One day soon

One day soon, our pens will no longer
be melancholic, hoping for change.
Soon our ink will dance on paper,
happy that the days we longed for are here

Those who profited
from a sad narrative- a tale of woes
will search for the words to describe
the joy on our children’s faces

They will sit before
blank sheets and black pens,
praying for the words to describe
our new streets of gold

One day soon, our pens will no longer
be melancholic, hoping for change.
Soon our ink will dance on paper,
happy that the days we longed for are here
(C)Olamide Oti

BLACK FRIDAY

Yesterday, the sun forgot to shine on Paris
The clouds held rain from Ethiopia
Japan was shaken to its roots
Nigeria remains in denial
And Lebanon cannot sleep

It seems the nights are no longer lit by the stars
Even the moon seems to have fallen asleep
The days are filled with screams of disbelief
At the infinite cruelty of the heart of man

The earth is spinning on itself and rolling over
Like a gambler’s dice carefully tossed
To determine the next nation, the next war,
It’s a game of chance

The prince of this world ravages on
Roaring, seeking whom he may devour
Leaving a trail of broken bones
Stirring up in the hearts of men
The power to hate and propagate evil

We’re tempted to believe the illusion that
Darkness is winning
And God is asleep,
Oblivious to our pain

Like a woman in labour,
Earth groans with many tears
What then is our hope?
In whom do we place our trust?

Glass Houses

Disclaimer: this post was written months ago and was inspired by happenings in my school. It is not in any way related to present circumstances in the country. Thank you for reading.

They sit in their glass houses
And throw stones at us
They plan the trajectory, the arc, the throw
Devising new ways to torture us
Like prisoners in a foreign country

First they take away our rights to fight
Then they throw as hard as they can
While we sit, cry and suffer in silence
Too afraid for our lives to risk it
Who they say, will bell the cat

Pot-bellied men in suits
Stomachs full of foolish wisdom
Gradually, they take us back to the 19th century
When there were wars to be fought
And our children were malnourished and neglected

Our wives and mothers slaved over stoves
Struggled to buy the fuel to power it
While our fathers would sit on the balcony
Reading the papers
Planning a revolution

When our choices became theirs
And like sheep to the slaughter
Those who dared speak
Were quietened by death or the fear of it
When they took our choices and made it theirs

We are headed back there
Slowly, steadily happily
Better there, than dead
But what is life without freedom
Painful, oppressive existence.

Cold Fire

Yesterday, everyone that hates us was tried and convicted
For stealing and looting
For the bombs that dropped on Baga
and the girls of Chibok
Today the sun will rise upon the graves of those who rest
Upon the hearts of those who endlessly hope

My name is Fatima and I live in a town
where peace is in prison and sanity is mad
There was a time when I was happy
When children were just children
and peace was free
Until they came with fire and fear the size of our town
I survived, you might say
But what is life when hope barely lives

Let us start a cold fire
A bloodless revolution
We have suffered far too long
In silence,
Voiceless

(c) Olamide Oti

NI BAGA (I Am Baga) — A Poem

image

I am not alone, I know: never alone
The corpses littered herein are my own
They keep me company while asleep peacefully
Today, their struggles have ended finally
Ye children left standing, come around!
I will tell all of ye a tale as familiar as sound:
The day upon which sorrow lost its bitterness
And the cries only became shouts of gladness

Rejoice! Son of this desolate city — the heir
For thine walls of ruins become monuments of despair
The rubble will be fed upon by good grief
Because your joy has been snatched away by the thief
The sun shall spare thee not, all day long
The night’s cold winds will comfort thee with song
At the very brink of thy uncertain nurture
Thou hast become one and soul with nature

Ye shall not see me shed another tear
For I spoke the truth that all men may hear
And though it has brought about my humiliation
It will one day bring me salvation
Ye shall not see me breathe in tepidity
All fear of death, I see as stupidity
Stand, my children, for ye can fall no more
Valiant in truth and service like never before.

© Luke Ogar

Luke Ogar also blogs at https://nerdsandnovices.wordpress.com

Luke O. Ogar

For Baga

The world watches
The harmattan winds brought a new hardness to their cold hearts
Our children are slain in broad daylight
Fathers shot as they shield their children from the messengers of death.
Mothers burnt alive saying their last prayers
Destinies that will never be fufilled
In a country where lives are squandered
Where politics is more important than humanity
The world watches
Waiting for the message of hope from the lips of our leaders
A message of comfort
But instead we get pictures
Pictures tell a thousand words
Telling us they we are just pawns
In the grand scheme of things
It doesn’t matter whether we die or not
We are dispensable, disposable and worthless.
I’m not sad. I’m angry
The world watches, unabashed.
(c) Omolara Kolawole, 2014

Welcome to Baga

Welcome to Baga
where nightmares live
and dreams go to die
I had heard the men talk in low tones about what they did to Chibok
and how the nation stood still for a day and moved on

Mama never thought they would come
we have soldiers here, she would brag
oh but you see, they did
last night while men slept, they crept in on us 
plundered our lands and set our homes on fire

It burned so beautifully that it reminded me of the fireworks last Christmas 
mama and papa were taken away in that van
perhaps they will be back tomorrow 

my shoes were left behind
the ones mama bought me for school
but my life is worth more
and so I ran through the forest until I came to a temporary place of solace
where a million other children dwelt

Every night since Baga
I wake up with screams that drown out the screams of the other tortured souls
perhaps, our brothers in the south would help us
or today, the world will end
and I will finally rest where peace lives

(c) Olamide Oti

For our Country(A poem)

So in the spirit of independence day, I asked my friend and poet extraordinaire, Luke to do a piece and he did! Enjoy!

Arise O compatriots!
In selfsame manner as kings on chariots
Stand in defence of thy fortress tall
Wherein lie thy treasures great and small
For far too long thou hast laid down in silence
Or spoke with an air of indifference
Arise from the bed blessed with sloth
Your goods are threatened by rot and moth

To serve our fatherland
By the integrity of thy right hand
Nay be it that thou shalt have no home
Why intend building thy house on loam?
In a bid to quell thine own thirst
Thou wouldst subject thy brethren to die first
The land is ours and ours eternally
Let not thine own people grieve bitterly

The labour of our heroes shall never be in vain
With faith, our actions will be for a greater gain
A hero’s sweat and blood will not be futile
If we refrain from placing ourselves on exile
And though volcanoes blow and hearts melt
We would employ bravery for a belt
In recognition of the industry of our forefathers
We shall not leave our nation in tatters

One nation bound in freedom
All of us — not only those we give a warm welcome
By virtue of the diversity of tongues and origins
There is a difficulty in the pardoning of sins
But in acknowledgement of one another’s unique abilities
We’d be in abundance of good qualities
Then, at this point of reality
We can safely stay in peace and unity.

© Luke Ogar
https://nerdsandnovices.wordpress.com

I am She

I was doomed from the beginning.
Before I got a chance to know my family,
I was sold into slavery.
My father was royalty,
but when my new parents came,
He sold me off like a bale of cotton.

So, I became one of them.
Dressed like them,
Talked like them.
Ate, what they ate and quickly, I forgot my roots.
I was perfect at birth they said,
Ten fingers and toes all wonderfully made,
A headful of coarse black hair.
And no identity.

Throughout adolescence,
I was at war within myself.
I had many vices;
The love of money,
Of all things glittery and sweet
Of murder, drunkenness, and pride.
Many have died for me,
“For you”, they said, all for you.

I had an inheritance, but they took it all away, and called it theirs.
They named my streets after their sons while my father looked on unable to stop them.
My lands, my people, my crops…All gone!
My oil was my nemesis
It bubbled from within me
And came forth black, sweet and pleasant.
For a moment, it was my salvation,
Now, it seems it will be the death of me.
It is all I have left,
Until there is nothing left of me.
Today, I am coming of age
I weep for my sons, who have squandered it all,
For my daughters, who are struggling to rebuild me.

There is much to be grateful for,
For peace, however fragile,
For the seasons and for time,
For time, heals all wounds
I am in labour, while the world looks on
Each birth pang piercing through my core.
The world awaits a generation who will rejoice in my heritage,
Who will take back all that I have lost,
Who will reclaim my lost glory,
A generation that would not be ashamed to call me ‘mama’.

I am of many cultures woven loosely together.
Beautiful on the outside
Broken on the inside
Many wars rage on in my heart,
Those caused by beliefs, tribes and tongues that never agree.
The odds are against me, it would seem.
But, I am Nigeria,
I will thrive.

(c) Olamide Oti, 2014