Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

She Came to Town by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

He heard of her arrival
the billboards
shouted her to his face
in every place and direction
not enough, she seized signposts
covering milestones
travellers left wary of location
in the forceful paste of her plastic smile
loving…
calling…

She hugged trees
and adorned walls
her jingle on the radio the new herald of dawn
TVs took over
proclaiming her, the promise of sweet dreams at dusk

He died for her
selling all
till she came to town, sirens blaring—
Queen Mistress.
He thought himself her all
and ran to claim her
but found a long line waiting…
She smiled sweetly, melting them,
spoke lovely little nothings,
waved and left.

She came to town
and left,
still everywhere,
now everyone’s
but nowhere in any heart.

article-2651403-1E8C4B0B00000578-560_964x494 (1)
Josh Bakkum Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2651403/Post-apocalyptic-images.html

(From Home Equals Holes: Tale of an Exile, Makurdi: SEVHAGE, 2014)

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Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, REVIEWS

Unalloyed and Revitalizing: Thoughts on Amina Aboje’s ‘Promises on Sand’

Title:   Promises on Sand
Author:   Amina Aboje
Publisher:   Kraft Books
Year of Publication:   2017
Number of Pages:   87
Category:   Poetry
Reviewer:   Paul SawaPromises in Sand - Amina Aboje

Although I write the occasional poem, I do not see myself as a poet. Avid reader that I am, however, I consider myself competent enough to review any form of literature. After all, I am the end user. The myth that only a poet can review poetry has long since been debunked. When all the lights in your house go out, you do not need to be an electrical engineer to realise that something is wrong.
I’ve always appreciated poetry, but have a tendency to be overly censorious of lyrical fluency and the depth thereof in much of what is expected to pass for verse today. The book which I am about to review, not only dependably delivers on both of these criteria, but goes further to embolden the believer, tickle the lover, and reignite any dying embers in the heart of the disillusioned patriot into a blaze.
The anthology, Promises on Sand, is Amina Aboje’s first published work. It is subdivided into four parts.
The first section, “The Glow,” is my favourite. It affords the reader a glimpse into the primary essence of the mime behind the rhyme. The reckless abandon of an unfettered childhood expressed in “Voice of the Wind,” which gives way to the first gentle tugs of young love on the heart strings in “Fusion” and “Never Enough,” is tempered by the idealistic purity of “Stay with me.” As a theist with a deep love and appreciation for nature, I am struck by Amina’s liberal use of natural imagery with occasional glimpses of the Divine revealed in and through the natural world.
The second section, “Of Loss and Hope,” takes on a more sombre note, yet in its entire sobriety, hope is never lost. Amina juxtaposes the reality of death and consequent effusions of grief with the hope of rebirth and reunion. In the six lines of “Except I die,” I see physical rebirth subsequent to death, like the seed in nature; I see spiritual death and rebirth as the hope and joy of the theist; and I see the daily process of dying to self and thereby awakening to another life. Then, of course, Amina has not neglected to highlight the miracle of birth, disappointments, betrayals and the perplexing paradoxes in this pilgrimage of life, for which she asks for direction in “Guiding Rod” – pragmatism garnished with idealism. Did I mention that this section is my favourite?
Section three, “Time Transience and Nature,” takes the cake! The brevity in style (each poem consists of only three lines) goes to reinforce the transience of time. Like a butterfly from flower to flower, Amina flits from one thought to another … universality, diversity, beauty, nature … as if to remind the reader, “Life is brief. Make the most of it.” It is amazing what three lines of poesy can do. This is, without question, my favourite section.
The fourth section, “Pangs of Nationhood,” strikes to the very soul of Nigeria. Despair translates to despondency which then begins to nudge at a realization that births defiance, as in the closing stanza of “Promises in Sand,” where the citizenry rhetorically inquire of the political class, “…how can you think there’ll ever be you without me?” “The Accomplice” sheds light on the dynamics of the corrupt class while “Musings” gives voice to the common man who laments, “How did I become so common?” The senselessness of internal conflict, the gaping chasm between the haves and the have nots, and the shamelessness of treasury looters as expressed in “Mindless Battles” and “Guiltless Shame” is still unable to quench the undercurrent of hope in “Still Green” and “Centennial Bliss.” Patriot that I am, this section is my favorite.
If I were asked to do the impossible by describing this book in two words, I would say … Unalloyed and Revitalizing. Amina Aboje has, in this book – Promises on Sand, somehow connected the profane with the profound and the sacred with the sagacious. It is an excellent read, and I highly recommend it.

(Paul Sawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. Inquiries on the book as well as requests for interviews and reviews can be got from the author by email aminaaboje@yahoo.com. Amina Aboje is the winner of the Mandela Day Poetry Prize 2016  and lives in Abuja)

Posted in INSPIRATION, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD

The Definition of Hope

Poetry is hope; hope is life; something beautiful.

If you would listen, it is a promise.

If you would listen, quietly and get those codes that gently unveil themselves to us like dawn unfolds to day; like the caterpillar to a butterfly.20130217-203619

It is the look of waters

– on a cloudy night; wait a few seconds for when God’s hands pushes those clouds –

With stars and the moon dancing in a million glitters across several miles;

Can you see the diamonds bobbing up and down as the waves sing promises and freshness to your soul?
It is transformation from bleak to bliss.

It is the sight of beauty, the sound of desire, the smell of hope, the taste of victory and the touch of greatness… It is so much more…

It is your heart in words the mouth cannot utter; your soul in codes your flesh can’t decipher. It is the air and it is the earth – you can feel it without touching; you can grab it in your fingers yet it carries you.

It is dawn – the sun smiling when you wake.

Dusk – when the sun dives back below the earth’s belt.

The moon shining in shapes from a calabash to a banana, on any given night – with its stars glittering and dotting the skies, precious gems lighting the souls of the weary…

It is those words that tell us, who are heavy laden

– lovers who struggle to find the spark of fires that now seem like smoke

– a writer weaving words no one seems to care about

– someone looking over a sick one, in anguish

– people in recession, finding a single meal

– a father who looks to questioning eyes that ask ‘why?’

– a mother, forced to go to a trash can to pick meals like a lunatic, not caring about eyes that stare, as she puts food in the mouth of her baby

It is those words that tell us to look up in hope, even on those nights when the clouds come around to bring a sense of darkness
As you struggle through dusk, note every night gives birth to dawn and day, brilliant rays that will sparkle your existence

When it seems like the end, remember just when the caterpillar thought it was over, it became a butterfly!

The river that looks dark on a cloudy night, inviting you to taste of its depth transforms to a mirror of diamonds with a small push of Aôndo who takes all the clouds away

True. Those clouds…

They never took away the moon and stars. The clouds would slowly float away… but would you be waiting?

 

That is poetry. That is hope. That is life.

That is you.

You are verse. You are hope. You are life.

Too beautiful to be explained. Too deep to be deciphered at once, yet full of so much and more.
You are beautiful.
If they would listen, you are a promise.

If they would listen, quietly and get those codes that gently unveil themselves like dawn unfolds day; they would see the diamond that hid behind the rough.

You are the sight of beauty, the sound of desire, the smell of hope, the taste of victory and the touch of greatness… You are so much more…

 

Listen slowly to what the universe just whispered to my heart,

hear it everyday in the voice time should never make you deaf to:

You are the best verse that life ever wrote.

 

  • Copyright ©Su’eddie Vershima Agema, 2017
Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, Uncategorized

MAYBE WE SHOULD LEARN TO HATE

Maybe we should learn to hate.

Not to love everything, like our heart would have us do. Not to compromise on things that are more of lies, for the sake of – peace.

When they piss on the centre of our souls, quenching the one thing that keeps us going –sanity.

Maybe we should learn to hate.

To rise above the cries we have sobbed, smiling in distress, swallowing sadness while lingering pain stabs us deep in the heart where no one can see… Even in love, we offer another plea…

Maybe we should learn to hate.

Shout at the arrogance of asses that fart noises to our noses, entrenching deeper stripes into our skin as more wipes are lashed by those we throw our hearts at, as they target carefully aimed darts…

Maybe we should learn to hate.

Maybe hate should grow. Slowly, a spark at a time till it flames and enrages our being, burning every fibre to shout at every evil, stare every stupidity and not be trampled by those who live that we may die…

Maybe we should learn to hate?

 

  • Su’eddie Vershima Agema
Posted in INSPIRATION, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, Uncategorized

ONCE UPON A TALE OF LIFE (Versed Notes)

(after listening to a spoken word by daisy odey)

once, there was a storyteller
who created fires from sparks
who started each tale with ‘let there be’…
a teller of many intertwining tales
who told our universe to be
and in that space,
he killed the darkness, formed the light
filled everywhere, made it bright…

tale-of-life
art painting fire surrealism Old man Teun Hocks Love|Crave Source

the teller decided to tell another tale
‘let there be…’
a dragged sentence that took nine sticks
and a rubbing of stones
the answer was a tiny spark…
that found movement in four ways…

four feet became two
as seconds multiplied minutes
that aged into years
the tale spiralled on, and formed extensions
that spanned decades through an existence
of much that left in some minds
a steady presence, in others an absence

this tale continued
a fire spreading
burning as it lit others
within, other tales made:
continuations that left everyone amazed…

till finally,
the fire quenched to smoke
the tale came to a halt
it lived on in others and became a narrative
one that continues to be
in a beauty everyone can see
but the fire was meant to be reborn
and so the storyteller…

…decided to add one more
like many other things
the voice said: ‘let there be…’
it was a long sentence that took nine sticks

a rubbing of stones
the answer was a tiny spark…

-©Su’eddie Vershima Agema, 2015.

Posted in INSPIRATION, NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, Uncategorized

DREAMS DIE HARD by Hymar David

(For Sewe Leah)

It is hard to come to terms
With loss,
Harder yet to embrace the memory
Of life;
What once was.

I know
Of flowers that wither in the sun,
And roses that wilt in the grips
Of wanton boys
Who pluck them for sport
To decorate sandcastles.

Eternity
Seems so vast yet vague and far.
And it is hard
To keep dreaming
When the walls are closing in
And your heart is breaking
One tiny crack at a time,
Then a million shattered pieces on the floor.

(And we make careers
Of picking broken fragments of us
From the ground).

Times pass
Memories fade
Friends come
Then go
Wars start
And cease
Hearts love
Then break
And mend
Then love
And break
And mend
Once again
(Bleak echoes)
And dreams
Die hard.

 

Hymar David.

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, romance

A Supplicant’s Prayer in Sickness (A Poem) by Agatha Aduro

(After Sam Smith)

 

Stay with me
The beads of your jigida have been strung
Awaiting the flare of your hips
And the calefaction of your skin

Stay with me
Your betrothed has filled the yam barns
Waits to ring your eyes with camwood;
To filigree your skin with henna

Stay with me
I hear the scream of the unborn in your loins
Your pain is a double-edged sword
Cutting through our hearts.
Yet while poppy tears course through your veins
Won’t you stay with me?

Stay with me
I have held open my eyes
For endless nights
Propped up on stilts of countless prayers
The red has crept in from the sides
And Hypnos plays a haunting melody

Stay with me
While I rest my weary head
Let my heart beat a normal tattoo
For a minute or two.
Don’t slip away while I sleep.
Spurn Thanatos’ advances
And stay with me.

 

 

From the chapbook, The Enchanting by Agatha Aduro. Click HERE to download.

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

Beware Soul Brother (A Poem) by Chinua Achebe

men of song we measure out
our joys and agonies
too, our long, long passion week
in paces of the dance. We have
come to know from surfeit of suffering
that even the Cross need not be
a dead end nor total loss
if we should go to it striding
the dirge of the soulful abia drums. . .
But beware soul brother
of the lures of ascension day
the day of soporific levitation
on high winds of skysong; beware
for others there will be that day
lying in wait leaden-footed, tone-deaf
passionate only for the deep entrails
of our soil; beware of the day
we head truly skyward leaving
that spoil to the long ravenous tootBeware Soul Brother
and talon of their hunger.
Our ancestors, soul brother, were wiser
than is often made out. Remember
they gave Ala, great goddess
of their earth, sovereignty too over
their arts for they understood
too well those hard-headed
men of departed dance where a man’s
foot must return whatever beauties
it may weave in air, where
it must return for safety
and renewal of strength. Take care
then, mother’s son, lest you become
a dancer disinherited in mid-dance
hanging a lame foot in air like the hen
in a strange unfamiliar compound. Pray
protect this patrimony to which
you must return when the song
is finished and the dancers disperse;
remember also your children
for they in their time will want
a place for their feet when
they come of age and the dance
of the future is born
for them.

 

 

 

From Beware Soul Brother by Chinua Achebe (1930-2013). The collection was written during the Nigerian Civil War and won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize in 1972.

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Agatha Aduro

There is a splintered street
Where dreams die at dawn

The gurgle of laughter stilled
In the unlikeliest of throats

There is a nascent irascibility that sends
Youth hurtling off the edge of this precipice

Called life.  Death is not painful
For the dead. Only for the unfortunate

Living who sift through memories
Like voyeurs. Searching for something

Elusive – trying to wring warmth
From a blanket left in the sun

This street brings a schizophrenic wish
For voices that are not there

It breeds fluttering ghosts that
Flap wings in rib cages

 

From The Enchanting and other poems. Click HERE for link to Free download. To read Agatha Aduro’s blog, click HERE.

 

 

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY

ONE GENERATOR AND TELEVISION (THE STORY OF OUR STREETS TODAY) by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

Today, one generator and a television
Were taken away from someone
Light and hope was stolen from that home
He lost his head and swore to get someone else’s

Today, a man was caught
Who stole a generator and television
He was the thief of someone else’s vision
Seeking means to fight Hades who called to his mother

Today, a mob roasted a man
With a generator and television
While his mother died waiting for funds
To get drugs Chemist costed at one thousand

 

(©Su’eddie Vershima Agema, 2016)