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Best Famous Obi Nwakanma Poems

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Written by Obi Nwakanma | Create an image from this poem

The Four Seasons

ICICLES fall from trees, molten with age, 
without memory - they stand aloof in their 
nakedness - they limber; 
like the gods terrified into silence, 
like tall brooding deities looming out of the 

The forest hugs them 
carves them into stones, 
Etches them into the slow 
eastern landscape: rivers, hills 
the slow running water, 
times broken inscapes…

The willows are burdened with ice 
the white shrouds of burial spread 
upon the earth's ravaged face; the eyes 
unseeing, the mouth unspeaking, 
a gust of wind proclaims the anger of 
immemorial ages; the cycle, the 
eternal ritual of mystical returns - 

The cypress - whitening -
boneless; wearing her best habit, 
a pale green in the forest of ghosts -

And so I walk through this windless night 
through the narrow imponderable road 
through the silence - the silence of trees -

I hear not even the gust of wind
I hear only the quiet earth, thawing underneath; 
I hear the slow silent death of winter -

where the sun is yellowest.
But above, Monadnock looms like some angry Moloch, her white nipple seizing the space drained of all milk.
A she-devil beckoning to worshippers seductive - her arm stretching outwards - to this lonely pilgrim lost in the mist: Behold the school of wild bucks Behold the meeting of incarnate spirits - Behold the lost souls bearing tapers in rags of rich damask, Down Thomas - the saint of unbelievers - down the road to bliss Down to the red house, uncertain like a beggar's bowl hanging unto the cliff of withdrawn pledges, where the well is deepest.
I have dared to live beneath the great untamed.
To every good, to every flicker of stars along the pine shadows; To every tussle with lucid dusk, To every moonlit pledge, to every turn made to outleap silvery pollen, I have desired to listen - to listen - to the ripening of seasons.
Winter 2001 This is ONE of a continuing sequence.

Written by Obi Nwakanma | Create an image from this poem

The Horsemen

for Christopher Okigbo 
Emrnanuel Ifeajuna & 
Chukwuma Nzeogwu


It was a room above the alcove
in a city renewed by junipers

And by desires.
Stripped of words, the moments recalled; where the tower, lo, was in sight: memories undaunted by sound or flames of the amethyst, spoke to me; spoke to me like the preacher from… I recall this moment staggering through the wind, when its breath hissed at the earth; as we leaned out of the window in that moment when the first light streaked, joyous, out of the unalterable street.
Then, tuned to the immanent choir of the grassland, untangling from the sea - Then, stripped to the last detail, from her sinewed skin, disheveled in the light, one aria from the immaculate concertina - before her rebirth a tongue licked through the core of my soul ii Strange men in dark garments riding in slow, weary steps, paces of a far and distant journey - in measured gestures The clatter of hooves on the stone of the street; wakened from the depths of their tombs, long dead ghosts, memories of a carnage - There was fear bred in that silence, nothing triumphant in their last march nothing triumphant where once a plot is weaved, a rider rides into anonymity: what is it that they seek - These silent riders? Glory? Memory? What is it that they want among those who have fallen from their swords? Piety? Ablution? Anonymity? It is not enough to bury the sword in the fold of the embrace; nor is it wise, even prudent, to seek meaning in past deeds when those deeds are immortal, or of an impure genealogy - What do they seek in the bowel of the tide; in that place, where Onishe, spirit-mother, swallowed the ravishers of her children? Graves? Graves in the tide? iii Theirs are troubled gestures full of potent wishes.
…are those wishes - for as they came, those riders, each hoof in the ascent; each eye veiled by remorse, or anger or a forlorn thought - for as they came, weighed down by ancient baggage, a skin of water, a measure of wheat, some penicillin, in case of epidemic a stretcher to fetch the dead; an hourglass, and then the gloved idol, the one that ordered the massacre - who rode ahead of the light; muttered a command: 'halt!'.
From The Horsemen and Other Poems
Written by Obi Nwakanma | Create an image from this poem


Marrakech: the grey hairs of 
Atlas, streaks of the light of years, 
like truth accompanied by a bodyguard.
It is not war: the fast tumble is no war, Nadia.
Two pendants, each of hearts, and the silvery lock leashed unto time; Is no war: but the travesty of distance, And this moment, a full breast glistening out of the moon, the darkened streets and hooded, like the lawless, stranger or wayfarer: It is the pod streaking with milk smelt so close, it vanishes, like the gecko abandoning her tail.