Thursday 3 August 2017

Poem: Nigeria

Nigeria! My strange native land,
by a well worn building, 
under a tattered green-white 
stripe that
looks like your flag, 
I heard hums
in good voices, 
in innocence your
young bloods of 
kindergarten age
pledge with might to -
serve, honour and protect
strives of their heroes past.
But something about you bothers me.

Perhaps 'ts God's gifts to your 
clans swampy, wooded 
coastal South
an oil rich earth 
distilling sweetness 
that fills your veins with 
Wealth's merry.
Mild sun rises, and unvels your
East's lush rain 
forested trees and 'ts 
age long green woods of 
Nature's pride.
In the North happiness 
stretches across hills
of your arable 
savannah yielding edibles,
a nation endowed, 
dwelling in plenty.

With all these treasures 
warming your palms
which Riches 
has chilled in other climes;
yet I join many of 
your country men in wonder.
Why are we honoured among the poor?
Why should your 
children clench to bowls
in rags importuning every passerby for alms?
Why are few very rich and many many paupers?
Your youths either turn deviants for want of jobs
sell themselves to brothels or gangs
or leave your shore for worse.

Words cannot tell this twist of fate
maybe 'ts the many tongues and tribes
of this land we call country.
We easily misunderstand our differences 
and peculiarities
split hairs over on-shore/offshore dichotomy,
each tribe the other a potential thief
itself an innocent victim besieged by scoundrels.
All these we shall someday our unborn tell
with what ears will they our shamed voices hear?
"Failure of leadership our tragedy".

Nigeria! Land of beauty and of comely maidens,
land blessed by God, cursed by man.
You stand simple and proud
giving life, form and hue
to savannah's idyllic landscape
yet a complicated man-made confusion
a people that can't decide who they're.
Are you contemplating suicide
or turbulently managing Change?
May God save your sorry soul!

(C) Ugo Nkwoala

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