I’d learnt to wrap my pain in a smile (A Poem) – Hyginus Ekwuazi

Always, this memory
that I take to the shredder –

this memory that, always
ends up in the recycling bin
and recycles itself at whim

the look you normally gave me –

that look that said aloud that
you weren’t too sure I hadn’t been
dropped on the head as a child

that look of the martyred

that look you wore each time
I talked about the children of the poor
and the dogs of the rich

you always wondered –

what hair was it off my chest
if the children of the poor
would gladly swap places
with the dogs of the rich?

and with the dexterity of a
boomerang thrower you would
throw me that rhetorical question:

The poor … don’t the poor have dogs?

I’d smile, I’d always smile–
the way I smile when memories of
the war invade my peaceful day –

I’d smile, I’d always smile
for I’d learnt to wrap my pain in a smile

I’d smile and love you even more –
with a pain that no smile could wrap.

I smile for you
I smile for you

from That other country (Ibadan: Kraft Books, 2010)

Hyginus Ekwuazi is a multiple award winning Nigerian poet. He has also earned several credits for script writing. Dr. HyginusHe lives in Ibadan where he teaches Media Arts (Broadcasting and Film) at the University of Ibadan.



Some all-rounded writer with the wits to turn anything and everything to words with inspiration... cheering to glory and on...

2 thoughts on “I’d learnt to wrap my pain in a smile (A Poem) – Hyginus Ekwuazi

  1. Aw! This is such a moving piece! I love the title and a lotta of us are actually guilty of smiling through our pains; especially in this country! That’s our coping mechanism and lik the great Fela said, ‘suffering and smiling’! LOL

    Thanks for sharing Su’eddie, this; I like!


    1. Yemie, Doc Ekwuazi, is in my estimation one of the best poets Nigeria has produced. The man is also a fine gentleman. You should read his four poetry collections- ah! I read them and my poetry took a different turn.
      True what you say… In Nigeria, we smile too much but maybe that’s why we live as long as we do. As Achebe said, sometimes we stand in the compound of the coward to point at the ruins where once stood the compound of the courageous man…

      I’m hoping to do a whole lot of poetry introductions on the blog. Glad you could make a debut here! Welcome… And I’m still on to your blog for more gossip and goodies on that crazy life of yours 🙂 Happy New Year lady.


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