Categories
A Special Tribute

The Many Faces of ‘Freedom’

Romanticised by writers and artists over time, freedom has been variously interpreted. There is the freedom of birds that fly, of the clouds that float across the connecting blue skies, of the grass that grows across manmade borders, of the blood that flows to protect the liberty of confines or constructs drawn by man, the river that gurgles into the ocean, of the breeze that blows.

The many-splendored interpretations of freedom and its antitheses in Borderless journal are presented here for you to ponder … tell us what you think. Can freedom come without responsibility or a tryst with circumstances?

Poetry

Then Came the King’s Men by Himadri Lahiri, tracing dreams of freedom through the ages. Click here to read.

Poetry in Bosnian from Bosnia & Herzegovina, written and translated by Maid Corbic, explores the freedom of speech. Click here to read.

The Storm that Rages from the conflict ridden state of Kashmir, Ahmed Rayees writes of hope, freedom and peace. Click here to read.

Prose

The Protests Outside

Steve Ogah talks of trauma faced by riot victims in Nigeria while exploring the bondage of tyranny. Click here to read.

A Prison of Our Own Making

Keith Lyons gives us a brief essay on how we can find freedom. Click here to read.

A Life Well-Lived

Candice Louisa Daquin discusses the concepts of the role of responsibility that goes with the freedom of choices. Click here to read.

The Parrot’s Tale by Tagore

Exploring the freedom from bondages of education social norms and more, this story has been translated by Radha Chakravarty from Bengali. Click here to read.

Categories
Editorial

Triumph of the Human Spirit

On August 8th 2021, the chief of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, pointed out during the closing ceremony that these games were “unprecedented” and brought messages of “hope, solidarity and peace” into a world torn with the desolation generated by the pandemic. It was a victory of the human spirit again, a precursor of what is to come. That the Japanese could get over their pandemic wrought hurdles, just as they did post the nuclear disasters wrought by the Second World War and by the 2011 earthquake-tsunami at Fukushimaya, to host something as spectacular and inspiring as these international games reflects, as the commentators contended, a spirit of ‘harmony and humility’. The last song performed by many youngsters seemed to dwell on stars in the sky — not only were the athletes and organisers the stars but this also reminded of unexplored frontiers that beckon mankind, the space.What a wonderful thing it was to see people give their best and unite under the banner of sports to bring messages of survival and glimpses of a future we can all share as human beings! Our way of doing things might have to evolve but we will always move forward as a species to thrive and expand beyond the known frontiers.

One such explorer of yet unknown frontiers who mingles the historic with the contemporary, Goutam Ghose, an award-winning filmmaker and writer, has honoured our pages with an extensive interview showing us how art and harmony can weave lores that can help mankind survive. This is reinforced by the other interview with Singaporean academic, Dr Kirpal Singh, whose poetry reflects his convictions of a better world. With our intelligence, we can redefine processes that hold us back and grind our spirits to dust — be it the conventional ‘isms’ or norms that restrict our movement forward – just as Tagore says in the poem, we have translated this time, ‘Deliverance’.

…On this auspicious dawn,
Let us hold our heads high in the infinite sky 
Amidst the light of bounteousness and the heady breeze of freedom.

As the Kobiguru mentioned earlier in the poem, the factors that oppress could be societal, political, or economic. Could they perhaps even be the fetters put on us by the prescribed preconceived definition of manmade concepts like ‘freedom’ itself? Freedom can be interpreted differently by multiple voices.

This month, on our pages, ‘freedom’ has found multiple interpretations in myriad of ways — each voice visualising a different dream; each dream adding value to the idea of human progress. We have discussions and stories on freedom from Nigeria, Argentina, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia and more. Strangely enough, August holds multiple independence/ national days that are always for some reason seen as days of being ‘freed’ by many — at least from oppression. But is that true?

From Malaysia, Julian Matthews and Malachi Edwin Vethamani cry out against societal, religious and political bindings – quite a powerful outcry at that with a story and poems. Akbar Barakzai continues his quest with three poems around ideas of freedom translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch. Jaydeep Sarangi and Joan Mcnerny pick up these reverberations of freedom, each defining it in different ways through poetry.

Jared Carter takes us back to his childhood with nostalgic verses. Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Michael Lee Johnson, Vandana Sharma and many more sing to us with their lines. Rhys Hughes has of course humour in verse that makes us smile as does Jay Nicholls who continues with her story-poems on Pirate Blacktarn – fabulous pieces all of them. The sport of hummingbirds and cats among jacaranda trees is caught in words and photographs by Penny Wilkes in her Nature’s Musings. A poetic tribute to Danish Siddiqui by young Sutputra Radheye rings with admiration for the Pulitzer prize-winning photographer who met his untimely end last month on 16th while at work in Afghanistan, covering a skirmish between Taliban and Afghanistan security forces. John Linwood Grant takes up interesting issues in his poetry which brings me back to ‘freedom’ from colonial regimes, perhaps one of the most popular themes for writers.

Indo-Pak independence, celebrated now on 14th (Pakistan) and 15th August (India), reflects not only the violence of the Partition which dislocated and killed millions historically but also the trauma caused by the event. Capturing this trauma is a short story based on memories of Partition by Nadir Ali, translated from Punjabi by his daughter, Amna Ali. Ratnottama Sengupta translates from the diary of Sandhya Sinha (1928-2016), a woman’s voice from the past that empathises with the subjugated who were subdued yet again after an upsurge of violence during the Quit India Movement (1942) against the colonials. Sinha contends that though the movement frittered away, the colonials were left with an after-taste of people hankering for self-rule. A thought-provoking short story by Sunil Sharma explores the results of self-rule in independent India.

Alluding to Jinnah’s vision for women, Aysha Baqir muses emotionally about the goals that remain yet to be fulfilled 74 years after independence. Moazzam Sheikh’s story of immigrants explores dementia, giving us a glimpse of the lives of Asian immigrants in America, immigrants who had to find a new home despite independence. Was this the freedom they dreamt of — all those who fought against various oppressive regimes or colonialism?

Tagore’s lyrics might procure a few ideas on freedom, especially in the song that India calls its National Anthem. Anasuya Bhar assays around the history that surrounds the National Anthem of India, composed by Tagore in Bengali and translated to English by the poet himself and more recently, only by Aruna Chakravarti. We also carry Dr Chakravarti’s translation of the National Anthem in the essay. Reflecting on the politics of Partition and romance is a lighter piece by Devraj Singh Kalsi which says much. ‘Dinos in France’ by Rhys Hughes and Neil Reddick’s ‘The Coupon’ have tongue-in-cheek humour from two sides of the Atlantic.

A coming-of-age story has been translated from Nepali by Mahesh Paudyal – a story by a popular author, Dev Kumari Thapa – our first Nepali prose piece.  We start a four-part travelogue by John Herlihy, a travel writer, on Myanmar, a country which has recently been much in the news with its fight for surviving with democracy taking ascendency over the pandemic and leaving the people bereft of what we take for granted.

Candice Louisa Daquin discusses a life well-lived in a thought provoking essay, in which she draws lessons from her mother as do Korean poet, Ihlwha Choi, and Argentinian writer, Marcelo Medone. Maybe, mothers and freedom draw similar emotions, of blind love and adulation. They seem to be connected in some strange way with terms like motherland and mother tongue used in common parlance.

We have two book excerpts this time: one from Beyond the Himalayas by the multi-faceted, feted and awarded filmmaker we have interviewed, Goutam Ghose, reflecting on how much effort went in to make a trip beyond boundaries drawn by what Tagore called “narrow domestic walls”. We carry a second book excerpt this time, from Jessica Muddit’s Our Home in Myanmar – Four years in Yangon. Keith Lyons has reviewed this book too. If you are interested in freedom and democracy, this sounds like a must read.

Maithreyi Karnoor’s Sylvia: Distant Avuncular Ends, is a fiction that seems to redefine norms by what Rakhi Dalal suggests in her review. Bhaskar Parichha has picked a book that many of us have been curious about, Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Women Who Wear Only Themselves. Parichha is of the opinion,Elevated or chastised, exonerated or condemned, the perturbation unworldly women in India face is that they have never been treated as equal to men as spiritual leaders. This lack of equality finds its roots not only in sociological and cultural systems, but more particularly at the levels of consciousness upon which spirituality and attitudes are finally based.”One wonders if this is conclusive for all ‘unworldly women’ in India only or is it a worldwide phenomenon or is it true only for those who are tied to a particular ethos within the geographical concept of India? The book reviewed by Meenakshi Malhotra,  Somdatta Mandal’s The Last Days of Rabindranath Tagore in Memoirs, dwells on the fierce independence of the early twentieth century women caregivers of the maestro from Bengal. These women did not look for approval or acceptance but made their own rules as did Jnadanandini, Tagore’s sister-in-law. Bhaskar Parichha has also added to our Tagore lore with his essay on Tagore in Odisha.

As usual, we have given you a peek into some of our content. There is more, which we leave for our wonderful readers to uncover. We thank all the readers, our fantastic contributors and the outstanding Borderless team that helps the journal thrive drawing in the best of writers.

I wish you all a happy August as many of the countries try to move towards a new normal.

Mitali Chakravarty

Borderless Journal, August 2021

Categories
Stories

The Protest Outside

By Steve Ogah

Here I am with my head swathed. The last time the doctor came to my room, I told him my demons hadn’t deserted me. I am losing confidence in this community health facility which is named after the military dictator. Do people ever get healed here?  It has been a week since I arrived here. Things are just the same. I am beginning to have a fight in my head with the doctor and the nurse.

“I need to see the doctor,” I find myself screaming at nurse Nkoyo when she comes to check my bandages. Though she is innocent of the pain I feel, I still find myself barking and shrieking as though a dog gone mad.

She smiles her signature smile, the kind of smile all trained nurses are supposed to wear at all times. “Kune, the doctor is rather busy at this time of day.” She says to me.

Disappointed, I sit up against the pillow which I prop against the wall behind my head. I move my forefinger in the air as though a radio’s frequency tuning needle. Then I say to her: “I don’t think you heard me.”

She is about to say she is not hard of hearing when I scream again, this time invoking God angrily. I hear my voice run through the quietness of the hallway, throwing up a storm in the ears of others in the building. I imagine all who heard my voice are startled. Some walk to the window and look out hoping to find a demented man in crutches and bandages standing in the centre of the courtyard. Some hope to find a mad man hopping down the corridor. Those sleeping pop open their eyes; shake their heads in regret that a man just lost his sanity today.

“Okay, take it easy,” the frightened nurse says to me as she gently places the tray of medications on the side stool of my bedside.

“No. It’s not okay until the doctor gets here!” I slam the side of the bed. She is careful not to spill the tablets and water as her eyes look up to meet mine. I stare, not willing to drop my eyes, wishing for her to see the anger and urgency of a sick man in an equally sick country. Of course, she sees the colour in my eyes. It is the pigment of pain and frustration. It is the colour of a man wishing for revenge. She sees that I am more than willing to conjure a world of torment for everyone around me. She sees I can only do that if I leave my bed in good health. Perhaps, she is willing to help me get off this damned bed. There is overwhelming pity in her eyes for me. They get teary all at once. She is about to mumble some words of sympathy when I ask: “What would the problem be?”

“I will get the doctor.” She walks away. The soles of her white tennis shoes begin to echo in my head as though they were stilettos. I feel I am going to scream at her: Take those cursed shoes off your feet. But I can’t say that because I find myself feasting on her all the way down, wishing I would leap from the bed and tell her this is a hospital ward and not a clubhouse. She is gone now, and the door slams shut. All is quiet again. I begin to wait for the doctor to come see me and use his magic to drive away my pain and frustration.

I close my eyes shut and try to sleep. I do not sleep for long. I hear footfalls and voices in the narrow corridor. The doctor is checking his white coat to see if he carries a pen with him. But he finds a surgical knife and his stethoscope instead. He tells the nurse at his back to hurry up. She bears a tray, and in it, is a cocktail of huge tablets, a glass of coloured water and a scary syringe. He is sure he can take care of me without much drama. He has put countless troublesome patients to sleep before.  But he still has the plan of calling in extra hands if I act like the craziest of the crazy. He could be violent with me if the situation demands it.

I imagine him at my side. He tries to appear like most doctors are — calm. Then he sees that his cultured ways are at variance with my primitive actions. I try to resist his caring touch. So, he lets the stethoscope slide down his neck. It hits the floor. It vibrates in my head a million times. The doctor hits me with his forearm. I collapse back to the bed. He lets out a jet of air, having overpowered me.

“Here,” The nurse says to him, as she passes the syringe to him. I am motionless as the tip of the instrument pierces my arm and the fluid in it travels through my veins and decides to stop in my brain. Nurse Nkoyo flinches as the tip of the needle is withdrawn from my body. But the doctor betrays no emotions. Mean doctor?

These images were in my head when Doctor Kpo walked in. He had a gift with people, and I had seen him offer sick people hope before giving them medical treatment. He would pray with them too. But it was that hope that the country needed. It was also in need of cure, and I imagined Kpo as the man for my country. He was the one to examine the heads of members of the supreme military council to tell them that only sick heads would lock up sane people who were merely asking for their rights and the freedom to associate among themselves. I also needed him to tell them that it was wrong of them to have armed men beat up people on the streets for simply nudging them in the arm unknowingly. He needed to tell them that the sight of soldiers smoking at street corners with AK-47 rifles was enough terror for the average Nigerian. Soldiers needed to be told that it was criminal enough to make people forget when they want to remember. They needed to know that military brutality was a crime, especially when committed against defenseless and unarmed people.

The doctor was unusually calm for my liking. His sky-white coat was in good shape. It was well-pressed with few creases and that made me think that perhaps, he hadn’t taken a seat since he wore it. He clutched a clipboard close to his chest as though it were a baby in need of comfort. And his stethoscope was slung down his neck. He walked like an angel who had come to transport me on wings to the judgment throne, without giving me the chance to receive the sacrament of penance, and without the chance to hug dearest ones for the last time. He looked like an angel who had come to transport me to mama. Mama, I believed, was glued at Jesus’ feet in heaven, free from the pain my country had caused her. I have never imagined mama in any place other than heaven. Mamas don’t go to hell or anywhere hurting. They are so kind and tender they deserve to dine with angels and saints and God. If God needed wives, he would have chosen all mamas. They never do wrong.

She had been a petty trader who sold tomatoes and pepper at the market in town which was named after the wife of the military ruler. Just like any other day in her quiet and lonely life, she had gone to display her articles of trade at her roadside table. She was trying to convince a young boy to add few coins to what he was offering her. She said that was the little profit she stood to make. Out of the blue, commotion rose all around her. She thought it was the usual anti-coup protest that had been taking place since the dictator sent the democratic president to exile.

“Hey. Run. Fast!” Many people had been screaming as she later narrated to me. But she wasn’t Usain Bolt. She had willed strength from her inner self but had found no youthful reserves. She was still at her stool when soldiers with blistering eyes, bearing horsewhips descended on her. They whipped with a searing horsewhip and kicked her while she called out for help that wasn’t going to come. The soldiers didn’t relent in their torture exercise. She believed some demons of sorts had possessed them. And the soldiers were so many that she thought a war had been declared on old fat petty traders who sat on low stools.

The soldiers had come from two angles, jumping down from ugly army trucks imported from some totalitarian countries. They were excited. They didn’t just beat hapless civilians and had them lie down on broken road; the heartless men were happy to destroy people’s wares with their jackboots. Mama had told me this on her hospital bed.

She had thought that by screaming and holding her head in her palms, she would find mercy with the invaders. But with each shout that she had made, she had gotten a heavier kick and harsher whip to her body. Soon, she found herself rolling in the mud and invoking God’s name to plead her case. That didn’t help. They brutalized her until the welts on her skin began to course with blood. Her screams were now dying. Slow. Slower. She rolled slowly and lay on her stomach, her face buried in the mud, her backside open to several jackboots and whips of a demented gang of military misfits. They only stopped beating her when she lay motionless on the ground. The pandemonium at the market was soon over, then the military men left, blissful that they had not been challenged. What was Mama’s crime? She had not been able to afford the high cost of stalls in the main market complex, which was already sold out, in any case. And that the curfew was due in thirty minutes, and no one had been expected to be on the streets.

In the weeks that followed, Mama never made it to the market area again. She was badly wounded. She could not understand why her country had done her so much harm. She found succor from the delegation of market women who visited her at the hospital telling her not to worry that all would be well. But Mama never got well. She was admitted to a local hospital. She had complained of pains in her stomach. I went to see her daily. I went one day and met an unusual calm at Hope medical center. I didn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary. I walked to Mama’s room only to find out that the door was locked. I went to the doctor’s office and there I was told the tragic news.

She had died. Now, I didn’t understand what death meant because I had never for one moment believed my mama would die. I thought death was a disease far from our home.  I didn’t want to take the news like one takes a loving present home from teachers at school. I told the bearer of the news that he was a terrible comic act and should never consider a career in comedy if he was trying to make me laugh. But he insisted that he was serious about the tragedy that had befallen my family.

Truth.  She had closed her eyes while a prayer froze on her full lips. She was Catholic and she had been praying the prayer for Nigeria in distress before she passed on. It was a prayer she knew by heart as she had attended masses without fail. Her death wish was that I prayed the prayer daily, but I had failed her religiously. I was still trying to shake off the memory of Mama from my mind when the doctor touched me; his usual smile was not on his round face. I wanted to ask what the issue was, but he spoke first. Doctors deliver tragedy best.

“It has been a bad day,” he said as he motioned me to lay flat. He placed his stethoscope on my chest and listened with that trained ear of his. He placed his left palm on my forehead and wanted to know if I still felt the migraines.

“Just yesterday,” I answered.

He reached for his clipboard and took down some notes. He was taciturn with the nurse who stood by. The Dr Kpo I had known would have asked about my night, would have poked fun out of the stories in the news of the television authority, and would have spoken about things in other wards. So, I had to ask him the question he had frozen a while ago.

“Doctor, I shouldn’t really be asking this. But is everything okay at home and at work?”

He looked at me and smiled. Or rather enacted what looked like a smile. He failed at hiding an emotion which wasn’t joy. He shook his head as if to shake the weight of my question away. He blinked rapidly and wrote hurriedly in his file. I wasn’t going to force him to words if he wasn’t going to speak willingly. I lay down for him to carry out his medical ritual on me. But he didn’t.  He stopped writing instead. He hugged his clipboard with sadness.

“My country is wicked,” he cast his eyes in sad colours. He went to the window and parted the curtains into two halves, each stuffing into the iron burglary. He stepped aside. The sharp rays of the rising sun bathed me in full. They were people on the streets marching and singing that they had lost the fear of death. They had just carried away a dead man from the health centre. 

“What happened again?” I sat up against the wall.

“The unspeakable happens in this country every day.” He was still speaking to himself. Rather, he was speaking to the sad, angry, and frustrated people outside the window, the trees down below, I thought. “We are told the police is our friend, yet they extort and clamp us into jails at will. We are told the army is to protect against external aggressors, but the army boys think civilians are enemies.”

I questioned him with urgency poking out in my voice. I had expected him to turn and address me. But he chose to glue his vision to the window. There was pandemonium outside, angry voices tearing through into the room.

“They snatched Amina away last night.” He spoke at last.

“And who is she? Who took her away?”

“My wife,” he said, and I imagined his eyes had grown distant as he searched for her in the cramped houses, broken roads, and dusty sky up ahead in his view. I imagined his eyes were teary too and he didn’t wish me to see the infant side of him.

“She had been returning from the market when soldiers and armed men in a patrol van screeched to a stop beside her and asked her to get into their van.  The doors of the van were plastered with the words ‘Operation Sweep’. She had resisted casually by walking ahead. Then she heard rifles snapping with fury behind her.”

“So sorry to hear about this. What time of the day did this happen?”

“Just before sunset.”

He explained that they seized her plastic bag, which was filled with beans and plantain, meant for dinner. They spilled the contents on the road. And what was her offence? They claimed they had sighted her at a corner talking to a man in whispers. They had lost trail of the man. They feared he was an activist, and his wife was one too. He said his wife denied the claim. The patrol van swept up people at random at street corners, blinding them with sharp torch rays at first. They would simply be told that they were ‘security threats’.

Doctor Kpo walked away from the window and announced to me that I would be discharged in a day or two. He said my injuries were not so severe anymore and the migraines would go away soonest.  He said I had been fortunate not to crack my skull when the soldiers raided the soccer viewing center I had been, searching for activists.

“Steer clear of crowded areas,” he admonished me. “They don’t want to see so many young boys gathered in one place, even if you guys claim it’s the English soccer season on satellite television.”

I nodded. The doctor left my room. “What’s going to happen to Amina?” I asked as he got to the door.

“She will be fine. She will be out. She will not be in detention for long.”

“How? When?”

“The director of the health centre has already petitioned the military administrator.” He shut the door. A vanishing act followed. Then he returned to the room without knocking. “Don’t join the protests outside. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police just tortured a young man to death. I hear there will be end SARS protests in the days to come.” Another vanishing act was accomplished.

I closed my eyes, wondering why men with guns wanted to rule over us, bothered about what I would do to stop soldiers from flogging civilians at will, wondering if the confrontations in my head wouldn’t return. Then I saw myself joining the groups on the streets, confronting the army. The possibilities that I saw in my mind hit my eyelids, then they opened.  I screamed for the nurse. I would discharge myself from the facility.

.

Steve Ogah is Voicesnet (USA) Poet of the month (Feb.2002) and fellow of the British Council/Lancaster University Crossing Borders online writing program. He is the author of Barack Obama’s Logic.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL.

Categories
Poetry

The Poor Man’s Salary

By Goto Emmanuel

 

Everyday is a salary,

But the fruits we eat are more than the wages

The farmers toil taller than the seed they harvest.

.

The hustle of life is to full the empty stomach

And make the frowning faces gleam.

.

The world aims for more and more,

Hustle and struggle day and night,

But yields nothing in the shelter of the pauper.

.

Why not come in bundle you salary!

Who knows the abode of salary?

Travelling like the sun rays in man’s purse

Deducting fare without notice.

.

The empty stomach must be filled

The tattered cloths must also be sowed

Even the stale furniture are gazing with rust and dust

All must be filled by the same earn.

.

The salary of life is an unending journey

Whose paths link to everything in life

.

We stressed for the future

We earn; but when earn,

Daddy brings his shattered boots in the box

And calls “aboki” to beautify it

Mama also submits cost for the tripod

And we submit diary of the term fees.

.

Poor man salary is like a weak soldier in my country

Who disappoints them in a million times in the battle field

.

Salary is salary — but not all salaries are rich

.

I heard the muttering of the poor man in the air

I read the long letter of the poor man to the NEPA body

Rejecting the light because of his probable cause

Cause; sooner, tax and the tattered bills will be asked.

.

If I will not be self employed

I will be salaried employed

If I don’t work, I will not receive

What we work, we earn.

.

We owe credit just for the name sake

But the rich do more exploit with the earns

Just like a rock to the needy,

burden to the poor, but blessing to the rich

Which blur the thoughts of the wretched

But brightens the sky of the rich in an island.

.

Man earns is a factor to his life

Shattered incomes has caused cassava to soak in the barn of the pauper.

.

The day sweat is an expectation of compensation

We expect more than Lazarus of old

We earn salary to fulfill our desire

But the short earns is the fire that ignites the light in the house

.

Fowl in caravan is like a country in recession

Whose budget is low like battery

Our budget now is no where to be found.

.

We worked, earned and spent but not satisfied

The poor man earns is a burden but the rich man salary is like milk and honey.

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Goto Emmanuel hails from Opuba, Arogbo in Ese-odo local government Ondo state, Nigeria. An undergraduate in Niger Delta University, Wilberforce island, Bayelsa state. An ijaw by tribe. A christian. A poet, Essayist, fiction writer and a budding lawyer. Gentle and passionate. Optimistic and God fearing. His hobbies are reading, writing , swimming and football. He loves nature. Most poems of Goto Emmanuel are about nature, politics and love. A lover of book who strives to do his possible best in the work art.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL. 

Categories
Poetry

Our Global Village & The Dawn after the Pandemic

By Obinna Chilekezi

Our global village
 
a global village indeed!
as while in school, we’re
warned of dangers of going global
for a big small village, but we thought only
of the passion and money, the beauty and trade

never before is man this caged, as
the wilds freely move daily activities, unconcerned!

never told to watch that one day
china would sneeze, the rest of 
the globe would catch virus
and locked down for days, and deaths
would rise to the mount and graves swollen

never before is man this caged, as
the wilds freely move daily activities, unconcerned!

here we are today, this virused world
revolving around in this global village
of national borders closed, states closing theirs too
even local authorities banging theirs strongly too


never before is man this caged, as
the wilds freely move daily activities, unconcerned!

can this be end of our global village
as the lights in the village went off, from house to house
to your tents O’ Israel, as local authorities banged their doors
and the villages return back to their huts
or could there be another rebirth of the globe, as we know it.

never before is man this caged, as
the wilds freely move daily activities, unconcerned!
The dawn after coronavirus pandemic

Loud smiles creep across the waves. Yes smiles were loud
At the meander of holding hands again together
All along the landscape of nesting
And the incredulous affectation, in the air
As we danced to the tune of the invigorated song of laughter

The weather in blue bright. Reminder of then days of isolation
From days of death, fear and rumours of
That deadly virus that swan across the
Gatepost of boundaries, darkly and oozing 
Out more deaths along every corners of the globe

The earth became sick. Sick of the deaths of its pride, mankind; 
our earth was sick, with its garters down, in the 
foam chest of doubt. Darkness became
The beginning of the morning sun, and love
Was kept at bay. Our lovely sandlot turned gray

Then this new dawn. This dawn
Became warn and grew like our Iroko of hope. And
It came as a time of relief, unimaginable
Or imagined - we all in unison said 
Bye bye to covid 19, bye bye to its death.

The Earth became sick. Sick of the deaths of its pride, mankind; 
our Earth was sick, with its garters down, in the 
foam chest of doubt. Darkness became
The beginning of the morning sun, and love
Was kept at bay. Our lovely sandlot turned gray

Then this new dawn. This dawn
Became warn and grew like our Iroko of hope. And
It came as a time of relief, unimaginable
Or imagined - we all in unison said 
Bye bye to COVID 19, bye bye to its death.

Loud smiles creep across the waves. Yes smiles were loud
At the meander of holding hands again together
All along the landscape of nesting
And the incredulous affectation, in the air
As we danced to the tune of the invigorated song of laughter

Obinna Chilekezi is a Nigerian poet and insurance practitioner whose poems have been published in journals and anthologies. He has three published collections which are: Son Chikeziri too died, Rejection and other poems and Songs of a Stranger in the Smiling Coast. One of his insurance texts won the 2016 African Insurance Organisation Book Award. He can be used on ugobichi@yahoo.com or obinnachilekezi1@gmail.com.