A Sonnet for Nigeria by Chiedozie Ude


May 31, 2020.

Nigeria

Nigeria, country blessed with wealth
But many people there do dwell
In squalor, lack and ill in health
As government claims to change propel.
By strife and greed her seams were slit
To serve those who must riches gain,
Few men who morals did omit
With ruthless hands these things they drain.
The tribes around the Niger spread
With hatred each the next does view
From east to west and north ahead
All plotting bloody change through coup.
So let us mourn our crumbling home
That sinks in deep and dreary foam.

Phone: 09090953414

Email: chiedozieude@gmail.com

This is the intellectual property of UDE, Chiedozie. This poem should not be copied or printed in any form without the writer’s permission.

IS CHIMAMANDA’S PURPLE HIBISCUS WORTH THE HYPE? BY CHIEDOZIE UDE

Chiedozie Ude

Purple Hibiscus, a book like no other

Adichie, generally, should be applauded for being able to shine in the literary world of Nigerian literature which has been largely dominated by the Soyinkas and Achebes. I read Purple Hibiscus for the first time in 2011. Back then, I read it for what it was: an interesting story. However, of recent, I cannot help but give kudos to Adichie for the manner in which she approached everything in this book.

Firstly, her use of her protagonist, as the narrator, helped us to see things from the perspective of a girl made timid by familial obligations and religious constriction. Undoubtedly, the use of this mode of narration helped to endear the character of Kambili to the readers. Adichie’s descriptions of the events are actually how a teenage girl would describe them; thus, giving credence to her choice of Kambili as the narrator.

Secondly, I love her character development. At first, we get to see Kambili as a naive lady, but as time goes on, she comes of age and is able to make several decisions without feeling guilty. One of such is her decision to confess her love to Father Amadi, a man whose job as a preacher requires celibacy. Other instances of this transition can be seen in the way she develops other opinions which are contrary to those of her religious zealot father. This coming of age is what reinforces the bildungsroman aspect of the book.

Also, in terms of character development, we see Jaja grow from a spectator to a key player who begins to look after his sister and mother. Of course, the defiance he shows to his father helps to make the conflict more interesting. Unarguably, the most important act performed by Jaja is when he decides to take the blame for his father’s murder in a bid to protect his mother. This act performed by Jaja debunks the claims made by many that Adichie is totally against the male gender.

Furthermore, Mama also experience this growth; howbeit, not in terms of ageing. She metamorphoses from being a timid woman who lived to please her abusive husband to a woman who would kill her husband in order to protect the children and herself. However callous this may seem, the premeditated murder of Eugene by Mama is justifiable.

Another thing that makes this book worth the hype is that this text discusses a lot of sociological issues that happen in Nigeria — both past and present. The past events covered in this text include: the military coups, the transition from military to civilian rule, the killing of journalists (Ade Coker). The murder of Ade Coker draws great semblance with the murder of the historical personality, Dele Giwa. Thus, we have to give Adichie credit for covering these issues in her text.

Of modern concern in this text has to be themes such as: patriarchy, religious rigidity, the depleted educational system of Nigeria, amongst others. Patriarchy is displayed through the way Eugene Achike rules his family with an iron fist. The religious perspective, also, cannot be underemphasised because many of the actions in the text are instigated by the religious beliefs of the characters. Eugene, for example, believes his father is a pagan; thus, he refuses to respect and help his old father.

Indeed, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is a story that is totally worth the hype. It is one that will forever be treasured by yours truly.

“Women of the past” by Providence_Wright

They took the burden on their shoulders
Their necks had no rest
Their hands always pounding
Their heads always calculating
They thought of everyone except themselves
They loved like no other
They took the pain with joy
And the sorrows of their children
They took upon themselves

Their eyes were shut
But they never slept
Their lips always ready to put their husbands to rest
Their breast sagged so fast due to excess loving
They had enough strength to trek a thousand miles to distant farms
They thought values and gave knowledge to infants

All they ever wanted was peace
They gave their all in all
Even after being abandoned by fathers who left them to pay the fees
Still, after little tears
They rose to their feet to lift
Sons and daughters
With the help of their maker
They succeeded eating the fruits of their labour

Considering “The Flea” and “To his Coy Mistress” as Metaphysical Poems

Chiedozie Ude
Department of English, UNILAG

😈

“The Flea” and “To his Coy Mistress” are two very similar poems. This similarity is exposed by the fact that they are, by form and content, metaphysical poems. The metaphysical tradition is one which discusses issues on religion or love in a philosophical way, usually through the use of specific poetic devices like conceits and hyperboles. It is based on the witty and philosophical manner in which Donne and Marvell treat their subjects that will constitute the focus of this analysis.

John Donne’s “The Flea” can be regarded as a typical metaphysical poem. This is brought to the fore through a lot of factors. One of such factors is Donne’s use of a passionate persona who does all in his power to woo his mistress into having sexual relations with him. The persona makes use of witty arguments in order to convince his lady to cave in to his demands. To buttress his point, the persona makes a very unlikely comparison, using an insect — a flea. He compares the act of blood-sucking done by the flea to the consummation of a union through sexual intercourse— “And in this flea, our two blood mingled be”. This unlikely comparison is a device known as conceit. Also, it is expected of the lady to rebuff the persona’s act of seduction.

Likewise in Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress”, the employment of a passionate lover as the poet persona also stands out. Marvell’s persona also employs wit in his bid to seduce his lady. He presents an imaginary situation whereby time is not a factor. The persona uses a series of hyperboles to educate the lady on the extent he can go to show his love for her if only time was nonexistent:

“An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.”

He informs his lady that he can afford to be patient if he had enough time, but because this is unlikely, he impatiently tries to convince the lady to use the opportunity presented by youth to have sex with him. Undoubtedly, the passionate stance of Marvell’s persona towards is lover reinforces the metaphysical origin of this poem.

Another thing that is noteworthy in these poems is the recurring motif of courtly love. Courtly love is one which requires a man to attempt wooing a lady. It is because of this convention of courtly love that we are presented with a passionate persona who does his best possible in order to convince a lady of his love for her. Thus, it comes as no surprise that both personae in the poems are presented as desperate men who use various tricks to aid the seduction of their mistresses. Both personae are philosophical in their approach. While Donne makes use of conceit, Marvell uses the shortness of time to strengthen his argument for the consummation of their union. On the other hand, the lady, the object of the persona’s affection, is expected to be unreceptive towards his advances.

Furthermore, metaphysical poetry is also marked through the argumentative style. Some times, this argument is in the form of a dialogue between a man and his mistress; but other times, it is in the form of a monologue. Marvell’s and Donne’s poems fall into the later category. Both poets craftily deploy their wits by citing various reasons why their ladies should submit to their demands. Donne presents his argument by using a flea who sucks blood from his mistress without having to go through the stress of winning her affection. To Donne, this act done by the flea is as inconsequential as the act of losing one’s virginity as a lady. So, Donne argues that the lady should be more accepting to his amorous desires. Similarly, Marvell presents his argument adroit fashion. He informs the lady of how time is an enemy of youth and beauty. He follows a pattern by first establishing what could be achieved if time was on their side. He then moves on by declaring that time cannot be defeated; thus, proving to his mistress thst the only logical thing to do is to seize the day — Carpe Diem.

To be continued….

A Song For Greatness Gone: In Memory of Christopher Okigbo.

By Chiedozie Ude (May 21, 2020)

Dedicated to Oyinma, a lover of everything African.

Goodbye to a great genius
Who has crossed heaven’s gate,
A sufferer of the warrior’s fate
A destiny that is heinous.

Why did you have to fight that war?
Did not Ojukwu have other men
To prevent you from the lion’s den?
Or were you born to war adore?

Biafra cries as it mumbles your name,
Lamenting the great works lost
In your battle lust
The Biafran dream also burned with your flame.

For your daring, we have a tomb,
For bravery, a martyrdom,
The price you paid for freedom —
A facade of doom.

You sought the paths of thunder
In return you found man-made brontide,
Weapons which the Soviets supplied,
Now, you get to rest under.

Mother Idoto mourns her child,
Her watery presence is reinforced by her tears,
Grievous sounds enough to raise one’s hairs
For a prodigal who has forever been exiled.

Who now shall tell of your legend,
Beautiful river goddess?
Shall we also witness
The coming of your end?

On Nsukka’s hell grounds
There fell Okigbo Christopher,
Defending his ideals on anarchy’s altar,
A ram for the gods of the battlegrounds.

Wild you were in your creativity,
Unrestricted by colonial subjugation,
You rose to international acclamation,
A man with artistic proclivity.

Brief was your stay,
No sooner here than the other side,
An eternity where you must now abide,
Leaving only a piece of your intellect for display.

Your star departed when it was brightest,
Twinkling into the great beyond
Never again to respond
To the cock’s siren, even at its highest.

Dee Christopher, martyred for the Biafran cause
An ideal you dearly held
One which was mercilessly shelled
By the enemy’s airforce.

This hour stand I enchanted,
Overwhelmed in the labyrinths of your astuteness,
Which, by far, surpasses the ocean’s saltiness,
Wisdom which Mother Idoto granted.

As Time Flies

By Chiedozie Ude (May 20, 2017)

This is an old writeup. I hope it entertains you.

Like they all say, time waits for no one.

Today, instead of discussing religion or politics, I have decided to go back in time and narrate an incident which at first I did not find funny.

The year was 2013 and our SSCE results were out. I decided to go to Ilasa to see my friends. I had this friend called Dare Oke, a plump boy who seemed to roll instead of walking(we are still in touch). He, alongside I, decided to visit some girls (sisters) which I’ll call X and Y.

Being parochial, we hatched a plan to tell their mother that we had forgotten our WAEC registration number and we think that her daughters would help us remember them. Back then, this sounded like a master plan for we were sure that X and Y’s extremely smart mother will not suspect that we had other motives. The plan looked perfect; it was time to visit some ladies.

When we got to the house of X and Y, we could not garner the courage to knock at their door; so, we spent almost 30minutes rehearsing our speech, removing the parts we felt were wanton and also trying to embellish our speech with a plethora of high-sounding words because we knew that their mother was a tough one. We had to appear saintly.

At last we summoned courage and knocked, a maid opened the door and guess what?? We met them (the whole family) eating dinner. X and Y looked at us, really astonished that we had defied reason and common sense to visit them for we all knew quite well that their mother was a tyrant

The look we got from the mum could have frozen hell. In fact, I saw her eyes glint with danger. My heart melted. Maybe we were wrong to visit. We were in for it.

After dinner, their mum stood up and walked majestically across the room with the sure-footedness of an alpha wolf marking its territory. She was the embodiment of affluence, and also had this aura of charisma. To aptly describe her, she is the modern-day Madea in terms of sheer size.

God, she was huge! I don’t know why but for the first time I felt small, really tiny, and my nerve left me. I forgot all that we planned to say as the reason for our visit. In fact, the only thing that was still keeping me there was the fact that the doors were locked. Immediately she asked the first question which was “Why are you here?” I quickly blurted out that I was just escorting Dare, and in fact, I had no business there. Who WAEC registration number help?

😃😀😃

Time flies, I wish I could meet that mum again, let her see a Dozie void of fear, an alpha male.

BROKEN

By Dreary_Queen

What do you do when the one your trust shatters you?

For a few minutes, I was at a loss of words,
Not due to surprise or lethologica,
Because it eventually happened:
Reality finally struck!

With pain, I watched everything crumble
In a different picture, I saw the one I have blindly grown so fond of
Looking at me with a face full of scorn and hate,
Never have I felt so broken.

What happened to those days
When you’d come home with a smile on your face?
What happened to those words
Full of love and warmth?

Now, I wonder
If this was the same man I fell in love with.
All along, it had been a fantasy
With a hard hit, you brought me to reality.

Times like this, I just want to crawl into a hole
Create as many scars as possible,
Close my eyes and hopefully disappear.
Open them again to try closing them forever

At this point, nothing seems worthy
Not even I to myself
The same you who made me love myself
Got me hating my skin, even to irritation.

Trust me, I should have known better
But then, it took just five words
To make me yearn for you and all of you
“Let me make you better.”

For the times you tried making me better
For the times I had the invisible blindfold
You got to know the deepest of my weaknesses
Then half a year later, use them against me

Never have I had this sudden urge to leave
But in this situation, I need it badly
I want to be the girl I was before
But I’m not sure I’d be that girl or the obsolete creature

I succeeded in breaking free physically
Emotionally, not so much luck
Even though I knew you were on the run for me
I tried my possible best not to slow down

Like the prodigal son, I saw myself
Walking into my father’s house
Memories of my last time here hitting me hard
The look of disappointment on Joe’s face came like a flash

I thought of turning back
But I had nowhere to go
With my feet on the doormat
I opened myself to yet another trauma

I expected Pops to chase me out
All I got was a blank stare
I thought my lil sis would run into my arms
But it seemed like she had no idea who I was

I had no idea which one hurts the more
The people I’ve spent two decades of my life with
Looking at me like a stranger stormed into their home
Or my so-called Prince Charming being Lucifer in disguise

It’s hard letting go of the memories
It’s hard trying to act numb
When I try numbing the pain, it comes back worse:
I suck!

Then I look around me
I have friends but do they really care?
I have a family but they don’t know
I am not that ray of sunshine anymore

Pops warmed up to me
Tried his best to make me feel like his babe
Joe seems to have noticed me now
Hanging around to make sure I don’t do anything silly

The vibes I give is just to make them happy
At this point, my happiness does not matter
Not anymore
Nor ever, I guess

With these familiar people surrounding me
I have this yearn to rise and dance
But nothing comes easy
I guess to love again won’t come easy

“This too shall pass”
I heard it somewhere
I really want to believe it
So I will.

Literary blog. Critical analysis of texts. Everything literature.

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