THE SUPPLICANT 


(for Bunmi…)

Chilled by the desire

For your nearness,

My heart trembles, seared

By the fires of your lambent eyes

Whose ardour mesmerises me…

Drunk in passion

My brain labours

To extricate itself

From your magic hold

But how tenaciously you persist!
Repeated are the moments

When I am lost

In your elusive phantasma.

A dreamland where you reign

Centre of every other sphere

An ethereal Queen whose light

Infuses goodness…

Your eyes dare the sun

The smile on your unblushing cheeks

Effervesces across a million galaxy,

Ripples of inexhaustible charms…

Your distinctive form, unpossessed yet by any,

Breeds fancy in men, draws angels

To a dance of guilt…
O, for a one so richly adorned!

Were I a painter, Bunmi

I would sit for days on my drawing board

And spill all paints to capture you

Were I a musician

I would summon all sweet cadences

To your adoration

Were I a poet

I would invoke the muses

To breathe words to my ink…
But alas, untalented

Ungifted in coquetry – 

I come to your supple altar

O Bunmi, deign

And touch your earnest supplicant

Let not his prayer go unheeded…

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TEMPTED


She came unsought

Smooth sail into my broken life

Gift unasked, I opened my arms

To embrace, but

The air undeceived my grasp

Gossamer my faith, so was

My gift: nothingness

The shadow of my pursuance

Was gone with the wind

 

In vain I stood, longing

Long after her departure

Then it came, a voice as of old

‘She is gone, son

Because thou canst have

A phantom for a gift.’

But Father: she is real!

‘Yes, son, and so your doom with her’

O Lord, such wreath

Crown of thorn

To lure my empty heart!

 

O fool, even now revealed

The tempter’s tool

Still must do its bidding –

For though out of my life she went

She lives ever still in my mind.

 

© 2017 Joshua Omenga

LOS VENCENDORES


(For UNILAG LAW CLASS OF 2016)


Joshua Omenga

How can I, prognosticator of your success,

Extol your dénouement?

An epilogue denuded in the very prologue!

But necessity impels me to this paean

For to leave unacknowledged

The strides you have trodden

Shall be the ultimate perfidy…
In hard times I have known you

When malefic courses threatened your progress

In eras of change I have known you

When new policies redefined your studentship,

When many took to routes obscure,

When, drilled beyond bearing, others fell

Victims of the inevitable –

But you Los Vencedores

Fed fat even in the dearth of grasses

And can I, your advocate

Fail to cantillate your triumphs?
It was not a road untrodden

The familiar glade of legal education

Has lost novelty before your investiture

For you no rule was changed

It was – same irksome lectures

Same vexatious catalogue of cases

Same monochromatic garb begrudged by the uninitiates;

But what greater miracle than this:

Your transmutation of the mundane into the transcendent?
How transient seems the yesteryears of your sojourn

At this moment of parting! 

Bitter is this farewell, O ye beloved of the faculty – 

And yet parting it must be

That you, whose light have long been veiled

May freely shine to the world…

Let this be my succour:

That I your acolyte, watching from a distance,

May say unto spectators:

‘I too walked among the winners.’

Postscript 

Can one choose from among the stars? It is not out of choice that I name these for whom we are indebted: Ijeoma Efobi, our adept Class Governor; Alade Omotosho who ensured that materials were timely available; Michael Isochukwu, selfless provider of class note in all formats, deliverer of lazy students; Aishat Okesola, Barakat Mustapha, Teri Wellington and other stenographers who ensured accurate transcriptions of incoherent classes; Rilwan Shittu whose tutorial demystified and made wadable the numerous materials and classes; the Adebos, the Bidemis, the Ifes, the Joneses, the Ubakas, the Vivians , the Yinkas who saw to it that we are winners outside the confines of the class – these representative few inuncted the rough road that we have trodden. And for those whose timeous Whatsapp information, villainy, jests and mischiefs made pleasant the tedious life of the law students…

THE RENEGADES 


Joshua Omenga

Even below the sceptic’s expectations

Is this unravelling of subtile imperialism

They came in a grave procession,

The caste of learned serfs

Marching to the West’s dictates:

Hoist still your yokes of acculturation

As you tread the path whose pioneers

Have taken flight
Talk of nobility

That cannot hold its head!

Vain, scurrilous renegades

Your progeny will yet question

This dereliction of your father’s path

For this mimicry of another’s custom

Then shall you know

How you have wronged your coevals.