segun Johnson Ozique

Freshman - 668 Points (25th, Sept.1961 / Lagos-Nigeria)

Old Age - Poem by segun Johnson Ozique

I grew, finely groomed
Taught the notion of the importance of good family values
Of the need to make something good of my life
A life that should transcend immediate bodily material things
And, leaving home, made society my extended family

And on her behalf, at rooftop, screaming, scribbling, scripting
An occupational hazard that apparently pitched me head on
With authority that thought I should be humble, subservient
I could not restrain me, so in shackle, they provided me a boarding
Within a wall barely 2.00 x 0.9 metres
And under a coarsish, rough, rouge and nightmarishly plight
A chunk of my life left living with moths, lice and mice
My youth defined by the many daily and nightly push-ups
But the push-ups gradually faded with age, leaving me time to ramble and ponder
And then, my mind began to wonder and fonder
It began with the realisation of the loss of youthful years
Of the years of dreams deferred but later dumped
And once I began to go that path
I went all the down
Sliding endlessly
Not stopping till I hit the bottom
Discovering I had ran out of wind

So one day, tagged but let free
A youth quip; Nobelist, Sir, did you get reformed, you changed
I laughed; an elder’s knowing chuckle
Naaa, said I, African prison don’t reform you
You simply tire of punching the wind, exhausted
My fight as a youth was physical, a brawl
Now I’m aged, I engage in an adult wrestle, mentally.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, August 28, 2010

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