Tag Archives: Poetry

A Brief Review of J. K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter by Chiedozie Ude

The Harry Potter series is a collection I hold dearly. The way the author was able to create a whole new civilisation that consisted of supernatural creatures such as wizards, witches, werewolves, goblins, etc., beats my wildest imagination.

The Harry Potter books are seven in number and they span 7 years of Harry Potter’s life: seven years of intense struggle against dark forces led by the evil Lord Voldemort. However, the use of flashbacks, in some places, make us realise that the conflict is one that began long before the main protagonist, Harry, was born. Retrospectively, one can say that all the events that occurred before Harry’s birth are significant to the development of the plot.

Stereotypically, Rowlings presents her conflict in the expected good-vs-evil format. Nevertheless, her story is purely original, both in terms of action and in terms of her character development. Harry alongside other members of Gryffindor are presented as the good guys while Lord Voldemort and his death-eaters are portrayed as villains. The originality of this exquisite work is augmented by the various plot-twists that arise as we seek a resolution to the conflict. For example, the killing of Dumbledore presented Professor Snape in a bad light, but at the end, it is discovered the Severus Snape was just acting on Dumbledores’ orders. Many readers did not see that coming because Rowlings was careful enough to hide the true loving and bold personality of Snape behind his gruff and mean facade.

Another thing of note in this text is how Rowlings is able to show contemporary issues. The real world, for instance, is divided based on racial and tribal lines. Identically, the world which Rowlings paints is split based on specie-lines; that is, there is a class difference between the wizards and the humans. In fact, this division cuts across various specie, with the wizards occupying the top of the food chain. The wizards reinforce their superior feelings by derogatorily calling humans “muggles”. Also, the offsprings of wizards who married humans were regarded as halfblood (similar to the term half caste) while wizards who had human parents were called “mud bloods”. Likewise, the wizards with two wizard parents were known as “pure bloods”. So, it is justifiable to say that the world of Harry Potter is a microcosm of the real world in terms of the malignant issue of discrimination.

In all, Rowlings is successfully able to pass across the message of true friendship and familial love. She preaches the power love possesses over evil. Little surprises when it is revealed that Harry’s mother’s love for him was the charm that prevented Voldemort from destroying Harry as a baby. Similarly, the strong bond between Harry, Hermione and Ron Weaselly was key to finally defeating Lord Voldemort.

I can write many pages on this books, but I think it is important for me to stop here in order not to spoil the book for those who wish to read it. Therefore, let this piece serve as a clarion call for you all to lose yourselves in the enchanting world of Harry Potter: a world that makes a child play the roles of men; a world whose civilisation relies on a boy — the boy who lived, Harry Potter.

However, the movie is a travesty of art.

The way so many events that occurred in the book were blatantly ignored in the movie makes me think that the movie is mediocre.

The director needs to face firing squad. Lol.
It is the same storyline though.

“Ode to Today” by OBISAMWO, Oladipupo

The fragrance of dawn trickled down my nostrils.
Then it dawned on me
That I had survived
The grips of Boss Yesterday.
Thanks to Actor Today.

The atmosphere seems to be partial
As it favours Today against Yesterday.
Could it be flirting?
The celestials must have chosen
Today as a child of destiny
Or maybe as a day of fulfillment.

Today, the birds articulate
Their meticulous tunes of refreshment.
Sapiens greet one another
With pervading bliss
As they went about their businesses.
Oh! Blessed Today.

Today, the day looks gay.
A badge of victory’s hail.
It is determined to outshine yesterday;
To perform better without fail.
My love goes for you.
Oh! Blessed Today.

The African Giant by Chinwe Anyadike

A single concentric life
In the bossom of the hypocrisy of leadership.
I seek a hand to hold,
But you traced my spine
and made fragile the cords that binds it.
The staggering magnitude of corruption
Failed to forge a strong and united nation.

Everyday we died and lived.
Pandemonium, like mushroom pills,
Sprang at every corner.
The past blossoms in old memories
With hope to find solace in the present —
A story left unfinished.

Daily, we toil and wallow admist much yield,
Untapped resources at abandoned state.
Alas! Corrupt leaders at my fortune’s wheel,
Thinking the vices are hidden from public glare.

All you desire is my ruthless Identity!
Come close and see a child cowering behind vulnerability.
I wear my name in camouflage mask:
I am black and strong;
I am Nigeria.
@debbie Anyadike

Auntie Bose by Chiedozie Ude

A nosy neighbour!!!

Aunty Bose was the pain of my life. She was one of those women who only smiled after telling on you, describing to your parents the mischief you had been up to during the day. She would use her toothpick-like arms to demonstrate the severity of your crimes by raising them really high like a choirmaster who sought high notes from his choristers. The essence of such action was to make one’s parents really angry, and this anger was surely going to be converted into a good beating. Sometimes, her stories were true; however, they were often exaggerated. But most times, they were simply the vengeful tales of a woman who hated everything about happy children.

Some of us called her “auntie” while the rest of the children living in the dilapidated two-storey building secretly called her a WITCH. Of course, it had to be done in secret because we knew she would cook up lies to avenge herself. Indeed, this description would prove to be apt.

To all the working-class parents, Aunty Bose was godsend because she was a sit-at-home wife –another name for joblessness. Aunty Bose’s availability meant that she could always keep an eye on other people’s children, watching out for faults the way a kite watches the movement of a potential prey. To summarise it all, she was adored by many parents. Who wouldn’t like a woman who helped you watch your kids for free while you were away?

The earliest memory I have of Auntie Bose was when she tied my hands and legs to the hands and legs of another boy because we were caught trying to draw water from the well. We were about five years old. To Auntie Bose, tying our hands and legs will stop our “touchy touchy” and our “waka waka”. No wonder why many parents respected Auntie Bose.

Now, I should not get all nice and warm in my description because none of the aforementioned adjectives could be used to describe Auntie Bose. She was the kind of woman who would store water in buckets at her backyard for days whenever our regularly-dry well decided to produce water. Most times, this water would turn green because she never had use for the extra she always stored. It was believed by many children and even adults that she intentional stored excess water so that others would have none when they needed water from the well. Perhaps, Auntie Bose was just being smart by storing water for the dry day. Nevertheless, I, alongside others, remained of the opinion that she was a witch — the greatest there was and the greatest there ever will be.

One would think that Aunty Bose would we satisfied with all she did; however, one was to be proven wrong because Aunty Bose was prowling about like the biblical roaring lion, seeking who to devour. Pardon my hyperbolic allusion. The major thing that got destroyed in her itinerary of doing mean things was our balls. Do not fret it, she was not completely devilish because, by “balls”, I literally mean “footballs” and not the other one you know.

The ability of Auntie Bose to put away balls was legendary for different types and colours of balls met their waterloo when they came in contact with her. Most times, she would use a knife to cut them into many pieces, throwing the pieces back at us in a bid to see our sad faces. Knife or not, we all knew that once balls got into her hands, they would never be released because she loved her balls: probably too much.

Surely, we were not going to sit for long without giving Auntie Bose her share of pain. The resistance started with us children refusing to give her her daily food — greetings. Many a time, we would intentionally pass where she was perched and blatantly refuse to greet her. Of course, her face would then become contorted into something really ugly. We could easily see the veins in her face swelling as blood, fueled by insane fury, rushed into them. We knew she would complain to our parents but we were past caring. In fact, we blatantly refused to surrender our footballs whenever she wanted to seize them; this was the beginning of her downfall, or was it?

One day, we decided to up the game. Auntie Bose had just smartly taken and destroyed our football so we swore vengeance. We had to hit her in a way it would hurt. So, plans were made and plans were discarded. Notwithstanding, there was one plan that stood the test of time. It was the plan. It was despicable!!!

Remember the buckets of water she regularly stored?? That was the plan. Undoubtedly, you will think that the plan was to steal the water or probably to pour it away. No! That was never the plan. The plan was much worse. It required the use of liquid to pollute liquid. The first and second liquids refer to URINE and WATER respectively.

Yes, we decided to urinate into her buckets, and we did. Some of us were to watch out for danger while the rest of us were to commit the act. However, everyone wanted a piece of Auntie Bose, so we committed the act together all the while laughing maniacally like villains do when they declare their intentions of world domination. We did not bother about getting caught because we knew that Auntie Bose went to the market. As we were creating a confluence of two waters, we heard a voice saying, “What are you doing?”

The voice belonged to Auntie Bose. She was back!!!!! She repeated, “What are you doing?”

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.

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

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: Chiedozie Ude

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.

Mimetic Approach to Analysing “Love’s Deity” (A purely thematic approach)

UDE, Chiedozie Orji.

Department of English, University of Lagos.


The poem “Love’s Deity’ is, indeed, another work of literature which possesses a huge degree of mimeticism. This implies that this poem is one which projects several key issues that are peculiar to everyday life. These issues, no doubt, make the poem one that can be defined based on the extent to which it imitates life.
The poem captures the plight of the persona who finds himself in an uncomfortable situation of unrequited love — that is, he is in love with a girl who does not share his feelings and affections. Through this knowledge, it comes as no surprise that the persona either knowingly or unknowingly raises several issues which serve to explain not just his predicament, but also, the predicament of others who find themselves in love. Therefore, it can be said that the poem “Love’s Deity” captures themes which include: the theme of love; the theme of fate; the theme of defiance; the theme of callousness of the gods; and the theme of man’s belief in the supernatural amongst others.


The theme of love is obviously central to this poem. This is because it is the very reason for the persona’s struggle. He, the persona, just like many others, finds himself in a situation whereby his love is not being reciprocated by the object of his affection. The subject of love is a universal concept which has always complicated matters or made people happy. Hence, it can be said without any form of doubt that the theme of love, as projected by the persona, reflects the society.


Another theme which helps to project reality is the theme of fate. This theme is captured through the persona’s insistence that he has been given a part to follow by the childish god of love; hence, he has no choice but to follow this part — that is, the part of loving someone who will never love him. This theme, also, is in tandem with the classical notion of unavoidable destiny; little wonder the persona accepts his fate by constantly stating in the refrain that he loves a person who will never love him. This theme, definitely, projects realism through the insight provided on the persona’s condition and of course, through the similarities it shares with the classical notion of unchangeable destiny.


Closely related to the theme of fate is the theme of man’s belief in the supernatural. Man, as an individual, is one who believes in the existence of superior beings such as gods, demons and angels etc. It is, therefore, because of man’s belief in these elements and in the power they possess over man that makes man to always acknowledge them through praises when things are going well, and of course, blame them when things are not going well. This theme is well captured in the poem in that the persona believes that the god of love is the cause of his predicament, even without any clear evidence. The persona does not believe the fault may be from him, probably in terms of affluence or physical attractiveness; hence, he seems it worthy to blame not only the god of love but also, the gods who created the god of love. The presence of these supernatural beings is also exposed in the third stanza where the persona suggests that if the god of love is allowed to continue acting with impunity, other gods will likely follow suit, and by so doing, these gods will challenge Jove’s supremacy.


Of course, another theme which depicts realism is the theme of man’s defiance towards elements of the supernatural. The persona describes himself as a rebel and atheist. These words imply that he does not have much regard for religion and the gods, and he acts out these descriptions by insultingly calling the god of love a child. He continues to show his defiance towards authority by suggesting that the gods who created the god of love did not mean much. This suggestion implies that the gods are incapable and restricted when it comes to handling critical affairs. Finally, the persona brands the god of love as irresponsible. This, unequivocally, speaks of the persona’s blatant disregard for superior authority. Obviously, this theme is a universal concept because many a man, from time immemorial, has always been blasphemous towards the supernatural beings.


In conclusion, this essay has discussed the poem “Love’s Deity” based on the extent to which it imitates life. Several themes were raised and succinctly discussed with a view to proving that John Donne’s “Love’s Deity” is a poem that has a lot of verisimilitude with life.

“A letter from The Ravager.” By Providence Wright.

I am a toxicon.
I made a rash decision coming.
I have caused a rash on your skin.

I have levelled grounds.
I have made fame worthless.
I have toyed with the rich.
I shouldn’t have taken the poor,
But I made a bargain.

I made friends with death.
I became the cheerleader of sicknesses.
I drew to myself pictures of flu.
If you’re reading this, I didn’t come to you.

I had no choice of my own.
I had to do as agreed.
I received coins from Hades.
And made an enmity with Zeus.
I know the world hates me.
I know I can’t be forgiven.
Neither forgotten.
Generations will hear of me.

I am Corona,
I apologise for the damage caused.

I’m leaving now;
I may return in a few years
To remind man what he will soon
forget.
I will come to remind him that nothing, absolutely nothing matters;
But Air, Water, Food and People
Goodbye.

A Realistic Approach to the Poem “May 29”

UDE, Chiedozie Orji.
University of Lagos, UNILAG

The poem.


The poem, “May 29”, is a realistic one that graphically depicts the Nigerian political society. The poem is a satiric one which centres on the farcical nature of the Nigerian democratic system. According to the poet, democracy, as practised in Nigeria, is not in line with the tenets of true democracy. Instead of the Nigerian democracy being an affair for every citizen of Nigeria, it is an affair for a select few, that is, the rich, the political godfathers and the electoral candidates which are metaphorically referred to as “sacred cows”. The poet continues to criticise the Nigeria’s version of democracy by mentioning several flaws in it. He shows these flaws by describing the system as one that is infected. Finally, the persona admonishes that Nigerians should practise proper democracy by giving the people the opportunity to select their own leaders.

The title is significant to the subject matter and thematic content of this poem because it is a date that shows our return to the democratic system of government after decades of military rule. Little wonder why the 29th of May is regarded as Democracy Day in Nigeria. This day is one that should represent a new beginning for us Nigerians; however, it is not so because our democratic system is flawed by issues such as violence, preference for the rich, incompetence, godfatherism, anarchy, restriction of the press, amongst others. All these issues, no doubt, show that this poem is one which accurately portrays the Nigerian society.

Obviously, the issue of violence is central to the understanding of the subject matter. Violence, as an act, is one which pervades the Nigerian political system at all levels of government. It is not uncommon for political leaders and candidates to employ thugs that will aid them to suppress or intimidate the opposition. The persona sheds light on this issue by mentioning the disregard with which the rule of law is held in the country. He emphasises the obvious irony by defining democracy as a system of government where the practice of the rule of law is absent, that is, instead of having peace during elections, we have bloodshed. The except below strengthens this argument:
“Democracy
Without rule of law”
Democracy with
Deoxygenated blood”

Closely following the theme of violence is the theme of anarchy. Anarchy suggests a state of lawlessness. The Nigerian society is described as lawless by the poet due to several anomalies. To exemplify this state of lawlessness, we use several instances highlighted in the poem such as the decision to allow only the rich to govern; the violence that mars our elections; the absence of press freedom; and of course, the blatant disdain with which our constitution is treated by the political elite. Anarchy is further emphasised in the poem when the poet advises the ruling elite to give the people the power to constitutionally choose their own leaders instead of imposing leaders on the people through unconstitutional means.

“Let authority
Emerge from the people
Let the have the right
To alternate leadership”
What makes anarchy stand out as a theme is the sharp contrast between the two systems — democracy and anarchy. One symbolizes orderliness while the other represents chaos. Due to the obvious difference between the two ideologies, it becomes ironic that the Nigerian democratic system is deeply embedded in lawlessness.

Another theme that is central to this analysis is the theme of incompetence. The poet draws an image of a blundering person as he tries to define the Nigerian democratic system. To him, nothing about our democratic process is worth emulating and this is because those in charge did the weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making the decision to return to democracy. This explains why the persona, in the fifth stanza, describes the system as “premature”. He goes on by stating in the subsequent stanzas that our democracy is counterfeit; hence, it will never work unless we go back to the basis by giving the people the power to select those they want as leaders.

One cannot discuss the Nigerian democratic system without mentioning the problem of godfatherism. Political godfathers are powerful individuals who impose electoral candidates on the people. These godfathers can go to any length in order to ensure that their candidates win. This practice, unquestionably, limits our democratic system. The presence of these godfathers make the candidate untouchable, that is, these candidates cannot be rejected by the people irrespective of whether they are qualified or not. To further show that these candidates are untouchable, the poet describes them as “sacred cows”

Another issue that helps to give credence poet’s stance on Nigeria’s democracy is the fact that only the rich can contest elections. Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as a system of government that revolves around the choice of the people; but in the case of Nigeria, it is a government of the rich who rule for the benefits of the rich. This problem vividly support the writer’s claim that our democracy is infected.

The poem is structured in twelve quatrain stanzas. Each stanza, undoubtedly, is used by the poet to reinforce the main idea of this poem. The poet is consistent in his criticism of the Nigerian democratic process by clearly mentioning the different flaws in our democratic system in the stanzas. The stanzas are uniquely structured in such a way that no two stanza mention the same problem. For example, stanza two presents the system as one reserved for only the rich while stanza three exposes the bloodshed that is inherent in the Nigerian democratic process. Aside these differences, one can, without any iota of doubt, conclude that all the stanzas reinforce the fact that Nigeria is not practising the right form of democracy. Also important to note is that the stanzas lack any form of rhyme or regular meter; instead, the poet ensures musicality through the repeated use of the word “democracy”.

The diction — choice of words — employed by the poet is simple and straightforward. The poem is one whose subject matter can be easily deciphered by the reader due to the writer’s use of everyday words. Also, the choice of words is also important because it helps us establish that this poem is set in Nigeria. For example, the use of “May 29” as the title reveals a specific date, and constant repetition of the word “democracy” or its adjectival variant “democratic” help us to establish that the pun centres on democracy in Nigeria. Asides the use of somewhat complex expressions such as “rinderpest, suffused, deoxygenate, and Francis de Sales, to name a few, the poem is to a large extent easy to understand.

The persona’s tone can be described as satiric. This satiric tone is evident in the way the poet mocks the Nigerian version of democracy. It is worthy to note that this mockery is geared towards bringing about a change in the Nigerian society. The poet ridicules contrasts the Nigerian version with that of other developed democratic countries by sarcastically bringing his own variant of Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy. Instead of calling democracy an ideology that is people oriented, the persona calls democracy a system that has been reserved for the rich. He satirises all the lacunas in the Nigerian system, and he concludes by calling for a revamp of the system, that is, one that will ensure people’s participation.


Conclusively, this essay has been able to prove that this poem is realistic by discussing extensively on its form and content. The issues mentioned in this poem will, most certainly, convince any reader that this poem adequately mirrors the Nigerian political society.

Email: Chiedozieude@gmail.com

WhatsApp: 09090953414