now, when? If not you, who?
The slender gilded rays
Of Winter sunshine,
Brightens up this room.
Where I sit writing.
Hitting glassy surfaces,
Feeling the warmth pleasantly,
Warming my arms and legs.
Your love my dearest,
Is just as these beams.
For your sweet tenderness has,
Lightened up my dullness,
And the warmth of your,
Gentleness has captivated me,
And melted the cold,coldness;
That was within me,
And I rejoice.
A Bitter Pill
What comes to your mind when you hear about Africa? Savages. Poverty. War ravaged. Disease. Uneducated? Let’s face it, Africa is what it is today because ‘the world’ contributed in keeping it so. We’re only poor by the world’s standard. This is a bitter pill.
Another Scramble for Africa?
The economic hustle and rivalry between the East and West is rooted in selfish interest and greedy conquest. Capitalism vs Communism. Colonialism. Imperialism. Gold-plated forms of modern slavery, with Africa almost at the middle of the tug of war. It’s unfolding to me that some nations are already on course for a second conquest of Africa. It’s easy to play on the gullible African mind. So we trust so easily. We corrupt easily too. The first recorded conquest began late 18th century, when European nations sat on a table to share Africa’s land, people and resources (Scramble for Africa). Not even an African was present to discuss his people’s future but many will play roles in keeping the roots of colonialism watered later. I’ll like to note that more nations has joined this hustle for Africa’s resources. Recently, African children and women in search of greener pastures travel abroad to work as laborers. Some end up in drug peddling and prostitution. Late 18th century saw the European slavers draw up agreements and maps that will enable them exploit Africa’s abundant resources. Now these countries in addition to new arrivals sabotage each other economically to achieve their aims. Every Greek gift; loan, grant and aid play a role in modern slavery. Foreign governments want African resources for themselves and this is not because they care for Africa. I follow trends concerning Africa. I see how Africans are treated abroad. Yet these countries are foremost in exploiting African people and resources. I’ve this to say to all modern slavers: Stay away from Africa.
Have you heard of the Kafala system? The concept is based on buying people to work in private homes abroad. I’ll tell you why I used buy. This idea originated from the Middle East and it’s backed by law. Normally a sponsor (family) pays local and foreign agents to recruit domestic workers (mostly females from Africa and Southern Asia) to work in their homes. On arrival most of these workers are converted to slaves. They are exploited and treated inhumanly by their sponsors.
Let’s look at what may qualify one as a modern slave: when physically abused for no reason, personal belongings like phones and travel documents seized, under fed, locked up in the house when others go out, raped and sexually abused, not allowed to sleep on a bed or couch, sometimes not paid as when due or at all, ignored when sick or just asked to take pain reliever for every kind of sickness, works from morning till night (with little or no rest) and not allowed to socialize. What will you call that? I made the list after my interaction with many victims of the Kafala slavery. Some who had the boldness to speak to me revealed that their mistresses value their dogs over them. Some countries have failed to make laws that protect the rights of domestic workers. This is shameful. Shame to anyone who treats another human as slave. We’re not free until every man is free. Now activists ask that Kafala be abolished. I’m in full support. Abolish Kafala now or make laws that will protect the rights of domestic workers. Abolish all forms of modern slavery now!
Modern slavery goes beyond this flawed Kafala system. Consider rich nations that control the resources of another. That’s modern slavery. When a country instigate chaos in another country. That’s modern slavery. When a country interferes in another’s election or economic decision. That’s modern slavery. Those points may not define slavery exactly but as far as there are elements of exploitation and lack of total freedom, it’s slavery to me.
By now you might have noticed my obsession for Africa. It’s a beautiful place honestly. It’s only bedeviled by bad leadership. Bad leaders contribute to Africa’s suffering. Yet some are only corrupt because of foreign influence and interference. So I won’t blame all African leaders completely for Africa’s woes.
I’ll end with the words of Pocahontas: If you walk the footsteps of a stranger you’ll learn things you never knew you never knew. We’re only poor when measured by the world’s standard.
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
Not so cuddly thought…
As I lay on my bed I had a thought. A thought that actually provoked many questions. Maybe someone can help me understand these issues better if my opinion does not reflect reality. This is the first reflection on racism, the next will be on Africa. NB: I speak for people, and not governments.
China, Oh China!
I love China. Yes I do. I love Jackie Chan. I love the funny movie Shaolin Soccer where football became a whole new form of thuggery. I’ve several Chinese friends on Facebook and WordPress. I’m amazed at their creativity and industry. I’m amused each time Chinese movies portray people performing martial arts mid air (honestly is that even possible?) I watch Chinese comedy too. My geography classes taught that there are a lot of people in China – that it is the country with highest people population. I read about the Great Wall of China in high school and how it kept bandits and China’s political enemies away. I know a little about the culture and dynasties, language, technology and cities. We sure have a beautiful world and history, don’t we? Talking about Chinese cities; I admire Hong Kong and Macao the most. I can say that they are European flavour in a Chinese soup. Maybe that’s a silly metaphor. The capital city Beijing is so big that it could take in the total population of my home state! There are many big cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are other beautiful things to see in China. Apart from the serene countryside, numerous flowers, rivers, mountains, lakes, and more abound. I’ve seen videos of this beautiful land. I love China indeed.
But I won’t forget Wuhan. No one will forget the city in a hurry. But it’s just a name like New York. Wuhan has engraved itself in the hearts of so many. So history will remember her for the disastrous gift. Let me be plain, the corona virus pandemic started there.
Why the pandemic may have originated from Wuhan, I can’t see this scenario: the local fishermen packaging contaminated food to be shipped abroad. I agree that human interaction helped in spreading the virus. But people won’t deliberately export this virus. People might be innocent. I can’t say that for any government.
I can’t conclude that every Chinese is responsible for the pandemic. That’s quite unfair. I mean we can hold the government and policy makers responsible. Every economic sanction, sabotage or revenge will affect innocent people too, just as the virus ravage distant places. The bad guys are in every nation. We know them.
I deliberately avoided the bad sides of this great nation. I could have mentioned human rights violations, racism against foreigners (will talk more on this later), cruelty to wild and domestic life and labour camps. Let’s face it, every nation has a history, good and bad, just and unjust. But I’m no judge.
For those calling for blood or revenge, there’s absolutely no need for that. The common enemy now is the virus and it’s leading a global warfare. We’ve lost a lot already to it. This is time to stop the blame game and racist attitude. We need China, the same way we need Africa and America and Europe and every other nation on earth. Some governments do not represent public opinion.
Diversity is strength. I prefer to see the good side of every nationality. I only pray that one day the bad guys will have no stake in our political future.
This is just a humble reflection. Have a good night.
Why am I so happy to see the sun rise and smell her sweet fragrance? I may not explain exactly, but this is why.
Before now I slept like a log, snoring away, unconscious to the world’s drama. Nocturnal creatures crept, birds hoot. The night is innocently quiet but may have consumed many. My windows are open, the whistling pines sang a lullaby. Soft rain drum the rooftop. Pata-pata was her fair rhythm. The wind accompanied the rhythm with an invisible guitar, addressing my bed. Cool breeze rent, blowing kisses, caressing man who slept. It wooed man to dreamland, where he could see beautiful things. All these while, I am man, bones and flesh, helpless only to Providence and her benevolence.
The sun’s glamour lit the skies, it woke man. Golden rays filter through the curtain, a welcome to new day. Blue clouds wait outside, there the green field lay wet with dew. Grasshoppers, beetles and crickets play in them. When stick insects fly, their zithering wings create a tune. Termites are busy moving their quarry. Mantises cling like monkeys to tree leaves. Trees are calm, resting from the long cold night. Squirrels play up their branches, the wind their surfboard. Egrets, pigeons, turtle doves, skylarks, bluebirds and others enjoy the fresh air. Their cries fill the horizon with hope, they spoke of gratitude and joy, of seeing a new day. Grey and brown mushrooms sprout, squeezing out of earth little umbrella citadels for ants. Some shaped like the anthill down the road. Bright flowers dance in the morning breeze. They are dressed in different schools: white and purple, green and yellow, red and pink, or blue and orange. Their stalks a perfectly sewn uniform, each glamouring in her pretty dress. The canopy of green grass expands each morning. There’s carpet grass, mother nature’s rug. There’s the guinea grass, tall enough to hide bugs and worms. Butterflies roam the garden, sunlight behind their back. Tree leaves fall in circles, to meet the wind at the foot of trees. A stronger wind gladly sweeps them all over the garden – a queer rollercoaster without wheels. Yet sunlight came in installments, watching over all.
I have a friend who checks on my window each morning. She admires herself at the glass mirror. From the other side I laugh at her fluffy beauty. Straight beak sitting on a funny face. Two agile broom-like legs holding a big body. Those legs, a perfect weightlifter, just that it lacked muscle. Black feathers, white underbellies – a reminder of me whenever I wore a black suit. ‘But why are you so pretty every morning?‘ I wonder. I smell the flowers that live not far away. Hibiscus and Flamboyant, different colours, many scents. Strength in diversity. But colour has no scent. The wet clay smell nice too, in it the bull frog family live. The garden is a big theatre – a world of its own. If I ever knew the winds tune, I will sing with her. She sang slowly, sometimes high, other times low-pitch. So I hum in my heart and whistle when I am overwhelmed. I write a song in my mind. I will let the later morning hear it and trust that she keeps my tune secret.
I am grateful for the song on the roof. For those little angels disguised as birds that wake me. For the cool breeze that makes sleep enjoyable. For night rains that sing me a lullaby. For the green garden and her flourishing faun and flora. For dew that wet my foot when I walk through the green grass. For the insects and birds that greet the morning with a beautiful song. For the love, joy, peace and hope that comes with each bright morning. Gratitude is still the best attitude.
Do you now see why I am happy when I see sunlight? For me, to live is to be grateful.
Let storms clap and rain fall heavily
To wash fields free of blood & grease
Let snow clog boots & war machines
Let air blow deadly fighter jets off
So darkness may turn to green fields & blue skies again
Let the world know undiluted peace
When Nature declares war on War!
I pray for peace in our lives, communities and societies, and in all nations on Earth.
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
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…
Oh little looking weebly-woobly Frog
Jumping about on a quiet blue lake
‘Dob-wob, Dob-wob‘, it croaked into evening
Calling to all nature’s big and small,
For some short but lively weebly-woobly dance
Image provided by Mary Grace M. Salomes, MGMS.
I decided to write a short piece for children. My friend, Mary from The Philippines had long taught her neighborhood children this poem.
Now it rains heavily with thunder,
And with cold, her breezy messenger,
I watch the rain fall from my window,
Fast, soft drops crash into glass panes
This heavy rain ploughed, and sow,
Her lullabic seeds across my land,
Soft, sweet breezes reign with her
Battling a stranger for his umbrella,
In pitch darkness cover, so to mar
The path of this wary stranger
I pity but wait to see this little drama
While it rain heavily with thunder!
Image from http://www.erdaren.com