FEATURE ARTICLE

Augustine C. OhanweFriday, December 6, 2013
chyinaho@yahoo.com


ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE
TO YOUR FRIENDS

A TRIBUTE TO NELSON MANDELA (POEM)

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f no reason
should I mourn for your glorious exit,
and wallow in despair grieving.
Clutched with elegant wine cup in hand,
I come to celebrate your life.

Gone is the sage who blazed the trail,
and put behind him all his travails.
Lived like the rays of the sun
till the shade of twilight winked a final goodbye,
spelling the eclipse of the sojournerís life.
Sonorous echoes of the gong
did sound a summon
to shed the garment of flesh
that belongs to the solid earth.
The lid has finally closed your coffin,
amidst the wailing crowd,
but we know youíre no more there.

Liberated from the mortal chain
after the final molting
and adorned in glittering robe
with powers untrammelled.
Higher Heavens sing,
amidst night sky
painted with glowing gold of glory
tinted with violet hue
as you walk along dew-laden ethereal meadow
of flowering beauty,
gazing down on the mortal world.
Your moves, as gentle as the breath of wind.
Your footsteps, as soundless as petalís fall.The vertical universal algebra,
and its horizental enigmatic contrary
that brought about the synthesis, remains a part of paradox
to millions driven into emotional pogrom.
Non-deodorized truth is that Madiba traversed
the razorís edge path barefooted
and pushed the boundary of human limitation
that earned him that crown of thorn
that concealed within it,
the diadem of Life
with its fringe of Kingly Gold.

Do we now dissect your tribulations?
Poetry, though a communicative art
is so short a ladder to scale your height,
but I have no other means
than to paint your worth with words.
Thou pretty old soul who made hell a home;
won victory through annihilation,
accepted humiliation
as if it were dignifying,
never surrendered to a quiet grief, or repine,
but remained unbowed, unbroken,
and as solid as searock in heavy waves.

Your trademark smile beaming
Your clinched fists held aloft,
you made the prison cell your hermitage,
than mortgaging your highest ideal for personal freedom.
Your trodden path was rough, not carpeted with feathers.
An army of low dark clouds devoid of splendour
did weigh down upon your thorny lane.
The frightening flash of lightening
never allowed you rest on your oar.
But with heart unafraid your boat challenged the sea
and weatheríd myriad turbulent storms.
And lo! your umbilical cord remained attached
to the primordial egg.

Halted in the inky darkness of moonless night,

on a wave-swept shore

and forced to berth in a narrow cell,
in an island struck by secluded look
and awed by eerie solitude.
A cell one would be appalled
at its forlorn air of decrepitude,
Undaunted, you refused to go pallor
or become a widowed soul

Dawn and dusk,
your sinewy hands armed with hammer,
engaged in back-breaking quarrying
that bowed your backbones.
But the magic in the sunshine from your within,
and the hidden splendour of your beaming countenance
vanquished the pervading gloom and doom
and the glowing candle light in your hand flickered not.

Calendar years raced by as if on wings,
your time in cell stood still
like a honey-drunk bee unable to fly.

Sordid was the mood of your cell

and weird its permanent silence.
But the patter patter of rain upon the roof
was like chants of poem
whose rhythm gladdened your heart.
The ceaseless birdsí song echoes from the tree canopy
did create a soothing music to your mind.

Your life was a song, a song of mysterious lyrics,
and time stood as one eternal symphony
while the political landscape before you
yearned for the ambiance of the radiant dawn.
And before the sinew of law and order
could be virtually snapped,
and political volcano could spew its ash into the space,
you did install a shield and illuminessence
in your countryís sky,
and injected a lease of life to the spirit of ubuntu.

In chaos, confusion and nightmare scenario
that brings forth a monster
you did show the epitome of beauty in you.
You lived and did what no substitute
could ever done.

Now, some vital questions:
Did you not dam the shifting desert at dawn,
planted rose there, and saw it blossom?
Did you not close the open sewer
and converted the smell its putrefaction
into a pleasant perfume?
Did you not bequeath to the world
a sublime philosophy that awed and enthralled?
Did you not transform base metals into gold?

I cannot cork my humble nib yet
without a farewell ritual
in the traditional African style Ė
Enraptured by your departure,
I fill my calabash cup
with palm wine from the gourd.
With foam brimming over,
I sip the wine after a canon salute,
and pour its remnant dregs onto the soil,
as libation for your journey to the great beyond.

Now, hear my final parting words:
Like the wind, you need no wings to soar.
Twinkling star, found wanting to guide your homing soul
to your apportioned realm,
where the harvesters of sacred field do dwell. Gbam!

- Augustine C. Ohanwe.
December 6, 2013

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