21 March 2014


Guest Writer: Oyin Oludipe


Bust sleepy vault-coughs, blackened drapes
Presage the end of time…or night, prayers,
Surge-bending invaders of the shady phase
Roost, witness to the dancing blades –
Confluence of coal-skin pyres as vision
Shrunk to visionary, truth was stain
Upon visor-faiths and earth was bearer
Of heavy waters of the shivering pore,
Intestate tunes of poem and plea – labourers
To that new sedition for reason

It ran the course of dirge to waive
The smoke cruel, to purge sterile plumes
From intimate corners of thought,
Glaze passions in the cup of woe to sham
Redemption, rituals of birth till it rack
Lips for the entombed world of bones

And all that world spun bold against the fall
Of utterance, filled spaces of the night
With lighted beings to blur the litany in the wind 

FOR THE RANDOM WORLD, instant reality is the final extent of the here and now, as are the daily frenzied distortions that merely indicate the presence of notions and motions in the human domain. At that signpost, one finds a mute, less-indulging yet submissive language that reconciles itself so sacrificially to the crumbling wave of time. Still alien to that ‘extra-human’ condition that defines ‘art’ and its curious volition, the random is yet subjected to the bare image of existence. Such possession leaves his world uniquely vulnerable on the confluence with time, history and nature.

I find the idea that art trades worlds with men deeply revealing. Only when the mind expresses the image of life in its eternal truth, only then will it ever be set to transpose itself in restraining the spills of frequent diversions from the external world. Its weapon becomes accommodation, not a deliberate falsification, but that which subsumes all changes and phenomena; and then goes on to refract in freedom. Like a mirror, this goes subtler when it is identified as creative imagination that makes beauty of all things distorted.

In this, it is certain to recognize that man bears an internal nature which must be sought after as a primeval pit of collective sensibilities required to seal him with his first world, his first meaning and his first intimations on an authentic level of interpretation. Obviously, it is this that guarantees blessings on the gaps of transition in the rational mind. And if this abstract core is not constantly tapped, everything that ever remains in physical existence fails to impresses upon the psyche. If it ever does, it is pretentious and vague. Hence, random. I term this construct of orders the very first intimation – that brief collection of understanding that poises the fresh mind on the same axis with contradictions of a barbaric age.

Image Credit: orble.com
A very long time ago, as a boy, the sky seemed to be my favourite part of the world. I remember dedicating a poem to the mysterious expanse. It was my first piece; and even as a child, it was one of the very first intimations I embraced, and in whose themes I gained some individual depth pondering on the infinite show-off of the universe. More interesting was the emergence of an altogether new, hysteric and confident allegory-consciousness that pervaded my mind. Now, just the word ‘sky’ became a spark of inexorable thought. From a distance, I could see that a boundless groove had forced me into being variable, reconciled with and searching. If however I elect to return to the source of that marvelous experience, the harmonious will was mustered from the magic of poetry!

In a rattled world as this, poetry is the juncture where a man best attains his soul, his moral faculty and, far fulfilling of all, his second intimations. For in the lines of true poetry is embedded some of the most beautiful things impervious to the weary cycle of time. One will find the universal concepts a derivative of all things life represent; and at the same instance, they appear to be in relation to every motion and notion in the human domain which is traceable to the web of human nature.

Still, no skein of poetic experience is liberated from its air of radiance and revelation outside the transforming entitlement to language. Every poet is betrothed to his. It is this that opens up the avenue for poetry to act in a particular manner distinguishable from another. Poetry is knowing. Carapace to all pleasures and wisdom, the poet himself yet has not grasped sufficient hold of what he might imagine that which he knows and has not known – the prime elusiveness of a myriad combination of thoughts, starting as bewilderment, ending as exposure.

It is merely na├»ve to then shroud this power beneath the shades of individual memorial, whose contents are mere exalted thoughts and actions with which the poem must co-exist. Only when imagination is intense and daring, only then will poetry enlarge the mind beyond the coasts of existence, push the ‘being’ to second intimations of a clearer nature, more consummately bonded with motions and notions lodged around the spaces of the universe, not his roving mind. As Shelley dares to proclaim, ‘a man, to be greatly good, must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasure of his species must become his own’.

In many instances, this justifies the sacrosanctness of all forms of arts, traders of realities and delights. Poetry is perhaps the most self-willed administrator to that basis; and as is generally known to be the nature of the nation I inhabit, it is also perhaps the most self-abnegating. To wear the vices of his society as solemn resignation to the glory of imagination; every truth, under evils more or less masked, has venerated its peculiar prejudice. An empathy with such graceless impersonations. Or word-splendor too occupied with beauty than the re-unionization of humanity to the second revealing intimations, parallel to the progress of a driven yet wholesome internal nature. Conversely, the true and pure meaning of poetry surfaces itself when these interstices are filled with characters from the most remote regions of the mind.

Oyin Oludipe is a Nigerian academic, playwright and poet, whose works have been published on several literary journals. Gethsemane is an alluding archetype from a near-term anthology of his.

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