Tell Us, a poem (Nigeria’s Independence Day)

Peter Irabor, an old fan of my poetry who wrote the very first review on my book Colourless Rainbow, when it was still unpublished contacted me two days ago! He specially asked that in the spirit of Nigeria’s 52nd Independence Day Anniversary on October 1, I should repost “Tell Us”, one of the poems from my collection!

Well, here is an author’s grant of a wonderful fan’s wish. I hope you will all read and give me some feedback, will you? Thanks!

Tell Us

Countless cowries have been tossed
and tossed
on countless shrines; countless kola-nuts broken and chewed;
countless gourds of palm-wine
poured beneath palm fronds to search out your place in the hands
of destiny! Countless times,
We have seen the magic of the moon
in your eyes, twinkling with silvery
illumination of love.
Countless times, we have seen the milk
of your breasts flowing like palm-wine from the
gourds of life.
And we have, countless times, heard
the music of your heart
titillating with the thrills of tranquil
nights. Countless times, we have seen the
light of your soul
glow like the fires from the pit of this
calabash. But tell us why widows lie with
bereaved brooms
in the midnight? Tell us why only
gush from your black breasts when
young lips run with hungry-innocent eyes to
your lap?
Tell us why we love to dance
to the disharmony of war drums? Tell us! Tell us why we no longer hear
drums of thunder
after flashes of lightning? And no rain
after dark clouds…Tell us! …my pen shall bleed
the last drop of its dark blood,
through this labyrinth with solitary
lamentations –
For I am lost in your images
as yet more cowries are tossed to unveil
the black face of my virgin bride
Whom I made love to in the moonlight
But found no blood on her white
garment at dawn


A Conversation between Musa and John

I know you have love for me,
and you want us to be together

I also know you live a life of peace
and you want me to have that peace as well

But can you really love me the way you love yourself like you said?

Why not?
Didn’t Jesus die for us because he loved us?

Please John, if you want me to love you
the way you say you love me,
you will have to keep that Jesus of yours to yourself
because it is Mohammed I know, the holy prophet of Allah whom I love

If that pleases you, Musa.
But if you want us to enjoy peace together as well,
You will also have to keep your Mohammed to yourself
Because I am at peace with Jesus, the only son of God, Jehovah

But you must know, John That there is no true peace
without Islam

And you must know too, Musa
That there is no true love without Christainity

(laughs) that cannot be true, John.
Think about it:
Of what use is love without peace?
Of what use is love
if you cannot be at peace with me?

(smiles) and of what use is peace
without love, Musa?
Of what use is peace
If you cannot live in love with me?
You think about it too!

Well, with peace,
I can be patient enough
to give you a chance
to show me
How love lives without peace.
Only then can you sleep
With that Bible of yours by the pillow.

Oh, good! And with love,
I can trust you enough to give you a chance
To show me
how peace lives without love.
Only then can you sleep with that Koran of yours
by my side.

(c)Senator Ihenyen 2012

Senator Speaks: Yet Another Strike (for “Boko Haram”)


To state that Nigeria today is facing one of the greatest security threats in her history is to make an understatement! Our nation has fast become a case study for local terrorism with an international dimension.

Security agencies have been overwhelmed. Government is clueless. Churches in the north have fast become death-traps to many, and even ivory towers are not an exception. Against this Boko Haram strangle-hold of the nation, Islamic leaders struggle to show that Islam is a religion of peace. We are at a crossroad.

Yet Another Strike (for “Boko Haram”)
they fight for a cause
a just cause they say
shedding blood
and shattering lives with bombs and bullets blasting from the rifles of their beliefs

taking lives of the innocent
to keep the soul of one man alive –
that man who was man alive
and became hero in death
and in the death of others, their god

blowing up our lives
the unity of a nation
into distintegration
like human bodies after the blasts in the churches on sunday morning, chrismas eve, chrismas day

now we keep watchnight for doomsday
like Thisday struck on that fateful day

they are ravaging the nation
like a virus
dreadful and deadly
and now like open sores after the explosions
the gateway of diseases give way to self-destruction, self-annihilation,

even a street dog has sometime
to lick its wounds
but would these attacks
afford this bleeding giant a moment nurse its wounds,

as yet another bomb explodes in Kano city
tearing more lives apart…

Senator Ihenyen (May, 2012)