FEATURE ARTICLE

Augustine C. OhanweMonday, March 25, 2013
chyinaho@yahoo.com


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CHINUA ACHEBE: A SONG OF FAREWELL (POEM)

Late Prof. Chinua Achebe

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hinua, ezigbo nwa Ogidi,
Whose sharp nib moistened our literary world
Has bowed to the final drumbeat.
The Iroko that dwarfed the shrubs has fallen.
The eagle amongst the birds has departed..
A worthy scholar, peerless as jade.

All your books I did read,
Two, beside the winding bubbling brook
Under the mango tree.
The rest, in early hours of the morn
When the sun had not yet dried the limpid dews.
The louring winds, the dragons that chafed
And birds that winged around.
Did little to distract me from getting
To the dregs of your books
Whose lucid and lively styles
Are flavoured with traditional imagery
And boldness of vision.

Parting is painful.
True, your exit has declared a season for grief.
Sad at heart
But cannot drown my sorrow with palm wine
Instead of tears,
Perennial as the nightingale’s sad songs
I offer a libation of wine to your departing soul,
And chant poems before the noon sun,
And with silent pain,
I swallow my grief through my famished guts.

How many folks did you inspire?
I would say millions who feasted on your books,
Both the lowly and the noble
Including the proud imperial eunuchs
That guard the palaces in faraway lands.

Like the spring, you quickened many new crops.
And the inkling of truth from your pen
Did inspire and educate many folks.
Now, gone across the bridge and out of sight,
But your light,cannot be extinguished

So transient is life
Compared to oceans that flow for ever.
But your footprint in the sand of time
And the fragrance of the legacy you left behind
Remain our timeless inspiration
That would always stay our hunger
Like yam from the fertile soil eaten with palm oil.

Within the province of the veiled curtain,
Shakespeare, your literary kinsman
Plays the golden flute for your home-coming
And rolls out red carpet for your gentle walking
While shy ethereal flowers
Wave and dance in poetic rhythm.

We need no other epitaph on your gravestone than,
Here Lies A Literary Icon, A Man Amongst Men.

-Augustine C. Ohanwe
March 23, 2013.

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