A review of Nwachukwu Egbunike’s poem, Blazing Moon by Uchenna Ekweremadu.
IN a world where very few are increasingly being looked upon to set the pace for the rest to follow, Blazing Moon jumps onto the stage with the intention of doing the very opposite. From the moment the curtains part and light comes up on stage, we are ushered into a strange world altogether. In this surreal world, imagination is unfettered. Nothing is impossible.
One could rightly guess that the poet deliberately placed MY WORLD as the first poem in this collection in order to clear any misconception that the reader might be tempted to entertain. And as such, one only has oneself to blame if one comes out of Blazing Moon feeling disappointed in any way. The first two lines make that point as clear as day: “Let me take you to my world/ my own creation.” It is important to get one thing clear from the very beginning. At best it is paradisiacal, at worse it is fantastical. But either way, Blazing Moon is worth the time.
A discerning mind wouldn’t miss the politeness in the first line, a politeness which is by no means patronizing nor persuasive. Suffice it to say that this first poem, MY WORLD, is the border at which the reader must pause and decide whether or not he or she really wishes to take that dive into the poet’s world:
“Where the sea washes the streets
And little ones swim in the sands
Where mothers wash on sand banks
and fathers till the seas…”
Moreover, the warning comes early enough as the poet reminds us it is his “own creation”. Perhaps sensing that a few would still be disappointed with this book in one way or another, the poet forewarns us to not expect something of the extraordinary. Simply put, this world of his is one where:
“… so much is unknown, unsaid
where there are no mysteries
no boring into the skies
no flight into the earth.”
And to buttress that fact, the poem, PAINT YOURS, reminds us that the creator is at liberty to use paint on his canvas according to his discretion. If you are dissatisfied with the end product, instead of “staring and moping” and loving neither “the brush nor canvas”, there is only one thing you can do: “Paint yours” (pp 14).
MY WEAPON is a plot to do mischief; a deliberate scheme to undo certain persons by simply drowning them in their vanities.
This poem reminds one of Decius, one of the murderers of Julius Caesar. At the peak of their plot, the schemers begin to fear that their target might not show up at the Capitol on the ‘D’ day. Decius steps in claiming to know just how to lure Caesar to the Capitol, assuring his colleagues that he can
“… o’ersway him; for he loves to hear
That unicorns may be betray’d with trees,
And bears with glasses, elephants with holes;
But when I tell him he hates flatterers,
He says he does, being the most flattered.
Let me work;
For I can give his humour the true bent,
And I will bring him to the Capitol…”
The schemer in MY WEAPON is as much a gamesman as Decius. He will “make them think:
They do better
They say better
They are the best
I’ll make them:
Want their way
Seek their way
Get their way…
Argue when they’re wrong
Argue when they’re right
Argue when they’re neither right nor wrong…”
He intends to fly them too close to the sun until their wings of wax melts and send them crashing down on hard rocks after which he will
“…make news of their failure
I’ll be the megaphone of their defects…
I’ll enslave them with my lies.” (pp 41)
SMOTHERED TO ASHES is a requiem specifically for Baga but also for all the other war ravaged towns that don’t make it to the news. The poem shines light on human (and media) hypocrisy of treating “third world” tragedies differently from that of the “first world”.