Posted: January 3, 2015 in EZEAMALUKWUO SPEAKS 2, Poetry
Tags: , ,

A Jasmine Flower; Picture Courtesy of Google

A Jasmine Flower; Picture Courtesy of Google

by Okoye Chukwudi Ezeamalukwuo

(Inspired by “Mandela; a Biography” by Martin Meredith)

Pick a Jasmine, my love
Pick a fresh, white Jasmine.
The flowers are more lovely this year
The bird’s songs are sweeter than before
And the sky is the bluest I’ve ever seen.
But the fallen dreams of Africa,
Lie un-blossomed still in the desert soils of our hearts.
The sower will sow once more before the year is done.
The heavens will smile, and rain will surely fall by dawn.
The farmer’s boy will till the Earth
With a village song on his tongue.
But the lost hopes of my people;
Those black seeds left un-nurtured in the ground
May never know the blooming light of day,
Though I pick this white Jasmine
Though I plant kisses on your lips.

Listen! My love, Listen!!
Listen to the sound of the wind on your hair,
The chirping of the crickets in the wood,
The clapping of the wings of butterfly,
The buzzing of bees on flower petals;
Listen! My love. You will hear it surely;
The cries of infant, the wails of women,
The clash of spears, the drawing of bows and thrust of arrows,
The noise of battle and marching of tribal warriors,
The voice of pride and the words of prejudice,
The groaning of a people down and downtrodden,
It is the voice of Africa calling. . .
And I must pick myself up and go.
From the North to the South, To the East and West,
She calls; ‘My people; what have you done to yourselves,
This is no manner to live; a stranger among friends,
Knives sharpened; ready to battle,
To draw blood from kindred veins.’
Listen! My love. Listen! She calls,
Give ears and hearken.

Somewhere in time; I believe
They will be singing the Nkosi Sikekela*
And the ancient rhythms of our land,
And there I shall return;
With love for you, and time for me.
But today; the voice of my people calls;
And there is no joy yet for us to reap
Though I pick this white Jasmine,
Though I plant kisses on your lips.

NB: Nkosi Sikekela is a Zulu song usually regarded ad a national anthem by Africans south of thr Zambezi. Nkosi means the King or the Lord; and the phrase means “God guide the destiny of our land!” (Culled from “A Selection of Africa Poetry” by K.E. Senanu & T. Vincent ed. 1988)

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. Dowell Oba says:

    I like the contrast in the second part of the poem. The way you ironically used images of the mild sounds of nature to describe the harsh sounds that reflect struggling and warring African. You did this not for ironic humour but to artistically reflect in a practical way Africa’s lack in non-blossoming resources. Together with my earlier comment of a non-detached lover, this poem is great and expertly written. A work of a true craftsman.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Thank you Mr Dowell Oba, it’s folks like you that we need here in Lyriversity. Writers with readership skills, your comment even opened my eyes to certain aspect of the poem that I didn’t know exist. Thanks my good man for this analysis really.

  2. timonize says:

    This is a lovely intelligent poem, I am convinced.
    Permit me to view the poet as “Africa” and his love as “Africans”. I say this because of this lines:
    Listen! My love, Listen!
    Listen to the sound of the wind on your hair


    Listen! My love, listen! She calls
    Give ears and hearken

    The poet alternatively albeit subtly tends to assume a dual personality.

    There is a longing for a similitude of the beauty and calmness of the Jasmine for “Africans”. It’s more like a love-lamentation dirge. The sudden shift from the Jasmine and beautiful nature to the lamentations for “Africans” givews credence to this.

    In the second stanza, all looks at peace and well as the “crickets chirp and the bees buzz”, so natural. But beneath the veil lies something more sinister, something more unnatural, more wicked. The cries of infants and the noise of war.

    I can see 2 major reasons why the “fallen dreams lie unblossomed”. The desert soils and the un-nutured seeds.
    1)If it is common knowledge that ths soils are desert-like, then should there be hope for any blossoming? Why will the farmer sow and why will the coming down of rain be good news? To what end? For soultions, should the desert soils be deserted and fresher soils sought for, or should hope that the desert-soil become fertil land alone be the last resort?
    2)If the seeds remain un-nutured, whose job is it to nurture them? The farmer sows. His son tills. Nature supplies water. Who nurtures? Doesn’t it seem like everyone thinks his duty has ended before the end result is achieved viz the blossoming of the “fallen dreams”?

    I see this poem as a reflection of the African mind.
    Nobody wants to take on extra responsibilty to ensure there is bloom.
    Yet, they are too quick to pick at each other with “spears and bows”.
    However, I see the constant referral to the Jasmine as a glimmer of hope, a shimmer of light. That seems to be a constant theme in the poem and in “Africa”. That may be the reason the farmer will still plant, his son till, and they sit and await the rain to water the land they will neglect afterwards.

    What ironic traedy!

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      This is a comprehensive analysis of the poem Mr Tim. I am thralled and elated by the time you took to do this analysis. Yes you may view the persona as Africa, or you may still view him as a person love-stoned for Africa, who felt that no matter how much his responsiblities are, Africa and African affairs come first.
      I wrote this when I was reading about Nelson Mandela and his part towards ending of apathied, and I saw how much he neglected his wife and children and how they all turned out, –not so good. And I felt the same way, the same emotions inspired me.
      Thanks again, I am sorry that this is coming late my good man.

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