Tender Serenade (Poetry)

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Tender Serenade by Veronica Nkwocha

Soft petals of music
Their lilting tune mesmerise me
Sweet chirps of the Nightingale’s song
Accompanies and rises
Above the orchestra’s symphony
What a gift, what a joy
What a trembling of hearts, and bows

Sing me a lullaby; caress me to sleep
O sweet Nightingale
Flitter and float
Above life’s wailing notes
Send me to sleep on cottony down
Wrapped in your tender serenade

My Thoughts on ‘Miracle’ by Tope Folarin

*This is one of five posts on the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 Shortlist. A group as organised by Aaron Bady will be blogging about the entries (one per week) for the next five weeks until the prize is announced on the 8th of July. Please see the links below for details and a schedule.

My Thoughts on ‘Miracle’ by Tope Folarin 

By Veronica Nkwocha

‘Miracle’ (read herebegins with an all too familiar tale in the diaspora, a people uprooted and fragmented leaning close together huddling with the familiar. The thread that binds them in this story is religion and its ‘familiar’ rituals of service. The particular service presents an extreme focus on a man at the apex and a shivering pool of the faithful expectant of the heady feelings that herald a shared knowing as to their wholesomeness.

A most fascinating attribute about the story lies in the things it doesn’t say. ‘Miracle’ presents the congregants as almost child-like. Like a group of uniform wearing kids sitting up straight jacketed in class afraid of breaking any of the many rules, whether written or unspoken. The service is orgasmic but even when they dance happily and ecstatic, they do so in tandem with the dictates of an unseen conductor.

It is a church service and the supernatural typically trumps the physical, a spring where the faithful can draw strength to face the tough world outside. (Edit) It’s everyone doing the same thing lost in an ‘other-worldliness’  that creates an unsettling feeling, is that how its adherents are really perceived from the outside looking in?

Here wishes and desires take a front seat before reality; hope is worn leaving the dress of truth behind. The eyes of the boy were not healed but the glasses were cast aside. Is that faith? Will he see with perfect clarity? As the (more…)

The Masked Warrior (Short Story)

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The Masked Warrior

By Veronica Nkwocha

*A story loosely set in the 1600s in the old Kwararafa kingdom. All communities are fictional.

Atoo sat under the moonlight listening to Ebilache speak. His eyes were wide saucers glistening in the weak light. He sat enraptured so much so, he might as well be living Ebilache’s words.

What an adventure. He could hear the swords clink and grind as the warriors fought heaving and grunting their attempts to subdue a worthy opponent; the dust wafting and rising as they shuffled and pushed to the edge of their endurance. He could see the midday sun high and orange beating down in hot spears of anger willing the adversaries to find another way of resolving another one of Man’s eternal conflicts.

All around, the commotion created a din that could be heard far and the trumpets and ululating shouts of danger lifted above the village of Kwa reaching the surroundings telling an impending doom.

Atoo felt pride rise up in him for he knew the end of this particular battle as had others would end in victory for the Agomude. Ebilache’s muscular arms bulged as he clenched his fists demonstrating the final blow to the enemy. All around him he (more…)

IHOTU by Fenix Couture – A Collection as Beautiful as its Name

By Veronica Nkwocha

The creative well from whence Ihotu was drawn must have been filled with charm and beauty. Those two words define the collection which is feminine and unapologetically pretty. Their clear lines and movement speak of comfort, a testament to the expert finish and use of fabrics; Lace, Ankara and Accessories used in carefully tempered ways so as not to overwhelm the concept. The different pieces come together as part of a collection, yet stand on their own, bold, confident and sure.

Ihotu means love. A deeper meaning reads ‘purity of the heart’. Ihotu shines in a lovely non-fussy way; the love the designer Josephine Akioyamen poured into it is clearly evident.

All Clothes by Fenix Couture, website http://www.fenixcouture.com/

Clothes by Fenix Couture
Model: Gabby
Photography: Julius Ding
Make- Up Artist: Nicole Ostonal

https://www.facebook.com/FenixCouture

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My Thoughts on Bayan Layi by Elnathan John

*This is one of five posts on the Caine Prize for African Writing 2013 Shortlist. A group as organised by Aaron Bady will be blogging about the entries (one per week) for the next five weeks until the prize is announced on the 8th of July. Please see the links below for details and a schedule.

My Thoughts on Bayan Layi (A Short Story by Elnathan John)

By Veronica Nkwocha

Bayan Layi‘ boils down the effects of socio-political problems of a certain kind of abandonment, distills it and presents it to us as Dantala and his friends. Nature abhors a vacuum and we are cast into a tale of the repercussions. And one wonders how this [edit] ‘travesty’ became a reflection of us as a people, tied as we are to the author’s vivid description. It sets the tone where one feels a revulsion but can’t quite look away.

There is the niggling sensation as one reads this story; is it our failings as nurturers that spawn the ones who view killing as no more than a fly to be swatted? Empty spaces filled up with perverse watering holes feeding the plains where teenagers can strut their stuff boldly. Enabled by puppeteers who weave their hypnotic lies into the webs in which the Bandas and the Dantalas roam, stars in their eyes, believing they are free. They are there, barely mentioned in the story, a metaphor for real life; behind the scenes, unobtrusive but superlatively influential.

‘Bayan Layi’ peels all the layers of the onion and as we read, our eyes water at the hopelessness of the situation, babies bearing arms, the (more…)

An Iroko has Fallen – A Tribute to Chinua Achebe (Poetry)

A spiral stack of copies of the 1994 Anchor Bo...

A spiral stack of copies of the 1994 Anchor Books edition of Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Iroko has Fallen

By Veronica Nkwocha (a tribute to Chinua Achebe)

An Iroko has fallen
Who can disguise the din
An Iroko lays prone and all of the forest
Rise in silent tribute
He whose head and honour rose high in the sky
Is bowed
Not in trembling and fear
But as one who has performed great feats on the theatre of the world stage
Bowing as he takes his exit to heed the timeless call.
He leaves the forest and the testament of his earlier presence
Rings true and loud and unbroken
Only the silent can hear
May they heed the din from the Iroko
Rise to the stars
Stand tall and strong
Unbowed by life
And unbroken by the elements
An Iroko has fallen but the Iroko lives;
Long may it live.

My Thoughts on Fast & Furious 6

By Veronica Nkwocha

I watched Fast and Furious 6 yesterday.

In the midst of all the clanging metal and screeching tires and pounding fists, I thought how odd that the story line looped over itself in such away it appeared secondary to the desire that it be fast paced and loud.

I still believe that as important as it is for the machines to tell their tale, those scenes humanising it lent a side that got everyone in the cinema laughing and sighing together.

Emotions are important; storytelling that lifts the objective of the movie even if it be nuanced can still be used in a way that grinds the lure of Fast and Furious deeper, etching permanent tattoos of commitment into fans, old and new alike.

I give it a 4/5. It was hard, boisterous, efficient and unbelievable taking one away into a world, a cross between fiction and reality. A Saturday afternoon well spent, highly recommended.