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Poems by Azubike Ufelle


A  BOOK I FAILED TO UNDERSTAND

Black hearth, black hearth
What history is embedded
In your stony heart?

You lie in the sweet repose
Of a blissful sleep
A sleep of a thousand years
When I spy your layers of soot
And mountains of cold ashes
Questions ring bells all over
About a book I failed to understand
Whose hands stoked
Your thousand fires?
Who owned the broken pots
Scorched by your dead flames?
Which dead men fed
From your broken pots?

What happened to the women
That darkened your soul with
The anger of their undying fires?

Questions, Questions and
More questions

When I look at you
I see the passage of time and
Thick layers of soot where
Inquisitive minds come to naught

I know you simply as a book
In a strange language
I can only glance at your pictures
But they cannot answer
My numerous questions.




THE NAKED DANCER

She dances naked
At the busy market place
Before a sea of blushing faces
Taunting the agony of their souls
With the early blaze of
Her unfettered beauty
Flaunted shamelessly around

They say that she hears voices
Unheard by human ears
And when the virgin moon
Beams her golden smile
She lures her gaunt frame
To the warm embrace of the market place
Where silent drummers play.

We cast charmed cowries
Before her silent image
Deep in the darkness of shrines
Sagging with the weight of bleached skulls
Trying to chain her wild spirits
But we still cannot stop her from
Dancing naked at her age.




THIS NECKLACE OF MINE A MOTHER’S GIFT

I catch your reflection
In the giant face of
The afternoon sun

The sharp glint
Of a quick smile
Deep from your golden heart

Then I remember
That you are the bridge
Between mother and son

So when the buses
That ply on dangerous roads
And planes that fly on polluted skies

Conspire to put a wedge
Between mother and son
In this difficult land

Your golden comfort
Dangling on my neck
Tells of the warm presence

That even the distances
Cannot banish form
My mind.



THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS

The day is a slighted housewife
Wearing a gloomy face
You can hear the gentle murmurs of
The distant blue sky
Brooding over the absence of the sun

We look at the gloomy day with apprehension
But we do not bother much
Knowing that nature is a chameleon
Ever changing, ever changing

We dwell in darkness for now
But tomorrow is pregnant
For behind the gloom of the distant sky
Shafts of sunlight hover around
Threatening to banish the darkness
Of the day

In the darkness of our life
They marched on our bare heads
With their unfeeling jack boots
They caress our protesting backs
With the sting of their whips
They padlock our mouths and
Our angry thoughts choke in our hearts

The sun is ablaze now
Lightening up the darkness of the day
Unheard voices now sing like canaries
The koboko whips hang in idleness
And if you look carefully beyond the trees
Hope like a rising sun
Grows anew behind the clouds.



About the author:

Azubike Ufelle is a poet and a writer whose works have been published both in Nigeria and
internationally. A holder of a B.A. and an M.B.A., Ufelle is currently a vocational skills
development officer in the National Directorate of Employment. He is also a member of the
Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Anambra State Chapter.