Posted in Poetry

A song for Ndawi – visions

by Noel Ihebuzor  

A song I wrote some twenty two years ago

Visions

Your charm suggests the smell of fresh hibiscus
of the red rose, the taste of the ripe udala fruit
You hum softly in my ear
Your beauty drones in my head
Your absence makes you present
Your presence makes me absent-minded

I see nothing else
hear nothing else
feel nothing else
wish nothing else

How long will this be ?
How long will visions of you haunt me ?

How long will I carry the
cross of your presence,
now so strong in your absence
so pleasant to remember
and so painfully sweet to carry
How long?

Posted in Poetry

A song for the uncertain

Noel Ihebuzor 

In search of certainty

do you feel me when you feel me
the way I feel you
like gentle rains on the dry thirsty earth
that sizzles with joy at each drop
and liberates a humming scent
which explodes, expands and then swirls around
everywhere and all over
humming softly like a delicate bouquet of flowers

I feel, I float and fly
when you feel me
you fill my person, body, bones and being
everything, everywhere and all over
when you feel me
and my eyes search your eyes for answers
your bright darting reveal nothing, speak nothing
to quench my thirst to know

whether you feel me like I feel you
when you feel me
Do you fool me or
do I fool myself
like the fisherman casting his nets to catch a full moon
as it floats on the indifferent surface of a lake
like the optimist hurrying back from the village stream
a raffia palm basket filled with water balanced on a wet head

tell me – do you fool me as you feel me
or do I fill a time bound need?

Posted in Poetry

A song for short cuts and wrong choices

by Noel Ihebuzor  Sunday, 19 September 2010 at 00:40 

Lost in our greed and lust

we took the short cut and the road was longer

in our rush, in our grabbing rush, in our haste

we grabbed and broke the needle of the compass

and now turn round in endless circles and squares,

moving but getting nowhere and lost

and we missed the matter and still do.

 

Where the matter lies is where the truth lies,

the truth of a people lost in time, with lots of lust but lost in values

The root of the problem was the problem of roots

suspended roots, shifting roots,

dangling and swinging in the wind,

floating and drifting along in

and with the stream of convenience, like

an anchorless dream, like a malaria-ed dream

 

At the breaking of the road

we had a choice to turn to the truth,

to return to it and to begin again

to dig to where the matter lies or to lie

we chose to let the matter lie, to lullaby the truth to sleep

to finally lie finally,

hoping to suffocate the truth in the rich folds of our plunder

with the huge pillow cases of our loot

we urged the truth to die

and thus stilled and dulled the voices within us

we bent our tongues

and bartered our already battered and sad souls.

Posted in Poetry

The road we walk

by Noel Ihebuzor

It appeared shorter, smoother and surer,

Easier, beckoning, enticing

but once our seduced feet

Set off on it

The road became long and longer

and our enlarging lust glued our feet to it

and we got stuck and sucked in

 

The ephemeral glitter, the vanishing flashing lights

left us lost, clutching our harvest of cheap gains

and dense chaff

eternal virtues abandoned

redeeming values jettisoned

 

Our lust locked us in, stills locks us in

and still locks us out

of our possibilities 

and we walk and trudge along in loose losing circles,

muscles aching, limbs limp, souls sore

minds racked and feverish

our days now empty, our nights long and limp

 

A constant rush of rash

dull but disturbing lights invade our nights

stagger into our sweat filled dreams

these dreams filled with uneven riots and battles

In which demons and angels contend

For our souls and our wayward soles

mornings are stale and dark like the days

 

We trudge on

in ever widening circles and sterile cycles

in our fatigued state, we clump and stomp,

our alluring Journey’s end

now hazy, dim and receding…..

 

Outcomes from our feverish indecent haste of the past

now visit our present,

ghosts from our past,

they clamp our limbs like dead lead

And us, miserable us,

still blind, obdurate as if cursed

very reluctant to return

to the basics

to start anew

rather preferring to sift

the blowing and bellowing winds

for a harvest of  fresh fish

 

 

Posted in Poetry

A song on Peace talks

by Noel Ihebuzor
Pieced together peace talks ends. As we wave good byes, I see the short sleeved ex-combatant wave a long good bye to his long sleeved former foe, both now united by a bond of misery!

We sit across tables we once shunned
and speak smooth words with our twisting tongues
the same tongues that once shattered the face of the moon
as it slept softly on the still waters of the lake
We sit across tables in foreign lands,
the tables in our lands are broken, trust too we broke,
we stripped, shredded and mangled trust and truth,
barren stillness and silence now suffocate our land
the hollowing silence contrasts to all the rage and roar of battle,
broken then by the screams of fear of the wounded and the dying
by the sounds of guns and rifles and mortars that are now silent
We are empty victors, we sit and sign
and we soon forget the victims and their unmarked graves
and their un-song departures
for us victors, the dead are gone, no longer matter, invisible, just numbers,
cannon fodder in our selfish quest for space and place,
pawns in our power plays,
the poor dead, drawn from the pool of the poor,
seduced by fake promises of power and prosperity,
now reduced to putrid manure, and the survivors,

the living dead, twisted wrecks, shattered nerves and traumatized psyches,
red eyed, empty, battered shell shocked souls with broken soles, we
refuse to see, we deny
we are empty victors, we are the selfish victors
we speak peace in the sanitized comfort of hotel rooms in a foreign land
we shuffle across to shake hands with those we once shook fists at
smiling with awkward ease at the flash of cameras,
flashing as the flash of guns in the stillness of night on now barren battle fields
and waving as if in goodbye to our follies, to our failures, our frivolities
and saying sweet empty words with our slippery tongues,
measuring our gains, counting the inches and meters,
counting the post and positions and settlements
and posturing for juicier posts, aligning new alliances
invincible, and ever ready to barb and dismember afresh the dead who refuse to die
and obliterate and bury any stubborn living who refuse to die to truth and to cede to our ambitions

Posted in Poetry

A song for the mighty

 by Noel Ihebuzor  

What has made snails take on wings
and to trade their shells for sails?
Why this rush and stampede by millipedes?

Is it the rumble of thunder or the dark heavy clouds
that announce the gathering storms?
Is it the flurried fury of the beautiful ones in their impotent protests,
Is it the rage of the innocent
or the growing wrath of the wretched?

A parade of childless mothers hurries by
and soon the march past of motherless children
carrying totems of their once impotent fathers to their lively graveyards

The silent whimper of the weak grows large
their numbers also grow with each passing moon
but all this drowned in the strong assured voice of the righteous,
the correct voice of the mighty and the right

The raw raging roar of the mighty
rises high, hoarse and rough,
fills every space, crowds the waves
announcing swathes of freedom, liberation, redemption,
victory and defeat

The voice that defines night and day
also defines right and wrong,
as it clearly and cleanly
sorts out the right from the wrong,
the good from the evil
all this with power, passion, and failing conviction

The voice of the right erases doubts, suppresses doubts
generously traces and defines lines and boundaries of dissent
and discourages all rational efforts
who but the weak can distinguish expediency from morality in these climes and times
expediency, morality and necessity sleep well and deep

strong assured voices waft to assert and to correct
and where the voices are not heeded,
strong arms move to assert and correct
Scattering droplets of peace and planting the seeds of war,
Implanting signposts of order and the foundations of hatred and hopelessness

The lines are drawn bold and clear
Soon the standard bearers of the evil ones
will lie scattered in the dust of shame and defeat
And the standard bearers of the mighty and right
will strut around in celebrations of the triumph of good
soon the sparks from the voice and strong arms of might
will blight every sparkle from the eyes of weaklings,
will brighten the night with balls of flame and heat
and the flames burn, scorch and cleanse
and the deaf, and the blind, the lame and the weak
will swell in their numbers as the drumbeat and rumble and thunder of might arrive

The hymen of the neutral will be shabbily ruptured,
their emblems shredded soon to fly at quarter mast
as their voices and consciences wane weak
and their cowering voices speak with the same clarity of flames
from the wick of a weak palm oil lamp

The rising roar of the right and mighty wafts and floats,
grows and roars and soars
frowns at and drowns other voices
eagle eyes scan abroad for new signs of evil
The drumbeats and chest beatings become strident
Portending thunder from the earth and sky,
Announcing new storms, new downpours,

The approaching storms, the dark clouds announce the future,
they announce a harvest from which the snails now fly,
the lizards, the rats, the millipedes, the antelopes, the elephants are in preparing to fly
all abroad and in search of strong wings and kind winds

And I too should now learn to fly or fry

Posted in Poetry

A song against gender based violence

by Noel Ihebuzor  

Short and simple – for the battered and abused –

“and the moon cried herself dark the night you battered me, and the silent stars sobbed and the heavens rained damp tears….and frowned at your flowers of appeasement”

Flowers, presents, clumsy sluggish contrition
Wham, bang, in, out and over
Short, quick and simple
And with this short and insensitive flourish,
this contrived contrition
failings are deleted, denied and wiped clean
and the slate is made clean

A ritual of voluntary and selective amnesia
is once again re-enacted
on an over-burdened and traumatized victim….
this abused, reduced, confused,
this ravaged, ripped off, ripped up,
this maligned, denied, defiled piece of womanity
for whom there is no longer peace
and life together empties of all reason and rhythm,
save a rhythm rich in thuds and thumps
which deflate the soul

The camel’s back is strong but growing sore
and the woman’s soul initially deep and rich
is now growing raw and red and full of rage
and the seasons they come and they go

and the woman’s hopes for change
soar and crash with each season
and the seasons weigh hard
and soon the back is bent with sorrow
as the eyes are baggy with worry and self pity
slowly she counts her beads of sorrow
as she bids her time
as her soul beats and looks beyond the cage that is her existence

(somewhere in the hard-soft corridors of truth,
mute angels ask in a mixture of angst and empathy
“ how do pearls get thrown to swine,
and beauty to the constant stings of scorpions?”)

the mighty strong ignores the hunger and needs of the dove
and the soul, beautiful but trapped by ugly cruelty
agonizes with each passing day,
imagination and ideals slowly ebb away
and hollow emptiness and eats away the inside
a calm soul now battered by the staggering immaturity,
by the still born imagination and emotional aridity of a partner
a clod, insensitive and immune to logic beyond the brawn,
beyond the mighty fist, the rod, the muscle

each day the soul is mangled by pangs of regrets
of an alliance without spice, without rhythm, colorless
and the once bright eyes are now sunken
dazed by impunity and slowly sucked under by her powerlessness
and the indifference of those around

and the clouds gather and darken, and swell…
and swell and soon to burst into homicide

and the partner blames the spouse
and the victim is the aggressor
and the partner massages an ever swelling ego and self-righteousness
with the puerile glee of the mentally challenged,
like one caught in the stasis of frozen and retarded adolescence

“and the moon cried herself dark the night you battered me, and the silent stars sobbed and the heavens rained damp tears….and all frowned at your flowers of appeasement”

Posted in Poetry

A song along the beach

 

by Noel Ihebuzor  

I jogged along, hearing but not heeding tiring feet,

tuned into and turned on by my untiring mind

On the horizon

Where as far as the eye could see,

the awakening sky draped itself in colors

lent to it by the awakening sun

dipped into the wrinkled rippling ocean

The young rising sun painted masterpieces

on the canvas of a willing and wide sky

Here and there, it oozed through the sky

there it streaked through it,

cut through it

like a golden laser,

a dazzling jeddai sword

and over there it streamed

through huge holes

pouring gold-like rays like they were flowing

through a colored sky into the ocean

that rippled, danced and welcomed it,

regaling in the generous hues of rippling silver on gold

with which it was adorned,

The blend of rippling silver with a golden touch

beautiful to behold,

inspiring awe and wonder

And the slow moving ships

in different sizes and shapes

in measured paces and distances hung around

the harbor gates

patiently waiting their turn to be called into the harbor

And I wondered what lesson in life their patience taught us

to learn to wait our turn

For the ships are called into harbor

According to when they arrived, first arrive, first enter

and so each has learnt to wait

to sail into the harbor in the order in which they arrived

as I mused over this

my mind strayed to another journey

when people are called into the final harbor of life

and I wondered why this call

did not follow a logic as neat as this

where you go into the harbor

in the order in which you arrived

and then I thought I heard a voice

break into my thoughts

speaking with soft compassion

“my son, my aging son,

why do you seek answers to questions

beyond the confines of your mind

your restless mind strays

from the path of acceptance

away from the assured safety of trust in me

and the logic of faith.

must my logic and the harbor master’s be the same?

is the gardener not free to walk his garden at will

and to pick the flowers he planted as he wills,

randomly and by his own wisdom and logic

which are above yours

as the heavens are above the earth ?

can the prettiest and brightest of flowers

with its petals dazzling the earth and sky

challenge the logic of the gardener”?

How I miss these flowers!

How their beauty and feel haunt me!

How I miss them

I must have said it

Did I say it?

His question meant that I must have

For I heard the same soft voice say

“Or would you want to see these flowers, to feel them

For to do so, I must call you too into the harbor”

And at this,

I thought I saw the faces of those

whose voices I no longer heard

Whose voices I longed to hear

And whose smiles I longed to touch mine

Faces that I miss so painfully

shake their heads in unison

as if to say

“Say no”

And I saw their faces against the silvery skies,

familiar and loved faces bathed in soft glows of silver halos

Of those who sleep well….

As dear now even departed as in life

All who I once held and whose memories I still hold

All signalling by vigorous sideways shakes

Of the halo surrounded frames

“say no, stay on

Emeruo emeruo ka nma” ,

their silent lips all said, all sang

And I found my own voice

Heard myself saying

to the silent approving murmur

of the rustling speaking ocean

“Call me into the harbor

After I have run at least the three score and ten you promised all,

not before

For then my debts would have been paid

And I can sail into the harbor strong, free, strong, slow and steady

Mind free, soul full and spirit willing,

But your will, supreme gardener, supreme harbormaster, not mine”

I jogged on, the ships sailed on

In their order and logic,

The ocean rippled,

The waves raced to the beach

The rising sun now bolder

trying as if to drown the ocean with the intensity

Of its warmth and embrace

And I jogged on, in the embrace of life

embracing the living and

still remembering the departed.

Posted in Poetry

Reflections from Coco beach this morning

by Noel Ihebuzor

Just back from my early jog on Coco beach, Oyster Bay and savoring the glow and good feel effect that comes from a good work out. jogging on the beach was great…..the waves sang and beckoned, inviting me to take a dip, a quick splash, in the fresh foaming and singing waters…

my heart,  it took note and longed to and it strained to give heed, encouraged by a residual and slow to evaporate sense of youthfulness….my head, it said “NO”, “Mba mba, mi o gba, keria”…a dozen unfinished businesses and outstanding obligations immediately shot forward, sprang to attention…and as a team surged forward direct into my line of vision, speaking first in low mumbles and then louder and louder, more strident yet soaking my every pore with their clamours and claims …and my head won..and I jogged on…admiring the young and the brave who swam and danced in the surging waves, displaying their six packs and their firm bodies…and hearing their shrills of joy and the song and boasts of the waves as they came in, loud and strong, in their unending motion..the loud sounds and boasts of each wave slowly to be calmed in the embrace of the white soft songs of the beach…

and I jogged on…and then back to the hotel…and now preparing to go present myself before His throne of Grace and ask Him in His mercy and kindness to Control-Alt-Delete all my failings (by omission and/or commission) of the past week and reload and recharge me, renew and refresh me for a new week!