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)

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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 POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, Uncategorized

On Death – Kahlil Gibran (One of the finest poems on death ever)

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

beauty-black-death-desire-hapiness-favim-com-241279
BEAUTY, BLACK, DEATH, DESIRE, HAPINESS, HAPPINESS, LIFE, LOVE, TRUTH, WHITE. Source: http://favim.com/image/241279/

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

 

About Kahlil Gibrain
ps_khalil_gibran

Kahlil Gibrain (1883-1931) is one of the world’s most popular and best selling poets of all times. He was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist and writer. His writings are deeply prophetic (he actually has a book titled The Prophet 🙂 ) and deep. Google his poetry and if you get the opportunity, buy and/or read his books. His words are transforming if you let them sink. Now, let’s end this with a quote from him:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Posted in POETRY FROM THE WORLD, POL TALKS, Uncategorized

Pity The Nation – Kahlil Gibran

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,hqdefault
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

 

 

…..

About Kahlil Gibrain
ps_khalil_gibran

Kahlil Gibrain (1883-1931) is one of the world’s most popular and best selling poets of all times. He was a Lebanese-American poet, philosopher, artist and writer. His writings are deeply prophetic (he actually has a book titled The Prophet 🙂 ) and deep. Google his poetry and if you get the opportunity, buy and/or read his books. His words are transforming if you let them sink. Now, let’s end this with a quote from him:

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

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 POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, TALES

Maybe, a tale for Someday

Maybe someday I will write that poem, of lives that mattered and lies that counted. Maybe, I will sing a song to show the beauty of the wrong that brought about this long tale that I call life. Maybe, then, it would not seem important enough, with time’s chime lost to the exigencies of what pressures that time would bring.
Maybe, you would be with me. Maybe, we would be free – of us – and chained with realities of others.
Maybe.
But that is for someday.
Today, let’s be us. And dance in the spirit of the fights and cuddles, the distance and closeness, the peace and troubles.
Today, let us love and build those memories for…someday.

  • Su’eddie Vershima Agema

someday

 

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 LIFE, POETRY FROM THE WORLD

THE MOMENT OF THE ROSE by Su’eddie Vershima Agema

The Almighty gives a gift – of a rose, to those who are blessed.
You hold it carefully, and ignore the thorns. You smell the fragrance and enjoy its beauty, always knowing that one fine tomorrow perhaps, it will wither. Or maybe you will wither first. Maybe a miracle will enclose you both into an eternal glass that wouldn’t ever break.
Maybe nothing.
There’s just now. You and your rose.
Inhale deep, and enjoy the fragrance. Lock it in your thoughts.
And if tomorrow takes any of you away. Smile, for today, you lived in the greatest of fragrances and beauty: the moment of the rose.

rose-hold

 

Posted in NAIJA POETRY, POETRY, POETRY FROM THE WORLD, POL TALKS

night fires (a poem) by su’eddie vershima agema

(for our lost onesand elvis iyorngurum)

the night fires are no longer for fun tales
they are for the wake
of several deaths
not for the dead gone…
but the living with lives long worn
out like winds sapped from souls

theories fly from diverse lands
rubbing sand into our eyes
even as we keep these fires 

are you a figment of our thoughts
a political statement
a stunt to destroy our famed luck?

the cold slaps us
as things get worse
hash tags fly but realities remain grounded
the days are still counting
yet the fires still crackle
as we wait at the wake

 

 

(first published on African Writer and SEVHAGE Reviews)