I started writing at a very early age – I’m certain it wasn’t at one. For me, writing was my major form of expression. As a certified introvert, I was constantly in my head and talked very very little. I felt more at liberty with a pen and a paper. It seemed that when I held both, the voices in my head could pick up enough courage to come forth without fear of prejudice. On paper, I could pass off anything as fiction even if it was my reality. In those writings, I could mirror realities that were illusive and find comfort in knowing that I could create them – literally.
I remember publishing a book at 11 years old in my second year at Holy Rosary College, an all-girls boarding school in Enugu, a quiet and serene city in the Eastern part of Nigeria. I was the lanky, fragile-looking classmate with a very big scar on her low-cut hair (this is story for another day) and who seldom talked in class. I also loved English, hid my head in stories and novels and could not get enough of my Intensive English text-book. Now, I have no published book from Cassava Republic or Farafina Publishers – yet. My 11-year-old self had written this short story about a girl and her experiences in her first year of secondary school with a pen, chapter to chapter, complete with coloured drawings in an exercise book.
After the short story was done, it moved from the very few friends I had at that time (seat mates, house mates) who cared to read it, to more classmates and in a few weeks I couldn’t trace who had the short story. It was gone for good.
In this disappointing twist of events however, I got a sense of acceptance of my writing and embraced the fact that people were willing to read my narratives. And I have not stopped writing.
As I grew older and technology got better, I ditched my pen for my phone and PC keypads. One way I reached a broader audience was through Facebook notes written in a period spanning from 2009 – 2012. They were short, sometimes incoherent (my 2017 eyes and mind thinks some are) and personal. I was going through them and stumbled upon these two lovely poems below. Once upon a time, I had a collection of poems – hand written, filled a thick cover 200 paged notebook with some artsy artwork on each page. I carried it with me for years to any new location I was in at any time. My muse has probably deserted me or given me a passion for story telling,I haven’t written a work of poetry in years!
The first poem was written in 2012, five years ago and was written with my family in mind. The second was one of the many thoughts of the afterlife that strongly besieged me then and my first attempts at ‘creative fiction writing’ and was written in 2010, seven long years ago! How time flies. Words fail me to explain the passion behind these works but I think they speak for themselves even more relevantly than they did many years ago.
The poems have not been edited, and I just wanted to share with you my writings and thought process almost a decade ago. I can’t say for sure what has changed but I know that a lot has; time does that to you.
And I hope my poetry muse finds me again someday; I really love the idea of cramping a myriad of emotions into a few lines and stanzas.
Kings and Kingmakers
Meet the Kings.
Their walk ways are a strip of red,
Flowered and dusted with specs of gold and lavender.
It’s the magnificence of this throne,
A breath-taking artwork of intimidating stature.
It’s the delicate finesse of this crown,
Crafted to fit every head in this lineage of royalty.
It’s the authority of this staff,
The supremacy and craftiness of power so raw.
Theirs is a gait of affluence,
Of feet that thread only on red strips.
It is a magnificent seat of vice,
Of hearts drunk with the wine of power
it’s the intoxicating vain-glory from the heads that wear this crown.
It’s a sword of might and ruthlessness
that cuts down everything in its path.
Meet the Kingmakers.
Pride and dignity are their garments of joy.
They eschew arrogance and spill no hate,
And favour and fairness will always militate.
Courage are roses on the table,
And they drink in the beauty of their beings.
With ageless values, faith so strong and tenacity so firm.
A race of more magnificent trails and awing beauty.
It’s a legacy of Kingmakers.
Kingmakers who cannot be kings.
Kingmakers who only make kings.
Because in their own light,
Thrones are but a fraction of time.
This Nirvana; Till Thee Dost Sleep
I smiled again…….that faint sheepish smile.
I squeezed Nate’s hand reassuringly,firmly,like I wanted him to know the end was near.
All was peaceful……a kind I had never ever felt before.
Time ticked away slowly.
Time ticked slowly still.
It was over.
At first,I couldn’t feel a thing. I guess I wasn’t unhappy about that.
But surprisingly, I could see what was going on in my hospital room.
Nate hadn’t let go of my lifeless hand,
And he was,….crying!
“Stone-cold” Nate could cry?!
Mum was the most hysterical.
But I couldn’t pity her;
I couldn’t pity;
I couldn’t feel;
I just watched on……..
Guess I know why.
The men in the village would insist.
But I think mum’s stubborn streak,
Will militate against their outrageous plan.
“She was an obganje”,they say
But even these ones are entitled to rest.
And rest I shall have,
Or peace they shall not.
I’ve been following up on what’s going on at home.
It’s funny they can’t see me,
Even when I’m less than half an inch away from them.
Somehow, I think it’s not.
That’s why I can’t go yet……
There’s still this deep emptiness……..
It’s my funeral…….
I know something is amiss,
Or about to be.
What it is,I know not.
Hmmmmm, my casket…
The very one I told Uncle Sebastain I liked weeks before I was
admitted into the hospital.
Uncle Sebastain is an undertaker.
Ironically,the casket was being made for me.
Uncle Sebastain is my lead pall bearer.
He really did want to be wholly part of my funeral.
And he was my closest friend.
Here they are!
The men from the village….
Something’s going to go wrong,
And that’s just it!
I can’t be treated like this!
I can’t be cast off even in death!
I can’t be left alone in this cold
and dreary place.
And so rest I shall have,
Or peace they shall not!
I visit the red-capped one first.
I disliked him most then,
And I don’t think that has changed.
I smile as the terror and fear is clear on his face,
As I remind him that rest I shall have
Or peace he shall not.
The second one seems more scared.
Ah!,the one that thought that we couldn’t do without him.
I like the fear on his face,
And for a split second I wish I could do more.
But no,I just remind him;
“Rest I shall have,
Or peace you shall not.”
The third and fourth go just the same,
And I think I shall have my way…..
But the fifth thinks I’m unserious,
If I do not pay him a visit.
So I do.
He trembles greatly at my silhoutte
And shakes vigourously amid the heat.
I do not do more.
I just remind him that rest I shall have
Or peace he shall not.
It’s been months now
Since I began my journey.
I will begin to enjoy Nirvana’s perfect sleep.
Safe in the bowels of mother earth,
Amid the spirited noise of those I love,
Rest I shall have,
And rest I did have.
The Quiet One
“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it.
That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.”
― Octavia E. Butler