Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau has won the July Edition of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC) 2015, themed: “TIME CHANGES YESTERDAY”, with a poem dedicated to one of Nigeria’s finest writers ever, Professor Chinua Achebe.
Titled ‘NOW AT EASE (For Chinua Achebe)’, Agarau’s poem scored 90% of available points to edge out ‘TODAY’ by Anny Justin Udofia (89%) and Uche F. Okpara’s ‘ALLOWED ANTIQUITY’ (88%) to first and second runners up positions respectively.
Agarau, a student of Nutrition and Dietetics Department at the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun State, was one of Nigeria’s most successful young poets in 2014, winning the Season 2 of PULSE STUDENT POETRY CONTEST in May 2014, the third edition of the ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO Facebook poetry contest after clinching the 13th spot on the EGC January list of Poet who rocked Nigeria in 2014 (EGC).
His poems center mainly on corruption, politics, culture and social vices and enjoys wide readership on Facebook. He is also the convener of the ‘EPISTLES OF LIES’, an international anthology of politically themed poems.
Entries were judged based on structure (harmony of words, presentation, etc), Creativity/Originality, and Relevance to the Theme.
All the poems in the TOP 10 poems are automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE which will be awarded in January 2015.
Below are the TOP 10 entries with marks obtained:
- NOW AT EASE (For Chinua Achebe) by Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau (90%)
- TODAY by Anny Justin Udofia (89%)
- ALLOWED ANTIQUITY Uche F. Okpara (88%)
- MY NIGHTMARE by Mesioye Johnson (87%)
- A SOLDIER AT HIS DEATH by Essang Etim Emmanuel (86%)
- THE MIRAGE CALLED TIME by Umoru Umoru Evidence (85%)
- AS EARTH RACES AROUND THE SUN by Samuel Oladimeji Kuye (84%)
- BLACK AND WHITE by Aremu Adams Adebisi (83%)
- TIME CHANGES ALL THINGS by Iwundu Wisdom (82%)
- THAT LITTLE BOY by Abiola Inioluwa Oluwaseun (81)
NOW AT EASE (For Chinua Achebe) by Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau (90%)
When burnt offerings made from native flesh
Are sent as letters of revenge to the gods
On mornings when ash stains the air with humid rush
With coatings of grey across paths of greenish lush;
When sorrowful drums and livid gongs
Tails the mood of dwellers into streams of stunk memoirs;
When scores of dying youths squeezed in a torn nest
Yell for a freer state where black cast black shadows, faithful votes,
Say worthy words whirling whisht, where black whispers are wiser quotes,
We would remember you, Native man of the fallen Biafra
We would remember your prophesy: Time
The sore of Pogrom that sketched traceable scars
On the faces of our dead-headed fathers now lies
Down beneath the covers of loamy sands
Time dug the grave before the hands of second froze.
The relics left of the wars claiming territories have grown into
Streets of Agege packed with bustling speakers booming rivalry songs,
Garden of lovers where Mohammed chases Mary with a flower,
Schools with polished tables and furnished teachers
We re-member you, Chinua, we remember time heals.
We children born on the shore of chaos are now at ease.
TODAY by Anny Justin Udofia (89%)
A day lay, dead at midnight
The calm of the night forever burying its Light
Limp limbs slumber, each breath a-bead-counting
Awaiting the rays of resurrection in the morning
Don’t mourn, don’t stare at the grave it lay
In-between yesterday’s birth and today
A day is late to eternity
Every task, a millionth fragment of destiny
Shadows fret and fade into the dusk’s earth
On pillows of rolling sea, the moon lay its head
As mortals sprouting from necrogenic sleep
From virgin bosoms, flowering tendrils peep
For success today, the failures of yesterday must motivate
So, change becomes a virtue we all learn to cutivate
With everyday drop, the ocean of life fills
Oblivious to the styx on life’s reel.
HALLOWED ANTIQUITY by Uche F. Okpara (88%)
Far gone the days of hallowed antiquity
Times of goodness and scarce iniquity,
When men sought a divine purpose in all things
Even in pain hoping to count their blessings.
We lived in utopia before this fuss
In the land ancestry bequeathed unto us,
Ripe with vegetal harmony undisrupted
With the soul of tradition incorrupted.
But illumination has pierced this primitive fort,
Humanity have suffered and left to hurt;
Science left us no room
When our intelligence sped us to our doom.
Things have changed as did men
So quickly we couldn’t tell when,
Music have come to loose its tune
While morality sits lonely upon a dune.
Cultures have been blown away by the winds of time
Replaced with baskets full of taboos and crime
With the joy of manual labour gone for good
Buried in the ground where our trees once stood.
Our clothes are not enough covering
Nor the clouds above hovering,
We have tampered with them all;
Senseless clans of modern fall.
Who shall preserve our dying heritage;
To shine through the mist of this mess age,
To fan the flames of the old law
And quell the cancerous fire to do more?
MY NIGHTMARE by Mesioye Johnson (87%)
Every night,I place tears on torn thoughts,
With sick sighs and their horrific tales.
I remember their daggers, sketching series of sad stories
At the back of my heartbeat with words like swords.
Every tick of the clock
Is an adventure of what my past has as memento
To present to my absent consciousness-
A frail frame of tainted memories with lucid images,
Presently captives of silence in fainting echoes of promises.
My nudity was licked and sucked
By thirsty desires from thirty scrotums!
Even my pride was pounded with mortal’s fleshy mortar,
For with it, they burgled the virtues I struggled to protect
for years,tho my countdown is now down-counting.
They stole the joy I hung on the mirrors of beauty,
And decorated the face of femininity with sullen sweats
of sobriety, to pin tattered memories in my bosom,
As an exhibition where tears with just a blink
keep flowing regret while on the brink of suicide and neglect.
When shall this broadening sore of itchy past
Be healed if shards of today are sprinkled sans nemesis?
Shall I wait for time to change my yearning yesterday,
When ignorance knows it’s a gift no man can offer again?
If time decides changing yesterday,
What of the pains yesterday incised on my thighs?
So, even if this is a nightmare,
Then, let it just be a mere night till eternity,
Where I will never wake up again to see its reality!
A SOLDIER AT HIS DEATH by Essang Etim Emmanuel (86%)
I have starred in bloody wars before now,
Wars… where death tasted like a lovely perfume
and enemy corpses welcomed with rude feasts;
Wars… where body counts were sung with fife and fanfare.
I have had utmost scorn for the enemy soldier,
wielded weapons with proud passion for the King’s cause,
I have adorned golden stars with dazzling medals strangling my neck,
Even dined at the King’s table one deathly moon-lit night.
I have digested cheers from brother-in-arms,
gulped down praises with patriotism and a straight face;
At ease, I sat before the Commander himself,
drew from a Cuban cigar and discussed nicely, family and death.
All of these have I seen and more would I do,
but; Tick! Tick! Tick! Tick!
The sound of timely retraction pulls me back,
I am drawn into a ticking whirlwind that swirls backward
Now through the spectacles of time I see,
how not so beautiful were my yester-years;
Tick! Tick! Tick! Tick!
The booms of bombs don’t move my feet to dance,
From covered corpses now sour smell seeps,
Ghostly dirges in my ears replace merry death counts,
And the stench of rot screen horror movies in my head.
For time changes yesterday, yea
yesterday moulds right now,
As even I have found out, standing
‘fore this young valiant enemy, living in his yesterday,
my gun fall limply to my feet, impotent and sorry,
As hot lead rips through my conscience, silencing me forever!
THE MIRAGE CALLED TIME by Umoru Umoru Evidence (85%)
Sucking on the milky tits of iya mi,
fresh dew brewed from her alveoli,
life seemed like an arcadia.
A haven blessed with content on a solemn cross,
where hippos swim and penguins fly
and none puzzled to wonder why.
Dawns came and dusks gone.
Now iya lactates no more.
From whom then shall I feed
to meet the cravings of the flesh?
Should I go wet nursing
from that virgin maiden
who resides near the mountains
cascading rivers and streams?
But the land is arid,
Even the last tuber standing,
musty and stale.
Do you remember
those bounty harvest
on the eve of Eje?
They now are silhouettes
still chasing shadows
on the landscape of time.
And just yesterday,
I picked up a dusty relic.
A pair of binoculars.
Up I went to the hills
with zest to its crest
looking through the valley
of the seven shadows of life.
I saw LOVE and JOY
betrayed by FATE
I saw PEACE and UNITY
And then I saw FAITH
in a plethora of rhetorics
from the chronicles of TIME,
That mirage cloaked in reality
blurring yester visions of tomorrow dreams
Iya mi – my mother
Iya – mother
Eje – new yam festival
AS EARTH RACES AROUND THE SUN by Samuel Oladimeji Kuye (84%)
Beauty had long worn ray of light’s ligament’s strait straight path
But yesterday it bears a pariah’s passion on the forehead of time
Swordsmen had been heroes
Till a grenade forbade their acrobatic pride.
On the revolution of the globe dawns a light of day
But Yesterday light absconds with dusk sinking into thick darkness
Our light is their darkness, their darkness be our light.
My garment had been frozen snow burning with stars
My throne’s arrayed with the beads of queens gods gave me
My staff’s spiral bronze with golden molten head of gods
Maritu, father’s white ever-strong horse was riden by kings ages past
Maritu mourns at home while I merry at Mauritania
Meetings settled, meanings not unveiled
It’s been lion king, lion king- of the jungle
Then revolution yesterday, sun bears a terror in honour
As waters on the cloud formed prisms, lights formed a rainbow
Shining, echoes, then blasting aged rocks, blasting strange truths
“Lion’s a dead sleeper, lioness, a fierce hunter”
Beads we made, hair we plaited, necks decked, waist lined
Brows we tinted, lashes we painted, with royal mascara
god’s given queens to welcome my prince coming from the rivers
But waters flow and go, mermaid’s daughters I think they are
Who returned with prince as queens, not said by gods or fathers
To my song of the ancient route did prince made me think
That my ancestors had ridden horses and slept on mats
But I tour faster on land and air without beasts
My voice travels along with my messages…
Then I see the moon smiling, its time comes.
I see time changes yesterday while Earth Races Around the Sun
BLACK AND WHITE by Aremu Adams Adebisi (83%)
I love to see a butterfly,
Flapping in rainbows to the sky.
What could be florid than a sight
Of it that comes in black and white?
The lilies wait in regal shade,
Like vestal virgins on parade.
I’ll love their gowns of ancient white
If on the stems of black delight.
Peacocks are arts of canvas bloom
With curlicues on fancy plume;
A scepter to a noble knight
Upon a gallant horse of white.
I black in white of ling’ring days,
Where crystal were the human ways;
As peaceful as a droning bee,
As joyous as a jubilee.
These faded days of naivete,
This hazy past of chastity,
Are like the moons in blackened nights;
Some phantasmagorical sights.
Although time changes yesterday,
Making today a sorrowed say.
I find solace and glorious might
In my quill on a waiting white.
TIME CHANGES ALL THINGS by Iwundu Wisdom (82%)
Whether in the bosom of filth or cranny of kings
We leave our wounds to the behest of fate
And pray for the dawning of dusk
For nothing lasts; time changes all things
For there once was coital bliss in our whims
And independence in our colonial extravagance
But the fonts of our precepts are now spilled beneficience
Peeking into failures from our youthful clairvoyance
A time was, when we were at peaceful variance
With ballistics and comely weapons of segregation
When blood still found bliss dwelling in fleshs
And not as morning dews on naive grasses and sullen porches
O, there were once hearts here; humanity
Where are we? What happened to us?:
Time; it changes all things;
Heals all things, destroys all things!
Hope once beheld the seats where powers become
Couples once probed nature for their gift from the loins
Somehow, these gifts appear to gild a conjugal oath
And grant a nation somewhere, an innocent mimesis of its former splendour
So, we glower at the blessings of the appealing tick-tock sound
And wonder at the swiftness of the raging wall-clock
”Time flies”, we say, and grilled to its wings
We find healing, memories, change, and above all, our demons.
Who could have foretold the exodus of our empathy,
Or measured the paucity of moments when men desired to fly?
Time; it changes all things;
Heals all things, destroys all things!
THAT LITTLE BOY by Abiola Inioluwa Oluwaseun (81%)
Father, is my memory still as fresh in your breathe,
As the morning dew?
I am that little boy you carved with your fruit,
To enslave me in the dungeon of your greed.
That little boy woven into a world of thorns and vacuum,
That little boy who dined with poverty during the days
he was a slave to the slum,
That little boy whom his tears tasted the helpless blood of his sister,
That little boy is now a grown man.
That little boy who fed on remains,
Remains of the rotten meals his belly longed for.
That little boy who dreamed all night,
Just to wake up in the morning under the shade of confusion.
That little boy whose perception was blind
and couldn’t see his future crying for survival,
That little boy who got stabbed by the cruel weather
during the days he slept under the bridge of penury.
That little boy has grown out of the hands of cruelty,
He has grown to be the voice of the weary orphans.
That little boy has buried your sins in his crushed heart,
Deciding to hunt success with the scars your memory left.
That little boy will soon return to feed your eyes,
To hand you his forgiveness and trade them for your blessings.
Days have been forgotten and nights have grown grey,
Time has changed hands and yesterday is gone.
Oh dear Father,
Time has changed the destiny of your once worthless little boy.
He has grown with the wings of time.
“The July contestants have given more than a sweat to the hand behind the judging pen.
Judge for yourselves. Out of 55 contestants:
- none has scored under 70 %
- 26 have totalled between 70 and 79 %, most of them getting between 77 and 79%
- no less than an impressive number of 18 poets has reached the score of 80 %, on the verge of making it to the top ten list
- the poets in the top ten list have scored between 81 and 90 %.
It has been an elating opportunity to appreciate your colourful ink.
My hearty congratulations to the July contestants of the BPPC. The scope and depth of their inspiration and their command of the language compel admiration. Once more, they have upped the ante, proving all of them have the talent to make it to the top. Bravo.
Pens up! I hope to see you in August.”
— Brigitte Poirson
The BPPC is sponsored by WRR CEO Kukogho Iruesiri Samson in honor of Brigitte Poirson, a French poet and lecturer, editor who has worked tirelessly to promote and support of African poetry.
NOTE: Submissions are being received for the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST 2015 [AUGUST] on the THEME: “I AM THE CHANGE”