There was silence as they stared at each other. They were half-brothers but had remained friends because Babatunde acknowledged he was six months younger in age and that had pleased Tope. When Babatunde graduated, there had been slight tension as Tope had expected that his younger sibling might put on some airs as the educated one, but both their mothers had genuinely acted like he was the senior and congratulated him on becoming a graduate in the family.
Papa had been nice too, always recognizing Tope as the older and head of the house after him. Any rising jealousy had thus been nipped in the bud. Babatunde asked him if he would like a beer and Tope shook his head negatively saying he had taken care to drink some really nice palm wine at the local canteen.
Babatunde took the items to the kitchen and returned to find Tope staring in awe at the full life-size photograph of Ife. The photograph took a whole side of the east wall of Babatunde’s living room. It was obviously taken as she stood by the hill amongst flowers and stream. Babatunde watched his brother and had a small smile on his face as Tope turned round. However, there was real alarm in Tope’s eyes as he pointed to the photo and looked at Babatunde. “Why do you have that here?”
“Why not here? It is mine and I happen to live here.” Tope stared for some long seconds, shook his head and went back to the couch. He seemed irritated all of a sudden and that puzzled Babatunde.
He knew the issue of Ife had always bothered his brother and Babatunde was at a loss how to handle it. In a quiet voice, he spoke to his brother. “Look it is my problem and not yours, so why don’t you simply accept it?”
“Papa wants to know if you have any plans of marrying. Even Joseph got married.”
“Is that why he sent you or has he chosen another bride again?” Babatunde asked, searching his brother’s eyes. His hands were clenched at his sides but his voice was even and steady.
Babatunde saw a strange look come into the eyes of his half-brother. He tried to make light of the almost heavy silence.
“Why are you worrying about me? I have been busy with school but you are even older and should have been married by now anyway so what is holding you back?”
“Papa says that you are wanted back in the town as Ifa is to decide the new king and you are to report to the elders,” Tope announced abruptly.
He gave his brother a look that Babatunde recognized as reluctant respect.
Babatunde had a small frown conveyed in his eyes. ”I hope I can get time off from work, my boss is not around now and the one acting on his behalf could be tricky about giving permission.”
Tope shrugged and announced he would like to turn in for the night as he had had a long drive, was tired and gave a big yawn to prove his point. He said his goodnight and hurried off to the guest bedroom.
Babatunde sat back in the living room contemplating his impossible dream. Would Ife ever love him like he loved her? He wondered how he was going to learn to live with it if she did not.
He did not know what he was going to tell his father who was getting on in years. He had tried to shake himself into the reality of his impossible longing and go on with his life.
Now a pharmacist and employed, he still had been unable to date. Not for lack of offers he reminded himself.
He threw himself fully into his work and that was some relief.
The hair on the back of his head prickled and he knew Sasa was around. He sighed and invited his friend in. Sasa now moved closer to him in the physical plane. He could almost always see Sasa in the misty form.
Sasa had identifiable features—a tall, distinguished but youthful old. He still teased him by calling him Fancy Pants particularly if they were having an argument.
Sasa was looking at the Blue Mountains. No, there were no mountains near his home but each time Sasa visited, he showed him things.
Babatunde learned that it was Sasa’s inner thoughts that beamed to him and when they connected he could experience and see one of Sasa’s homes.
Sasa gave him a wry smile and a look from deep blue eyes. “When you have finished, maybe we can have a decent conversation.”
Babatunde smiled. “Has a king being decided?”
“You tell me, young Lion.”
1. May we know you?
. A poet. Philosopher. Novelist. Orator. Farmer.
- When did you develop a love of poetry?
As long as I can remember. Perhaps the age of 14.
What has been the reception from your contemporaries on your poems?
. Encouraging. They love and cheer for my style of writing. Some have my poems hung as mnemonics on their walls. That’s quite impressive and humbling for me
What type of poetry do you favor?
. All types. I write about anything. Everything. All things.
Please share with us a bit about what you write about and why?
. I write about life in general, even death. Talk about love, music, just anything. I’m always inspired to write at all times. Even at moments of grief and times of wild cheers I’m game on
Have you had any of your poems published formally?
. No. Not yet. Working on it definitely. I’ve had few suggestions and some offers to present my work for UNICEF in helping African children
Do you think poetry can be used to change an attitude?
. Surely, yes! Poetry is a way of life. Even every breath we take is hewn in poetry. Poetry is life. With poetry, a dirge can turn into a wild happy ballad. I just can’t be imaging life and nature without beautiful, orchestrated pieces of poetry in it. But to know what it is, you must feel it. If you’re not swinging in, you can’t mediate it.
- How often do you write?
. Very often. It could be anywhere at anytime. Several times I’d wake up in the middle of the night to write. It could come by things I observe on the roadside, market, children, even the flowers. Just think of anything I’m there
- Share your dreams.
Just a little I’d share. To see my name etched on the pillars of history. To create an awareness and help people realize their dreams. To help people know that poetry is not an odious thought or activity. Without poetry all forms of endeavors in life become vegetative
When you look at your environment, do you see poetry gaining some level of recognition or popularity?
We are a bit short on that right now in Nigeria of today, but we are getting “relocated” into feeding those who are bereft of it. So I believe someday, it will hold ground again. Those of old were taught with poetry. That’s why they still edge above newer guys of now. That’s why nothing exceptional has been well noticed because we are sold to a life of mundane activity devoid of creativity.
What do you think of young poets liking the spoken word as a form of protest or expression
.They yearn for fulfillment. They know that’s the only language the core of all hearts feeds on. They know a drop of water can suddenly become an ocean with poetry.
Please tell us about your favorite poets, old and young
William Shakespeare. Prof. Wole Soyinka. Those are ones still touching the strings and stirrings of my heart
- Which poet has had the most influence on you?
- How do want to be evaluated by your peers and society?
A phlegmatic Astute Observer. I am a clinical realist…I am evermore an alchemist of positivity, an adherent of an austere life. A man blessed with so much to offer but few of interests to be shared, who, when others don’t, does see promises in your eyes, the spark smoldering in your breasts, giving it tinder to see your soul ignites to passion
- Thank you coming on Centre stage
It’s a great pleasure ma’am.
“How did they come about anyway?” my daughter asked me
We were discussing new year resolutions and I had asked her if she had thought of any for this year. You know I never really thought that it originated from somewhere.
Do you think new year resolutions started from somewhere or as a result of something? I don’t think so though, but I sense that it must have started from the human mind deciding to review its past activities and checking for itself how far it has gone towards achieving a goal or a set of goals.
Remember how we set so many goals for ourselves, it is indicative of the prayers we make too. Not one prayer point, but several in fact in the space of a minute. We do have a lot we want. So I asked her what she had set for herself as a goal this year. She frowned then gave me a questioning look.
“Mum, I am not being rude, but If I tell you, Iam going to have a hard time working at it as you will be checking me out to know if I am working at the resolution. I think resolutions are private you know”
I swallowed as I acknowledged the truth of that statement. But can we give our ourselves resolutions? How dowe teach our children, the importance of resolutions? Is it supposed to be at a particular time of the year?
I remember that for me my resolutions or review tends to be as I approach my birthday. It is that time of year when I wonder what the Creator wished I could do with my present incarnation and as I take my first breath my contract begins .
I used to think that is when I review what I have done in the past year. For me the first day of January is just the first day of the new year but not the first day of my new year. They are other days of similar importance in the calendar of my growth to a goal. So it generally is part of a collective review.
I thought of all these as I chatted with my daughter. She asked me why I had lapsed into such silence, so I smiled and shared my thoughts. Her eyes opened wide in surprise and she nodded.
“You know mum, actually, I sense a day should be a review. We could make each evening of our lives a review of what he had done and make a resolution against the next day”
Now it was my turn to stare and give silent thanks for the opportunity of experiencing this gem.
So, resolutions? What are they really? There are the decisions we take each time we give ourselves a chance to honestly review how we have acted and make a resolution to improve on it.
If we take it one day at a time, we stand a pretty good chance of keeping, maintain and sustaining our resolutions.
My daughter smiled, and touched my shoulder, “and you didn’t like pastors mum?”
I stared and she laughed blowing me a kiss
Happy new year everyone