Editorâs note:Â The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees and millions around the world cannot comprehend what is going on at the moment.
Though it is not the first time that the world has been crippled by a pandemic, however, this virus has left the world more vulnerable than it has ever been; and there are many who can no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel.
In times past, when the world came to such a devastation, poets would take it upon themselves to make sense of the situation, to give clear expression of mixed feelings, and to put things in a different light than it would have ordinarily been seen.Â Bearing this in mind, we reached out to poets and asked them to come with words for the recreation of the earth; we reached out to poets to painstakingly forge poems that will not only reveal feelings and put emotions in measure; but to knit verbs that would bring us closer to vital truths.
We reached out to poets both established and fledgling, with a hope that their metaphors will help us reinvent the wheel; with faith that their gift of language will bring us healing and help us find closure. We reachedÂ out believing that their lines will aid us in coming to terms with the importance of even the unconscious materials which we encounter in lockdown, in quarantine, while social distancing and in isolation.
It is our desire that everyone who comes in contact with these poems will find in them, potent energies with which they can press on in this rather depressing time. While you enjoy this poems, we hope that they inspire you never to give up, we hope that they remind you that you are not alone at this moment; we believe that together, this common foe will be defeated.Â
A leap year & her potentate
(by Dami Ajayi)
But who would have thought
Virus, not man.
No sceptre or mace,
No frisson of blond hair
Tousled in ensuing helicopter blade whirls.
Virus, named for envelope
Global North deserves a gift from the East,
Carried in spores, spur of the moment,
A sneeze in the mid-clouds
& what is given cannot be taken back.
Now Europe sits wonky,
situation room of the world.
To think that Rome could be crippled again
with viral load
& an African sun will scorch viral particles even in churches.
The tall world order of ironies
that makes TFL unnerving,
I douse myself in hand sanitizer gel
& replace a frisky smile with that black nod
& open sesame.
Dami AjayiÂ is the author of two poetry collections, most recently, A Womanâs Body is a Country.
The Corona Verses: A Poem
(by Tolu Daniel)
The last time I saw her was a day before the lockdown,
Time froze under that bridge where we held hands;
That music from her touch â
still singing â in my blood.
So, go tell it to the virus:
âMany lockdowns can not quench love.â
The last time I passed my bus-stop was two months ago,
Our âRulerâ- says we must stay at home;
But there is no home- without food in the kitchen,
And my stomach tells me that rules were made to be broken.
Abeg, make una remind dat virus:
âHunger is deadlier, so itâs not you we are scared of!â
The last time the politicians visited was never;
they are lab-rats for the foriegners!
But all cages abroad are now closed,
we will treat them, in facilities they didnât build.
Please, quietly help us thank the virus,
At least now theyâll pay us more, attention!
The last time was a boom when Ebola came,
business never remained the same!
The gullibility of the common man-
O what a bottomless gold-mine!
What shall we say of the virus?
âHmmm, yes! Ritual-taxes! To pacify ancestors!â
V. Common man:
The last time we were fooled was a lifetime ago;
We are born again now, our mÃºmÃ¹ don dey do!
Whereâs that guy who desperately wanted to free the sheeple?
Well, the sheeple in lockdown are hungry, still awaiting his donations.
Let us hence pay tithes unto the virus:
âThank you, for making us realize that our runaway-daddy never truly loved us!â
The next time we are tagged as lazy youths,
We will remind them of who made Savage trend on Twitter;
Our âactive eldersâ want us to smile while we suffer,
But we are crazier than they think; we will suffer, make jests and laugh hard!
About the virus? Say no more,
On social media weâve already said more than enough.
Aunty says next week we shouldnât come to school,
Mummy, is the Corona starting on Monday?
And why does aunty want to teach us from your phone?
arenât we meant to be on holidays?
I donât know what to say to that Vai-worse,
Daddy, whatâs the meaning of âVai-worseâ?
The next time reality takes the place of religion,
the world will still theorize it as conspiracy.
So weâve learnt, that he who goes against the flow
must anticipate the wrath of the ocean;
Yet, we say nothing else unto this virus,
except âBe gone and cast into the sea!â
Next time, we will be proactive!
Closed airports will be the first thing!
And it wonât matter if itâs the Presidentâs kid,
Our nation means more than my next-kin!
Honestly, thereâs nothing to say to the virus,
but to our negligence and unpreparedness.
Whichever time we awaken from this nightmare,
please brew us some coffee in abundance â
that we may spend sleepless nights
in the refinery of our day-dreams.
And whatever we say or donât say to the virus,
May it not leave us bereft of our visions!
Tolu NeoDaniel works as an admin staff member of The Light House Believers Network (TLHBN).Â On the side, heâs working on launching a think-tank for policy analysts & public administrators, while also developing a career in transmedia storytelling & script-writing for Science-fiction/fantasy projects. When he escapes work activities, he cools off by writing poetry and Rap music.
(by Samuel Ugbechie)
When death comes it comes small,
silent, viral, thin like a cry, but in this night,
in cold slithering out of a can
of shut buildings, I call you all day, to touch
your glance, to smell your lonely pulse.
I call you with eyes closed like a corked gourd,
too scared to see your wet face flung
to the screen of the phone. I call to cry,
because weeping is tart and tasty. Here,
in the room, your breath spreads and stutters
like a tide, and I fear youâre about to drown
like all the souls that keep drowning, grannies
pulling heaven down too close, too soon.
Uncles and aunties kissing sharp edges
of eternity. Why does life ring so thick
and sink so quick? What part of my lungs
is bed to one of the tiniest visitors
ever known? Mail me a breath, love.
Send me a parceled sigh. Sing me the words
sealed in those long, lean, vigilant lungs.
I dance still good, I waltz still well.
In the night, crash the moon, fuse the million
stars as fire and flame the body of the frozen
world. What we have is thick with spittle and taut
with love, and as floods run like songs down
our roads, forcing out, tonight, this stench
of global fever, I cling like scars to your skin,
the wound stitched and woven by time,
words gonging soft like mercy, distance shrinking
back into the posture shot in its finest gown.