POETRY CORNER “A CALL FOR PEACE IN BENUE” BY TALENTED BENUE POET LINUS AJENE

HADIZA!
I remember few years ago, we composed love song, we sang love song and we danced in love.

HADIZA!
I remember I thought you Ogirinya dance and you liked it and then you said, “Abah, we are going to dance Ogirinya together forever”. That was the promise that drove me crazy.

HADIZA!
I remember those days that you would never sell any cup of your “nunu” to any customer until I taste it and you would look at me with your sparkling face and pointed nose and smile – the smile that always raptures my soul to the third heaven.

HADIZA!
I remember those days that you would send my sister, Onyeche to me and I would stop whatever I was doing immediately and rush to the Iroko tree along the route to your house and you would say, “Abah, teach me your language; I want to speak Idoma language; I want to greet your mother with Idoma language” and I was proud to tell my friends and mother about you and about our love songs.

HADIZA!
I remember the day I called you my “Ihotu” and you shed tears of joy amidst your usual affectionate smiles. You told me you were privileged to have me in your life and we hugged each other – the first and the last hug in my entire life.

HADIZA!
I remember those days that your elder brother, Hassan lived in my village – hustling freely with his motorcycle day & night and he would stay in Okopi’s drinking joint till midnight before going home and he would go freely and resumes his hustling the following day.

HADIZA!
I remember those days that your uncle, Jibril would match his herds of cattle to River Benue after grazing all day in Okpoga and my father would say, “Jibril, please guide your cattle from my cassava farm o” and Jibril would laugh and say, “I de do my work well well”. He always brought bush meat to my father.

HADIZA!
I remember the Sunday morning that a lorry came to our village and all of you were to be moved from our village and I rushed to you before you entered; you thrust your gaze into mine and burst into deep sobbing; I followed suit. You said you would come back to me and I believed you.

HADIZA!
Where are you now?
You said you would come back to me but it was your brothers that came back.

HADIZA!
Are you aware that your brothers came back with daggers, knives and guns – hunting us like wild animals, roasting us like bush animals, slaughtering our necks like defenseless animals?

HADIZA!
What about the love song we sang together?
What about the Ogirinya dance we danced together every evening under the Iroko tree?
What about our sweet promise of  love?

HADIZA!
Do you still love me?
My heart still beats for you
I still dream about you day & night
My flute still remembers your sweet name

HADIZA!
If you still love me;
Tell your brothers about us
Tell them we only know love songs
Tell them our mouths can’t chant war songs
Tell them we aren’t their enemies or animals

HADIZA!
If you don’t talk to your brothers swiftly
My head may be their next target and you will forever miss me but you may not miss me because my ghost will keep making love with you.

***
Abah, Linus Ajene was born in Ogo Oluwa L.G.A. of Oyo State and brought up in Idiri Okpoga in Okpokwu L.G.A. of Benue State where he has his biological root. He is a 400L student of Benue State University studying English/Education with the ambition of become an African Literature scholar as he progresses in life with time. He was the first runner-up of the 2017 Albert Jungers Poetry Prize and was also shortlisted for the 2018 Tony Tokunbo Fernandez International Poetry Competition. He is the current President of Writers’ League, Benue State University chapter. He writes poems and prose-fictions.

 

linus

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