Becky (A Poem) by amu nnadi

i knew you long before i knew you existed
long before you stood before me, warm
and new york said hello with her brilliant smile;
you bear in you the light of the cosmos, your eyes
two rivers leading to a great sea, your heart
warm, incarnate and inextinguishable, flame
where you carry as constellation and flower
the hopes and dreams of your people

long before i knew you existed, long 
before that warm embrace of welcome on 76th
and the fragrance of gratitude from a coarse
african, with words like the sorcery of rivers
i have felt on my brow your brightness, the
warmth of the sun that is the joy of your complexion
as the virgin plains of my homeland, with
their creased landscape of hills and valleys

i have followed, long before i knew you
the bright rays of your rainbow, your flaming
followed them as though in them the world built
a lighthouse, to bring to shore all the wayward
and lost ships of life; for in you lives the miracle
of humanity, for you love without restraint, as sun
just loving, not knowing which calyx its brightest
rays will touch and coax into the loveliest petals

in you, becky, lives a world of many gifts
in you the gift of grace and compassion
in you the fire of conviction, your veins teem
with it, touching everyone, inspiring
nursing and nourishing hope in man
in you the radiance of joy and the softness of pollen
in you the gift of warmth, like a blazing daylight
in you, becky, the gift of embrace, holding everyone

and i declare, in the lines of my poem and in the
beating of my heart, once i felt it too, your kindness
far removed from you, not knowing you existed
separated by the great expanse and strange customs
of the sea, troubled by its waves and rising tide;
you were that great sail that steadied my tremblings
that great light that led me to medgar evers, where
held in the tenderness of eyes, my heart bled with bliss

today i come to honour you, becky, with cowries
the white fowl of my poem and the freshest palmwine
i come bearing the censers of love, to honour you
as you did me, long before i knew you existed
long before you saw the dimmed light of my eyes;
today we all come bearing our token gifts, to share
with you the great wonder of faith in another; for
though i did not know you, though you did not know
me, you reached across the sea and valleys and hills

and touched me with your light, familiar as air;
for you are filled with oxygen and all that give earth life
you are, becky, what endows humanity with human
and eternity, with goodness and the light of the cosmos:
i honour you, my words honour you, my poem honours you
today i name you in the consecration of my lips;
let your people honour you too, hold you up as lantern
for you shine with the brightness of hope, warm
and inextinguishable, kind and beautiful beyond words

amu nnadi is the author of some five collections of poems including the fire within, winner of the 2002 ANA Gabriel Okara Prize for Poetry, pilgrim’s passage, shortlisted for the 2005 Nigeria Prize for Literature, andthrough the window of a sandcastle, winner of the 2013 ANA Poetry Prize and runner up to the 2013 Nigeria Prize for Literature. He also won the Glenna Luschei Prize for African poetry. Catch an interview with him here

amu nnadi wrote the poem ‘becky’ to a loud ovation in the United States… So, need to know about him? He writes his poetry in small letters alone. He is a great man with a fine soul, generous, and nearly never sleeping scribbler who loves literature especially poetry with a passion. He lives in Port Harcourt with his family and will be publishing his new collection of poetry, a field of echoes with his publishers, Paressia, this 2015.



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

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