Female Nigerian Poets

Mary Ann Olaoye

from within

i dig deeper

and you,

well up from within

 

1 – innocence

(for indihi)

with you, i try to recover those lost years

i gather them around me like a wrap

but they are like air, too free and loose to be contained in a place

or gathered as a shield against naked memories

yet so alive and bare it brings with it

sounds and silence of my baby steps

 

life grew before my eyes

and you, beautiful bouquet of flowers

with your petals of smiles

and blooming roses of life

you grow, delicately before me

 

and i try to pause this fast paced world

this world that comes with its wireless connections of reality

for you i try to frame this moment

when you have mucus running down your nose

and carefreeness chasing after you like a butterfly

 

but i know when the sun comes up

you will bloom and become a garden of many experiences

 

one by one some petals will fall,

ground into powder by the shoes of men

and i wonder if you will remain strong by your roots

 

i pray for this box of innocence to shield you a little longer

dear one

i pray that life’s hand does not choke you as it did me

 

2 – two cities on my mind

in this dull gwagwalada evening

where the sun nods its round head

in fitful slumber, after a heavy day of drinking

off the cognac soil

i stroll the streets of my mind, like a bored shadow

lounging by a vendor’s broken kiosk

visiting neighborhood haunts of thoughts

 

idle silence is the seat

of my wild travel through places

the painting of thoughts

the sketches of make belief;

i dream of what i am, what my life is

what it was and what it would be

the fire in my heart holds the eye of the sun

and the yearning for that strange familiar land grows warmer

 

the nzu you talk about, father

the goddess and the kolanut bowl

will i see them all?

the fronds, all virgin like my heart

the landscape and the endless memories

building a bridge between two unrelated cities

will i have them all?

they are quartered in a corner of my mind

orphans from different parents

 

my body lounges here, father

the vendor haggles for my smile

of recognition

but my spirit has long departed

searching the hills you speak of

grappling with the wind for understanding

with your interpretation, with your leading,

i search the bleached soil for your footprints

with my uncapped curiosity

and myraid questions

 

boredom is a silent teleprompter

you scroll down its lit face, amusing yourself

with mad frolics between two cities

and here i lie, in this prickly heat

feeling the air of a strange land

and dreaming about its calmer wind

 

and i know i am but a virgin visitor

caught between this boring place and my dreams

 

Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye, is a young Nigerian writer who believes in the power of writing. It is a voice on its own and that voice, has its place. She enjoys reading and stage drama.

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