TITLE: THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE
AUTHOR: EBIDENYEFA TARILA NIKADE
PUBLISHER: Words Rhymes & Rhythm
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2015
REVIEWER: Rosemary Utavie-Jerry
‘THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE’ is a collection of 58 poems which addresses various issues of life. The poet explores the power of language to craft beautiful lines which appeals to readers’ emotion.
Prominent among the themes is that of love, womanhood, death, gratitude etc.
The collection is structured into five parts, namely: A PILGRIM’S NOTE (which comprises of 8 poems), SONGS FROM AN ANGEL HEART (comprising 10 poems), FEMININITY (comprising 17 poems), THE FLOOD (3 poems), LIFE (20 poems).
A PILGRIM’S NOTE:
This section is like a diary in which the poet recounts her experiences when she went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The poems in this section are mostly didactic, although two centres on love. It opens with ‘WALKING IN HIS FOOTSTEPS’ which is purely a Christian religious poem. It confirms the stories we read in the bible about the birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The poet persona uses this poem to show proof that biblical stories are true as she beholds with “eyes wide open the holy place of his birth and crucifixion”.
With ‘MILES AWAY’ she recounts how much she misses her man; with ‘PILGRIM’S BIRTHDAY’ she shares her gratitude for her birthday coinciding on her pilgrimage. She exclaims with joy: “this birthday on pilgrimage is a perfect gift, picture for a lifetime”. She also recounts her unpleasant ordeal with the air hostess and other pilgrims in ‘THE HOSTESS’. The air hostess can be said to be a racist because of her dislike and ‘disdain’ for black people.
SONGS FROM AN ANGEL’S HEART:
The second part of this collection is termed ‘SONGS FROM AN ANGEL’S HEART’ and has a total of ten poems which centres on love. The following: ‘YOU’, ‘TORN BETWEEN CHOICES’, ‘BURNING DESIRES’ celebrates love in its true and sincere form; ‘A TEEN IN LOVE’, ‘YES, IT CAN’, ‘TICK TICK’ bemoans deceit and disappointment associated with love. The poems here run in opposite direction, while some portray love as a sweet and blissful feeling, others depict love as a deceitful desire that brings tears and heart breaks.
In ‘A TEEN IN LOVE’, the poet tells us about the lustful adventure of a teenager who is blindfolded by the words of a man and gives in to his advances but the man only “explored her hottest secrets” and broke her heart. The same deceit is expressed in ‘YES, IT CAN’; love according to the poet can be deceitful and disappointing when it is not from a sincere heart. She admonishes young people to be careful.
In this section, the poet celebrates the essence of womanhood. In twenty poems, she extols the unique qualities of womanhood such as virginity, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, child bearing, home making etc. She dedicates two poems in memory of her children who has ceased to be and another to her “living testimony”. She also writes about troublesome women.
The collection of poem in this section paints a picture of peace, calm, innocence, chastity and other virtues a woman represents. But on the other hand, few of the poems such as ‘THE WITCH’, ‘VIRTUOUS VILLAIN’, and ‘SHE LIED’ depict the dark side of a woman. The poet is of the opinion that a woman is created to be a companion, graceful, prayerful, patient and not one who antagonises peace.
The flood comprises of three poems and recounts the devastating impact of the 2012 flood. Water which symbolises life became a destructive agent in 2012. Some devastating effect as captured in ‘MR. FLOOD’ and ‘THE BITTERLEAF TREE’ are: Homelessness – it rendered people homeless; Death – it killed people, animals and plants withered. It didn’t spare the rich and did not discriminate against the poor. It made exotic cars useless and a worthless piece of carved wood (Canoe) important and useful. The flood according to the poet came with nothing but destruction and death.
The central message in this section is the frailty and fragility of human life. It underscores the delicate nature of human existence. Somewhere a baby is born and somewhere else a person leaves the world. There are also poems which talks about youthful indulgence, time and the change that comes with it, nationhood, creativity etc.
The star poem ‘THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE’ which makes the title of the whole collection is in this section too. ‘THESE WORDS ARE NOT MINE’ and ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO’ sum up the essence of creativity which is the basis for writing. The poet presents creativity as a driving force that compels her to write. According to her, the words penned down come from within and it can do ‘everything’.
LANGUAGE AND STYLE:
Style according to the New Webster’s Dictionary is the “distinguishing way in which something is done, said, written, made, executed etc.” In literature, style is therefore the “particular way someone uses words to express ideas.
Ebidenyefa is unique in this regard; her careful selection of diction in pouring out her thoughts is distinctive. The language used in the poetry collection is very lucid and she uses a whole lot of literary devices in achieving beauty and meaning in this piece.
Most significant of the devices used is the figurative language; she employs quite a number of figures of speech. For example, simile and metaphor run through the collection. She always makes comparison between things.
In ‘LINES OF INNOCENCE’, she says:
“The shower of his spill like the gurara falls….
In ‘BIG BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL’, she says:
“I stand like a gold fish…”
Oxymoron is beautifully used in ‘LOVE I HAIL THEE’ and ‘THE VIRTUOUS VILLAIN’; in these poems she selects words which opposes themselves and combines them to create witty humour. Also, there are sound devices such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, and repetition cutting across the collection. These give the poems rhythm.
It is worthy to mention that typographical errors are almost inevitable but writers should try to avoid it. To this end, the poet should look at misspelt words that are found in the work and effect correction in subsequent reprints.
The book is a true reflection of a writer’s imaginative prowess, Ebidenyefa exhibits a fine mastery of language; she carefully selects her words to suit her purpose. The general language of the poem is simple and can be understood by everyone.
The cover design of the book is commendable, the picture used is apt, it epitomizes the idea expressed in the work. It is an artistic representation of the book title. In all, “These words are not mine” is a creative manifestation of the writer’s skill and writing ability.