Category Archives: People and Places

Who will Turn The Wheel?

Who will turn the wheel?

Who will turn the wheel back

on course to where peace and

tranquility would once again return

to our shores?

For what I can see now is the wheel

turned on to a precipice of ruin and

and desolation, wedged on with an

impregnable rock and set on an

Autopilot

Who can turn our nation, Nigeria,

back onto our normal course where

we cherish our love to one another,

without fear and intimidation across

our ethnic and religion frontier?

I can see our land covered in a mist

and gloom shadows of hatred and

distrust; where once closely knitted

neighbors have turned bitter foes

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Who has done this to us? Who has

placed this curse on us, broken our

bond of brotherhood, and turned

us to bitter rival, where we now

pride in murder and mayhem, without

the blinking of the eye?

Our land is weeping for the blood

of the innocent killed; our nation

is bleeding with the blood of innocent

children, dripping down the gullies

and thoroughfare

Traditional houses on the Nun River in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. The Niger Delta, West Africa. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Mothers are weeping for their lost

children’ and the children turned orphans

as their parents are hewed down by a

marauding fiendish apparitions gabbed

in human robe; doubling widows across

the land

The sound of weeping and wailing are

heard in every home and hamlet

Our cities are turned into theater

of a macabre dancing where no

one is sure when the dark starry

night will turn to a bloody full-moon night

Who will; who can, who is going to

turn the wheel and guide us from this

precipice of gloom to a ray of hope?

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Don’t Play God on a Man

 

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You know nothing about him

You do not know the hours he spends

weeping in his lonely home barricaded behind

the dark shutters fluttering from the midnight breeze;

dripping dews bathed the tender rose garden in the courtyard

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Crying to God to lift him out of the miry clay

clinging to him and threatening to suck him

into the dark bowel of uncertainty and despair

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You never knew the hours he spends in the dark

recluse of a dimly lighted room worshiping and praising

God despite the threatening dark gloom of uncertainty;

For the wonders and precious things, the Lord hath done.

You can never tell the close-knitted fellowship and bond

he has with the Lord for everything He had done for him

 

The facade he displaces in the church, and the public,

amongst the congregation were mere expressions to maintain

The harmonious comradeship and love the church, the society

and the congregation requires of him to be in the ethics of

human cult and acceptability;

Thus, you can’t play God to a man whom

you cannot tell the composition of his heart

 

Neither can you play God to a man  that lives

in  the sphere of evil, dine with Satan, whose mouth

is full of guile outside of the church gates;

Being a representative of Evil

Yet he plays the keyboard on Sundays

Preach with oratory eloquence to the congregation,

a miracle worker, a super church worker,

and a societal symbol of philanthropists

These are all a facade of deception

to reckon on societal acceptability

 

But there is a God, who sits in a lofty

height on his throne in the Heavens

He sees through the facade we display;

He sees and acknowledges the heartfelt

Praises and Worship we render to Him

He sees our commitments and services

He felt the pains and travail we bear

for his Namesake in the world

Thus God rewards us in due season

according to our deeds, whether

they are righteous or they are not

For He is God and does not play God to Himself

He is our Love, our sustainer, and our hope;

He is our strength, and our defender, our shield,

our refuge, our healer, our savior

He is our Sanctifier; He is God

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The Sun sunk behind a diamond-clad horizon

Though it was a Sunset in Noonday, its brilliance, and touches of warmth will ever be with us. Though the clouds cover you on the 11th of June 2018, you will ever be in our memory.

The Sun Sunk Behind a Diamond Clad Horizon

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Two score years down the ages,
the day was just like the one before;
the Sun rose in a solemn brilliance
just like the day before, but with a
peculiar aura: beaming with an infectious
brilliance

Thus attracting everyone and everything
on its path with a captivating sensuality,
as it sails through space in the span of its
voyage, its brilliance sprouting hope and trust
to everyone attached to its rays

But midway on its voyage, the sun took a dip;
gliding like a meteor, blazing a trail adorned
in anguish, grief and broken expectations as it
clawed its way to the faraway earthly horizon
Stupefied populace glued unblinkingly at the
sudden display

And the sun sunk behind a diamond-clad horizon;
leaving behind, a thick, pulsating silence that seemingly,
,to envelop a riotous world

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The Conflicting Realities 2: My Guidance Angel 4

(Concluded)

scenic view of beach
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I looked back at the old man and continued. “What we need for the production of salt at the time of the war was a mere rectangular tin pot measuring about five feet long, three feet in width, and three feet depth. We then prepared a cooking stand with two big mangrove tree logs arranged side by side to make a fire.

“All the raw materials that we need were the salt water from the sea and a steady supply of firewood; the mangrove forest has an unlimited supply. One can prepare as many pots and fire as he is capable of managing.

“As the water dries up, the salt will be left behind as sediment in the pot. The more water one keeps filling the pot with, the larger the quantity of salt produced.

“On getting the desired amount of salt, it will be emptied into a large bamboo weaved baskets. The pot will then be filled with fresh water and the salt poured back into it.”

“Why do you need to do that?” He asked.

“The saltwater we got from the river carries with it a large number of residues,” I explained. “Though, we often collect the water when the river has stopped flowing in full tide or at ebb tide when all the muddy dross has settled into the depth of the river. We will still carry some along with the water to the pot; this gives the prepared salt a brownish color.

man holding pole
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“We, therefore, use the fresh water to wash off this brownish appearance to give it a somewhat brighter look.”

“This would be quiet a labor-intensive activity.”

“It was. The fire must be on, all day and all night until you have got the desired quantity of salt in the pot, and you want to remove it. You’ve got to have a regular supply of firewood to keep the fire burning and be filling the pot with the salt water.

“You would have to wake up in the middle of the night to make sure that the fire does not burn out, or the salt burnt black. There was also the additional labor of getting the fresh water from another fishing camp across the estuary where there was a bush, every time you need to clean the salt.”

“How do you sell off the product after this rigorous exercise?” he asked.

“There was a total trade blockade into the Eastern part of the country as a result of the war. This resulted in a lack, or shortage of the supply of salt, among other essential marine products.

bird s eye view of seashore during daytime
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“Though the salt we produced was not of the grade of fine refined type, it was able to compensate for the total lack of the product and the resultant health effect on the people. We will then package the salt into the baskets which we take to the border market at Akpede for sale.” I concluded

“How’s that possible?” He asked.

We both turned to look away into the far southern end of the river where a flock of parrots was descending into the groove of the giant mangrove trees: their chirping sounds filling the evening air.

“After producing the salt, do you have to shut down production until after you have done the sale then you go back and start another round of cooking?” He turned to look at me inquiringly.

“You are only asking me to say how this is possible or do you truly want to know?” I asked with a smile.

“Well, you have been explaining the process, and I truly want to know how you concluded this salt production business at a time of strife.”

“While the men and the children are involved in the main working at the camp, the wives would take the finished product to the market. It was also a period when various trading activities were also going on.

“Some traders would come from the hinterlands to buy salt and other marine products to go and sell at the market; they also brought food items and other things to sell in the camps.

“Though I would want to accept your assessment to the extent that we were not directly in the epicenter of the war to have a severe effect, we, none-the-less, felt it in different ways. We exploited the situation to stay alive. Our life patterns were also greatly displaced.”

“If you have been listening to me since I came here, you would realize that is what I have been saying,” he looked at me. And now I can see the shade of weariness in his face quite plain.

“War is a dangerous adventure for anybody, people, or nation to undertake. Even now, I can hear the sound and drums of war very loud and clear all over the world.

blue loungers on beige balcony beside sea landscape photography
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“It is not the sound that you hear from a distant land and would want to dismiss as tales by moonlight. I can hear it even in your country. The general meetings and assemblies of all the world organs are not meeting on global development, but about alignment, about wars, and about the production of the weapon of wars of the destruction of the human race.

“Are you paying attention to the news of the world? There is an alarming trend of events tilting into war. I am afraid your nation and the world are in the periphery of a catastrophic cauldron. And with the advancement of technology, the wars in the last century will be mere flake compared with what you will have in your hand.”

I could feel his eyes piercing into my heart as he was talking, his voice droning like a giant bird in the distance drawing my mind into a picture sometime in the past. I can see the flashing lights in the night like a dozen touch lights.

“What’s happening?” His voice cut into my thoughts. “Why are you looking as if you’ve seen a ghost?”

“I was thinking what we suffered during the war,” I looked at him as he raised his eyes inquiringly at me. “We left the village at dusk to travel to Owukubu on our salt production business.

“We were two canoes comprising the whole members of the family and some workmen of my father. He had mapped out the route we were to take as to fit with the flow of the current. His estimation was to take us to this camp at about the time when the water was to flow downstream.

“That would have given us a smooth ride down Sibokubu-bio to Juju point, then follow the current down the St. Barbara River to the estuary at Owukubu, and we would be home and dry. We would come out from that river, are you seeing that entrance upriver from here?” I pointed to the river that comes out from the midsection before the main river curves to the left.

“That point is called Okonikiri – named after a certain man that set up a fishing camp at the point.” From the fading light of evening in the distance, I could see two or three canoes returning to the camp. I looked at the old man. He was also staring at them.

photo of a boat on a river
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The Conflicting Realities 2: My Guidance Angel 2

Conflicting Realities 2; My Guidance Angel 2

two men fishing on lake
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As I looked up, I saw the old man looking away to the far southern end of the river where the mangrove trees drew a thick pattern as a well-cultured flowering garden. There is another river coming out at that point to join the main artery which tapered off into the far end as it curves off to form another stretch.

I followed his gaze and noticed that the sun has gone under a thick grey cloud casting a deep reddish appearance over the river in the western horizon. I looked up to the east, as if on cue, and saw the water blending off into the tall mangrove, curving into the left, going far away into the hinterlands.

From that end, I could notice the eastern horizon bearing the night as a sheet of the dark velvet curtain, spreading over static earth.

“War is an ominous evil that mankind has invented to solve frail egos and gain position and authority, which left in its wake despicable destruction of the divine order,” he said breaking the silence.

“Whenever I hear the sound and drums of war being played, as is the case now, I sympathize with the man. They will never learn. You cannot settle your differences by trying to kill your opponent.

“War takes away the peace of man and visits him with pain and sorrow, grief and destruction beyond his imagination. In the frenzied atmosphere of the sound of the battle drums, and war-cry, only very negligible voices will cry caution; that will easily get swallowed up in the strident sound of the drums.

“Even now, I could hear the drums of war in the distance, and rapidly getting louder,” he finished with that far away look, seeing into time beyond our realm, I guessed.

adult army battle black and white
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“Sir, there has always been a war fought in one part of the world or the other. Which one are you referring to here? There is already a war in Nigeria. Isn’t there?” I asked.

“There is a war being fought now which you hear on the News wave. They still consider it a distant tale from a fairyland. For those that have not experienced war first hand, it sounds like an adventure that one could pursue.

“But what they did not realize is that only a few come back to tell tales of their experience, and even those lives a nightmarish life for a considerable part of their remaining life. War bears in its wings tales an observer can tell that.” He looked at me sullenly with a suppressed grin and patted my shoulder.

“You had a childhood experience of your old war.”

“Yes I do,” I agreed, my thoughts going back to the first soldier I ever saw in my life.

A fat-bellied man, wielding a long rifle; he appeared from the corner of a building, looking grim and threatening. I have gone with my mother to Akpede market in the heat of the war to sell fish on a particular market day.

This fat soldier also came to the market with some of his colleagues to buy things. When I saw him, I exclaimed at his appearance. My mother had to slap my mouth shut with the back of her left hand.

Over the years, I kept on imagining the enterprising spirit of the people in those dire days of the war. The people from the riverine areas will bring goods like fish, salt, and other marine-based products to this border market to’ exchange’ for food and other product.

Exchange it was because most of the trade was done by batter system as the currency of exchange was not accepted as a legal tender across both sides of the border; that was long before the soldiers started converging in our villages and fishing camps, burning and destroying everything.

(To be continued)

flock of birds
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Sweet Memories Linger

 

heart shaped pink and purple flower garden
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We all had good times and bad times. I had mine when I lost a loved one some years past. I have gone over the pain. Recently, I reflected on that moment and how I put my thoughts into lyrics then. Here were my thoughts in lyrics.

SWEET MEMORY LINGERS
Sweet memories of years gone by
Assails my thoughts these days,
They were memories of fishing,
Of farming, and of salting farming;
Of so many things to say.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son.’

It is a sweet memory that lingers.
It follows me everywhere.
The love and joy it gives
Is evergreen.
Sweet memory lingers.

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky
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I recall memories of the camps,
The fishing settlements and huts;
The rivers and the sea, as constant friends.
The toy boats and the mud,
Where we ran and played.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son.’

How could the past be in the present?
How could I touch, smell and feel
All those things which only lingers now
In the past’s memory.
Of the things, I love so much.
But above all, is the memory
Of the one who called me, ‘son’.

It is a sweet memory that lingers.
It follows me everywhere.
The love and joy it gives
Is evergreen.
Sweet memory lingers.

woman in black long sleeved cardigan
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