Saturday, June 21, 2014

Voices of Nigeria

Here are two poems from Iyobosa Bello-Asemota from this term's Senior Poetry Prize competition> Iyobosa writes:

These poems were inspired by the haunting voices of the marginalised and the vulnerable in my homeland Nigeria, especially the voices of those missing girls recently stolen from school and taken from their devastated families.


Is Nobody okay
With nobody to care?
nobody to search
While Nobody lives in fear?

Nobody to lead
As Nobody cries
nobody to mourn
As Nobody dies

Nobody is gone
But not forgotten
As Somebody stands
Against a system gone rotten

If Somebody remembers
nobody will be lost
As long as nobody stops
No matter the cost


Amid national outcry, disaster strikes again.
Blood-red soil lines streets already flooded with tears
For those now forced to act older than their years.
The currency changed: pain in exchange for more pain.

What a bargain! What a find! 12 dollars for a life,
A future, a lineage, a slave, and a companion.
A nation on its knees yet raped with abandon.
Unity be damned. I’d divide it myself had I the knife.

If the Janus-faced leeches in Aso Rock are our only hope,
Ours is a cause doomed before its start.
Joined with thousands in mind and heart,
To free the girls from the horror with which they’ve had to cope.

Free them to a life of slavery?
Where they would be viewed as damaged goods
Sold for less. Discounted for bravery?

And what about us? Who will free us?
Besieged by parasitic rulers, harangued by insurgents
Whatever the outcome, we are at a loss
We will never be free. Perhaps only in our heads
Count no man free until he is dead.

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