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Posts Tagged ‘african poetry

poetry by john otim

There was about the evening
something noblesse
the canopy was on fire
from cloud kissed hills
whispers of winds
leaden with fragrance

Shadows were celebrant
birds of the night
worked the rounds
dews began to fall
the hour drew near

folks whispered
reckless beyond measure
trouble was brewing

Sparrow birds were singing
dawn was breaking
down the lane
he slipped away
dawn was breaking
still breaking

“So on and on I go
the seconds tick the time out
there is so much left to know
and I’m on the road to find out”
 Cat Stevens

Swift as sparrows he flew
off after him they went
he the wind
they the shadows

So on and on he flew
of his quest
there were no limits
up and away he soared
on and on he flew

“I listen to the wind come howl
telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robins song
I am on the road to find out”
– Cat Stevens

Up and away he speeds
his feet
bolts of lightning
his spirits
a roaring mission
to mars

Now his every step
they followed
malice alone drove them
on and on he flew

On and on he sped
the howling wind
gave him power
he listened to robins song
it gave him heart

On and on he flew
till at last
something inside him

Dawn was breaking
he seemed falter
something seem to give way
finally they catch up
with him

As they set upon him
their joy
knew no bounds
but the kid was tougher
than tough

His mouth ran
like the Nile
his words stung
like poisoned arrows
of Bushmen

They pinned him
to the ground
heaved him up against a wall
pinned him down

His mouth kept jetting
he knew neither master
nor conqueror
nothing could reach
the spirits that within him

I listen to the wind come howl
telling me I have to hurry
I listen to the robins song
telling me not to worry

While they still held him
he heard from a distance
rich melodies of New Africa
coming all the way
from the Cape

His face brightened
on his lips a smile
his eyes blazed
as though he saw
through them

His captors grew at first
they became fearful and confused
and could hold him no longer
dawn was still breaking

By the hallowed grounds
of the school house
where once caroused
heroes of uhuru
there under the spell
of the music of
the dawn bird

There under a canopy
still on fire
on a morning out
of Arabian Nights

He felt a presence
in the gentle
of leeward winds

Thoughts of
imminent departure
stayed with him
he heard a voice say
God bless Africa

Memories so strong
overcame him –
it was a cold windy night
the one
they called teacher
was leaving
they could not bear
the thought

Class Four waited
and watched silently
as Flight 274 lifted
rose and climbed
into the misty sky

Teacher was leaving
on a jet plane
dawn was breaking
we could not wait
to be with her again

The jet engine roared
and cruised
through silent night
we watch and followed
till we saw no more

We hear a voice –
I’m leaving on a jet plane
don’t know
when I’ll be back again
-our hearts melted
the night darkened

copyright john otim 2011


poetry by john otim

how the years have run
it seems but moments ago
a little girl that cried amd cried in the rain
victim of mindless people                                                        

and look today she gathers
her deep lush braids into a lock
a bride fit for a prince
how the years have run                      

how events have moved
yesterday by popular acclaim
a campus queen
bashful and free in the cool airs
of the plateau

and today look there she is
at the head of elite select space wizards
from around the world  

and now there they are
far beyond by the milky way
there herself shooting the lead rover
past clusters of burning stars

and on earth we watch and follow
the drama in space
dazzling pictorials
of worlds never imagined

How events run away
what more could there be
beyond distant fiery balls?
sail on silver bird

Sail on silver bird
sail on by … your time
has come to shine …

copyright john otim 2009
ahmadu bello university zaria


poetry by john otim


Have you seen her

there by the market gate
there where children play
where beggars seek alms
where men relieve themselves

there where the swamp
and the stench
in the heat of noon
could overpower

there one cool evening
as the glory from the east
sprayed golden rays
and dazzled the world

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poetry by john otim


Angel of the morning

In the middle of a perfect afternoon
his head was a mess of greasy locks
his breath was doused
with the aroma of stale alcohol

he glanced at the glory by my side
she shot back and saw now
the woman by his side
they hated each other instantly

we hurried away and the girl said
what mean folks!
can’t even pay simple bills

for their home was in a mess
sans water sans power
overrun with garbage
and litter

the next day on the corridors of learning
he accosted  me
what did you see in that ugly girl?

that evening I looked again
at my new girl
the angel that came to me
in the morning

and I saw again those lips
those eyes
angel of the morning
john otim