Posted in Poetry

A song for Santos

I would have played the sweetest of tunes then for you

but boils erupted all over the lips of my flute

and malicious termites mangled its delicate throat


Santos, the song I had hoped to play for you

must await another season when these sobs that clog and choke my  throat

these blocks that freeze my heart and voice

slowly clear up


in the season of waiting, dry and lean,

O very Santos,

Dimkpa asa,

only this pool of red tears is the voice of my song of sorrow.



Development and policy analyst with a strong interest in the arts and inclusive social change. Dabbles occasionally into poetry and literary criticism!

10 thoughts on “A song for Santos

  1. Noel–this is another deep, powerful song cried out in the midst of loss, and again as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. We have indeed walked the same road a few times (you translate your travels on this sad road so well, you take us with you).


    1. when my elder brother Val (I call him Santos) died, I was so overcome with sorrow that I was totally unable to say a befitting tribute to him for years of friendship – for he and I were such great friends! During the High Mass when I was asked to make a speech, I was the perfect picture of incoherence> really felt bad and still feel bad about this!


      1. Oh, Noel, in times like those, sorrow can wrap its hands around our throats and effectively strangle us to silence. I have written 2 eulogies in my life that I knew I would never be able to deliver myself–and asked someone else to read for me. Knew there was no way I would ever be able to speak coherently, so believe me, I understand! Always felt I was sort of a coward for not attempting to deliver them myself; they would have rung more truthfully coming from my own mouth. But, your brother knows the tribute you wanted to sing or say, and heard it through the incoherence pain imposed–hearing what was meant instead of what was said, like everything of pure spirit does.


      2. I totally get you. I lost my dad on the 15th of April 2012 , death is so bad… We were not best of friends, but still , death, makes one realize how precious life is. Your song for your brother, is my song for my dad. Thank you Noel


  2. My Uncle Val.. His style of laughter was and still is unique to him alone. I miss his Coolness and swag. I never saw a frown on his face,he always smiled and never said a bad word about anyone.

    Love you always Uncle Val.

    Opara Suzie!!!


    1. Yes, Iyk, the words you speak about my brother and your uncle touch me. Imela, Ikechi, opara ukwu, for these kind words. Val hears us and must be putting on his best swag now! Up Santos!


  3. I first met Val(Santos) in 1976 in Unilag and on learning that I was Owerre like him tried to teach me the ropes seeing he was already a student.I remember him as kind and considerate.Yes I remember him wearing what I consider his famous smile almost always.For our loved ones grief is something perhaps we shall continue to live with. They never really go away we can only manage them.I empathise because I too have been through this path before.Cheer up for our Val now wears a permanent smile


    1. Imela, Vicki nnem! I remember your presence and support during those painful days when we sent him to go join his ancestors. Chi gozie gi! Val was the kindest of souls.The knowledge that he sleeps well comforts me!


  4. Good morning my Chairman, it’s well.
    May your brother’s soul continue to rest in peace.
    Beautiful and deep eulogy!
    You are good.
    Stay safe and remain blessed.


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