African Poetry with editor Vera Ignatowitsch
Early morning rain
It rained heavily this morning
With showers, strong winds and sandstorm
And the wind with big strong hands shaking everything
In sight. There I perched.
It rained, strongly
And a bird in its apartment is drenched
But it continues to sing sweet songs in that rain
Sweet birdly songs even in that heavy morning rain!
My Niger Beckons Me
This call in this strange land is heavy
The coast around smiling, in this land of smiling coast.
Here I am a stranger treading the smiling coast
Like the flow of the River Gambia
But my Niger beckons me now, what a strong call
Of my land, my people and my own.
The River Gambia smiles, and sparkles with its smiling coast
But the pull of the Niger is stronger than such smiles
What? The Niger calls and beckons me, its water waters my veins
And it calls and calls as I watch the Gambia flow
I must go home
I am bound by my land by the waters
And the butterflies of this river, and its smiling coast.
Will not my presence steal? I am bound to the Niger by blood
And its invincible presence flows in me to home
The Niger beckons me home, a stranger in this strange smiling
Sleepy, I exchange the River Gambia for my Niger
Yes, it is really time to go back home.
Banjul this afternoon
I can’t comprehend this weather
as the sun goes laughing
in this cold round the town,
the birds off the sky and songless, but
the roads are colour mixed — blacks and whites.
While blades of grass ice flattens down.
This cold is killing
imprisoning me to my jacket, yet
the whites and natives seem to celebrate it,
welcome fewer birds with green and yellow throats
& hens uncertain of their notes.
This weather reminds me of Naija* and its blessing.
*Naija means Nigeria
Obinna Chilekezi is an insurance practitioner trained as a librarian and journalist, and has had a book published. His poems have been published in anthologies such as New Nigerian Voice and Young West African Poetry. He won the African Insurance Organisation Book Award in 2016.
Once A Lover, A Fool Forever
Haven’t you heard of the fairy tale
That took heroes to their graves?
It revolves around black hair.
When the wind blows its magic
Eyes speak in silence
The mind, the breath, ignite a dream.
Pour your lips and swallow my breath
I will sip them like my Ceylon tea.
It is nothing, but a drink of eternity.
When it’s love say it with sealed eyes.
Say nothing; I will hear its voice
From the toy beneath your ribs
Let the cotton in your palm walk
And travel along my blood
Behold! Your breath calls my name
Calling it to the lonely cold night
Where the snowflakes roam.
There, we will dance and chat.
Oh God! Is this love or a revelation
That’s pouring sugar in my wound?
Alas! Don’t turn around
Do not kiss me goodbye fair love
The fragile times will be true
And the moon will lend us its light.
Then I will taste your breath.
Heaven, earth, sea or ocean
Whichever one I can give —
But at the end
The statue is made of clay.
Sa’id Sa’ad is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and short story writer. He has received short story and essay awards. His story, “My Narrow Escape From The Gloom,” won the Peace Panel Short Story Prize. He co-authored the poetry book Reunion.
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