poems by Ngozi Olivia Osuoha
Of the hurdles and puzzles
In the midst of scarcity,
Of the deaths and accidents
In the midst of life and love,
Of the pains and stains
In the midst of fears and tears,
Wow! We made it!
Traumas and dramas
Stigmas and dilemmas
Hammers and failures,
Oh, we made it!
Sicknesses and diseases
Epidemics and pandemics
Shutdowns and lockdowns
Meltdowns and recessions
O dear friends, we made it!
Happy new year, happy world
I wish us well, better and stronger
Happy new year, dear world
I wish us safety, love and peace.
The past is gone behind us
Yes, let’s leave it there and move on
The year is spent, gone forever
It will never come, come to haunt us.
Leave it behind, move on
Let it go, focus on the future
It’s a new year, let’s dance ahead
Whatever happened, let it go!
We can live better and happy
Yes, we can be stronger and livelier
If we choose to turn a new leaf.
Happy new year, happy new year
We conquered the troubles
We subdued the years,
Come on, it’s a new year
Don’t limit it to mere resolutions
Because all things are possible.
Dust yourself, clean your coat
Wear your shoes, guard your loins
We made it, it’s a new year
We could make it a new world.
May the heavens smile on us
May the stars light our paths
May the moon never cease to give us joy
May the sun keep shining and smiling on us
May the universe favour us continually
Hip! Hip! Hip! Hurray!!
You were so gorgeous like a king
Sparking like a knight in shining armour
Your crown dazzled with diamonds
And your staff stood like a pillar,
So I fell for you like a pack of cards.
You were everything that I ever wanted
I dreamed so long that you became real
The sole of your feet was a bridge
It crossed me between borders and shores,
But you were a stinking sinking ship.
The apparel of angels you wore
But the garment of saints, you tore
Ungodliness was your robe
And worldliness your wardrobe,
Yet you glitter like gold.
Trusting you was my crime
Loving you was my evil
And accepting you was my downfall.
I didn’t pray for agony
I don’t wish to reap sorrow
Rather I hope for the best,
Hence I’ll never send this letter.
They call you coloured, as though they are colourless
And tag you awkward and still hinder your forward,
They compel you wayward and compact you untoward
Black child, the world is so wide, yet wants you wild!
The sea wants to drown you so be no fish, for fish is edible and profitable
Rather be the tide, the current and the storm
Be the mermaid, and rule the sea!
Black child, the fire wants to raze you
So be not the coal for coal is combustible,
Instead be the flame, the hotness, and the degree
Be not inflammable!
The wind wants to uproot you
Be the earth, the land and the forces!
The world doesn’t like your skin
So she can throw you into the bin
Just to get the tiniest tin
Or drink the harshest gin
And still label you a sin,
If that could make her win
Or puncture you with a pin.
Black child, you are not gold
Let no one have you sold,
Though you live in a nest
You can be the best.
You are never the worst
Let no one; your head burst!
Black child, you are not a monkey
Do not be laboured like a donkey
Though you live in a cave
You are not a slave,
And never you be a pest
Though they put you to test.
Your breastmilk is sweeter than honey
Let none syphon it with money,
Your balls are stronger than rocks
Let none crush them with blocks
Nor cage them with padlocks, for there is your life!
Black child, the world is dark
But you can make a mark!
Yes, your skin is black
But there is no nature you lack!
Your skin is beautiful and wonderful
Even the rainbow is not that colourful,
Black child, walk with your shoulders high
For no human is more human than you!
My flat soles don’t flatten my soul
At least I am five feet’ nine
My casual wears don’t commonize my person
Sure, I am one worldwide,
My small breasts don’t bottle my mind
I am a phenomenon!
Hear my rough face tell gorgeous a fortune
See my unkempt hair wave loudly to glory,
Hear my short nails call the worlds to order
See my black eyes so glitter like gold
Hear my cute nose breathe dazzling diamonds
See my long legs step proudly on thorns,
This African girl, O nature is you!
I need no knife to boost my beauty
Need I no chemical to change my skin,
Hey! see how cosmetics flatter me
But watch my bums rock and roll in harmony
Feel my straight arms flagging wonders untold
And my big ears spread wide apart,
This African girl, O nature is you!
Of nipples that are pointers, we wrap
Of breasts that are compasses, we guard
We neither ensnare nor anyone enslave
Because If nudity was a calling, we would have you endangered!
I am slim, a model by nature
A perfect art of divinity
But if I got chubby in the future
Still wait for it, my audacity.
The orchestra is me, the melody is me
I am the chemistry; undiluted
I am the gallery, unadulterated
The exhibition is me, black and blunt!
You are the content and the container
You are contented and concentrated
You are the contest and the quest,
You are so pure and so raw
O The African Girl!
Don’t feel inferior, dance pass the exterior
Draw from within and decorate your interior
Fly high above, nature abounds in you,
Phenomenal girl, the goddess of beauty.
Cameras take bribe, mirrors are corrupt
Shadows are dark, echoes distort
Yet I have a dream, a dream so clear
That someday the paparazzi shall arise,
With courage and effrontery to witness my beauty,
This girl shall set cameras ablaze
And burn mirrors into ashes!
Piercings are fierce, so they hurt me
Stories could be written not just tattoos
Scars could be stars even taboos,
So dear African girl, nature is you!
If nudity was a calling, I would intimidate Adam
If nudity was a calling, I would rubbish Eve,
A principality, a power
A force, a creator,
I rule my world!
Remember I am a poet, I don’t pity words
This African girl is nature, beware!
Haggard; you were a digger
Mustard; your faith was bigger
You can never be forgotten
My teacher; never to rotten,
Dead; you are a Legend
Alive; you are a Friend
Thank you, thank you.
Disrespect walked out of Class
Ignorance walked into Glass,
Indiscipline expected you to cry
Inexperience left himself dry,
Hatred did you, waylay
Stubbornness forgot payday,
On their behalf; forgive.
Your Old-school hair; they pocked
Your torn trousers; they mocked
Childishness laughed at your Shoes
Brutality stepped on your Toes,
Foolishness played you games
Stupidity called you names,
Never mind; forgive.
Disobedience always did wrong
Outlaw bullied the young,
Freedom misused his fees
Abject poverty stung by bees,
Mischief came for a fight
Weapons consumed your night,
Yet committed; thank you.
They knew you were hungry
Knew not you were; a Laundry
They knew you were thirsty
So they became very nasty,
For all they did dramatize
On their behalf i apologize,
Forgive, thank you.
Now i fully understand
All you wanted to withstand,
I thought it was wickedness
But you built me for wilderness,
I appreciate the punishment
It was for a sound development,
Thank you, thank you.
Thank you for the manual labour
It added my strength; flavour
For answered questions, thank you
For unanswered ones, thank you
For each assignment, thank you
For each flogging, thank you,
For everything, thank you.
I can now comprehend
Why you could not pretend,
You were a Role Model
Wanted me; a Supermodel,
It was a royal target
You vowed; no regret
Thank you, thank you.
If I never held the Chalk
If I never did the long Walk,
If you were not my Teacher
If you never turned a Preacher,
If you never saw me Green
Wonder; I would have been;
Perhaps a terrible Nuisance.
DEDICATED TO TEACHERS WORLDWIDE ESPECIALLY TO MY TWO MOST SEASONED EDUCATIONISTS. YOU ARE INCREDIBLE.
Behind these green banks
Banks of deep rivers
Whales swim in love.
Overtaking blue passions
Forging deeper than oceans,
Waving peace and tranquil.
Poor sailor, cold and lonely
Tossing around and round,
Praying to be home.
Rowing in hard chaos
Rolling in windy sea
Rocking his boat steadily.
Ocean waves in tension
Turbulence in agony,
Hope advancing in fear.
Currents driving the earth
Storms speeding the world
Time and tide, rock and roll.
Calm eludes rides
Quiet vanishes strides
Deep and wide, no pride.
Home, home, upon homeward
South, east, west and north
Prayers align, array, allure in doubts.
I have watched with bitterness what you have done to yourself
You have crushed your foundation and laid bare your base,
You also have crashed your pillars
And buried your sight,
Now you fight with all your might.
Look, I am tired of praying for you as you swell up in hate,
My prayers have piled up to the skies and heavens
I feel weak and numb to pray more as you continue to prey on yourself,
See, how happy you feel wanting to die,
O how eager you run to kill yourself.
I am so ashamed of all you have done
You squashed unity and peace
You spoiled sanity and sense
Dear world, why are you so mean and cruel to yourself?
Do not say I never warned you
Never cry, I did not tell you
See, the dangers you were warned of have all happened, yet you wouldn’t learn,
The atrocities you have done now chase you, yet you pride in them,
I have come to warn you again all over
I know you may never heed
Because your ears are deaf, and your eyes so blind.
Desist from evil, make haste to change
Stop the calamities you build
Refrain from the terrors you upload
Abstain from the horrors you upgrade
Contain the errors you download
Change, make the world a better place
No matter your pace, find a space
Show your face, and receive grace
Run, and win the race.
I am just a voice
With message not noise,
Listen, and hear.
I have come, I am here
I wail, weep and wait
I hope and watch and pray
I did not keep mute.
As a flute, I blow loud
As a trumpet, I play into the crowd
As a pipe, I sound into the cloud
Hear me loud and clear
I did not keep mute.
Let generations unborn, hear me
Let the living take note,
Let the dead, feel me
Let heaven and earth witness;
That I did not keep mute.
Let my light shine in darkness,
in this dark world
Let my echo sound in emptiness,
in this empty world
Let my nuance fly in sadness,
in this sad world
Let my aim search the wilderness,
in this wild world
Let my anger avenge ugliness,
in this ugly world
Because I cannot keep mute.
I cannot keep mute, I am a flute
I cannot be bound, I am a parachute,
Dance to this music, this song of bitterness
Align with the rhythm; this melody of restlessness
Know it, say it, I did not keep mute.
Bear me witness again; louder
I did not keep mute, never did I
To this world of recklessness and woeful-ness
Please tell them, I was never comfortable!
Ngozi Olivia Osuoha has authored twenty three poetry books, and has featured in over one hundred and ten international anthologies. She has published over three hundred and twenty poems in over forty countries, and some of her pieces have been translated and published in Spanish, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Macedonian, Farsi, Arabic, Khloe, Scots, Chinese, Hindi, Assamese, Serbian, and other languages. She has some of her poems in some foreign libraries, including the US Library of Congress. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prize, Best Of The Net Awards, and she has also won so many awards, among others. She is a tailor, and she has much more things to accomplish.
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