Acrylic Innocence

first painting ever

I met my kinswomen last night.
Or… was it a dream?

Twas all mirth and warmth –
Life, for an instant, as I wished.

My hands shook at every stroke,
In typical acrylic innocence.

“Think nothing of it,” they said,
“You judge yourself too harshly.”

But, yesterday’s gone, and I, in wonder,
Say “maybe it was all fantasy.”

It’s grey today and perhaps,
Not a chance for tomorrow.

But I think not!
For I walked away with the promise

Of a rendezvous at the potter’s house –
The potter of Grand Barachois.

Hair’s Breath

She almost did not make it
The hair’s breath her messiah

“Just grant me fifty, Lord,” she said
“That I might stay a while with them”

Amen, said He to her prayer
Her healing did not tarry

This woman dear, of Hezekiah’s kin
Would get grace to be merry

Through chance and trial –
A physician’s guess – the most blessed accident

A new lease of life, she chanced on –
Fresh meaning, fresh hope, fresh life.

Snow isn’t always white…


Snow isn’t always white
The tellers of Snow White lied
A blower comes to do its job
The sidewalk’s never fair

Black is never vile
It’s how the earth began
Whether this be your creed or not
It came from up above

Dark isn’t always evil
Deeds beneath its cover, perhaps
Your heart that’s dark just might be
The sign your pain won’t wane

Blood isn’t always red
The nobles will have us know
Nor does having it make you human
The ruthless show no shame

Snow isn’t always white
If the seven dwarfs but knew
Innocence is neither eternal
Nor happiness the end

Maple Leaf

I have seen the maple leaf!
No, I did not just see it; I touched it.
The dream of a 4-year old come true,
I did not need the awakening pinch!

I met the dandelion, the primrose,
The sunflower, the daisy,
And the buttercup, of whose praise
I’d only heard Dolly sing.

How about the carnation, the lavender?
The daffodil, iris, and jasmine?
Of all these and more I wondered –
When will I meet my new compatriots?

The birch tree stood right before me;
We had met, but only in the books,
I wandered farther afield, my heart sang:
Welcome home, you belong to this clime.

I see beautiful deception – the misleading sun
Hello Frost, hello Sub-Zero.
Conquer my fear, give me some cheer,
Save the ice and treat me twice as nice.

When the day says, “I’m done,”
And cannot hold for much longer,
Resplendent chandeliers bare their light.
The darkness sings the “hallelujah.”

It leads me home, it leads me home.
The tired laborer has paid his day’s due.
Who am I? I think, who am I?
I’m that proselyte, who’s pitched my tent with you.


In the month of the pearl, we became
With pride and tears, it was no shame
The melting snow birthed new frozen droplets
Our rites of passage we marked, in our pockets

There was innocence and the loss of it
And yes, another to show for it
Some said it was just one more dawn
You swore this was no ordinary fawn

Sometimes they say we’re incomplete
I say, “spare me the conceit”
They say our days don’t meet the measure
You say, “life is too much, not to treasure”

The blind man is truly king
He flies to climes of which some only sing
They focus on nothing – their distractions
He climbs to his summit, in little fractions

This is my February, my becoming
It’s nothing, perhaps, just my morning
I see with new eyes – it’s an awakening
I’m born de novo – afresh enlivening

Last Night

Last night, I dreamed a dream
There were much-anticipated holidays
Promises kept of a treat and
A much-needed school-less break
Of settings out and a looking-forward- to
Of stopovers and eating out
At Ìbàdàn, Ǭrḝ and Benin-City
Of intermittent endings and beginnings
The familiar smell of Aunty Miriam
And favourite cousins
Oh the pranks we played!
We all came off unscathed
Save for one or two or three
Or more
Their memories linger
We remember every now and then

And when we approached Nkwo-Orodo
At dusk
We knew the journey was almost over
But also only just begun
There was the promise of palm wine
A few days of Erosu,
The early morning sweeping of our Mbara-ezi
The prime chore of our freshly-tied palm- frond brooms
Did we not have our fill of the 5-day old Akpu
My grandma’s specialty that never disappointed?
Ha! Quiet afternoons saw us exacting vengeance
On helpless palm kernels
Strengthening our tender gums and teeth
The only way we knew to
And while we played away
Not too distant serpents affirmed their presence

Sometimes, the nights were eerie
But when they were not
We’d be at the base of the fire
Roasting away Nkwu – a wholesome evening treat
The nights were always dark
As Okwu-Orodo was yet not on the map
And NEPA knew not of its being
God’s light was our light
And grandpa laced it with every tale he knew
His was a gift eternal
He told them with love and pride and heart
It is the reason why
I dream dreams
These are my roots, deeply entrenched
It is my story, my source
And were it not, I would be not.

Fresh Perspectives

Another prayer answered
Another cause for thanks
Another prayer to say and
Another cause for faith

And even though the times don’t smile
They will eventually
There’s none that ever stays the same
Except the Timeless One

Here right now is fresh perspective
I’m done looking behind
I’ve chewed the cud too long it hurts
It’s time to start anew

silent screams 

again, I lose the battle
what is and what should be
penury of courage 
leaves me
wanting, I can’t start over
the end
comes upon me 
the rushing east wind
seizes all strength 
banishes hope to the gallows
silence screams
the object 
of my fear taunts me ceaselessly
i die a thousand times 
i’d rather not rise again
the pain of rising
greater than the thrill of it
try to smooth-talk me
say it’s going to be fine
 try to pick me a rose
say tomorrow will be better 
we both
know where today ends
our veils of innocence
lifted ahead of their time.