Poet, novelist and short-story writer, Ikenna C. Igwe, is the winner of the April edition of the Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (BPPC) themed ‘WIND OF CHANGE’.
His poem ‘NIGERIA ANEW’ was the clear judges’ favorite, scoring 86(85.5%) to open up a 4-point gap between the first runner up ‘AWAITING SIROCCO’ (82%) by Adedapo Adeniruju and Ogedengbe, Tolulope Impact‘s ‘A HOPE OF CHANGE’ (79%) in the third place.
The poems were judged on Structure (harmony of words, presentation, etc) Creativity/Originality and Relevance to the chosen Theme.
April Winner, Igwe, is a graduate of Quantity Surveying and the author of several books inlcuding; Nights and Colors, Kenechi the Honest Boy, Chinedu and the New Yam Festival, and co-author of Quantitative Reasoning with Vocational Studies for Primary Schools, Books 1-6, and Verbal Reasoning with General Knowledge for Primary Schools, Books 1-6.
he has also been published in several anthologies.
He also writes non-fiction books.
“Try as we may, no one can divest poetry from politics; we are either looking at the politics of language/form/delivery or the poetics of political movements; what’s been said, what’s being suggested and what’s been heard.
In reading the entries crafted around the recent wind of change in Nigeria, I took cognizance of these expediencies.
While few images (emblems of the contending political class) were bound to be seen again and again, which is forgivable, all of my shortlisted poems were robust on the sheet, but three were especially gratifying when read out loud.”
~ Shittu Fowora, co-judge BPPC 2015
Below are the top 10 poems, with marks obtained:
- NIGERIA ANEW by Ikenna Igwe (85.5%)
- AWAITING SIROCCO by Adedapo Adeniruju (82%)
- A HOPE OF CHANGE by Ogedengbe, Tolulope Impact (79%)
- WIND OF CHANGE by Kile, Celina Ngohide (77%)
- ASO ROCK IS NO MAN’S VILLA by RICHARD BENSON (76.5)
- ON WINGS OF CHANGE (ACROSTIC) by GOODNESS LANRE (76.5%)
- THE GREAT EXPECTATION by James Jerome Okeme (75.5%)
- EVOLVING TO DIE by Nwokoro Prosper (75%)
- THE WIND OF CHANGE by Agarau Adedayo (74.5%)
- WIND, WILL YOU FOREVER HOWL? by Iwundu Wisdom (73.5%)
NIGERIA ANEW by Ikenna C Igwe email@example.com (85.5%)
For dreadful decades, Africa’s brightest sun has remained
Eclipsed in degeneration’s dungeon; coldly caged by
Incessant ice-storms of fiendish jailers; masters of
Mass misdirection; purloining the national treasure and
Callously casting carcasses, as prized trophies,
To the famished and crestfallen citizens – ones that keep
Reeling at the assorted acmes of acerbic skullduggery on display.
But I see the shimmery silver, lining up, and glowing gloriously
Across the halcyon horizon – limpidly lighting up the dark giant;
And with it, the unrelenting and chirpy clouds of change – gathering,
With celerity, to ascend us to our deserved dais of ineffable greatness.
It’s time to tear down the trivialities that segment us –
Shedding our occlusive ethnic and religious garbs; working
Dauntlessly as an untiring unit to usher in a nation devoid of
Social, political and economic barriers; a country
Soused in equity – a realm ablaze with unassailable justice;
Where truth reigns, regally on all fronts, in all forms.
The hour to oust these vermin in power isn’t imminent; it’s now!
Let us channel our ears to the clarion call, stay in sync with the
Prodding within, pave way, and roll out the red rug for the
Accomplished assembly of true, thick-textured transformation;
Assiduous servants, keen on judiciously putting our celestial
Endowments to enduring use; ardent artists, set to
Paint our portrait of a permanently perfect tomorrow.
AWAITING SIROCCO by Adedapo Adeniruju firstname.lastname@example.org (82%)
Sound audibly, O gong of change
Let the dumb tell the deaf
Of the running lame the blind saw.
Take a long walk across the aisle of history
A U-turn in the roundabout of time
A little stroll down the streets of our thoughts.
Blow aggressively, O gust of change.
We cannot stay aloof and watch
As the quagmire of mediocrity drowns our wards.
We’re bored of the ironies and parodies
Of the lifeless calculus of their frozen aspirations,
And their wrecking workless walking experiences.
Arrive quickly, O gale of change
Tell our friendly foe, the serial rapist
That the watchdogs are still barking.
The forsaken that forsook his forsaker,
And the lost that forgot the path that leads home,
Should sail swiftly sooner than soon,
Before the sun withdraws its friendship.
Welcome Sirocco, O wind of change
Challenge our divisors and infiltrators,
Who raped us at the back of our back
Because our familiarity lacked intimacy.
We’ve seen the shadow of your absence.
Let’s now hear the echoes of your silence.
A HOPE OF CHANGE by Ogedengbe, Tolulope Impact email@example.com (79%)
On a trip down the memory lane
I remember the day that birthed the mirth
The day when the independence flag flew
To shouts of triumph and a rose-tinted view.
I remember the freedom song
The music of hope on every tongue
The progressive vehicle driven
And whilst nothing was actually given
Surely, nothing could go wrong.
Freedom, after all, was all we needed
But after it was again slavery
For years, we were chained to a khaki
And lived by swords and orders
Oh! where is democracy for the order?
It came to us like in a trance
We voted for our governance
It was again time for the foolish dance
For power has not come to us
It has merely changed hands.
Rains have poured in torrents
And fiery winds have blown our tents
But there is a rising in the sun
Indicating another dawn has begun.
Its wind is sweeping across our face
Sweeping in the name of change
We hold on firmly to the end of the rope
We hold on to the dazzling hope
And soon there shall be
That which we longed to see.
WIND OF CHANGE by Kile, Celina Ngohide firstname.lastname@example.org (77)
My country flag flaps
Swishing amidst threatening traps
I hear the rumbling cries
For change that life denies
Whiffs of chaos leave me a wayfarer
As I beseech a time that life be fairer
Though our emotions are constrained
We feel motions of change restrained
My people are tired as preys
They; now one mouth that prays
Flying flags of change
But! What exactly to be exchanged?
Power? Or the constitution
That binds every institution?
Let us first be transformed
And in us will change be informed
Making bold our rights
Wa Zo Bia and every nation unites
Stopping the constant stream
That pushed us extreme
Now we rejoice
Over our choice
Change has come indeed
And all pledges I pray redeemed
ASO ROCK IS NO MAN’S VILLA by Richard Benson email@example.com (76.5)
It was not me who said it
It was my muse who penned it
He said it is his birthright
To pen things that screams like light
And let it pierce cows hides
And dance in innocent minds
Of boys and girls
Through Niger-Benue to Niger Delta
And run in veins of fishes, palm trees and cassavas
We shall hum it like
“Beasts of England” of old
Aso Rock is no man’s Villa.
He had clean notes
Neat works and good grades
Maimed by constant Boko raids
So we mourned Chibok girls
And roasted body parts.
Subtract and add the gains
There is no change.
Under aged-kids voted in accord
Some say cows thumbed too
And worn out umbrella gave way
When change brooms whispered aloud
Aso Rock is no man’s Villa
The globe slept in awe
“he left before the poll’s order”
South and East hissed in solitude
Nigeria wept in gratitude
“Ah, what a man
Gentleman without change”
But Aso Rock is no man’s Villa.
Ninety sixty seven voted too
As politics became poli-tricks
And street name for Ethni-tricks.
Whether you got there
By cows and fishes votes
Whether you are
youth, middle or aged
Whether you are
good, bad and ugly
give us change
or retire to your villa
and join our chant of power
Then you’ll truly understand
Aso Rock is no man’s Villa.
ON WINGS OF CHANGE (ACROSTIC) by Goodness Lanre firstname.lastname@example.org (76.5)
Once now upon a flight of change
New outpour of the due dews.
Wills wheel on a white winging wing
It is the borne of the nail whitish gift of the pigeon
Nights welcome dawns cuddled in a cloudy pregnancy
Greens spread on green gains of bountiful grains
Surely a new reign of rains is surely sure to reign.
Over the horizons is a pool of promised promises
Failed faith and a featured fret and fright of freedom.
Cold chains of corruption has had this land singe
Hand full of perfect tears of the wicked onion
And hope of a change choked into a poor putrid policy
Nostrils have had the stinking smell stocked with pains
Groans of hope to drown this drought the drain
Eerie voices rent the protruded draught of anguish.
On the wings of change
Nipping the buds of corrupt corruption with no rues.
Whistles of the wind whisper a winged change
I wrestle with symbols and signs for a significant insignia
Night knights struggle for breath in the scare of light
Great light beam breeds breathe the breach of darkness
Sweet songs of change alight the flip flight of feathers.
Over the horizon are springs in rings of oases
Fueled faith and a birth of the future kingdom.
Children shame in the mud the shackles of bondage
Heats of change swell strong afar and near
And there is to this weakness a strong surge of might
News spread of a birth and born dawn of brightness
Glows of happiness harp the mouths of mothers and fathers
Ends to elves of corruption as the wings of change flourish.
THE GREAT EXPECTATION by James Jerome Okeme email@example.com (75.5%)
Now that the umbrella have found rest
Let’s hope the broom perform their best.
Clean the littered ground without rest
Only then can we say, “THEY DID THEIR BEST.”
We heard voices crying aloud
And to them we gave heed and allowed.
Maybe they will give us what we never ate
And curb the things we’ll forever hate.
Will they change the sky from being blue
Or divert the direction the wind once blew?
Will they work together like crews
Or on the sea of our oil will they cruise?
Hope they won’t play us April fool?
Let’s know what to do now that the moon is still full.
Whether to nip the bud before it’s grown
Or rather face the music with groans.
Hope the new brush will paint a better picture
Hope our mouths shall taste the new wine from the pitcher
For this is a new scene
Unlike what we’ve seen.
So, let’s keep our fingers crossed as we have our seats
As they have their seats.
EVOLVING TO DIE by Nwokoro Prosper firstname.lastname@example.org (75%)
This gentle earth is such a flux;
The cavemen stuck with sticks and stones;
And humbly subscribed to nature’s hold
The flaring of gas or fuel combustion,
Were not in their deeds nor dreamt to be.
Their lands were green and less explored;
The eagles smiled, the oceans rejoiced;
But then, the hapless cavemen succumbed,
To widespread diseases and soon an era was gone.
Evolved and darkly wise
The colour of our hearts,
Would never be the same;
We cure our diseases,
Yet stronger diseases bring again.
To inherit the world,
We set ourselves apart;
And reach one another,
With our ‘talking device’;
And build so much weapons,
That we may after all,
Resort to sticks and stones again.
THE WIND OF CHANGE by Agarau Adedayo email@example.com (74.5%)
the wind of change
is still unchanged.
Air stained with blood of innocents
Devoured by gothic ghouls,
have been damped with fragrances of cologne
for death was dealt on the night souls waited for change.
On the day we waited for change,
We sang songs that chased war
Into the sodden ground beyond the heavens
But we were chased with spears for the wage we buried.
On the day we waited for the breath of change
They dragged us into the market where skulls and femurs
Are currencies they bartered upon.
We exchanged our bones for null and got death as change.
On the day we gathered beneath open heavens
Waiting for the birth of the prophesy we wrote
We saw them exchange the smile on our faces
With the wrinkles of gloom and dimples of pain—
they tore the future of our children
like rags at the home of flames
they wanked off our strength
till we became feeble like our falling destinies
they stole our dreams
and stole the stories we had
They weren’t like this before
They unchained the wind of terror
The wind of change is still chained.
WIND, WILL YOU FOREVER HOWL? by Iwundu Wisdom firstname.lastname@example.org (73.5%)
Rays of a stagnant sun on wilting petals
Craters of mediocrity postponing progress
Fumes from coughing factories and rusting metals
Mirthful welts on lifeless flesh; the poor man’s portion
Flames of passion faded to wisps of remorse
The earth raped dry by a plaintive sky
Oceans once clear, now to swamps make recourse
Weary lips complain and deaf ears strives to hear
The fate of the spoils now a blessed memory
As wishy-washy flowers warily bend in prayers
And creatures of the earth humble in supplication
Hungry prayers for a better hope, lame supplications for a change
Elements of the earth forsake humanity;
The flames of integrity sway no more
Streams of optimism now flow without ripples
The trodden earth mislay with infertile soil
The air is still, where travelled the wind?
O nature be still, and hear the howl from faraway
A zephyr approaches, wreathing over stagnancy
The flowers straighten, their carpel spread
Finally the wind comes, and with it change
The streams flow again, buoyed by this gust
Flames dance anew, new songs the earth sings
But who could say that this wind of change
Would howl forever, or sooner will sweep us back into grayness
Samson Oluwatoyin, a student of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria, won the February edition while, award-winning poet and spoken word artist, Onwuasoanya Chika Tobi, won the March edition.
Click HERE to enter for the May edition of BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST, themed “A PEOPLE’S HOPE”
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.