Top 12 Featured Poems From The Finalists Of The 2018 Growth Contest

After all said and done, the 2018 Growth Contest has come to an end. A
totality of 72 poems from 72 contestants were recorded and compiled for the contest at the
initial stage. With the help of our guest editor, Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah, we were able to arrive
at 8.

For the first round, they were paired in twos and that led to the disqualification
of 4 contestants, leaving the other 4 who won to the bout. That was the
end of the knockout system. Another pairing was done (round 2) and
another(round 3), leaving us to two grades for each of the contestants. 
The winners Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale (Winner), Tukur Loba Ridwan (First Runner Up) and Chijioke Victor (Second Runner Up) have been declared with full analysis of the grading system here
Below are the poems submitted by the top 4 contestants for the last three rounds of the contest:

Chijioke Victor


Houses are burning inside me

My eyes have lost her river to an unknown gods

In my body are cities on fire
Flying ashes to the beautiful face of the sky

Tonight comes with ghosts of dead angels
Holding burnt roses in their burnt veins

My home is a city
Decorated with flames of burning men
A home were men wear skin of men and call it fashion


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If i’m angel
I will wake the dead and plant flowers on their heads

They said that men dies at their pavement of dreams

I had like to see my pastor
But I saw ghosts of children
Peg on crosses in his alter

And I saw a vulture snarling at their entrails

Suddenly my blood turn torrent
And freezed from her reservior

Ashes are not dead men
They are men flying to the blue sky

If i’m a bird
I will fly to heaven with my stories on a dragon wings

And write about the giant mosquitoes that stole my dreams from his blood

But here i am
Just a crab hissing in a dusty bow of savagery.

The making of a god
And I walked into an empty abandoned
Suddenly I saw her aisle growing weeds
They said her priest was burnt to ashes,
holding god’s words in his stomach
They said their fumes flew freely to the
But it is not a sacrifice
This night i saw the voices of burnt
priests cuddling in the beautiful faces of the rainbow
As their ghosts wallow in search of gods
Though am only a human, holding ocean in
my veins
But in my heart are houses of god
And my face is her casement
I will shape my mouth to a roof

And make a god with my body and bones.

Stand a
broken pot on the cold arms of a burning ice,
And send
your ghost to a cemetry,
To reap
the wrecked hearts of the dead.
your table with duvets of colours
watch the hearts of men burn in arms of ice
You must
drill the dept of an ocean
To sort
homes of fire
To cook
the dead entrails hissing in the broken pot.
said there are nests of fire
In the
body of dead angels
So you
must drift away with the wind into uknown worlds
To sort
their bones and bodies
And when
the dinner shall ring her bell, dress the children in whites
For they
shall sit for my favorite meal
watch hearts of men

with ice, served in a clean table.

Nwankwo Prosper Okwudili


—father once told me about power:
he said it’s a sword that haunts the bearer.
Like a King’s mind is a progidy of dreams,
when his heart becomes the tentacle of thrones.
As in the nature of man;
We are all aged thirsting for a power,
placing creed and oath beneath the shoes of greed,
to walk the void paths of a hopeless world.
At times I tremble at the spindle of God’s might,
when each day crawls in and out of my body,
like a government mounted upon the shoulder of dreams;
directing the vision of hopes
screwing my conscience sovernance
in a system of friends
renting foes in dynasty that misspells a nation’s sovereignty…

Mother told me last night,
We are pictures measured in words,
Like portraits hold scars as
where eternity built on
Like how boys fight wars in their
secrets are songs in our heartbeat.
like the mind parade the running
issues of life.
Keep these puzzles in your mind
if you’ve a soul, you’re a god.
If you’ve a heart, you’re human.
If you’ve conscience you’re a

This is the making of a god. She

It’s way
too simply to doubt my culinary prowess when i tell people I can cook, as a
man. My favorite meal is OFE EGWUSI NA GARI (melon soup and garri)  as the English would have it labelled.  As in igbo culture, this meal is prepared
with great diligence, as I have always watched my mother had the magic delicacy
done, which begins by the cook’s discretion on how many cups of EGWUSI to make.
And there are three methods to have this meal done:
1: by
2: by
simply pouring into a boiling pot.
3: by
moulding and pounding after cooking.
To ready
this meal. I prefer the third method which best describe my culture’s recipe,as
learnt from my mother.
 First, it’s crucial to know it’s a 45 five
minutes meal preparation. I start by making available two cups of EGWUSI, then
grind it synthesised with pepper, crayfish, ogili okpeyi (native Maggi). Haven
done this perfect blend with the grinding machine, in 5 minutes.
second stage goes by washing the Anu (meat) and Azu (fish), ugu
(pimpkin-leaves) thrice with salt. Then pack in a mini pot of three cups of
water, sitted on a well glowing fire. I add half teaspoon salt, three cubs of
maggi, pounded fresh pepper and let it boil for 15 minutes.
the pot is still on fire and the tantalisers being heated.
I slice
the ugu (pumpkin-leaves). After which is done.
I get to
the third stage, having the ground EGWUSI into moulages. Then put into the pot
to boil for 10 minutes. Then spoon it out and pound softly. I dish it back
inside the pot and cover to stew for extra 5 minutes.
Fort and
the last, I sprinkle the ugu (pumpkin-leaves) inside the soup, turn it and
immediately bring down the pot to keep fresh the leaves. And after the soup is done,
I put half kettle of water on fire to boil for 10 minutes. I now pour it out
inside a bowl and have the garri spread inside till it’s soaked and then have
it turned thoroughly for consumption….

Tukur Loba Ridwan


My mind is a small room

peopled with large faces

urging me to keep going

without showing me the way.

I listen to dead whispers

singing life into my ears;

blindness— dark is my foresight

to the light of lies ahead.

Thinking I have seen it all—

to what end through this tunnel,

There I go, making the narrow path

My only map, back to back,

in and out my wanton desires.

But i must chase what i want—

I keep running after my tail

that leads my head into delusion.

the making of a god
words tint light from sketches of darkness
like we spell a deity out of nothings.
words make morrows from dying days
how we worship what remains seen
to the eyes of faith.
words make men from shed boys of pasts,
like girls to whom alphabets bow
as they become women — of growth.
this is how words make gods
from fallible fleshes’ feats
when we wage war with words
beyond the sharpness of swords.

that satiates stomachs
is not
unknown to the eyes’:
such is
the voice of hunger
throats of teeth & tongues.

learned from sitting
in the
kitchen with mother
is a
wasted meal of lessons
if the
lakes of soups has not
stirred by the spoon in my hand
like a
paddle does to the sea, surfing.

every end to every means to a meal
is a
climax of stages upon the sparks
matchsticks rubbing against matchboxes,
by a coal-pot or by a firewood,
boiled is water, like a raging brain
with the heat of pressure.

boiling point is the call sending
for the
flour that makes carbohydrate
from the
morsels of yam flour – àmàlà;
the hot water with its lightness
till the
turning stick stirs & turns thoroughly
thickening treasure of a food — smooth.

a table before you with a plate
to be fed with a portion of àmàlà
the same
way you’re waiting to be fed:

good for the bowl is good for you.

Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale

A hermit’s soliloquy

The holes in my bones are filled with photographs of the past & memories-
floating into a tombstone

My lover said I’m everything her father was;
-a pub where lives are enclosed in bottles
-an ocean; empty, deep & alone
Our love sailed westward- without us

My mother ran out of oxygen;
-trying to hold her breath from life’s poisonous air
-talking deep to her reflection in a voice that turn wayfarers away from the
I never got to forge her last smile on the walls of my heart .

The doctor asked reasons for my solitude
I folded my tongue into a lone star & answered;
-my story is one dancing to wind songs
-my life is a girl crying into herself

Deep in my heart- the world is growing numb
How do i live in a world that doesn’t hold my body?

Genesis 1:26-27.
And God said:
Let us make a god in our image &
-a body, dark; deep; broken & alone,
yet home-ful
-a prelude to light that cuts the skin
into songs skating on the terrain of blue skies
-a poem filled with flowers, memories
& everything that drown men in themselves.
& let him rule over the moon, sun,
stars & waves,
Over the birds, wind, water & fire
& over every creeping thing that melt
the world into a photo album full of strange people.
So God created a god in his image
After his likeness, art & heart &
called him Adam- a name crafted from his bones.

The preacher said the scripture is the
only script, scripted for the making of a god- this was how i knew.

My Lover’s Recipe For Egusi 
Step 1:
Pour the palm oil in a pot as dry as the memories of an obliterated
woman & set on the stove to heat.
Let the oil melt like a man transiting from solid to a liquid state
between his lover’s thighs, add the ground egusi & start frying.
Stir the ground egusi with oil till every grain of egusi turns to
the colour of the skin of a Mongolian princess.
Step 2:
Stir-fry the egusi till you get a texture, like that of the body of
a full grown woman.
Step 3:
Add the meat’s stock till you get the fluidity that could make a boy
carry his cross & walk into his lover’s Golgotha.
Step 4:
Cover the pot & cook for 20 minutes, stir at intervals till the
oil separates from the mix like a soldier parting with his soul in a war front.
Note: do not let it burn, a burnt meal is a thorn to a man’s tongue.
Step 5:
Add crayfish & pepper. A well spiced meal is a woman’s lips
calling her man home.
Stir & add the pumpkin leaves or spinach. A tradition that
blends childhood days with a mother’s memories.
Stir & add the cooked stock fish, shaki & meat. An unadorned
dish is a sterile woman.
Stir & add maggi & salt. A tasty meal is a step closer to a
man’s heart.
Step 6:
Cover & leave to simmer.
Serve with a hot & fluffy Amala.

She said a meal like this drags me away first, from myself, to a
wandering rainbow, seeking refuge in her heart.

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