Thursday, 16 December 2010

Two poems by Niran Okewole (Nigeria)


These spools trafficking before limp eyes
Like the passion of Roman Polanski,

What new line spectra, how tell
What torrid eyes have seen?

The lens bloodied by shrapnel
On the plains of Sudan, children smoked
Out by Janjaweed.

They have known good times too,
Village festivals where newly foreskined
Boys dance to the delight of young virgins.

Does it matter that in the same clearing
I have shot a baby learning to walk?

Kodaked parchments of skin sagging over bone,
Old hags marching for peace
With bare wrinkled breasts
While rival warlords claim the rights?

I live to shoot another day.

I am explaining a few things about nights,
Anodyne nights, nights gelid like cold oats,
Nights of acid drop,
Nights of camouflage and boots and border patrol,
Nights when Time, history’s mongrel, slinks away
   on Kafka wings,
Nights when pyramids of hate scribble
Their signature against the sky.
Nights ticking away like larvae under the skin. 

(c) Niran Okewole 

Niran Okewole was born in September 1977. He is a senior registrar at the Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. He won the MUSON Festival Poetry Prize in 2002 and 2003. He also won the ANA (Oyo State) Drama Prize in 2000. He is the author of Logarhythms, published in 2005 by Khalam Editions.  

You can read an interview with him HERE


  1. I like the image of a camera shooting in the first poem. "I have shot a baby learning to walk." When I read that line, for one moment I forgot it was a camera speaking and I was like, What?! Then I smiled. I personally don't like the last line though. It seems a bit of an overkill of the shooting image and a little bit colloquial after the language used in the rest of the poem but its stil a great poem.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Chibundu. Niran is 'the' poet. On the last line, perhaps he felt the need to wrap the metaphor in one line or something, which you've spotted as the spoiler...anyway, congratulations on your Future Awards nomination. Wishing you the best.


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