Wednesday, March 1, 2017




Born woman in a crazy country, discriminated by traditions of men
Born second in a family of 10, with all the challenges of kith and kin
Born Christian not knowing Christ until Christ introduced himself to me
Born and steeped in the relics of religiosity, held back by inhibitions of conventions
But my spirit held

Born in an impossible country, where the act of faith is a feat of its own kind
Bombed with sweet colours and flavours of multi-ethnic conflation
Buttered with the biliousness of religious and military severity
Bested, blamed biased and held by a bootlace of hope and affection
Brazenly my spirit held

Balderdash swirling like clouds above me, denied a place of residence within me
Bucolic lovers have become bucolic slayers of men, women and children
Bodies of unacknowledged past corpses dug out of nationhood navigated in bloody murky waters of past wars
Brave victims and warriors of all manner of historical injustices still crying out for compensations that may never come
Brazenly my spirit held

Baffled by the offensive basic instincts of a deformed mind of blind supremacy
Banshee wailings of the spirit of an orphaned nation gives warning of a demise that can be prevented
But the belligerence of barbaric domination will not heed the sense and sounds of times and reason
Bottlenecks of ethnic, religious, regional and vested attachments obstructing the flow of life to a wheezing nation
But tenaciously, my spirit held

Beaten, battered, wounded, trampled and crushed
Bold valiant audacious Nigeria
Bestowed with the beauty of nature of mind and of resilient people
Bitter braving odds, unrelenting breed of children who will not bow or yield
But our spirit holds.

Ikpan Awo Yi Ogenang –
Fellowship of Brotherhood

My Great Tarok People let me salute you
We are the fierce people adorned in tiger print
Across the skies and over the mountains, we must remain one people
We have but one language, we call it iTarok
Ikpan awo yi ogenang, kusuk, kpan awo mi - Let’s hold hands in unity, please hold my hands)

Who will unravel the cause of our conflict with each other?
Who has dared to strike at the heart of our unity?
The cries of strife and conflict cannot be our anthem song
We know but one God, we call Him Ponzhi Nan
Ikpan awo yi ogenang, kusuk, kpan awo mi - Let’s hold hands in unity, please hold my hands)

Kang i re onimchin a tar nshimshe yi kat – Do not allow a stranger to divide us
Kang i re ayang agbel i men yi kat – Do not let hunger or poverty kill our love/unity
Kang i re adom-mbwai agbel ntim yi kat – Do not let the greed for money or materialism kill our unity
Kang i re nlak igwak agbel ntim yi kat – Do not let anger kill our unity
Ikpan awo yi ogenang, kusuk, kpan awo mi – Let’s hold hands in unity, please hold my hands.

Kang a tim kin kwabu kat, u Tarok inim wanta kat – Do not stay alone, come let’s stay together, it is not Tarok to do like that
Kang a sad kin kwabu kat, u Tarok inim wanta kat – Do not stand alone, it is not Tarok to do like that
Kang a ri yembu kin kwabu kat, u Tarok inim wanta kat – Do not eat alone, it is not Tarok to do like that
Igwak mi I ra kat until we become our brothers’ keepers – My heart will not rest until we become our brother’s keepers
Kusuk, kpan awo mi agenang, mi kpan jibu kpa – Please hold my hands, I’ll hold yours too

Onim Iganggang O Tarok, O lib ibonggong – Beat the drums of unity, blow the trumpet of peace
Onim I yilyi lyam kat, onim ilung yi lyam kat – People will no longer laugh at us, they will no longer fight us
O wong O wong O wong kukul ayem ninen faru cit – Stand up, stand up, let us stand up because a good thing has happened
O Tarok wal ogenang cit, igan pyal na byet – The Tarok people have become One, we can only go forward now
O Tarok wal ogenang cit, nle vong ya kat! – The Tarok people have become One, there is no going back ever!


You sent me off to die in desert land
Camouflaged in dirty green and brown
Shooting lamely at men who shot back with better graded weapons
I did not die

You sent me off to die in a plane that shouldn’t have flown
With my own money, I paid the fare to pain and misery
And when it crashed, I lost my friends to a fire that also claimed my body
I did not die

You sent me off to die on roads that corrupt men built poorly
To drive through potholes and death traps that would make an Achilles out of me
A trailer fell and all was crushed except for me who lost both legs
I did not die

Off we went, to farm, to church, to market, to school, in traffic, at gatherings
Boom boom boom! Ta-ta-ta, shrapnel flying everywhere, bullets spraying everyone
We all fell down but few got up
We did not die

This horror is my story, the accused is Lugard
The die that rolled our fate to birth a marriage of foes
And all the leaders who have made us mad
This terror you have brought,

Lies and lies they speak, round and round we go
What would you do if you were born in such a place as this?
Should we put asunder what Lugard may have joined?
These rumbles demand that we who have not died
Must set the stage for healing and prosperity.


She was a public prostitute not a private courtesan
She was an adulterous woman not a faithful wife
She was a porn star and not a reverend sister
A woman of ill repute and despised, she was everything they were not
Dirty unkempt and a sinner, God forbid I can never be her
Who and what manner of woman is this?

Her dress was too short some said too long
Her colours were too bright some said too unusual
Her hair was uncovered some said not rightly covered
Those lovely eyes should be veiled that sultry voice should be silent unheard
O this temptress must not mix with regular normal folks
Who and what manner of woman is this?

Innocent or guilty she was judged and condemned
Beautiful or ugly she was hated and despised
Rich or deprived, she was envied and rejected
Tamed or wild, she was the outcast of the town
Her story was as wretched heartbroken as she was
Who and what manner of woman is this?

This day everything was soon changed and reformed
A death should have happened, overruled it was dismissed
Ready stones were casted down, abandoned with haste
Me, yes you, are forgiven and set free
Where judgment should have stood, His mercy said no
Who and what manner of man is this?

For the law is the law and life must bow to law
But here I stand saved released from debts I could not pay
Take my tears and my oil and my hair and my kisses, my love and all that I am
For my heart has felt an unconditional love, my thanksgiving I bring to you
Who and what manner of man is this that can love a manner of woman like me?


One dance
Sleeves grow short on arms reaching out
Strains of drumbeat song, fades into turbulent wind
Lips smeared by lust departed fever
Eyes drifting here, drifting there
One dance
Scents of you on me, yet remain strong
Yesterday, frangipani, today, you’ve become jasmine
O the thought of what you’ll be tomorrow or the next
Ensnares me captive to your ever changing musk
Lens exchanged for sharper lens give brighter vision
Better equipped sight should behold you in distant places
Quicken beats accompany humdinger gabble
Quiet aplomb gives way to maelstrom thoughts and still I am
Just one dance
Demimonde, you’ve made me demimonde amongst kith and kin
unflappably, I do not care, let them say what they may
If they could taste, nay, feel, be embraced by you
Where art thou, O mystical maestro of mine
Only one dance
Come back! Retrace thy steps to arms opened wide
Still, lingering whispers of yesterday’s dance befriend me
Mirages spring forth lured by misplaced hope?
Ardent passion becomes arduously wasted in searching
Come. Let us gyrate like we did the other night on fire…
Come with your African rhapsodies that move my senses
Come with your rhythmic movement & rambunctious laughter
Teach me to be African once again
Come back! Come dance with me again for I am still, waiting on fire…


Not for me
I thought this darkish dastardly colour
Whose hue is many shades unusual from mine?
Not for me, I said, this accent that speaks my tongue with a brogue from continents too far away from mine.
Not for me, I felt, to be concerned with the knowledge of the history of the culture of these eclectic people with their febrile imaginations
Not for me, so programmed I was, not to think, to say, to feel, the pain nor misery of these pedestrian darkly lot beneath my pedigree
Not for me, as years turned into decades and decades into centuries of deliberate and undiminished isolation, separation, and peculiarity of pedantic proportions towards a people struggling to become, to assimilate with a tongue and culture, in a land once alien to their ancestral parentage.
With time my mantra lost its flavour and its spice, for those I had thought and said and felt were Not, had grown through thorns and briars of dogged untamed self-cultivation to become the beauty of the wild Rose
Defying the land that tried to restrain and define their defiant stature.
No longer will I say not for me
No longer do I think, say or feel that way
For see them stand, resilient and tall, fierce and majestic, strong and thriving Unrepentant in the identity of the strength of their wild beauty.
Not for me, not for time, not for fickle minds and despicable treatment
Not for threats, oppression nor discrimination and still they are
A people standing, not for anyone but for who they’ve become – a people not for nothing but for something fierce and true of the beauty from the wilds.


She said hundred years is not forever
Look to the now
Let not the future decide what you will be today
Look to the present
Let not tomorrow defer today’s decisions
Do now what you must to safeguard tomorrow
What you sow today you must reap but a bountiful more

For hundred years is not forever you see
Till today is fully spent
Let not your hope be lost in tomorrow when you’ve got the now of today
That which you see now may not be here tomorrow
Tend to the love of today before it turns sour tomorrow
What you have now is what you must use to save tomorrow
For tomorrow is only a sleep away.

Tend to the grass my daughter
Tend to the grass my son
Tend to the grass of today to see tomorrow’s flowers bloom
Cultivate your own earth and the soil that throbs beneath your feet
For the grass that looks greener today was once wild and troubled
For the grass that looks greener today can be faded and gone tomorrow
The fruit that is now ripe for the plucking was once unknown and small a seed

Take this day and make it work
Stretch it, mould it, break it, swing it
Do whatever you wish with it
Let your wishes be noble and true
Today will be golden if you say it will
Every day is tomorrow’s past and today is your longest reality
Tend today so tomorrow won’t be your hundred years is forever


CHALYA PRINCESS MIRI-GAZHI is a Nigerian whose short story fiction, titled, Kokosikoko, was recently published by Kalahari Review. An MBA graduate from the University of Hull, UK, she runs her own small business in corporate event facilitation while pursuing her passion for writing. She grapples often with the question of diversity, often exploring the strength and conflict of diverse influences in her multi-ethnic Nigerian nation.

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