The winner of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST 2016 (August) is Adams Adeosun, a student of architecture at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Adams, who described himself as a lover of literature with strong belief in free expression through the art of the pen, won the contest with a poem entitled ‘THE POETRY OF A WOMAN’. It is his first BPPC trophy.
‘THE POETRY OF A WOMAN’ beat ‘A LETTER TO MAMA‘ by Izuchukwu Otubelu to 2nd place while ‘WEEP NOT, WOMAN‘ by Patrick Tobechi Ashinze came 3rd. ‘SHE’S JUST A GIRL‘ by Emmanuel Faith, which came sixth after the judge’s evaluation was eventually disqualified for exceeding the maximum number of lines.
Adams says he dreams of travelling across the continent of Africa.
The AUGUST theme was “WOMANITY – THE GENDER AGENDA.” This theme was chosen to restate our conviction that society stands to gain a lot from appreciating women’s roles in society and ensuring equal opportunity to peoples of both gender.
Below are the TOP 10 entries:
- THE POETRY OF A WOMAN by Adams Adeosun
- A LETTER TO MAMA by Izuchukwu Otubelu
- WEEP NOT, WOMAN by Patrick Tobechi Ashinze
- BROKEN (triple triolet) by Udokamma Benedict Wilfred
SHE’S JUST A GIRL by Emmanuel Faith [DISQUALIFIED]
- EVE’S GRIEFS IN THE SUN (Tears of an African Woman) by Ifeoluseyi Ifeoluwapo Ifeyemi
- HOW TO CUDDLE A GIRL LIKE ME by Akor Emmanuel Oche
- EVE’S TESTICLE by Claire Poirson
- MY FARTHER IS GUILTY OF INCEST (An Acrostic) by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi Jeremiah
- A BRAND NEW WOMAN by Amina Dauda Oseme
THE POETRY OF A WOMAN by Adams Adeosun
Daughter, I hear in your silence
the lamentations of your mothers
as their bones broke into a dozen splinters
while they sowed hope, planted resilience.
Sister, before the sun awakens in the east
to tell tall tales of the thieves with thistles
who come to you with loud whistles,
know this: there is a fire beneath your breast.
Maiden, they say you are a copper coin
tucked in the haven of a drunkard’s palms
but you are a sea stretching her arms
to path a way for dreams in a city’s loin.
Bride, the world count the beads at your waist
and watch you dance with reckless mirth,
they squint their eyes over the seeds you birth
and donate judgement in their haste.
Mother, you whom I crawled behind your hymen,
walked into the streets of your veins
until father worshipped at your altar while rain’s
fingers beat a tune: you are the maker of men.
For you woman, a praise song is hung
in the holy height of heaven
on the lips of barefooted cherubs; even
the creator sings: O woman! Ye are strong.
A LETTER TO MAMA by Izuchukwu Otubelu
I heard the nightingales singing aloud a song
Of womanhood and their rightful claim to the crown
They danced alongside and sounded their wooden gongs
Till the pale blue sky lost her footing and fell down
I watched teardrops fall from the eyes of the sun
The roof came crashing down on its bare back
With a loud noise; silence broke into a run
Brightly coloured shadows turned sickly black
The ground was slippery; the pursuers slipped
The women returned from the stream, short of breath
Their backs bore red stripes of the herdsman’s whip
Before my eyes, the new moon bled to death
The voice of thunder sank to a faint whisper
Of Africa and her black-skinned women
And of your suppressed voice, poor dear mother
Underneath trampling feet of beasts and wild men
Both the sailor and the boat disappeared from sight
The fireplace was cold- and showed no signs of life
Mama, all this happened in just one night
That night when Papa stabbed you with a knife
WEEP NOT, WOMAN by Patrick Tobechi Ashinze
Weep not! Dear child; Weep not! My Dear lady
Let your hopes be firm and your wits trustworthy
Though thy tumult is great and thy womanly pride sunken
Keep the waters in; thy disdain shall be gone in no longing
Be strong! Woman; for failure can neither cope with persistence
Nor can violence withstand the calm of imperative peacefulness
Be willful; this wanton intimidation shall soon be no more
You never wished for a sour union or a marriage torn raw
In the heat of words, he’ll batter and mug you in gory assault
Then condescendingly mock your flaws with damning disgust
Weep not, woman! His kind won’t breathe long in life
Unrepentant bullies live all their scornful days in strife
He is no man! He is scared of your coruscate personality
And agitated at the way its glitter dims his ill-lucked laxity
Stand firm and stand alone! Let your feminine fire burn
The universe awaits your willpower to exorcise its demon
Such apathy! All you gave was meekness and submission
Painstakingly and dutifully have you craved his affection;
Such devilry!! All he gives back are pugilistic bouts of terror
Cry no more! Thy seeds thirst for your strength and vigour
You’ve made your choice; pray and plead but weep no more
Leave him be! He’s lost in the erred oblivion of a divine law
He is a prisoner of self a victim of a reprobate belief
Give him up to time, and let fate rectify the mischief
BROKEN (triple triolet) by Udokamma Benedict Wilfred
Like a bird robbed of her nest
She’ll never be the same again
Her soul coos all day without rest
Like a bird robbed of her nest.
She now wears sorrow upon her crest
No prayer will ever ease her pain
Like a bird robbed of her nest
She’ll never be the same again.
Like a flower burned to the root
She will never bloom all year
Her future lies there, covered in soot
Like a flower burned to the root.
She’s falling apart but she gives no hoot
No measure of love can surpass her fear
Like a flower burned to the root
She will never bloom all year.
She’s a woman stripped of her pride
Her tears are the only cover for her shame
Like beach sand washed away by the tide
She’s a woman stripped of her pride.
Beneath some men’s buttocks her beauty died
Will their penises ever forget her name?
She’s a woman stripped of her pride
Her tears are the only cover for her shame.
EVE’S GRIEFS IN THE SUN (Tears Of An African Woman) by Ifeoluseyi Ifeoluwapo Ifeyemi
A beauty cocooned in the beams of African sun,
Toiling, tilling and training tediously,
Her land , Adam, and children;
For a better breath of life and good living.
Yet yoked she is by strange savage Adams,
Who for the pride of life chastise her charms,
With brutal assaults to heinous harms,
Of rape, segregation ,degradation and reasonless reparations,
For evils she never bore ,
Like the fate of Simon of Cyrene.
And behind barriers of crushing cultures ,
She struggles strongly for freedom;
With strength toughening travails and endeavors
Occasioned by strokes stroked by norms ;
Norms nipping relevance from her budding breakthroughs
From relegation, rejection ,mutilation and sequestration from civility,
Like a slave in a strange land .
She is the soul of the land sold to forgetfulness,
By sheer shamelessness of archaic Adams,
The lamp lost to men’s detrimental dominance,
From whose light we ought to see better blessings,
Of things, thoughts and life’s lessons.
Alas! Men’s minds murder their mother-Eve
Disdaining the world of wonderful things she is,
That I ask, how do we nurse that which is right,
When we wickedly wield our womb of WOMANITY?
HOW TO CUDDLE A GIRL LIKE ME by Akor Emmanuel Oche
First begin with her hair;
Touch it gently and feel
The empty holes of strands
Plucked out by her dad while
Dragging her on the kitchen floor.
Then proceed to her lips;
Kiss them gently
so you don’t ignite, again,
The abusive words they
Once said to Dan, her fathers son.
Now, hold her breast. Firm,
Suck off the milk
that belongs to her aborted child.
She was 15 then. He would have been 8 by now.
Fondle her skin in a purly…
Do not rush, take it slow,
Like flowing water.
So you can feel all the marks,
All the hurdles that are
Testaments of her broken being.
Then visit her honeycomb;
Watery, molten, Scenting fresh.
Do not fret at the sight of its dept,
That too is a character
eternally Blotted on her
by the third legs
Of frustrated men, who once
Cajoled it to climax.
EVE’S TESTICLE by Claire Poirson
Once upon a time in Africa,
There lived the Spotted Hyena.
All hyenas were believed to be males,
Given what was hanging under all tails.
“The more balled, the more powerful”,
Thought male human fools.
But they failed to know the females’ realm…
For every Lion King in the world,
There is a Hyena Queen.
With hyenas, no king testicles,
But Her Majesty the clitoris.
Rape is not in their culture.
For when a male wishes to meet her,
She will invaginate her huge clitoris
Into a uterine-like chamber!
Adam Hyenas, be warned:
Eve does not only possess a clitoris-like testicle,
But she can crash your bones with her sharp jaws!
Every crown has a price.
Queen Hyena gives birth to cubs
Through her torn clitoris!
The first time she procreates,
She will either die or survive the ordeal,
But if she lives on, she will never again suffer.
The Queen will soon teach the baby hyena princess
That each male must revere the future Highness.
To all the Eves of Africa,
Keep hope, and remember the struggle for life of Mama Hyena.
First they laughed at her, then they fought her,
Then she became the Queen of Africa.
 Darwin’s theory
 Adapted from a quote of Gandhi
MY FARTHER IS GUILTY OF INCEST (An Acrostic) by Agbaakin Oluwatoyosi Jeremiah
Mother, your body is a luxuriant land
Yonder gods did till on creation nights.
Father? It was you who first poked me with stick
Abbreviating my words of protest into vowel pleas
They say a woman’s body is a florid field
Hived with treasures numbers cannot tame
Except one who came to plunder instead of being a father
Rendering me as unripe immolations for Eros.
Inordinate men do not fear to ply routes barred by blood
So that’s why his dwarf foot paves a path through my thighs.
Grief tempts me to floss this gender from my teeth
Ululation is a silent chorus as violent as the violence
In his fists the night Mama became an apostate of silence
Leaving behind her 15-year old nightmare and us
Tell Mama; I’m also a prey in the wild of his mind
Yesterday again, he swore that chalk instruction isn’t for me.
Obedience rather, is a language lass must learn
‘Fore the gods can bestow their benisons.
I will wear the future layer upon layer, like the silence on my lips
Now that I’ve been joined with an ‘ancestor’ by nuptial spell for a fee
Cremating all my loss on a pyre for Ill be reborn like Phoenix
Evanescent like a hasty rainbow shall be this grief
See! The night bows to the sky when the day is throned
Trust not in thrust but thrust your trust in the heart of hope.
A BRAND NEW WOMAN by Amina Dauda Oseme
I could write you backwards with this poem.With a blue or red ink if you want;
I could paint you a body kissed by the sun.
I could write you a new sound, alien from, “You’re a woman, so you can’t”
I’ll create you a time, when the head on your shoulder is recognized.
It’ll be different you see. As though you never existed. For men would chase you for more than what’s between your legs.
I’ll blur lines that do not match “Perfect wife! Good woman” just cause you never speak your mind.
I’ll write you a man to trust your words. Bold in ways he loves you. He’ll not want you voiceless, need you tamed.Love you fierce.
I’ll trace you a different body.Wipe every bloody sheet with my letters.
How papa climbed your thighs; thrust and jab, thrust and jab.You were only six.
I’ll erase every memory of lover’s fist on your face. How it left a shade. Repair broken jaws,twisted nose;erase that frown mother grew when you said “I’m leaving”
I’ll give you a choice.Your infant hands won’t trade for cheap wine brought by horny fools.
You wait and see. I’ll write you a brand new woman. It’ll be as though you never existed.
Adams Adeosun will be awarded a cash prize of N5,000 and a copy of ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO’ by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson. He will also receive copies of the 2015 and 2016 BPPC anthologies while the other finalists will get a free copy of the BPPC 2015 anthology and certificates. The prizes will be awarded at the WRR ‘FEAST OF WORDS’ LITERARY FESTIVAL 2016.
In addition, all the TOP 10 poems will also be published in the BPPC anthology and automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE 2016.
Violence against women, female genital mutilation, motherhood, the restoration of pride, the rights to and fights for equality, gynophobia, the masculine side of women and more, the poets’ pens have faced all taboos to deal with the challenges that the XXIst century cannot afford to shun and to celebrate womanity. They have multiplied styles and poetical forms to reach their aims. Another great collection!
Choosing implies eliminating, and it often proves somewhat unfair, when so many remarkable talents vie for recognition. So, if you have not made it yet, just don’t draw negative conclusions. Congratulations to all the contestants.
— 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.
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.