Category Archives: Poetry

We Rise

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by Ebele Chizea

Our father is the great rising Sun

Our mother, the serpent who birthed humankind

Records of our footprints reveal we have marched this way before

Who is our mother you may ask?

She is the energy in your spine, your back bone, the ground beneath your feet…

Our father is a wise king descended from a realm of gods

A city with numerous vortexes of light

He is known by some as The Dweller

He also dwells in our hearts

Which is why we smile so much

Even through the rain and the whirlwind

Through hunched backs and trepid movements

We dance & sing & make music…

By our stripes, the world was reborn into a new way of doing things;

Of loving, of expressing, of worship

More than that, the ones to come later were fed

Because of the great human sacrifice

That history shall never forget

Umu anwu (children of light) we were

And just like Anyanwu (the Sun), We rise

Just like our father

Who came before us

So that we may also live

And like our mother who bears witness in this breath of time.

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Ogolo Mmuo (Maiden Spirit)

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by Nze Omenigbo Izo

"Igbo Woman" by Arteyez

I: Invocation 

Ogolo Mmuo!!

The river-sides have gathered basins of sun.

Descend now, unnoticed, in your ethereal flush

My bright-faced maiden, revisit once again—

And possess the idle wind with your buoyant vigor.

Bring with you, all the gleam of your wonder realm

Come—blind our eyes with your shimmering beauty,

My vibrant one, rip your way through our red earth

And leave behind your unique dance trails for all to see.

With your frail, measured landings—never out-done,

Impact our fertile ground with unaging beatitude.

Possess the trees Ogolo—the eyes and ears that seek you

Out from the dark. Loosen our stiffened, mortality

With your enchanting aura, my gleaming one.  salvage

Please descend, for the river sides have gathered—

Sufficient sun; enough to fill up your rain-pouch,

My queen. Descend and I, seated by the ant-hill,

Untiring, Shall be waiting for you, Ogolo.

"Igbo Grace"

II: Manifest

The Maiden’s Dance

Faster than thunder through plantain-leaves

Follow those legs, famous for their tedious,

Penetrance of varied human soils.

Swiftly, stately—with few ascensions,

Ogolo, you rejuvenate the staid-struck

Pulsation of  an eager-earth—circling,

Through and through, endless…

With eyes that are life transient,

While doubt-shattering,

You induce in all soul: your distant home’s allure

Dream-rich and serene,

Like deep-flowing agrarian pastures…

I stare on as those sprite fingers,

Finely weave into the dread-troubled wind,

Unfettered tranquil—unbroken at all times,

Like the eternal reach of pure bliss.

Indeed Ogolo, the rain-chap does hold to himself,

Far greater feats—that to mere mortal life,

Will remain eternal yearnings.

Igbo maiden spirit maskers near Akwa, Nigeria 1935

The Village Bird

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by Ebele Chizea 

A long time ago
in a land far, far away
I arose to distant hills
in translucent shades of blue
In the backdrop
Black birds soared
flapping their wings to the rhythm of their coos
They spread gossip about other towns
Grandma listened, nodded and suddenly went:
“okay!”

I only got the part about Emekuku
What happened at Emekuku?
Grandma’s lips were sealed
It was older people’s business

I long for the days when birds could talk
and we took the time to decipher
When chickens and goats co-existed with humans
on the front porch
Swearing away the heat
each in its own tongue
Longing for harmattan…

Sitting under moonlit skies
Listening to a particular tale of duality
as corn roasts with crackling sounds under the fire…

Chanting:
“udara mu cha nda cha cha cha nda…”
sniffling at the girl whose stepmother starved her
and who prays for the udara to ripe so she can eat

In a famine Udara dwarfs itself to feed girl
and grows infinitum when step mother sings to it

We cheer!

It’s bedtime

And with a belly filled with corn and ube
I move lethargically towards my mat
determined to rise early
to decode what the bird from Emekuku had said.


“Chukwu”

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by John Umeh

Great Chi
Source of my Chi
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Totality of mystic propulsions
Source of life propeller and other propulsions
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Aka Ofu the first cause
Aka the First, origin and source of energy and light
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Chukwu the Universal Spirit
Revealer of Abia – arcane and other knowledge – first to Agwu
and then to His servant Di-Abia the expert in Abia
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Tide of Long-basket Abia
Source of round-basket divination Abia
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Olisa the Tide of the Universe
Destroyer and Restorer.  Head-water of eternal purity
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The one-eyed One
but all seeing Anthill with eyes all over
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Aka Ofu the ancient and the First One
Purest Blaze whose servant the blazing Sun is comparative darkness
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


O’sa the Wisdom and knowledge that gave round-baskets of
knowledge and wisdom to Holy Spirit Agwu and Dibia
so that they immediately follow behind Him
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Obasi the High God
Whose child Dibia is to be titled the child of the High One
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Husband of Komosu
Father of the Beautiful Spirit Queen, my mother Idemmili
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Father of all fathers
You’re the Kindness, the Kindheart and the Merciful
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Chineke – the Creator
Not to be seen in His rectangular sacred Obi house
Komosu opened slightly to see
A spark of golden fire of creation escaped and caused
the greatest tragedy
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Love
You pressed the mystic brakes
Komosus corpse and particles of erstwhile monolithic world
come to balance
Some have continued to go round and round
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Love, Mercy and Kindness
You too back Your Wife
Wept Your Tears on Her corpse
Salty Oceans and seas that cleansed it of hatred, death
staleness and loss
It became the sacred land/earth
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

SPIRIT greater than all spirits
Who comes First, followed by Agwu the Holy Spirit
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Revealer of all Abia
Dibia the Abia expert after his mission returns to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Omniscience
The greatest historian eventually goes back to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The greatest artist/technologist
Eventually goes back to God
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Eternal Mystery to the world
The children of the world are striving to know how you are
They are all guessing
For one one sees God and remains alive in this planet
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Completeness of potency
Whose words gave existence to innumerable beings and things
up and down the universe
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

King of kings who verdict is final
being the Being of the last appeal
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Eternal Mystery to the world
With no beginning and no end
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

Defeater of all those who’ve boasted they’ll defeat me
You’ve given me the Lion’s Ikenga that never cools off
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


Igbulu Ukwu
Great Igbulu greater than Sacred Grove
Source of sacred altar
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The Light
Father of  small light the ancestor of all IduuOlu and Igbo
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The Potency
Whose hands touched and changed sands to Gold
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The greatest and all pervading
Omnipresent, omniscient and all seeing
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The One Who’s wide awake even in deep slumber
The one-eyed One that sees all
The One who duplicates Himself in countless numbers
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

One who is not targetted to time and calendar
Save the time and calendar God has set for himself
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


The Creator that created Himself
The Breath that breathes Himself
The Life that lives Himself
The Potency that Potentiates Himself
The Word that speaks Himself
The Psalm that sings Himself
The Song/Dance that sings and dances Himself
The Hymn that sings Himself
The Laughter that laughs Himself
The Lamentation that mourns Himself
The Peace that pacifies Himself
The Divination that divines Himself
The Supreme Thought that thinks Himself
The Reflection that reflects Himself
The Wisdom/Knowledge that knows Himself
The Mystic propulsion that propels Himself
The Wind that blows Himself
The Fire/Energy that lit/energized and sustained Himself
The Completeness of Aura that carries Himself
The Prophecy that prophecies Himself
The Title that titles Himself
The Medicine and the Charm that medicates and charms Himself
The Light that lights Himself
The Calendar and the Time that programs Himself
The Completeness that complete Himself
The Hidden Knowledge and the Wisdom that reveals Himself
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm

The Fire/Energy and the Light
Which the uniformed are seeking with their dim palm candle-light
thinking You’re Mkpu termite flies which can be attracted
by the show of owa dim light
Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm Ọm


From Okponku Abu by John Umeh

The Call

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Royal Woman in the making 

Ezenwanyi reawaken

Royal woman

Open your veil and let your eyes behold your beauty

Light of Chukwu sacred gateway

Sing the:

Divine Mother tune

For …

She longs to bathe you with her sunlight

Wash your sorrows with rain

Adorn your crown with flowers

Delight your taste buds with her fruits

Dazzle you with her colors

Caress you with her winds

Make you walk on lushes of green

Lighten your steps to the tune of silence

Sing you lullabies in the coos of a bird

Reawaken your existence as the universe at play

Dance you daughters of God

Move your hips to the rhythm of the cosmos

Dance

Dance

Dance

Away

The subjugations, the denials

The definitions, the sorrows

The incisions, the invasions, the blame

The censorship, the forced responsibilities, the lies

And

Many

Many

Other fixations

For your Queendom is finally at hand.

By Ebele Chizea

 

Ani Song

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We are the children of Ani

The great mother of life

We are children swimming in the pool

Of her sacred rivers

We hop with the butterfly

Coo with the bird

Delight in the fragrance of flowers in bloom

We dig our feet deep in the sand

Play with ocean tides

Flap our arms against the wind

Pick up stones, wear or put them in jars

We climb tree branches

To perceive its secrets and wisdoms

Collected through the rings

Of time

We are not from here or there

We’ve existed before and forever will

We come time and time again

Because of love

And though we may be persecuted

Tried and refined by fire

We understand she is our friend

Together with water and air

We are the Kingdom of heaven

With all its riches buried within our hearts

We are the Queendom of earth

Come to manifestation

We are the children of Ani

The great mother of life

And our ammo is freedom

By Ebele Chizea