It was the night of the full moon
and we were at supper: that was
when they came for my grandmother.
The birth, they said, was not going too well—and
was it everything the eye saw that the head
carried into the homestead?
In silence, they looked at my grandmother and
my grandmother looked at them in silence: their
wordless communication was like a loud silence—that
kind of silence that comes crashing from the ceiling
when the teacher magically appears in a noisy class.
Grandmother did not ask
to be allowed to finish her meal.
She looked at us with the distant eyes
of a stranger—there was no remembrance
in her eyes of the moonlight story she owed us:
our favourite story of the tortoise:
his journey across seven seas and seven forests
and seven mountains and seven deserts and
the songs he sang over deserts and mountains
and forests and oceans and
the beautiful wife that still eluded him….
Grandmother asked only one question:
‘The grandmother of the child…have you sent for her?’
They nodded—as if all three of them
shared the same head on the same neck.
I found I was holding my breath
as Grandmother followed them
and the moon went with them.
(From Hyginus Ekwuazi’s One Day I’ll Raise My Middle Finger at the Stork and the Reaper (Makurdi: SEVHAGE, 2015)
I could have lost you
whose crossed ten digits
clasped in devotion for me
whose smiling cheer
formed the water for my tree
in green and in drought
I could have lost you
in that blink
when the sun scorched
and I let my prayer fizzle
in the thought
your plantation was ever-green
Aôndo’s grace was rain in many ways
that stopped the flare of the devil’s scorch
even as time brought you back to crazed lanes…
Now, I would pour a sea of me
to tend to your every need
and if it goes dry…
I would bring down the sky
I would tend every burn
and bring you back
in the dreams and more
home would heal every hole.
A poem starts with a decision…to let one’s heart flow to paper…a bold step to share of the gift of heaven.
You throw fear of rejection and impurities aside then hug courage as you step forward to tell waiting ears of something you are only learning. ..
You’ve raised countless armies and helped mould empires out of individuals
You’ve fed everyone whom you backed, like the Queens you’ve raised have done with princes
You’ve fed not alone those who are biologically yours
You don’t see the difference between man and beast
As long as they are a part of nature’s limited yet sufficient circle
You’d show them as much love
In fact a great amount, if we could quantify love
My ancestors and the ancestors of many travailed far and wide looking for a space of their own
You opened your arms and your heart to as many people who sought a place to call home
Your heart is one that doesn’t see black or white, the rainbow is limited compared to how
colourful and warm your heart is
You’re more than just lands, rivers and mountains
There’s so much to you than the jewellery you’ve been divinely adorned with
It is futile using mere words to describe your beauty
Every angle only magnifies the limitlessness of your splendour
Mother of nations, wife to none
Daughter of a great father, yes you are his heart
Five decades is not how long you’ve existed
You always been since the Genesis
You’re relentless, like light it’s difficult to hide you
Again, these words fail woefully
How do you actually define GREAT without falling short of its ….?
A child can only boast of a woman he sees wonderful enough to be called Mother
A soldier can only lay his life for a land he sees worth dying for
The quality of a surname is dependent on the one who starts it
For the grounds that raised me, I ask that you only grow more fertile and stronger
I’ll take my time to walk, stop and pay tribute to YOU
A soldier can only lay his life for a land he sees worth dying for …
N I G E R I A
Sefa Renee Charles-Ayede is a Nigerian poet based in Malaysia.
So, there are these cool friends of mine, Yemie, Dr. Swag, Zika, etc etc who think me the critic (wrongly) and one day, one of them took me up on a challenge to a small poelogue… It is something like a duel, methinks… But so far, we are testing ourselves with respect but I talk too much… Here we go.
The Critic by Zika Olofin
You judge the merit of our art
You never fail to play your part
For that’s the nature of your art
Not so much of an eyelid bat
Dissect as with a fine-tooth comb
Analyse in minute detail
Scrutinise motives real or not
Dismember each thought that’s expressed
You are of essence that is sure
If you’re not there we’re still uncooked
Our work leaves your refining pot
Then by the world to be embraced
And my reply…
The Commenter by SVA
Names they have called for so long
They have seen me in lights all wrong
I am me, small talker commenting
Dropping thoughts, ranting
At other times tormenting
Getting thee, bloggers, panting
But…forgive when I am cryptic
Or sound like a critic
I am simply just me, small tormenter
Your one and only friendly commenter.