” Before my dirge be sung, I’ll write an incomparable smile on the mirrored face of my deeds to reflect my praise in the heart of beneficiaries”.
~Akeem Soliu Eniola
REVIEW OF THE ‘SONGS FROM THE HEART’ ~ By Yekeen Habeeb Olayide
In the “BRIDE’S VIRGINITY”, the poet oozes in speculation of indubitable towards an unforeseen bride concerning her virginity. He comes in with the word of urgency “come come come” & his rhetorical question “where goes your virginity ?”
In this particular poem, the poet portrays the quintessential, relevance of his bride’s virginity to be an invaluable price not to only him but his family as well when he says, “this cultural value is gold to me and family.” At the last end of the poem, the poet employs his bride to confide in him the whole truth about her virginity; “promise me the truth of your virginity.” Thus we can relate this to the value of Madonna marry in the context of African society. The poet shows great enthusiasm for the importance of virginity as confirmation of decency.
In the poem ‘SILENT FATHERS’ the poet comes in with a tone more sentimental to portray how pitiable his society has become; how things have come to the point of austerity and depravity. The poet starts by giving obeisance to the progenitors he symbolises as “Silent Fathers” before proceeding with his rhetorical questions:
“why is your son a victim of bones?
Why is he a mannequin of tattered cloth?”
The poet captures the whole moves of depravity in his society of how the poor get more portion of remaining poor while the rich devour every opportunity for a better living, with these lines:
“Rich mouths eat from poor hands
Tiled floor is a mockery of crude ones.”
Like Birago Diop, a Senegalese poet’s poem “Vanity”, the poet here also assumes the mayhem and pain engulfing his society must be due to their derailment, the abnegation of his progenitors “Silent Fathers” to intervene in his social situation.
But when the Senegalese poet was more condemning in his poem “Vanity” this poet on the other hand – though condemn – yet gives hope. The last part of the poem “Silent Fathers” is imbued of what society in form of what the poet stated could do to stand tall with these his lines:
” Let’s immunize the whole body of peace
Plant the tree of equality and equity
And strengthen pillar of unity.”
The poem “NOT YET DEATH” is a testimonial from the personae who is also the poet, on how he jumped through a hurdle of death. The poet portrays how he survived an ailment severe enough to claim his life. In his narrative, he conspicuously reflects how he gave up on any possibility of getting better with this line;
“…I deserted hope, my long time friend”
” To walk a mile is enough war
Legs too weak to navigate”
“Not only did he wished to die, his relatives also shared in his wish;
“All thought I am about to transition”.
However, the ending part of the poem gives an anticlimax, a new hope for the personae (poet) when he survived the deadly malady. In his expression of this, he says;
“God gives to the day
Then the miracle turn
And all mouths agape“
Even as the personae survived, he hinges his gratitude to God as his healer when he says:
“…while I weep in joy.
Though hell I appreciate God
That retain my soul for a just cause.”
The poem “SONG OF MY PEN” is a reflection of what writing vocation is all about in a nutshell. It depicts the profession as a “long-way-to-success” accordingly.
At the beginning of the poem, the poet shows the joy, eagerness in his personae to write and get his “break” as a writer. But it not that easy anyways.
In the poet’s second stanza, he showcases how his personae come into the realization that writing is not a profession get to make money from the inception of your career. The preceding stanza also talks about how the personae lack money. And as always, the last stanza is hope imbedded. He shows enthusiasm, bravery and of course courage. The poet shows how his personae navigate into the limelight with these lines:
“But with the mind of a lion,
He digs into the mountain Of impossibilities,
reaches The fountain of words —
Words to claw back lost hope of his land,
And make her the center of words.”
In the ” A TOUR OF GENTLEMEN ON DESERT ” The poet collects the scene of a man’s quest for living love, one that won’t die, a love that won’t fetch him brokenness when he totally drowns in the voyage of it;
“His rambling legs decorated the land,
Yearning to be enveloped in a skirt.”
But he unfortunately enough encounters an inevitable state of challenge when riding to where the lady who can supply him sweet fruit of love.
“His saliva was no more enough
To tour through the blocked road.
Hath he come to the end of road?“
As he continues to wallow in the quest for a suitor of his heart, people who notice him, do call his trials the act of idleness whereas, he embarks on the journey to evade unfair play of the game of love towards any girl. He believes to wait for when his perfect inamorata comes than to confide in deceit. Thus:
“…and he, lost in the labyrinth
Of searching an envelope from his woman.
He drowned in the eye of darkness.”
In “THE ENGINEERS“. This is a poem appreciating teaching as a roundabout profession being the source from which all other careers emanated from. Pedagogues are the engineers having chalks and pen as their walking tools. In this poem, the bard says:
“Chalk and duster, the tools mining wisdom.”
The poet sees them as miners who mine the mind, explore the intelligence and plant it in a vacuum encephalon – tabularaza brain, despite all these, the nation rendered their values valueless and their services penniless. This tells us about the lifestyle of many African nations in their education industry. The menace of neglecting teachers and little or poor leadership towards fulfilling goals of education in general and most pinpoint here is poor treatment received from government/society by engineers of the nation. The builders of every given society for that matter. Hence, he says:
“In my country, their pockets are penniless,
Government ought to push on their ways“
There is no any special provision made to reward them duly; they delay their meagre emoluments and even owe their retirees their gratuities as well as pensions. The poet is hopeful of a brighter future for teaching career which he promises when he reaches the apex or attain a leadership position. He will do all to ensure a better life for the teachers. Here is how he put it:
“If today I climb up a power tussle,
I will make their world a haven
Of eternal merriment.”
In ” WEEP NOT, MY HEART” The poetic persona depicts the scenario of the physical and emotional contact he has with a lady whom he vehemently believes as the preordained lover of his life. As he streams in the shackled love, he lost in its labyrinth and can’t do away with her feeling. He has no foresight for disappointment, that may at anytime strikes his heart. His days were glittering before he later lost her and become a slave to depression when he says:
“Stopping the flame of
Glowing emotion. Feeding
Me loneliness. What shall I
Call you, when you’re
Not worth the call?”
However in “LOST LOVE” The poem exemplifies the scenario of the poet’s experience of disappointment, jittery and heartbreak from her first love whom he trusted and confided in wholeheartedly:
“he love I used to have for her/ Was a smiling bird”
“I wept all night for a gone angel”
The poet remains in despair, considering how his fidelity in his lost love was without sympathy stolen away as predicament seeming insurmountable. In pains and anguish which his love has planted in his broken heart.
“I’ll mourn always for this great loss”; says the poet.
Also, in ” HEARTLESS FIANCEE“. The poet elucidates his love affairs with his fiancee who is guilty of infidelity and has indulgence in fornication to the extent of her becoming a wastebasket and her private part a kingdom without fence not to talk of the gate which he unknowingly falls for.
“What’s hidden about a part
That has openings?“
On a long-run, he later discovered that her heart had lost its loyalty for him. He wallows in self-pity aftermath the unforgettable, cruel scar of disappointment she has put in his heart when he says;
“I know my fiancee lies.
I feign, believing her false
Tongue. Under the rising dawn, she lies
Against her promises and it’s late already
I noticed her heart shuts off for me.”
“Why is heartbreak the product of love?”
In “MY HEAVY TONGUE“. The poet throws the picture of a man who came in contact with a beautiful maiden “crescent moon” so endowed that she was a monopoly of beauty in the sight of the man. He tried all he could to declare his intention, feeling before the girl but he couldn’t because of his timidity and shyness. Poet says:
“Alas! With ease abounds this love,
Ailed by silent voices.“
The poet is a shying man who lacks boldness and courage in proposing to girls.
“How do I stand, looking
At myself in the eyes?”
In the end, he lost this damsel. He takes the blame. A reward of keeping mum. He regretted his lack of courage to woo her on time.
“…For I was the writer of the event
And no escape route.
I’ll cry alone and face my faults“
In “WE WILL BE FINE“.In conformity with the title of the poem “We will be fine“. The poet here,rekindles the dying of hope of the world in the time of trial and travail as well as the increment in the rate of mortality brought by the outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus pandemic recently which rendered the whole universe clueless, most especially those parts claiming the possession of the world power.
“The journey of world is ambushed
By the arrow of death, and it pains.
Common wars cage the lifeless world.”
The poet exemplifies the pandemic as compensation for the humans deception and in adherence to God’s will. Furthermore, the poet depicts the efforts of all poets/writers from the nooks and crannies of the world towards correcting the societal ills and set human feet aright with how he metaphorically compare them to parrot which yielded to a rapt attention. He says:
“All the parrots refuse to keep mum
On the raging, silent malice.
It pains ’em and they yell.”
The poet summons hope.He believes that everything will later come to order and peace shall reign at the end of the turbulence illustrates with the picture of dew, brightness and raining hope he embedded in the concluding stanza:
“The touches of dew is a smile,
Smile to world for raining hope.
Brightness wilt follow darkness, very sure.”
In “THE PITIFUL CRY“.
“Elephant fights the dove with worthless power.
Land is trembling in fear.”
The poet here painted an imaginative picture of a nation. Compared to forest,where elephant and dove swallowed in quarrel. The elephant is used as a figure of symbolism. Representation of the oppressor, a tale of demagogue. And the dove, being the representation of the loyal citizens lamenting about oppression and injustice melted out to them.
“The land knows no peace,
Very hot, the land hurts.
Dove can’t wait to fight back.“
A careful look into the poem mirrored the occurrences in the present human world. A situation where leaders or influential people dominate the poor and common masses. Then, poet opined that, one day, there could be a resistance and revolt against tyranny. he said;
“All I know is silence will fight,
And none will save the crown.“
In “SO SOON“. The loud ululation of the poet speaks of departure of two lovers that believe the distance may be a standing block to their smooth relationship.
“We’re faithful to our shared memory.
And if you go, what will remain?”
He wants his lovers to always remain close. That out of her sight life will be deadly. He says:
“If comes the departure of our world
My soul will react brashly.“
The echo in his voice bewails. That the love shouldn’t die, even so they’re not within same vicinity for many years. And longing for her staying as best remedy to curtail the forthcoming challenges which distance might possibly orchestrate, the poet expresses it thus;
“Why did you wake me
When farewell you wanted to pay,
And you know sadness will follow?”
Also in, “JOURNEY OF LOVE”. The poem explains nothing but conflict between bitterness and sweetness of love. The poet accounts for how love seems to be sweet in the primary stage.How in the progress turbulence come to leap on the way. The poet experiences both which makes him to practically paints the image with color of war. He also experiences a series of battlefield while he was on the voyage; honesty becomes friend of infidelity and the sweet of love becomes bitter.
In a nutshell, the poet tells us that no matter the strength of love, both sweetness and bitterness will always come to test the firmness of our emotions. But that shouldn’t allow us to sell our hearts to weakness.
In “MY ONLY JULIET”. This particular poem narrates the treatment the poet receives from her lover. She’s being a player of genuine love since they have been touring on the path of love without conundrum. He appreciates her standby love and compares her love to that of Juliet to Romeo and not like Amope who with her false-speaking tongue deceived him.
“When Amope’s path was void
…you delivered me safely.”
“Your love, a replica of Juliet’s.
Make me the bearer of your love,
And my world you’ll adorn.”
He is on the throne of happiness as the love from her lift him to the climax of eternal joy. He then asserts that, having a girl who promises eternal love is tantamount to a life in garden of Eden.
In “HEAVEN WILL SMILE FOR US“. It is a poem explicating vividly the theme of racism and racial oppression. And the self-acclaimed superiority of the white over the black which the blackout of ignorance taking the whites as demigods. How black people see themselves inferior just because of their colour.
“I know of natural grey hairs,
That the curly black hairs bow to in fear.
The black is swamped, fear is here”
However, the poet concluded that, later the actions of the whites and their brutality will surely boomerang and bounce back as vengeance upon the oppressors when he says;
“But resurrection holds vengeance in affirmation.”
The poet places his hope in the mighty God as the only one who gives freedom to the oppressed mankind. This shows his faithfulness in the supreme being. His connection with spiritualism.
In “YOUTH FOR NEW NIGERIA“. The poet portrays the image of a nation’s youths that need total commitment and lead the nation to a promised land. The poet laments that the grey hairs are due for retirement and that youths should ascend the throne of leadership. He’s antagonist and unease to the motion that, ‘leadership position isn’t for little ones’. He says:
“I’m baffled with the unsung
Song of struggle, making youths
To fear the throne of leadership.”
He believes that it’s imperfect for the old aged who accounts not the sacrificial rites of a dirty to new-aged, for such diety is prone perish. The poet also feels the necessity of the youths to take the mantle of leadership by claiming the remote of leadership without fear. He says:
“Let ’em use us not as a whip
For the next generation.”
“Youth! Stand to stop a nation from falling.
Return the mace to home anew.”
The ” BEST CHUM, ADEKUNLE” is an appreciation saga. At times, the kind of company we keep design the style of life will live. The poet seduces our eyes and minds to feel jealous of the strong ties of friendship with his friend. The fact is that his friend is a supportive one. For every good decision make to the effect that will earn opulent in life, his friend, Adekunle is seen awesome. He manifests the love they normally share and good reputation they’re building. His friend is among the category of people who have tenet and creed that “a friend indeed is a friend in need.”
“Ray of hope, floats in the early sun.
Sun that claims happiness within me.
The “me” in me is his mirror of blessings.“
In the “MESSAGE TO POVERTY“. The poet uses simple diction to depict the picture of poverty. It’s very awful and saddened that a man who toils day and night never transports his desired food to the stomach. A mystery that seems like he is clueless. The poet yearns that of all the efforts incur to cut off the tie of poverty. It seems like helping inferno with petrol. He opined:
“Poverty is never emptied in our plates.”
Despite the fact that their struggle knows no limit to obtain a greater height of success and to make ends meet, the challenges keep cropping up. He then invocates to poverty with low tone of voice to lead a way out of their lives. Read thus:
“Poverty! Chant not to us melodious song.
Open not to us the pages of your tale.”
“…we come, not for penury league.
…but to abode of wealth.”
“STOLEN SOUL”. In this poem, the poet is a wailing mourner who calls the death to account his justification for taking away the soul of his beloved friend. Indeed elegy piece.
“Tears rolling down on my cheeks.
Soul wears sadness for mourning attire.”
He explains from his wail that death is inevitable. But it’s too early he takes his friend from him to live where no beacon to light the mansion. A place underneath terrain: with no window, no bed and good shelters that living all enjoy on the planet earth.
“Where are you taking her to?
You consider not my feeling.“
Death is a forcefully journey to embark on even if the soul bearer refuses to go. He then writes to his fellows to mourn the mourn of the deceased.
In “LET ME PRONOUNCE YOUR NAME”.The poet throws the picture of a mind-boggling escapade of relationship-seeking gobbledegook which he is longing for attachment of his heart to, illustrates with how he falls cheaply into the snare of her lustful heart.
“In colours, she claims my heart.
She was so close but I waddle very far.
When she is near, a clown
She called the minstrel”
He remains in the shackles of irresponsive love. He keeps hitting the anvil rapidly. But she eventually turns down his proposal. This becomes eyes opener when he says:
“She called the minstrel—
‘not to you my heart belongs’…
“HOW DO I PRAISE YOU, WOMAN?”. The poet envisages and blissfully appreciate the efforts of her mother. He shows us the glad tidings of motherhood. This indubitably appeared in the first stanza. Read thus:
“Good mother, how do I vomit prayers?
Ocean never dries nor cry for water,
You purse shall never run dry.
Your day shall count like Methuselah’s.
Wealth shall breathe your life.”
A LONG WALK TO GOOD NIGHT. The poem “A long walk to good night” depicts the mysteries surrounding the course of death as a long journey. So inevitable that irrespective of class or status, all living souls shall taste it. Thus poet reminds us that, death is no respecter of anyone, come what may of our status. See:
“Not the wise will rant about the journey,
Because in the flames of shame they become ash.”
He, however, calls our attention to two kind of people and situation on the verge of death. He opined that good men will find death as a stepping stone to cross to the eternal bliss. While evildoers on the other end will have woe and regret should they fail to turn a new leaf before their demise. Something he called :
“Cruel men haste not into good night”
GIRAFFE AND CATERPILLAR IN A JUNGLE. The poet throws the image of a nation metaphorically compared to a jungle beleaguered by the shackled of hope of the citizenry who have legitimately traded their mandates for, the betterment of their future but eventually duped by the unscrupulous avaricious leaders:
“Giraffe beguiles caterpillar with much
Avowed anti-starvation and security.”
The giraffe which with the aids of the caterpillars, the citizen achieved their aims of attaining the apex position but later become so vainglorious that they trample the hopeful caterpillars to death after stolen their treasures instead of fulfilling their promises:
“When in the summer daze, caterpillar
Is sharp-witted, toils to reach the top of tree
For lunch, but giraffe unfairly utilizes power tussle…”
“He sends for thieves and asks farm’s bearer to arrest.
He promises safety, knowingly presses on him.”
THE PALM. The poet depicts the image of land which derails from the best means of achieving the satisfaction of stomach which is agriculture but mainly focuses on crude oil.
“The land is Enough to meet our meals.”
“But God is effortless in his Cultivations…”
“The land is Enough to meet our meals.”
He shows how people are suffering from the ravages of negligence over the agricultural aspect of developing rapid economy reliability.
“Who then will open their eyes?
When the lane to salvation they derail from?”
He exemplifies how those who have access to petroleum dupe the less privileged souls. He further gives a way forward that in order to exhume themselves out of the dungeon of abject poverty and famine, full concentration should be given to agriculture and make it the number one priority:
“Land is our palm.
I’ll work on land to prove power,
Because different lanes depict our portions.”
OLORUNTOLA, FRESH ROSE is romantic poem. The first stanza of three lines serves as the preamble of a new stage of founded love. Poet unequivocally pour out his undiluted love. Hence he called it fresh rose. Read thus:
“Even if I have to weep for this forlorn,
This heart has worn your love already,
And I’ll call you my town’s pride”.
In this poem, the persona who’s bard gave us a glance of this angelic lady. He says:
“When you speak in solo voice,
The rhymes dig deep my heart’s ear.
That makes the gentle waves of thy song.
You glitter than the sun’s face.
And your beauty the glad tiding”.
However, the poem mirrored the past experience of the poet heartbroken. And that he’s now found new love which he called:
“…She’s my permanent site of love.
The peace of all peace in my seat “.
LOVE OF MY LIFE, RAMADAN. This is another lyrical of appreciation. Eniola weaves his words into emotion. A deep feeling he’s got for the holy month of Ramadan. This poem teaches us moral values and general blessing in the month of Ramadan to the entire populace. Eniola compared the love he’s for this pretty month with that of a beautiful angel. One he would love to have as his wife. He says:
“..Audible is your voice, calling
To beautiful path. I wish
You were my wife—
The one I would show intense ardour”.
MESSAGE FROM HELL. This is a didactic saga. The poet takes us to the realm of poor assimilation of western cultures in the name of civilization. The poem picturized social menace like smoking, religion fanatism, alcoholism, thuggery, adultery and fornication and many among others. The poet frown at all these things that culminate social nuisance. He then appeals and sends a message to the smokers when he says:
“…Of smoke. He inhales oxygen
Of death, puffs out
The caborn dioxide of health”.
In “A WOMAN’S CALL” the poem tells us about young love. The effect of bad memory of experience. How some young ones these days find themselves in bondage of love. How they feel in the brokenness. However, the poet cajoled us about how he let go and set himself free from the bondage of love. Then find solace in taking astound while he waited hopefully to ride on with the newly found, beautiful girl. Last stanza which is concluding part explain thus:
“…I glide near, as she waddled
To avoid my glance. And the sound
Of her voice wafted again like perfume.
And her beautiful look said me wakey-wakey.
We then waltzed across the river Sanya”.
THE SONG OF A MAN OF HER HEART is a lyrical and didactic poem. It explores theme around ” all that glitters aren’t gold” & ” a stitch in time saves nine” and ” opportunity lost may never be regained “. In this poem, Eniola portrays a tale of a girl who values her physical beauty at face value. And at the same time refuse to appreciate other things beyond beautifulness of her kind. In this poem, we’re made to realize that, the girl lost in the labyrinth of decision making. Then things fall apart. She ended up with a guy with many flaws. The aftermath of her pranks and proudness to an awesome guy who appreciates inner strength rather than facial value. This is visible in the second stanza of the poem. Read thus :
“When man with his drum proclaims,
Lauds the beauty on her fair face,
She gets lost in herself, feeling
On top of the world and dances
To the melodious voice of a drum”.
PRAISE FOR SONGS FROM THE HEART
The songs from the heart is beautiful collections of love drama, appreciation of nature and themes that rally round humanity through bard’s experience in his youthfulness. This is not subtle in its telling. Akeem Soliu Eniola has skillfully and effortlessly explore a series of social menace as they affect the general populace.
This anthology becomes healing, rediscovering and pathfinder blueprint. Throughout this chapbook, you will read no poem without an atom of lullaby of hope. With this, he has approved, he could be a blessing to humanity. Overall, songs from the heart is a great starting point as poet’s debut in the literary arena. For me, it says; how we move on without being break come what may of bending, ups and downs in our lives.
Written by Yekeen Habeeb Olayide (PhilosYekhab)