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Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu

Rookie - 81 Points (16 January 1968 / Umuahia, Nigeria)


I return from a meaningless war
After witnessing a senseless carnage.
Behind me, bows and arrows with a
Hollow quiver.
The war is over, but rages on beyond
My escaped limits, where iguanas hum
Messages across festered hills.

The war was senseless and so was I.
The cause was infantile, ruthlessly foolish.
I fainted during the burial of the dead
Or was it during the death of the burial?
My breath filled the dense earnestness of
Death when its sting has been found.
I remember the coming of May, the month
Of greed for the sadness of a squirmed soul.
Animals yearned for more colourful clouds
That hang low, just by the neck of the village

The war was senseless and thirsted afterwards.
The nakedness of the war was revealed to
Lascivious women, face powdered with the lusts of
Warring vultures.
The war was timeless and reeked of vanity.
Bishops and imams all bent in prayers to
Curse it off, yet it went on through hollows of
Uprooted bamboos, stretching from hate to death.

I reckon with my lateness to the funeral of
Dogs when the living dogs wept from pogrom.
Their voices, one loud cry for buried bones, were
Honed by the stars, witnesses to that senseless war.

I reckon with the brooding of trees when they howled
In one wind-strength, to lament the hatred of seasons, the
Madness in bees, especially now they swarm towards
Items of perfidious rituals.

But I reckon more with the uselessness of this war,
This carnage, this incident of lewdness before truth
And semblance of truth.
The war waged between darkness and silhouette is
No longer war, but agonies of war.
When the clouds darken at noon,
Must rain always follow?
Can’t the clouds darken their faces
In the shadow of grief?
When the toad runs at noon,
Must it be running away from the crushing
Feet of man?
Can’t it choose to flee from the hostile
Sounds of war drums?

And when a war stops in the middle of itself,
It gathers moss – moss of a senseless war.

Submitted: Monday, November 08, 2010
Edited: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

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