Poetic insight features critical essays/reviews on poetry geared towards preserving its relevance/excellence; the high points of good poetry since time immemorial. The physical attributes of poetry will be projected as well as how it addresses societal ills amongst others. To safeguard the veritable attributes of this salient form of arts, this section of the PIN magazine will expose readers to the nitty-gritty of poetry stating various parameters/standards by which quality of poems could be measured or assessed.
Poetic Insight is a telescopic lens designed to poetically guide poets on poetry-related matters and highlight the ways and means of honing their skills. Like a cadaver, poems or poetry in general will be ripped apart for the efficacy of its organs like; diction, mood, tone, subject-matter, themes and poetic devices.
Welcome to a memorable ride on poetic insight; the genesis and revelation of poetry shall connive to oust ignorance and mediocrity from the congregation of poetic obsolesces. Please open your quizzical eyes to absorb every bit of insightful foray up the pedestal of poetry.
Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
Editor, Poetic Insight
The Reverie Nonegerian
I am a limb lost dog
in the thick arena of the wood
trapped between thorns back
barking at the trails of transgressors,
like a fooled flamingo
before the mirroring river.
I am a lad in the land of a
drowned “predella” – pride
gone like ghost
like an ester reaped of scent
in the silence of sleep.
…left without voice,
as mute as mummies.
I am a referee
without a whistle; mouthing,
a linesman without a flag; arming.
I am a dice, confined; a
thousand bones without flesh, buried.
But in my aloneness,
at the divorce of the world, solitary
in the boulevard of my thoughts, I
am a stolen sculptor, a Wanderlust in the
web of silence carving an effigy of peace.
I am the stoic, a drunken staggeant*,
I, the reverie NONEGERIAN.
This is a political poem that speaks of the challenges and the realities on the state of affairs of the poet’s country –Nigeria.
There was an attempt by the poet to present himself as helpless as possible –painting himself as a dog without limbs, describing his state of helplessness as that of a flamingo suffering from a confused state.
The imagery here is that of a flamingo bird seeing its reflection on the water, thereby wishing to meet the bird at the other end. It continues to roll and turn at the bank of the river to no avail and later got sad over this misfortune. On the other hand, the dog here is trapped between thorns and cannot but stay behind barking.
The poet acknowledges that he has been cut off the luxuries of life. He is imprisoned just like the trapped dog without a choice but the freedom of expression as his sheath. He is so powerless that he cannot really defend himself. It seemed totally impossible for him to stop the looting and embezzlement that is being carried out under his watch just as the trapped dog watches the trails of the transgressors on his master’s farm.
Therefore, ”backbarking” as used then means ”complaining or showing grievance on something/someone out of sight”. Caution should be taken at this point; there is a difference between backBITING and backBARKING.
The poet expresses displeasure and sadness over the state of affairs in his country, describing himself as a child from a land where heritage is lost –a land whose pride has been drowned in the ocean of shame. He uses “Predella” to symbolize the Pride that has been robbed off from the land without the awareness of her people (in the silence of sleep). It was all unbelievable for the poet and so he describes this exaggeratedly as an ester losing its scent.
It becomes imperative for readers who are non-scientists to know what an ESTER is at this junction. An Ester is a chemical compound from Acid and Alcohol which is known for its sweet scent. By this, the poet takes us back to our history. ”There was a country” –a country of flourishing greatness and un-blemished Pride, a giant in the continent and a big deer that must not be dared.
For the poet, it is sad and pitiable to see once laurels becoming leaves, crowns becoming mere cans and old goodness dragged in the snap of a click ignorantly.
In this stanza, we have new coinages/phrases added to the English Language: ”In the Silence of Sleep” ”Gone like Ghost” ”as Mute as Mummies”. ‘‘In the silence of sleep” will then mean ”very quietly with little or no awareness.” Thus, for someone to be reported of entering a building in the silence of sleep therefore translates to mean “gaining entrance without the knowledge of the occupants”just as sleep visits man with little or zero fore-telling. As for ”gone like ghost”, this simply means ”gone without trace.”
The poet lamented his disabilities and acceptance of pseudo-fate, the destinies so re-written by the “good-for-LOOTING” leaders of his land. He found alternative ways to doing things and a near substitute for life till death calls.
His kind of Referee has no whistle to blow but has his mouth to help. And instead of ”whistling”, he engages in ”mouthing”. His linesman has no flag but arm for that function. Instead of ”flagging”, he is ”arming”.
He sees his life shell-edaround limitations, he is not free to enjoy from the bliss that life offers. He compares himself to the dice of a Ludogame, confined in a small cylindrical container feeling as good as buried bones.
The poet took us to another realm of his being, away from the troubles and negatives that oils him. He tells us of what his human spirit is when he is alone, what his spiritin loneliness whispers and how he reasons and thinks of his land.
For the poet, he is more like a stolen sculptor. This is a conjecture of a distracted sculptor at work (like having a sculptor whose mind has been carried away). Instead of him to sculpt what is real and realistic (a statue, a monument or something), he is lost in the thought of how possible it could be to carvePEACE(which in real sense is abstract). The message here is that, despite the severity of his downtrodden-ness, he busy (s) himself whenever alone thinking of liberty, peace and freedom. He is lost thinking of how to restore love to his poor land.
This part sums all previous parts into a singleton. It collects and tries to summarize what other parts expresses. He calls himself a stoic. Part 1 and 2 tells us more about this. He calls himself a drunken staggeant* here, a little explanation will be helpful.
In the event that a man is staggering as an influence of alcohol, we take little care at his helplessness. Therefore, this summarizes the message in part 3 of the poem. The primary cause of his “mouthing” and “arming” were due to the fact that he had no whistle and flag. Therefore, the public cares less as to his “craze”. In other words, they understand the situation surrounding his impoverished lifestyle where bad governance and the advent of corrupt and selfish leaders are few on the list.Finally, the poet calls himself a reverie Nonegerian. Reverie is another word for DAYDREAM. The poet simply summarizes his actions in part V as daydreaming.
*In the silence of sleep (idiom)
*As mute as million mummies (simile)
OLA’ ADELAJA RIDWAN was born in August 1991, in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a member of the Society of Young Nigerian writers and an ambassador of the National Tolerance Academy –NIGERIA. He has just co-published an “Anthologzine” titled ECHOES OF DAURA featuring wonderful writers across Nigeria and is readily available for free downloads online.