The Tides of Time (Poetry)

This poem was written by my brother when he was seventeen, reproduced here with his permission.

The Tides of Time

By Joseph Anuga

The tides of time
Has washed past me
And your absence is all I have

The tides of time
Has washed past me
And your presence is still at large

The tides of time has done its job
And all things around
Have changed a lot

The tides of time
Has lost its battle
To tear from my heart
Your undying frame

The tides of time
Shall soon be settled
And my mental torture
Caused by your absence
Shall come to an end

For the tides of time
Shall bring you to me
Clench us together
And we shall never part again

Iyeji and Ikinabo (An Adaptation of an old Idoma Folk Tale)

Tortoise

Iyeji and Ikinabo (An Adaptation)

By Veronica Nkwocha

 

“Grandpa, Grandpa, tell us a story! Tell us a story please?” the chirpy group of children yelled out all at once.

Grandpa Ediga was tired but it was a cool evening and the gentle breeze grazed against his moustache tickling him into a genial mood. He was curved against his Ukonobo, the curved elongated chair made out of polished dark wood old men relaxed in. He toyed with the chewing stick almost permanently attached to his mouth; he only removed it when he was talking or eating. He smiled beckoning the happy group and a few of them called out to the others who were not around. Then they sat in a neat half circle at his feet on mats spread out, the older ones cradled the toddlers who were being lulled to sleep after the evening meal. The full moon sat high up the sky lending some light to the otherwise dark village, candles and lanterns dotting the area, their pale tongues flickering here and there. The evening meal was over and the compound was nice and tidy in readiness for another day. Older women lay sated on mats here and there tired from carrying out the day’s chores and content at having some time to themselves.

Grandpa began the story as he always had and they all listened intently.

“Once Upon a Time, a very long time ago, Iyeji, the hare and Ikinabo, the tortoise were on one of their many fabled long journeys once again. Ikinabo had been promised a feast like never before in the village of his in-laws; mountainous white and fluffy pounded yam, Ohupi garnished with delicious spicy abahi and chunks of the goat meat fattened on the choicest and freshest grass. The never ending flow of fresh palm wine was a given and Iyeji massaged (more…)

Ribbons of Hope

Ribbons of Hope 

By Veronica Nkwocha

Listening to Zahara’s Loliwe inspired this post. I love her sound and its distinct South African vibe.

Welcome to the 21st Century, she teased me. My friend, much younger than me but one with whom I shared lots of laughter and affection. It was 2008 and she was shocked I was only just joining Facebook. After our fits of laughter, I spent inordinate amounts of time tracking old friends, some I had last seen at University in the early 90s. There were joyful reunions and happy tears, finding new wrinkles, bald patches and widening waistlines from having babies or may be eating a bit too much!

I typed a friend’s name and because it was quite common in South Africa, I couldn’t tell which of the many search results was him until I typed same against our university and it returned a tribute page to him; he had passed away in the years we had lost touch. I thought to myself how sometimes, life doesn’t give one any more chances, no chance (more…)

Strums from Mama’s Heartstrings (Poetry)

Mother & Child

Strums from Mama’s Heartstrings by Veronica Nkwocha.

She tickles me
Her eyes are twinkling
I’m giggling
Her arms encircle me
She’s singing
And then she twirls me.

She holds me, envelops me
I hear her heart beat, thumping
Strums from her heartstrings are echoing
Soft notes from my beginnings
They lull me
Asleep in mama’s arms.

The tinkle of her laughter, awakens me
Soft kisses on soft cheeks, mesmerising
The shine from my beaming smile, sparkling
Mama’s little star is twinkling.

 

Image from here http://www.freevector.com/mother-and-child-graphics/

The Fifth Narrative (Poetry)

The Fifth Narrative by Veronica Nkwocha

Where conscience clings fast like whispers of faith in a tumultuous storm,
Where tears run, and rivers of fear reside.
Where dreams are dashed and storms of faith persist like anger from a midday sun
Leaving welts of pain and nudging a macabre, unending dance.
The simmer of hope and the sheaves of truth lay stacked atop Her festering wound.

Tarry a while Avarice calls
Nay, stay fast and sup our feast
We dance in the shadows of the bleating sheep and ride the mares whichever way we please
Tarry and dance atop their foals and ride with us as we travel on, urged on by our raging loins
Oh tarry not at their doleful gaze
Peer not at their whimpering tremor
For even though they know it not they are our ship of hidden treasure
Only do not caress Her hand and heal not Her festering wound

Where the first fails and the second and the third and the fourth
Where estates lay bare and empty and turn their gaze from Her glance
Where the fifth strums and the howling wind calls, a song adrift through the ages
And flowers crushed by the rampaging are tended, are washed and embraced
For tomorrow holds the simmering of hope and the sheaves of truth blossom into a harvest

 

A Little Bit of the Other Side

A Little Bit of the Other Side

By Veronica Nkwocha

Tis the nature of religion that the adherents must believe wholeheartedly, without a shadow of doubt, that only they hold, solely, the Truth on Life, Redemption and the Hereafter.  The different religions are not agreed on this Truth, therefore, it is the nature of religion that adherents of the different religions exist in their own bubble, consumed by their own belief/concept of truth quite exclusive of other religions.

There is no meeting of minds, there are no grey areas or shadows for that will require diming a few lights on the absoluteness of their own truth. Those who find a middle ground must look beyond the integrity of their religion’s Truth, rising above it and clothing themselves with compassion for those of (more…)

My Thoughts on Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

My Thoughts on Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

By Veronica Nkwocha

Ifemelu drifts into a world where people like her; African, not of the poster with the forlorn child are a bye line. She seeps into a world where the dominant images are of the western world, shiny and set apart and straddles her own world, a colossus even though they do not know it. To the outside she is a mere shadow, her light barely flickering. They enter her world and see through her eyes; the author’s narrative allows a prime spot, a vantage one and they become one with her. The World, a fragmented puzzle is put together and is seen from a different perspective; one gains a greater understanding and for that, we are richer as humans.

And so we move on and see one who would otherwise be a mere statistic. But far from being idealised, if she who was wordless and unseen becomes a face, we must see her for who she is; warts and all. She is a hard worker and battles the odds to become a Fellow at Princeton. She also uses the new invention,’the weblog’ to blog about issues thereby allowing a conversation on race by the protagonists. But she is not perfect; she is charming and can be a straight talker if need be but she comes across sometimes as a bit selfish. Maybe not more so than most humans are but it is a god with clay feet situation, the halo wearing saviour who inserts herself as a legitimate person in Today’s narrative. She has friends with whom she laughs but one doesn’t sense much of an affection from her. They do things for her but others, save her parents are rarely at the receiving end of her charity even when she becomes able. The walls she built to keep Obinze out were swift and impenetrable, although one can understand that the trauma of her experience with the coach blighted the innocence of their once perfect relationship.

She appears utterly consumed throughout the text by her own introspection. It would appear she went through the motions of living, hiding her real self and stoically holding on to an invisible camera with which she viewed life and ultimately ‘the other’ without immersing herself in their own feelings and emotions. Even with her American boyfriends she looked to be perching on the edge ready for flight. The only redemption is her unfailing love for Dike where she is laid bare and vulnerable; not even for Obinze which the reader had been teased and lured seductively with the promise of a great love story.

By the time one thundered through the captivating read, expectant, there was a mild concern that the few pages left for the reunion with Obinze would not be enough to do justice to their story. Kosi’s demonization as is wont in romance novels, typically presented in order for the reader to accept a triumphant reunion of the estranged couple is tepid and a tad unbelievable; she did not read! Sitting at the periphery of the pontificating literature enthusiasts, one almost pities her. She also did not stir with indignation at her husband’s sexual ‘acrobatics’ with his ex, even though at the start of the book she seemed obsessed with him. One would have expected a hint of jealousy, some tears; it was a shock to see her practical, coldly proffering that the marriage should not end despite the infidelity.

Ifemelu’s entire lack of empathy for his family even in passing, especially towards his daughter presented her as cold and calculating in a way that seemed removed from the character we got to know from the start. Was it a defence mechanism? There was no hand wringing considering how she looked down her nose at those who dated married men. To her, his family barely existed or were akin to weed in her perfectly groomed garden of love starring Obinze. Even that did not appear quite distinguished from her relationships with her exes save for their shared tender flowering as teenagers; she still appeared in her renewed relationship with Obinze, perched at the outside, looking in, prepared for flight.

A Touch in the Snow

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Touch in the Snow

By Veronica Nkwocha

I sat looking through the window of our car, enthralled by the wisps of snow drifting across the face of the tarred road like smoke from faded embers; the road a never ending rolled out lump of grey coal. Moscow in January; my first experience of  -23 degrees Celsius and I was mesmerised by the audacity of Man, his sheer doggedness in surviving the odds whether it be the Sahara or Siberia, life carries on.

It was a chilly morning. The winter winds blew the dusty snow across the wide roads. Cars honked and passed themselves all in a hurry to get to their destinations; anywhere else was better than the bitter, cold and grey morning. Passers-by trudged on, wrapped in tightly bound coats, hats worn close and scarves wrapped around their ears. They were perhaps urged on by thoughts of a warm cup of coffee, hot borsch soup which was my personal favourite or a hug from loved ones. Christmas trees and lights punctuated the landscape soothing the harshness from Mother Nature.

We pulled up at the Moscow War Memorial and walked around the grounds covered in at least a few inches of snow. We were glad the pathways were clear. The Memorial was a wide and expansive landscape, dotted here and there with relics of a past war; canons, tanks, all silent, bearing echoes of a roaring past; a graveyard to the machinery and a tribute to the fallen.

We stopped to look at the imposing Statue of St George. He rode high up, frozen in time wielding a long spear. He was resplendent in the pale morning light and majestic on an elegant and proud looking horse raring up on its hind legs, celebrating the slaying of the fabled dragon. Muscovites milled around taking photographs, whole families laughing and chatting walked past.

In a sea of white snow, another ‘white’ caught my attention; coming from the distance was a bride in wedding dress! Her bouquet of flowers clutched in her hands and her entourage: a groom, the best man and bridesmaids, surrounding her. She had the most charming smile to finish her look and obligatory furry coats. They saw us and talked among themselves all the while holding a bottle of champagne and a few glasses, trimmings of ribbons and a pink sash worn by the best man.

The groom spoke to my husband. He conversed with them in faltering Russian and said they would like a photo with us. We cheerfully obliged and stood like old time friends, posing with arms across one another’s shoulders and then peeking afterwards at the images on our cameras and laughing. Even though I didn’t understand a word of what they said, we were happy to share their special moment; strangers passing by, touching for the barest moment and moving on.

I smiled as the bitter winds lost their battle to freeze the warmth in my heart; we captioned the pictures ‘From Russia with Love’.