In the Season of Anomy…Comes the Season of Poetry…


  In an earlier Post, I had tried to convince you,my friends, that I am a poet. Ok. Not in those bold assertive conviction. I was humble enough to say,”I have pretensions to being a poet”.
  Although,I am not in a combative mood today, I want to briefly remind Alhaji Lai Mohamed, the Nigerian HONOURABLE minister of Information and his team mate, the HONOURABLE Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq of the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry, what Caliph Umar (the 3rd Rightly Guided Caliph) said: ” Do not judge anyone according to how many prayers he says or how many fasts he keeps. Judge according to whether he speaks the truth,guards what is entrusted to him, and respects the difference between lawful and unlawful.”  I will not say more. If you say there are no hungry people in Nigeria. If you say that all Nigerians between the ages of 18 years and 50 years are gainfully employed. If you say that the Federal Government, by paying twenty thousand naira (#20000) to 5000 Nigerians; for that is what one hundred million Naira(#100,000,000) translates to, mathematically – good enough. Know TWO things: 1) there are over 180 million Nigerians( out of an est 200million) who are living below the World Bank stated Poverty line. The same World Bank that gave you a template to decide that a person,a human being,can be so  downgraded and called the ” poorest”. In my own part of Nigeria- and I suspect, in many other parts, it is taboo to classify a human being,as such.Nobody will come out and be included. So, how did you get your list?, 2) we, Moslems, believe in the Day of Judgement.
  So, I said I am not in a combative mood. Here is a poem of mine, written, twenty to thirty years ago – and eerily mirroring today. Is time standing still?


  • Laying
  •     I watch the skyline always darkening
         still by strange distant

    • horizon lights
    • I have done of evenings
    • I really have done
    • cried.shed silent tears
    • so terribly scared of the setting sun
    • for I presume
    • or should I not presume
    • that the nights
    • bring,
    • the suicides
    • the corpses on highways
    • the fleeting love affairs
    • and (even) this poetry
    • mere attempts to flee
    • and each side believes
    • it’s escape is more total

    • of evenings, then,ask yourself
    • what grave pains drove
    • a thirteen year old
    • to gun down his father
    • or take the mother of  five – and pregnant
    • who threw herself
    • body and soul
    • off the boat at Maroko
    •      into the sea
    • no. I bind my observations
    • with ribbons of pain
    • for how can one even attempt
    •                  an excuse

    • when Joe* spent in a rage
    • in one day
    • my wages of a year-
    and…for his birthday
    • to think for his fortieth year Here…
    • But who’s afraid of 40?

    • Moulting

    • And rising from the streets
    •                                below
    • the broken voices of a frightened Nation
    • and from the room opposite
    • muffled fragments of birth/death noises
    • and all these pleasured gruntings
    • and other less pleasant sounds
    •            in the midst of so much uncertainty
    •          And you still ask why
    •    there is poetry
    •    Such and such
    •    Conceive poetry, I say.
    • Lagos,1980.
    • * Joseph Wayas,Senate President of Nigeria,under President Shehu Shagari.