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Dear Daughter,

There is God. He is the Existence and that is the Truth!

So let me start by saying do not be like me, daughter, be better than me. I am but a hopeless owl singing day and night. I am a God-seeker finding peace in prayers and meditations. I talk to parrots and tend rabbits with a nature’s soul, yearning for the sea. I prostrate myself everyday inching closer to fade in His light.

Do not try to be like me, or like anyone for that matter. You are the only ‘YOU’ there is in this vast world. Do not lose sight of that, daughter, never lose sight of that. Listen to the beating of your heart. Your purpose is there. Find out what your purpose is and spend your life fulfilling it. It is what you were made for and it is the only thing you can do. Do not be distracted by any other thing.

Live, daughter, live! The living lives.

Know that the world, like a tossed coin, has two sides. The sun is hot and the moon, cold. They both illuminate the world. Canaries will sing and the dogs will bark. It is all noise.

Everyone and everything is playing a role that makes up the whole, good or bad, they make up the world. So know that you are a part of something and you make it a better place.

We have crossed the damned realms and seen what it was like. So never knock that door as peace is worth everything. For now, there is darkness. And blasts, multiples. Blood.

Still know that Light is never engulfed by Darkness; there is always a streak of Light piercing through it. Because there are always shades of Light everywhere, Darkness will eventually be wholly consumed by Light.

We do not choose our journeys. They are written for us. Rather, we choose the path to tread and it spreads ahead at our eager feet. But the paths do not come to us, we go to them and then as we tread them we find ourselves navigating the map of fate.

These journeys, you will take along others, with others, while other times you must walk your journey alone. So treat all well: the road, the pathway and the others, your co-travellers like the shrubs by the side. Wave at the trees, and smile at plants and flowers.

Stroll and Hike. But with care. It is rewarding to see places and conquer heights. Remember, it is not your backpack that is heavy, it is the weight on your shoulders. It is not the distance that wears you out, but the heaviness in your heart.

When a path does not seem to lead anywhere, cross over to another. Burn the bridges and set the ashes free, blowing them away with your pains. Remember to wipe the dust that settles on your heart and let not the slices on your skin be visible upon your heart.

Seasons change. Trees will shave off their hairs and grow new ones, but a kind heart remains a kind heart.  So never stop being kind.

Lost ship sings, hoping its faint voice echoes through the wilderness. So listen to the calm sea, and should you catch a whiff of its song, help by letting your starry eyes guide it to the shore. The stars still illuminate the night even when we turn off our lanterns. Be that star, even if it is not the brightest of all. Light the trail for others, when their lamps are dimmed. Help, that is what humans do.

Beautiful drizzles come from dark clouds. Even chaff was once part of the grains. Peaceful dawn follows fiery dusk just as silence does echoes. Millions of sounds need but a silence to swallow them all. Stillness is one of the verses of calmness just as Silence is a song too.

The owl is a symbol of night while the day brags with noise. Be able to differentiate. Seek quietude by the sea for it is gratifying. Soothing.

The lion is the king of the jungle. While he owns the forest, yet still he has a ‘home’ in his den. Daughter, know that your home is what you make of it and not any specific place with hearth and home-made pies. Home is where you retire to after you have wandered, after being everywhere else. So wherever you go, never forsake home.

Go back Home. Go to Home.

Daughter, the enemy is within! Smoke comes before fire so always ensure you are alert and prepared. The soul traverses realms, crossing distances that the body cannot. So, while you fly with wings, you will need fins to swim.

The whole tree, with its large trunks and wide branches, is nourished and sustained by its small roots. Upon this tree, millions of birds eat away its generous fruits, yet still tomorrow new fruits appear. The tree sustains lives within and on it. So be a tree that gives shade to the good and the bad.

Numbers are funny things. Though, for me, Words are loyal friends, because they come to me like rain. As for the former, choose Seven, always, if you must.

I wrote 7 poems but sang them all with only one voice. The canyons echoed my name and my songs sprouted in every backyard. I grew them even on seas, and stamped some on the heart of mountains. The world sang my songs and when the night came for me, no one could undo them.

So go! Fill the world with your voice. Draw upon this brown earth the colours of your heart. Grow warm roses of light in its barren cold rooms so that when the sun sets your deeds will echo across the world.

Still remember ugly songs travel fast as rumours. Sing slowly. Sing beautifully. Be contented if only one person dances to your tune. Unlike the Rose that wilts with time, the tree is resilient, even after fall it sprouts new leaves.

There is a time to hold back and a time to fight. Fighting wise is better than fighting hard. A lion roars not only when it is hungry, but to remind the jungle of the sound of its voice.

What muscles could not do, a simple thought may well do. The clouds rain not because they enjoy making the world drenched but because they cannot contain the moisture that builds up. Yet these tears they shed beautifully wet the world. So rain grace and not rage from within.

The cleverness of the fox does not stop it from being preyed on by the lion. It is not cowardice to stay aloof when a hungry lion comes hunting. But when a venomous viper hisses, be ready with a stick, as it is a sly one and you won’t know when it will strike. Thus, both guile and bravery are necessary for survival.

The gazelles are beautiful, the peacocks of the jungle. Yet to the lion they are food. The cheetah, the tiger and the leopard are from the same family. I recommend the panther or not at all.

There is nothing called unconditional love, for there is always interest. There is also nothing like true love. ‘Love’ just is, and what you make of it.

Your garden is sacred. Forget those bright butterflies roaming about. They are vultures after your rose. Be like air, it is everywhere, and everyone needs it to survive, and also like a star, that shines on all yet far from everyone’s reach.

Know that your highest calling is being of benefit to humanity, and being the best version of yourself that you could ever be. Everything else is secondary. Daughter, dear daughter, you are not a man. Do not try to be one. Do not cage yourself by taking a man as your standard.

Ask questions. Do not expect to know it all. The answers are like pieces of a puzzle. One at a time. Remember this, nobody knows it all, but did they stop learning?

Read books. Read humans. Read nature. But do not always accept all that you read. Engage the text and have a tango.

Knowledge is a vast ocean. Where a cup satisfies one, for another, a bucket is way not enough. You are my daughter, so go for the ocean. Be learned.

The rest are histories. Now is the beginning of the history. Write an amazing one.

Your loving Mum.

Maryam Gatawa is a young poet and a graduate of Economics from Bayero University Kano. She lives in Kano, Nigeria. She is a passionate lover of arts. Some of her literary works have been published in the African Writer Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears,  PIN Quarterly Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Better Than StarBucks, Anthology Of Best New African Poets 2017, The Arts Muse Fair, Kalahari Review, and local papers.

When she is not writing poetry, she is talking to her parrots or playing
snooker, watching Netflix, or reading other poets. She can be reached on Twitter @meegat12.

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