A song for Santos

By Noel Ihebuzor

Surveying his still and lean frame

I still and steel myself

trying to dam the hot streams seeking release

I lean back in time and spare tear drenched thoughts

to visit with his past before his still present

and survey a future without his comforting presence

 

 

The little boy besides me clutches my hands

all grief and bewilderment, suddenly thrust into adulthood yet a child,

struggling to be brave and I too struggle to be brave for him

holding his hands as we both struggle to suffocate the pain that seeks to suffocate us 

and my thoughts tumble, my words stumble,

my mind wobbles as do my legs on this walk of farewell

a slow walk of love, honor, respect and remembrance

molten waves of sorrow scorch me as I walk and gaze

As I gaze on him and remember, and recall and re-live….

 

 

Santos, Santos the gbogbo di gbogbo

Dimkpa asa, okunrin meta,

“One Naze man at a time”

Okunrin dara, nwoke obioma, ome nwanne….

O very very Santos Achuku

Not you to enjoy the spare rib

when ribs stare at one from withering rib cages

not for you the lean prime cut

when the world bulges in the middle  with the

withered frames of lean children,

soon to be cut off in the prime of childhood

lean as thin drying and dying sticks

stick children with sagging skins

which cling like dirty sack cloths to the tiring bones

 

 

 Oh, Santos , how often did we rage at a deaf drunken and indifferent world

and for you, Santos,  action was also soothing

and so, willingly at Lekki, Tere-Ama, okorieukwu and beyond,

he lent his throat to voice their pain

with no thought of gain

save to soften their pain and to soften his too

and soothe the pains of separation he bore

gladly he lent his time, his mind, his voice, his frame

that  theirs may grow

that smiles would grace their faces

 

 

I sing for you Santos

You who now sing no more

For you Santos who loved life

but for whom songs for others was

vital for the vibrancy of your own songs

and for the voices you missed so

 

 

I sing for you Santos

I sing my sorrow and your grief

I sing for those voices,

voices whoses touches you missed and still  miss

those voices who are unable to sing,

suppressed, silent, sad,

subdued and sullen  

 

 

 I sing for the hard of heart, haters and hatters

hard nuts, twisted and knotted 

I sing Santos knowing that that your charity beams on them,

your arms of embrace still open though you be still

 Gingerly tenderly, I caress your presents

this endless present,

a past that lives, heaves and breathes

and a future that glows and beckons

The three time frames,  yet a continuity, endless

O very Santos, you came, you lived, you loved and you live on

the road you walk is smooth, your path is good, Uzoma

no stomps graze your feet as winged creatures lift you

lead and accompany you to the warm welcome of His bosom and light.

 

 

**** This is one of my clumsiest songs. I wrote it in 2009 for my late elder brother and friend, Valentine Uzoma Ihebuzor – ( I called him Santos and still do! ) after we had committed his mortal remains to mother earth in my father’s compound in the village! Santos sleeps right next to his bedroom window and the sands of my village lie gently on him! Today is three years since that committal!  Up Santos!

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7 Responses to “A song for Santos”


  1. 1 Patricia Chenayi Nyandoro July 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

    One friend told me that annivesaries of the death of a loved one are horrible as the day they died. I love the way you remember your brother’s. Beautiful!! Up to Santos!
    ” Up to you Noel! ” says Santos with a big grin on his face
    ” I am okay, I am good! “

  2. 2 Noel Ihebuzor July 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Thanks, Patricia.Your words comfort.

  3. 3 Susan L Daniels July 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Noel–anniversaries are so very very hard. This song is far from clumsy–it shouts from your heart a brother’s love and longing, and is a fitting and beautiful tribute to your brother and friend. My thoughts are with you.

  4. 4 Noel Ihebuzor July 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks, Susan. He was a great guy and his heart was always so gentle and clean!

    • 5 Susan L Daniels July 4, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Sounds a lot like another Ihebuzor I have had the gift of getting to know a little through poetry…The world is poorer for his loss, but heaven rejoices at his presence.

  5. 6 Ochi Opara July 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Three solid years. I knew him as Vorlie. I actually “met him where I left him, and left him where I met him” His ready smile spoke his life. But “the winged creatures” did not lift him…. he actually flew with them, as he had developed his own wings while here. Ndo my brother..


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