Posts Tagged 'Truth'

On bathos and pathos, a reflection on the on-going boju-boju in Nigeria

Noel Ihebuzor
When an ever enlarging comedy has the effect of overwhelming you with sadness,
it is no longer a comedy, no matter how innately talented the actors are in the art of the comic.
When tragedy slips out of control and verges towards the ludicrous,
it loses its capacity to inspire pity.
Soon bathos and pathos will converge.
And before long, the audience finds itself unable to feel either pity or compassion.
Rather, it finds itself increasingly burdened by the weight of ineptitude on display,
and irked by the profound shallowness and triviality with which serious matters are being treated by clumsy clods.
Clumsy clods are at their most farcical when they take themselves seriously,…..
and when sick souls in pursuit of selfish agendas sequester a sick man,
putting him out of reach of his constituency and out of touch with reality,
preferring to put utterances in his mouth,
when a group of elected officials go off at public expense for empty photo shoots with the hale and hearty
and return home with excess baggage of shopping
full of hackneyed expressions,
unconscionable and empty
they also reveal the depth of their own sicknesses and their burgeoning moral bankruptcy,
their very hollownesses.
Cry, the beloved country. Cry for that country where the rich and privileged go abroad to visit the sick.
Cry, the beloved country, cry for that country because the trips of the privileged sick abroad
to seek medical care speak of the deep sickness of our health delivery system.
Cry since the sick medical system, victim of neglect by the privileged now takes its revenge
on those who supervised and benefitted from her neglect!
Pathos and bathos now reunite.

Notes posing as poetry at 65


Noel Ihebuzor


If the road be straight

not all who walk
on it at this hour are
each year on it
adds  a lead weight
even flowery ribbons too
are not without weight.
The road is rugged
Ije uwa, ije enu
The road is sweet
Taste buds say sh*#
Tongues whisper – ashi, karia, iro…
tread the smooth road
with care roars the sage
flat surfaces are often twisted
and can derail
Ije enu, ije uwa
hate love, counsels the one
wounded by love
Love, not hate, advises the poet
for though love may hurt,
hate corrodes and kills
Give me a clean slate
to state that which
pains, gains and baffles
Life makes little distinction
Between 65 and 56
At this age
rage as you fit
strong is soft
and weak is strong
At your won’t and life’s will
Each year is gold
even those with ear and nose
dripping blue cold
howling hoarse, breathing hot
like the exhaust hose
of a cooling system
Years are measured
not on even scales
nor days by perfect metrics
Some years weigh like uke
some like butterflies
unevenness marks the even,
even some days are often 25 hours
and longer
numbers are not
always what they seem
nor do figures always say
what is on their minds.
figures with juicy curves,
you may soon learn to distrust
for when you embrace them
they are often dry and wrinkled
ages with repeated numbers
are no good either.
The mind is an alchemist,
with time it makes gold
and silver of the coldest years
when we shivered the most
eyes may receive and deceive,
deceiving more, “screeded” surfaces
give up multiple sectors
looking twice in  the old gives
double vision, so look
once only but with eyes open
for if dead fish
keep their eyes open,
why not you who choose life
struggling as feet grow heavy,
some eyes grew weary and watery
while the mind rebels, soars and floats

Singers as Saints


Noel Ihebuzor

Ten hundred prayed for posts

Twenty pastors and thirty prophets

Prayed and brayed almost

Ten of the prayers, the preyed upon,

the prayed for, got the posts

And prayed on the post

Preyed on the people

All ten had juicy morsels

generously availed, padded

nine chewed their morsels and swallowed

morals mellowed, conscience shriveled,

cheeks blossomed and wardrobes overflowed

in a season of drought and bones

the tenth chewed and sucked,

till nought was left, save chaff and fibre

spat out, never swallowing

cheeks blossomed, morals mellowed

conscience in contraction

tongue active in denial

And she sweet sings herself

the beatification chorus for saints

I spat out and therefore am a saint

chew and swallow mean guilt

singing with a tongue that runs and rails

foams white and fumes

raw tongue running with serums of guile and rage,

shored up by fluids and anima

sucked out of now chaffed morsels

entrapped in self praise,

the singer forgets

that Mother Theresa

did not sing sainthood

to be sainted

If self praise is all it takes to be sainted,

then horses would be flying over low anthills

and praise singing themselves hoarse

to the thundering music of their noisy hoofs

rivaled by the grunting of pigs wearing cheap scents

rooting for sainthoods for cleanliness

Silence as guilt


Noel Ihebuzor

They grabbed him by his collar

dragged him to the ocean front

shouting, gesturing and swearing,

He was boxed on both ears,

his jaws, his chin, his ribs

were bashed, bruised, some broken

all the sins of the world,

all the failures were

heaped on him,

the “sealed” wombs,

every wasted wave,

all sterile flowers

all failed erections,

every flop, all power failures,

any incontinence….

they blamed on him

At the ocean front

The sky for their witness

They screamed at him,

they cursed him, they beat him

for their own weaknesses,

their failings and his

and yet he said nothing

and his silence

soon was their proof

For silence is guilt

Silence is complicity

was his silence smart?

Broken jaws lead to silence

The heavens remain silent

on the secrets of peoples

plants and planets

Does this silence,

then make them guilty,

complicit in our pains?

in this troubled world,

some plans are so twisted,

the waves sweep them

for safe keeping

to echoless silent chambers

where ageless mammy waters

moan day time half sated

when fortune hungry fishermen visit

and to whence they retire

to sleep all night

surrounded by winking periwinkles

when worn out,

without the hoped for fortune

and overworked

fooled fishermen return home to rest

their secrets carefully wrapped in silence

and concealed from their caring wives.

The snuff box choice


Noel Ihebuzor

Do not ask the Asaba woman

why she chose the snuff box

reasons are not always logical

the chooser knows best

and though saints shock us

by choosing to suffer, sadists believe

happiness awaits such a choice


Saints are not created by words

nor by fiat but by their works

Heroes are hailed not for their haste

but for their hard choices


Wizened eyes in the present

see shady pasts clearly,

and to such,

the present appears shady, unclear


Would saints sing the Asaba woman’s choice

as a sin,  pure without any comma

or would their deep thoughts

judge her lightly as the victim

of a conscience that was in a coma


rationalisation potent as indignation

often bars the doors to truth,

shutters the windows,

sheds shady lights poorly to the realisation

that though choices are always personal,

choices are also always finally weighed

on a scale steeped in ethics

soaked in morals

Musings the day after


Noel Ihebuzor


when lies triumph over truth

& cheap trumps deep,

when shallow heels profound,

& cats are at the mercy of gropers

flee, my daughter, flee


fly, my daughter

the why of the lie

festers in the lair where lies the liar,

fast lips & slimy tongue crowding

the loud unrepentant mouth


when right is treated with levity,

& superficial is spun as profound,

noise drowns intellect,

asinine equations mistake

rectum for rectitude


lying tongues lie

in wait for the unwary

with syrups that dull-drowse

but rouse slippery rodents

of fear, hate, disdain of the other

A Song for the Naive


Noel Ihebuzor



I will laugh with the greenness

of young blades of corn

thrusting forward, green and bold

in a land where virgins are

two for a grand

and impotent randy men

roam wide spaces

in quest of unstable risings


Do you hear the whispers

of the blade of corn,

young and talkative

as it sways to share its secrets?

and sell its prophecy?


The secrets of the farm,

its short tales, of staggered truths,

tales of men with huge trumpets,

elepant egos and stiff backs

tales of the empty baba rigas

are not told on market days,

nor on farm days


songs of noisy plantings

the flapping and chatter of leaves, empty

but full of naivety,

an empty harvest follows

and the once wet song

soon turns dry, wilts and withers

leaves, once green,

now brown, twisted dry,

now cry.





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