The Idea

It dropped,

the idea that we were

unstoppable

infinite

true.

As it was in midair,

doubt froze me

and I could not catch

you

me

us.

And the idea dropped,

like lead on my laden heart

and the heaviness

crushed me from inside out.

©Roselyn Balogun

Edvard_Munch_-_Separation_-_Google_Art_Project

Painting by Edvard Munch: Separation

 

Image credit: Wikimedia here

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The Blaze

Parents_of_Chibok_kidnapping_victims

Distraught parents of abducted girls

On April 15 2014, fear, terror and despair walked in on the parents of 276 girls who were abducted from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria by the infamous Boko Haram insurgency group. The young girls, just entering into the eve of their primes, were plunged face deep into the terror of separation from families and all things familiar, as well as the pain and shame that accompanied their accelerated womanhood.

Nigeria Kidnapped Girls

Photo taken from video released by the Boko Haram terrorist network a few weeks after the abduction.

Two years later, the girls have still not been found, and one is left to wonder if the government and our nation have forgotten…

This post is to the remembrance of 15th April 2014, the day the sky over Chibok lost its light and cast a shadow over those precious girls and their families.

chibok girls


The Blaze is gone

That took the child.

The flame consumed the child

The child consumed the flame –

We know not which

No one dared be witness

The flame is gone

That took the child.

 

The clothes were lost

YOU brought her clothing

The food all perished

SHE brought sustenance

Perhaps she’ll need jewels

(for the funeral, of course!)

THEY brought her some

 

The Chairman went

And they said HE said,

“It shall not happen again!”

And THEY all nodded

As the rolls of his belly quivered

And in the Mother’s eyes

They saw the lies they tried to escape.

 

©Roselyn Balogun

Image are from Google

Tall John

Have you seen Tall John?
He sits afront Number 23
Dirty feet dangling into dirty gutter,
Or lanky six foot frame aligned
Along the length of
The big black gate of Number 23.

The insanity of our times
Matted in the thick, dirt-brown locks
That sit atop his head
Like kingly overgrown maggots
Presiding over the old stools
From three days ago;
And the tattered remnants of our decency
Struggle to cover his shameless nakedness.

Have you seen Tall John?
Yesterday, strange men came to town
With hard eyes
And wickedness in their walk
And death and desolation came with them
And now, Number 23 is no more…
Have you seen Tall John?

(C) Roselyn Balogun

Wedding Bands and Brothels

Toulouse-Lautrec_Prostitutes_DMA

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Femmes de Maison

The visitor poked his head through the door

He looked unsure

Perhaps…He had the wrong address?

No, they always knew.

He nodded in greeting

(I quenched a stiff laugh)

as he shuffled into my one-room business and home.

A first visit?

Maybe. I never keep record of name or face.

His guilt caught my attention

as it dragged in his wake

and I wondered why he had come.

I prepared mechanically.

No words needed, no conversation

not even price talk – they always knew beforehand,

even he. As he arranged himself

I wondered still why he came.

As the sweat beaded on his forehead

and his back stiffened in bittersweet release,

I wondered like never before.

He arose and dipped into his pocket

He glanced at me as he extracted

the gold band amidst naira notes.

Ah…newly married!

He turned toward the door

and I knew he would be back,

his guilt halved and his eyes darker.

©Roselyn  Balogun

 

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons

To Her Child Dead Thrice

1024px-Silas_and_Eppie

Silas finds Eppie 🙂

Eppie (Hephzibah) is the name of the golden haired toddler whose mother had literally just caught her death of cold one winter night. She crawled into Silas Marner’s house and curled up at his warm hearth. And the child, named by Silas, became the rays of sun and colour that slowly but steadily streaked into Marner’s dreary and lonely life. And what happiness she brought him! In senior secondary school, I read George Elliot’s Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, and this particular scene has stayed with me. It played in my mind as I wrote this poem and always prompts a prayer for people who desire children but are yet to be blessed with one.

*insert your own quick prayer*

Enjoy…!


 

I

What ought be but a birth?

What ought be but this which bringeth mirth?

Out of the ashes the phoenix arose

A new voice in my cold barren hearth.

Aye, tis as though this heart hath ne’er been froze.

II

Hath death no shame?

Grants me a seed that leaves me the same

Ought it be spoke that death I did defy

(Leaving me more’n a smidgen insane)

While my pillar and pride in the ground doth lie?

III

Haply that spirits o’er this barrier switch

Haply that the other worlds were but a reach,

Your spirit with mine I’d be quick to purchase

At whate’er price Lucifer doth name,

That in life’s race, I not be lame.

©Roselyn Balogun

Image credit: Wikimedia commons.

His Other Light

 

Jules_Bastien-Lepage_The_Blind_Beggar

The Blind Beggar – Jules Bastien-Lepage (image source: Wikimedia Commons here ) 

Many colours the sun can be

Like Jacob’s beloved’s coat maybe.

In its purple and orange and red,

The idea of colour swims in my head.

The colours of the sun fall from many lips,

Its selfish beauty imprinted on my tips.

 

Many forms the heavens can take

Sometimes a face, a mount, perhaps lake.

I, a partaker in its seasonal weep,

My heart’s darkness it deigns to sweep.

For I’ve cursed the day Creation cast my mold

And put me on this formless road.

 

I know all the colours of the rainbow

I know the hue of every glow.

Though many colours the sun can be

And many the blue of the heavens see,

I only boast to be a supernatural being,

I see the black of everything.

©Roselyn E. Balogun

At the Gathering of Rotund Bellies

Come,
let us gloat
over our rotund bellies
akin to eight-month pregnancies
of our incessantly fecund women.

Come,
let us gloat
over the din
that is the weak cry of
three million hungry children.

Come, friend. Friend?
Fellow unlawful reaper, come.
Let us gloat
over the size of our loot
and the designs of the
blood on their packaging.

©Roselyn Balogun

round table

King Arthur’s Round Table: Image from Google Images