we Naija Poets

"Why should Noah be the man to build the ark?
Over our dead body,
We'll rather build our own beautiful ark", they say.

Before the flood came
Inferior million arks had been on ground
But only one is ordained

Only one is ordained to survive the flood_
The only ark of Noah,
The ark of unity, the ark of racial immunity.

History is still repeating
The old sun is still shining here above
Racism is still living

Yes racial discrimination
The number one mayhem of my nation
The indelible volcano

Come to our land of milk and honey streams,
You'll see the seeds
Of inequality like paradise of pastures everywhere

Indigenous racism,
I-better-pass-my-neighbour racial mannerism,
Political differences

Is also an evidence of racial seedlings.
Religious diversity_
Is also an evidence of racial seedlings

Favoring catchment area
In times of school admission process is
Racism in disguise

When are we going to say no to racism?
A weaponless terrorism
When are we going to shun this dirtiness?

Everyone wants to win
Where two wrongs don't make a right
Handwritings on the walls

Racism has given birth to countless vices:
Cyber criminal actions,
The embezzlement of public purses,

The acts of ritual rape,
Killing neighbors for religious superiority,
Crystal Injustice.

In unity we stand, in division we fall.
Let's unite against racism.
In unity we grow, in division we crumble.
READ ALSO: A Poem About Fulani Woman 

 

When all that should be hidden isn't,
Reminds that rape is fashion designed.
When acts on TV channels arouse,
Is a prove that rape is media promoted.

Now that rape becomes an addiction
What alternative is it to rape urge?
Now that rape is alcoholic in nature
Yet nowhere to find a rape rehab?

Rape here rape there and everywhere
Allegations are polluting the living air.
The word rape seems manipulated,
Molestation is sure the better word.

Exploitation is an evil breed;
An aged digging holes of kids
Is verily truly a rape crime_
Life imprisonment jail time

If the evil  actor is a stranger,
It is worthy of the word rape.
If there's multiple versus singular,
It is worthy of the word rape.

If the prey was preyed unconscious,
It is worthy of the word rape.
If it involved weapon or choking of voice,
It is worthy of the word rape.

Rape can sometimes be hard to define
Since culture and norms are not equal.
Rape can sometimes be misspelled
In a game of do-me-i-do-you stuff.

Most girls from green-white-green
Will say, "if I easily let you pull it off
It'll seem I'm cheaper than a pin."
Most girls from peace-and-unity

Will say, "Guy, you'll have to rip it off_
If truly you want to eat my sardines."
Oh, Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Can we categorize that as raping?
READ ALSO: A Poem About Police

Enunwa Chukwudi aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with Wings Flying)



When pandemic doesn't hit human beings
Human beings hardly care about pandemic
Before Corona pandemic, pandemic had been
Seriously ravaging elsewhere_ hurting the aquatic.

If you don't come to the ocean sleeping bed
You won't know the gnashing pain of the ocean
The ocean is pretty, robust but looks can pretend
The ocean is pretty, aqua-blue but sufferin'_

An equivalent of a truck full of plastic is dumped
Into the oceans every minute of the year.
A load of waste weighing almost 18 billion pounds
When flood disaster knock our doors we begin to fear.

We lick our lips whenever we eat ocean fish
Fish, crayfish, and lobster are parts of seafood
We harvest from the fruitful oceans_ of which,
Those plastic eating fish are what we now cook

We then end up eating virus, we call it vitamin
We then end up eating crude oil, we call it fat and oil
We then end up eating pollution infested sardine
We then end up eating our lackadaisical death with will

When you think of oxygen: think of the oceans
As proven by long history of experimental research
Mammoth amount of world's oxygen is from the oceans
The doubting Thomas can commence their own research

Until we start curbing the oceanic abuse,
Cosmetic waste will forever keep the oceans unhealthy
Unless we begin to pay the needful dues,
Ocean plastics will outnumber fish before 2050

The fight for oceans is the fight of all and sundry
Why leave the fight alone to an NGO called OceanHero?
Now is the time to restore the oceans to a state of tidy;
Now is the time to fight for the oceans everywhere we go.
READ ALSO: A Poem About Police

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying) 


Setbacks can be a price of business
Two brothers decided to be their own boss
They have the vision, they have the cash:
Ben Cathy suddenly died to a plane crash
Truett Cathy was tied to a healing bed
After Mr. Death spared his lucky head
A setback stared at their business path
Who will then run their restaurant?
On the sick bed, Truett was ruminating
About the business, an idea came to his thinking
"What if I take the boneless chicken breast
And fill it with right seasoning and condiment"
And that was the birth of Chick-Fil-A Sandwich
An idea that made him wealthy and rich.
READ: A Poem About Starting A Business

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying)



TITLE: A Government Driver On His Retirement

POET: Onu Kingsley Chibuike

OTHER POEMS: Without Thee

GENRE: Poetry

CATEGORY: Life and Death

DENOTATION: A retiring civil servant chauffeur took his freedom for granted and his foolishness led to his death.

POINT OF VIEW: Third person

FLOW: Climactic

THEMES: Disobedience, Freedom, Endurance, Servitude, Death,  Imperfection, etc

STRUCTURE: Eight (8) Stanzas

POETIC DEVICES: Repetition, Synecdoche, Alliteration, Anastrophe, etc.

DICTION: Simple

TONE AND MOOD: Sarcastic tone and Sympathetic mood

SIMILAR POEM: A Taxi Driver On His Death by Timothy Wangusa


INTRODUCTION:

Onu Chibuike wrote the poem "A Government Driver On His Retirement" to address the matters relating to road traffic regulations.

From the context of the poem, non-adherence to the road traffic regulation is disastrous.
Few of the rules are to observe speed limit, to avoid drunk-driving, and so on.

Onu Chibuike employed the medium of poetry to hammer the fact that experience doesn't guarantee perfection.

"An appreciative symbol
For undented thirty-five years of service to fatherland"

As noted in line 19 - 20 of the poem, the government driver has been in the job for 35 years yet a single neglect of traffic regulations cost him his life.


THE POET:

The poet is a vibrant Nigerian writer, a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and a civil servant.

It is no surprise how he could paint the picture of a retiring government driver in the poem A Government Driver On His Retirement.




Once upon a time
In a kingdom far away
When men were still men
Women were still women
Horses were still reigning
A certain king was enthroned
Suddenly birds refuse to fly
Fishes refuse to swim
Yams refuse to reproduce
It will be a waste of words
To tell you the kingdom was famine
The best of dinner was hunger
Occurrences began to pile
From militancy to kidnapping
From kidnapping to bombing
From bombing to pandemic
Democracy became autocracy
Constitution became confusion
Public address was bundle of excuses
The kingdom trudged on
Until solution came suddenly
And the solution, you shall know
When I’m back from the commercial break
Please, don’t go away…

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with Wings Flying)




Here are the professions of a Fulani woman
Number one is to sell fura da nono
Number two is to sell fura da nono
Number three is to sell fura da nono
Number four is to sell fura da nono
Number five is to sell fura da nono
So motivationally like a divine calling.

When you see her coming down the street
Carrying skillfully above her mini-head
A 16th century artifact in 21st millennia
Looking so slim like Bukky Adua
With skin so fair like a day just break
Catwalk towards me like a backyard bitter-leaf
Her footsteps dangling like a wall calendar.

It seems her only ornament is earing
She pierces her nose and put earring
She pierces her tongue and put earring
She pierces her lips and put earing
She pierces her ears and put earring
She pierces her navel and put earring
If possible to pierce her own heart too_
Probably, she will do to complement her tattoos.

READ ALSO: Anaysis of Fulani Creation Story


Cheney-Coker picked his pen and paper to write about how Africans are trying, in every form, to change their African color and race to something else. 

As a wise African poet, he began his poetry by showering praises on Africa while accepting the fact that he had been far away from home like the biblical prodigal son by comparing himself to a wandering Fulani cow:
"Africa I have long away from you
wandering like a Fulani cow
but every night
amidst the horrors of highway deaths
and the menace of neon-eyed gods
I feel the warmth of your arms
centrifugal mother reaching out to
your sons
but all calling you mother womb of
the earth" (from line 1-8).

From line 9, Sly Cheney-Coker generalized that Africans were living with differences_ not excluding himself. Though he didn't condemn civilisation but he felt it was part of the sins, Africans had committed. 

Part of the things he complained about were that he had been fond of travelling out of Africa, African ladies and women were bleaching their black skins to white, black African men were not living the African way; he put it like this "and I think of my brothers with ”black skin and white masks” ( I myself am one heh heh heh)". 

The poet's heart was so heavy because he could not describe Africa, the African way:
" my heart becomes a citadel of disgust
and I am unable to write the poem of your life
my creation haunts me behind the mythical dream
my river dammed by the poisonous weeds in its bed".

If you do not understand the structure of this poem "Freetown" by Sly Cheney-Coker, then let me try and table it based on my own understanding. 

The poem is not broken into stanzas, it has simple dictions with more of enjambments, the setting is Freetown, as suggested by the title of the poem and the context. 

Figuratives in the poem; the phrase "Black Englishman" is a sarcastic oxymoron, African is personification and metaphor in the poem: "I feel the warmth of your arms/ centrifugal mother reaching out to your sons/ but all calling you mother womb of the earth", "this third anniversary of my flight" symbolized travelling in airplane, "citadel of disgust" is a metaphor used by the poet to compare the feeling in his heart, "shadow of Freetown" is a metaphor as well, ( I myself am one heh heh heh) "heh heh heh" is an onomatopoeia which means laughter.

Looking at the poem, the following themes are evident:
(1) Africans and civilisation
(2) Devaluation of the African black skin

In many African poetry, the issue of Africanism and Civilisation is very common and it is no surprise that such exist in this poem. 

Sly Coker was so concerned with the way Africans are embracing civilisation far more than their own culture. 

He also stated in the poem that they were not satisfied with having a black skin.

Syl Cheney-Coker is a poet, novelist, and journalist from Freetown, Sierra Leone; he was born on 28 June 1945. 

He spent much of his life in exile from his native country, and wrote extensively (in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction) about the condition of exile and the view of Africa from an African abroad.

READ MORE POETIC ANALYSIS>>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


I'm a cop and you can call me Dave.
To protect, to arrest, to investigate and to save_
Are what we do even since the era of cave.

This police job is synonymous to Hell.
Too many night duties turn the wife to infidel
No quality time with self and children as well.

Black colour attracts heat in the sun
Yet ask us to wear black uniform with gun;
So tell me how our brains won't malfunction.

Thinking of police problem while having fun,
Surely one will mistakenly over drink beer with rum
And a sad drunk will shoot sporadically his gun.

Hopeless promotion, slashed salary, filthy cells,
Ranking male police below police who are females,
Plus delay in pension_ do make our hearts yell.

You keep treating police like a slave:
You hire me but pay my boss as if I'm a slave_
Yet you wonder why we police misbehave.

READ ALSO: Analysis of The Leader and The Led by Niyi Osundare


Two Look At Two by Robert Frost is a love-family-relationship poem. 

The poem begins with first three lines suggesting that if the couples in question, still cherished love, sacrifices and the heart to forget spouse wrong actions, they might have been able to press a little further in their matrimonial journey:
"Love and forgetting might have carried them
A little further up the mountain side
With night so near, but not much further up"(line 1-3)

“They must have halted soon in any case
With thoughts of a path back, how rough it was
With rock and washout, and unsafe in darkness;
When they were halted by a tumbled wall
With barbed-wire binding.”

The quoted lines above suggest that at a point in most love relationship, couples take a break when faced with a very difficult situation even thinking of letting go of such relationship but few other lines in the poem explain that the journey of a love relationship is like treading a very dark path at night; where the journey has been very rough and going back is very dangerous alone.

Later in the poem, the human couples were faced with two animals (maybe couples_ not so sure of it). 

The animals were met on the mountainous hill the human couples were travelling. The animals seemed more comfortable on mountain than the human. 

The poet created the scenario to serve as a motivation to human couples in a love-family-relationship.

As said before, the poem is about love but considering the use of nature in the poem; it can also be called a poem of nature like many other poem of Robert Frost (Birches, The Road Not Taken, etc). 

Apart from the pair of lovers all other references concern nature_ the woods with its animals, its trees and stones. These provide the setting or the engagement of the lovers with the animal world represented by the doe and the buck.

In the poem, nature is represented as a great reconciler. By bringing down the artificial wall, it allows the lovers to confront their animal counterparts and learn from them the lesson of tolerance. 

Nature is also presented as a soother of passions. The lovers find the woods beginning in their romantic adventure. Finally, nature is presented as opposed to any form of restriction which impairs understanding. 

The poem demonstrates that man-made restrictions cannot endure where nature intervenes. Thus the lovers discover their true selves in the woods where the doe and the duck gave them the opportunity for self-assessment.

READ MORE POETIC ANALYSIS

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


Denotation
Ours To Plough, Not To Plunder by Niyi Osundare is an agricultural poem using the rewards found in planting and harvesting as the reasons to encourage people to embrace farming. Based on natural phenomenon and the words of the poet, farming is a very useful investment. The poet or the poem speaker is of the faith that people's engagement in agriculture and farming will divert their attentions from wrong implementations of the huge material rewards the Lord God have kept in the soil for humans benefit.

Connotation
The poem has the following theme: (1) the God's treasure in the soil (2) the benefits of farming to humans (3) humans' choice to use or waste

The stanzaic structure of the poem is a free verse of unequal stanzas. The poet was preoccupied with the need for people to embrace farming, so he used the third person point of view in expressing his feelings.

The poem very evident poetic devices in the poem are repetition, alliteration, ant

According to Pass Question And Answer by Johnson Publishers Limited, "At the strange meeting, the soldier who has had the upper hand in the battle tells 'strange friend' that 'here is no cause to mourn', to which the soldier agrees. However, the victim regrets 'the undone years', the curtailed joys, hopes and aspirations.

The victim soldier pours out his regrets of the lost opportunity of experiencing love. Priding himself on being affordable and a comfort to others by his cheerfulness, he regrets that he will not be able to make people laugh. But then, his sorrow lies buried with him as the truth about the gloomy side of war does not get told completely.
The slain soldier thinks it unfortunate that men will not learn from the bitter lessons that war teaches. Men, he laments will continue to antagonize and fight each other continually.

The best aspiration of the strange friends has been to change the world through sheer honest labour and humane actions or deeds. Knowing that there is pain enough without the inflictions of physical wounds, he would have aspired to assist in resolving matters without acrimony and 'not on the process... of war'. Man has the capacity to hurt his fellow man badly enough without fighting him in battle. Yet, regretably, man selects armed confrontation with his fellow man. He drives this point home by declaring his identity as 'the enemy you killed', and resigned himself to his fate.
This is a young man who has had his whole life ahead of him. So, as man die for nothing, there is nothing to it but to rest when once one fallen. 'Let us sleep now...'"

Do You Want More Poetic Analysis

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Poet:-
Professor Remi Raji is a teacher of Literature at the Department of English Language, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Themes:-
The themes of the poem are (i) victimization (ii) silence (iii) destruction (iv) killing and torturing (v) pain and panic

[Also Read: Toast by Remi Raji]


Setting, style, and diction:-
(i) chaotic setting (ii) free verse (iii) simple diction aided by enjambment

Poetic devices:-
(i) symbolism in line 1 "Beast" (ii) metaphor in line 2-3 (iii) alliteration in line 7 (iv) simile in line 12 (v) metonym in line 13 (vi) irony in line 14 (vii) rhetorical question in line 16 (viii) run-on-lines in the poem (ix) repetitions of "who sings".

Summary:-
The poem captures the total gagging of protests against arbitrary rule. The beast is a symbol of a tryrant ruler i.e Abacha.

Line 1-2: who protests when the tyrant prowls because those that tried to are dead. At night, we only dream of blood.

Line 3-5: Sorrow, fear and hardship have choked the remaining lean happiness.

Line 6-8: who will sing when the drums to be used have been split and used as podium for public protests.

Line 9-12: We now only grumble our disapproval like amputated tongue.

Line 13-15: people that tried to shout their protests against misrule and tyranny are treated like criminals by soldiers. "Boots barrels" and "gifts of grenades" kept people in silence.

The poem:-
"SILENCE 2
who sings when the Beast prowls
when Night thickens
with dreams of blood
when Sorrow's scent suffocates
the remains of lean laughter
who sings
when slit drums stand spent
and deaf in defiled groves
who sings
when rhyme's winds
run amok
like amputated tongues
when boots barrels
and the gift of grenades
chase the choir into silence.
WHO SINGS WHEN THE BEAST PROWLS?"

More Poetic Analysis >>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Lullaby is a soothing song intended to lull a child to sleep. In the poem "Lullaby" by W. H. Auden, two crucial subjects were placed side-by-side; love and lullaby.

With the notion of the poem, lullaby is the best way to love which surpassed outward appreciation, nighttime sensual moments and cohabitational responsibilities. Auden saw no certainty in other things than lullaby.

He believed that time and sickness destroy youthfulness and its accompanied hopefulness through aging and dying; that's why the night his lover lie on his arms was worth everything to him.

Auden accepted the strong emotionality within romantic ecstasy but failed to attach importance to such ecstasy because it was gravy. Such ecstasy leads to other things like parenting:

"Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's sensual ecstasy."

In stanza 3, Auden explained that although lovemaking as a means of quenching the cry of boredom, only last a very short period of time "like vibrations of a bell" but nothing will deny him such moment with his lover; not even the scary future.

In the last stanza of the poem, Auden re-ascertained that "Beauty, midnight, vision dies" but that night spent together with his lover will serve as substitution for other things:

"Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find your mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love."

"Lullaby" is a 40 line poem divided into 10 lines per stanza. The setting of poem is nighttime and the poem can be categorized under love and life. Love is the central theme of the poem but other themes such as death, growth, beauty, surfaced.

There are no planned end rhyme scheme though the title suggested  a song. The tone is sweet and wooing with the multiple use of images of sight. Other poetic devices in the poem are alliteration in line 15 and 16 respectively "vision Venus sends" and "supernatural sympathy" then simile in line 23 "Like vibrations of a bell" then metonymy in line "fevers" which was used to replace sicknesses then litotes in line "swoon" which was used by Auden to undermine love.

"All the dreaded cards foretell" even though Auden mentioned "faithless" in line 2, this show that the poet related with soothsayers to a certain extent.

Wystan Hugh Auden commonly called W. H. Auden was an English poet born 21th February, 1907. He later nationalized to an American citizen but departed earth on 29th September, 1973 at the age of 66.

READ MORE POETIC ANALYSIS >>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)

Among other poetic devices in the poem The Anvil And The Hammer by Kofi Awoonor, metaphor is very paramount.

Based on the email requesting the metaphors embedded in the poem: The Anvil And The Hammer, naijapoets.com research has come up with few of the metaphors found in the poem. It must also be noted that the best way to fish for metaphors in the poem is by understanding the definition of metaphor itself.

Here are the metaphors in the poem:
(1) the anvil and the hammer are metaphorically compared to African and foreign culture.

(2) new flags and anthems are metaphorically compared to the birth of a new nation.

(3) the pangs is used to mean the struggle for freedom.

(4) outlaw is used in place of foreigner.

(5) new garment is a metaphor for western culture or civilization.

(6) jargon of a new dialect is metaphorically referring to the western policies and philosophies.

(7) whirlpool of many rivers' estuary refers to the complex culture from overseas.

(8) perpetual search is a metaphor for keen interest to acquire.

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READ MORE AFRICAN POETIC ANALYSIS >>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


We are going to kick start this article by looking at the style and figurative. Based on naijapoets.com opinion, Nightfall in Soweto by Oswald Mtshali, is a very easy poem to comprehend. It is of 8 unequal stanzas with dictions revealing fear and rage (tremble in line 28, ravaging in line 5, victim in line 9, marauding beasts in line 21; are prove of fear).

Aside the personification in line 22-23, "let loose by cruel nightfall/ from his cage of death". The poem has an interesting figurative end:
"Nightfall! Nightfall!!
You are my mortal enemy.
But why were you ever created?
Why can't it be daytime?
Daytime forever more?"
(apostrophe in line 32 and rhetorical questions from line 34-36)

Other poetic devices in the poem are simile in line 1, alliteration in line 2, synedoche in line 6-7, anaphora from line 16-18, litotes in line 26, symbolism where "cruel nightfall" is the symbol of the white oppressing the black, imageries in the poem (deafening knock, rabid dog, mortal enemy)

Looking at the plot of the poem, the poem shows what the victims (the black) face whenever "the whites" appears at such time of discrimination and apartheid. The oppressors use such dark period to launch attack on targeted victims, they even knock at victims doors compelling the to open up.

The poem has the theme of brutality and injustice (the blacks are brutalized), theme of apartheid (lack of equality as a human right), theme of panic associated with nighttime attacks, theme of oppression and discrimination, theme of helplessness and lamentation.

Oswald M. Mtshali is a South African poet born 1940 in Vryheil, Natal. It was recorded that Mtshali resolved to manual labour when he was not admitted to University of Witwatersrand due to apartheid. The Soweto in the poem means South West Town, during that evil era in South Africa, the blacks lived to serve the whites and there was no freedom for them at all. The time for rest became scary time where they must not shut their eyes.

READ MORE POETIC ANALYSIS >>>

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo with wings flying)


The theme of love

Horace Walpole didn’t fail to employ the thing called love among his characters (both paternal and romantic). The strong bond between Lady Hippolita and her children were due to love undiluted while the romantic love between the likes of Theodore and Maltilda leave readers with goosebumps. They loved each other so much that they blindly took risks for love_ though they couldn’t marry each other following the untimely death of Matilda.

The theme of masculinity

The author indirectly questioned the supremacy of the male gender over the female gender. In the novel Castle of Otranto, men took rash decisions concerning women as if women were mere puppets to toil with for fun. Without seeking the opinion of Isabella, she was betrothed to Conrad. Matilda was also denied chance of becoming heiress or inheriting the political estate of her father. Manfred was more bullish to the feminine than masculine; undermining, divorcing, remarrying, just to mention a few. Walpole used Isabella as a character to challenge such masculine supremacy. She refused to marry Prince Manfred.

The theme of supernatural

Horace Walpole proved in the novel that some inhuman forces were capable of controlling the existence of humans. Those forces played on both objects and human emotions. Besides other actions such the ghosts, giant, the fulfilled prophecy that the rightful heir of Otranto will possess their possession is a big evidence.

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Define virus in one world
And the world is Hijack
He who pays the piper dictates the tone.
Covid-19, I know your antidote
Covid-19, only few possess your remedy
Covid-19, Monarch Amazon has your antidote
Covid-19, Ngote has your antidote
Covid-19, J. Ma has your antidote
Covid-19, Faceberg has your antidote
Covid-19, Callous-and-Slim has your antidote
Covid-19, Trump-da-Rula has your antidote
Covid-19, Ad-e-Nu-ger has your antidote
Covid-19, few others have your antidote
Can smell what is secretly smelling?
Can you smell the compass?
Can you smell the square?
Can you smell the lock and key?
Can you smell the serpentine in the making?
Before a home, an architect builds a model home.
Oh covid-19, the trial version of what to come.
Can you smell the new word other?
Can you smell the Bestial Verification Number?
Stop smelling it's a joke.
April Fool!

Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry
(the Leo With Wings Flying)

EXPLANATION:-
The poem is an example of faction (mixture of fact and fiction).
It is born out of imagination and nothing more.
It is an allusion (thematic allusion).
It is about Covid-19 on the surface but on a deeper surface, its about the Scriptural story of end-time.


THEMES:

There are many themes in the poem, such as (a) the theme of leadership (b) the theme of nature (c) the theme of imperfection (d) the theme of balance.

In the theme of leadership, the title and the context of the poem are fully about leadership. The title of the poem “the Leader and the Led” creates juxtaposition between two subjects (leading and following). The whole poem is about who wants to lead and who doesn’t want to be a follower of a certain leader.

The characters and the setting in the poem, reveal the theme of nature. Such characters and environment send a feeling of freshness and greenness to the readers of the poem.

Memory of the zoo or that of the jungle book is revived. The forest where every event happens, the giraffe, the zebra, the lion, the impala, the antelope, are words portraying living natures.

Another theme in the poem is the theme of imperfection.  The poem sends the message that perfection is not the recipe for leadership. The animals that felt they are worthy because of their strengths and powerful qualities are disqualified like those who possess weaknesses.

In line 11 – 12 (The elephant trudges into the power tussle/ But his colleagues dread his trampling feet), the elephant strength disqualified him while the weakness of warthog was his certificate of disqualification, as seen in line 13 (the warthog is too ugly).

The theme of balance shows that half strength and half weakness is the guaranteed trait to leadership. Professor Osundare revealed the solution via the forest sage because it takes wisdom to arrive at any solution to a problem.

Line 17 – 20:
“’Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”,
Proclaims the Forest Sage,
                   
“A little bit of a lion
A little bit of a lamb

Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe
Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake’”



THE ANALYSIS:-
The Continent That Lies Within Us otherwise called The Meaning Of Africa is a poem written by Abioseh Nicol, a Sierra Leonean poet. Africa is personified in the first verse of the poem leaving Abioseh Nicol with the opportunity to confess to Africa as if a Catholic confessing to a Reverend Father. The poet told Africa that he now got a perfect picture of her. He also confessed he had now realized that the freedom he naively seek for her in the far oversea, the continent already had it more abundant.

Similar to the poem "Dry Your Tears Africa" by Bernard Daddie, Abioseh Nicol also exhausted the whole second stanza of the poem listing the abundant blessings his brain could contain about Africa [the poem will be seen below_ at the end of this article]

According to the poet, every human being is from Africa. When a person visits Africa and strolls the African bushes, one will reunite his/her ancestral spirits. Not only that, the names of African cities, as said by the poet, typified freedom: "Whose very names hold promise_/
Dakar, Bathurst, Cotonou,/ Lagos, Accra, and Bissau;/ Monrovia, Freetown, Libreville,/ Freedom is really in the mind."

"Happiness, contentment, fulfilment,
And a small bird singing on a mango tree" are the true meaning of Africa.





THE POEM

The Lion stakes his claim
To the leadership of the pack
But the Antelopes remember
The ferocious pounce of his paws
The hyena says the crown is made for him
But the Impalas shudder at his lethal appetite
The Giraffe craves a place in the front
But his eyes are too far from the ground
When the Zebra says it’s his right to lead
The pack points to the duplicity of his stripes
The Elephant trudges into the power tussle
But its colleagues dread his trampling feet
The warthog is too ugly
The rhino too riotous
And the pack thrashes around
Like a snake without a head
“Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”,
Proclaims the Forest Sage,
“A little bit of a Lion
A little bit of a Lamb
Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe
Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake

A leader who knows how to follow
Followers mindful of their right to lead

(c) Niyi Osundare

TheLionstakeshisclaim
Totheleadershipofthepack
ButtheAntelopesremember
Theferociouspounceofhispaws
Thehyenasaysthecrownismadeforhim
ButtheImpalasshudderathislethalappetite
TheGiraffecravesaplaceinthefront
Buthiseyesaretoofarfromtheground
WhentheZebrasaysitshisrighttolead
Thepackpointstotheduplicityofhisstripes
TheElephanttrudgesintothepowertussle
Butitscolleaguesdreadhistramplingfeet
Thewarthogistoougly
Therhinotooriotous
Andthepackthrashesaround
Likeasnakewithoutah

 

SIMILAR POEM:

Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti is a poem similar to “The Leader and the Led”. Both poets are Nigerians belonging to the Yoruba ethnic.

In a metaphorical manner, Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti buttressed the prevailing hardship and insecurity in a given community as a result of bad governance; dwellers were left with nothing but helplessness and hopelessness.

The characters in the poem “Ambush” are animals such as giant whale, sabre tooth tiger, etc.


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