BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST 2016: OGEDENGBE TOLULOPE IMPACT’S ‘CHANGE IS HERE’ WINS JUNE EDITION

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A Chemical Engineering graduate of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, OGEDENGBE Tolulope Impact, has been named the June edition of the BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST (BPPC) 2016.

The poet, who was the second-runner-up in the April 2015 edition, claimed his first BPPC trophy with his poem ‘CHANGE IS HERE’. In the first-runner-up and second-runner-up positions are ‘BIAFRA, BIAFRA’ by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu and ‘PREYS AND PRAYERS’ by Udokamma Benedict Wilfred.

Ogedengbe started writing poetry in 2012 and his poems have been featured in several anthologies, including the LOVE POEM Anthology, PEACE IS POSSIBLE Anthology, MUSE FOR WORLD PEACE Anthology, NIBSTEARS JUSTICE BEFORE PEACE Anthology, and WIND OF CHANGE (BPPC 2015) Anthology. He is currently working on debut poetry collection.

The BPPC May, 2016, was on the theme; ‘CHANGE’. The theme was chosen in a bid to sample the temperature of opinions concerning recent socioeconomic changes in the Nigerian society, especially since the emergence of a new government in 2015.

Below are the TOP 10 entries:

  1. CHANGE IS HERE by Ogedengbe Tolulope Ayobami
  2. BIAFRA, BIAFRA by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu
  3. PREYS AND PRAYERS by Udokamma Benedict Wilfred
  4. WHATEVER YOU FIND IS NOT A RIDDLE by Kanyinsola Olorunnisola K-tops
  5. THE BURDEN OF CHANGE by Akinbolade Ezekiel
  6. REVOLUTION by Enemuo Echee Nkem
  7. CHANGE OR CHAINS? by James Jerome Okeme
  8. CITY OF OWLS by Efe Ogufere
  9. OF A LAND WHOSE CLIME HATES CHANGE by Adeniruju Adedapo Treasure
  10. THE WEIRD WIND OF CHANGE by Frank Ezechi Eze

CHANGE IS HERE by Ogedengbe Tolulope Ayobami

Don’t fold your arms, change is here
Change is here, if you can’t hear
At least you can see the sky,
And the fresh flowers nearby.

The season has drooped the sear,
And the new leaves spring to bear.
Change is here, don’t fold your arms
Grab your tools, and clear the farms.

He that has ears, let him hear
The voice of change in the air
Change is here, don’t hold your breath
Hold your tools, and till the earth.

Yes, time of harvest is near,
And soon we shall pluck the pear.
But if we refuse to sow,
How then would the pear trees grow?

I know we drank the sour beer
From the malts of yesteryear
But if we don’t end the blame,
Tomorrow will be the same.

The prophecies of the seer,
Are good yields and better year.
Change is here, don’t fold your arms
Grab your tools, and clear the farms.

Don’t fold your arms, change is here
Change is here, if you can’t hear
At least you can see the sky
And the fresh flowers nearby.

N.B: SEPTANELLE is a poem of 7 stanzas with 7 syllables in each line.

BIAFRA, BIAFRA by Izuchukwu Saviour Otubelu

Biafra, Biafra, how many miles lie thy heartbeat?
My battered back bends under the rage of red whips
These words of mine speak freedom to my fettered feet
What skilful sailor sets sail with a submerged ship?

I sow seed yams- I reap a basketful of tears
Strip me of these royal robes; I crave no kingship
For my soul’s haunted by the ghosts of wasted years
What skilful sailor sets sail with a submerged ship?

I pen these frail verses with the ink of my blood-
My father’s fathers dreamed dreams that turned bittersweet
Now my drained footfall falls with a thunderous thud
These words of mine speak freedom to my fettered feet

Am I not a weaver? I weave baskets with words
Yet black blood drips across the corners of my lips
I know not which way forward- my eyesight is blurred
My battered back bends under the rage of red whips

Sixteen songs I have sung; sixty more I shall sing
Till the dust beneath my feet dance to my drumbeat
I must kiss a pauper’s feet if I must be king
Biafra, Biafra, how many miles lie thy heartbeat?

PREYS AND PRAYERS by Udokamma Benedict Wilfred

There goes a lad at the verge of his prime
Time is money, so he makes money with each tick-tocking chime
He walks through life dreading the weariness of shame
Success is a golden slate on which to inscribe his name.

There sit our mothers under torn cotton shades
Their grim faces are indifferent of the sunny haze
Their eyes, heavy as their hearts with bitter petitions
The tips of their piled-up grains pointing skywards in supplication.

There goes an orphan, barely six years old
At birth, she brought no silver spoon nor gold
Some strangers broke open her source of wealth
And emptied their hate into the only hope of love she had left.

Our fathers are now ridden like donkeys
They work for baboons who throw crumbs at them like monkeys
Emptying themselves to fill another’s wallet
They’ve become victims of a misplaced budget.

Our ‘changer’ is now a dictating rover
Flying there, fleeing here for economic cover
His truths about change are constant lies
He only seeks answers where the crow flies.

Should we fast and pray and wait on God?
Or make even the stakes of vengeance to beat the odds?
Should we milk our cattle to the orders of SAN?
Or be goaded by the whip of the chief herdsman?

WHATEVER YOU FIND IS NOT A RIDDLE by Kanyinsola Olorunnisola K-tops

You must rise at the birth of sunlight
Before other huts cease their songs of snores,
Strap the sword of courage on your back
And set out against the infancy of day,
For this journey is a lone pilgrimage
And the change you seek awaits you.

Take this path to the land of shadows
Past the city of gnomes and the shrieks of ghosts,
You will come upon a prayer of forests
And an ice-cold gatekeeper of fire,
There you must offer a meal of your soul
For entry into the cursed village of hell.

Embrace a gruesome death but make it out alive
Slaying crying children of demons,
The darkness in your heart will be a light
Pointing the way to your destination,
Remember: whatever you find is not a riddle
But the clear voice of the heavens.

When you do reach the Canaan of your dreams
It will be a silent music of rivers with mirrors,
You will stare into them, bathed with epiphany
And you will see that the remedy to your malady,
The change you’ve sought in the devil’s bosom
Was, all along, an unignited fire in your blood.

THE BURDEN OF CHANGE by Akinbolade Ezekiel

The weather around heated the land like summer sun
And the blooming flowers weren’t having fun
All the plants of the field cried in agony
Yeah ! Now the set time to seek new glory
We sworn with our eyes never to behold again the denudation
Which damped our hope and expectation

The songs of change blazed the air
We got lost in the tune of funfare,
Yet starkly ignorant that change’s not a sudden flight
That bestows swift and instant delight
But we ran to see a bright tomorrow
Bereft of mournful shade of sorrow

The pomp that accompanied the transistion now dead
The road becomes windy and thorny to thread
Vituperations pour like a bursted dam
Now the anticipation faces the air of sham
People begin to cry in pain
Saying this change is strange,we find no gain

But every change, wether good or bad
Is prosperous for a humble heart who is not mad
At the dry heat of the summer
Yet bears the pain of waiting for the raining weather
While ploughing the field for a new planting year,
Hopes against hope for the indignation to pass without fear

REVOLUTION by Enemuo Echee Nkem

If we cry, gently, gently
When we suppose, with our surgical voices,
Tear and stitch the elected non-chalant sky,
Then the offspring of our votes and choices
Will remain the dry pasture upon which we lie.

If we sing, silently, silently
What we should bang like war canons,
Deaf eyes will not hear the sighing sounds
Dehydrating barrels whisper to our gallons,
That bleeding feets thresh our wailing grounds.

If we dance, reluctantly, reluctantly
To the stance breaking drums of change
The rich hat plays for the wretched sandals,
Our purses will leap painfully in its bandages,
To catch flying money, drying into oily canals.

If we pray, fervently, fervently
Like Goshen olives in revolutionary wave
And heed solemnly to the unadulterated creeds,
Greyless knees must sprout to the call to save,
As that all progressive mantra loses its beads.

CHANGE OR CHAINS? by James Jerome Okeme

What did you hear
when they mounted the stage of yesterday
to declare their promises on air?
Was it change or chains?

Maybe the lies of yesteryears
Have deposited wax into our ears
and hindered our hearing
that we couldn’t differentiate change from chains.

Please let this accent be understood.
Did we hear “we are working” or “we are walking”?
Are we dear to your heart
Or shares in your hat?

When we laid bare our complaints
Did you say you have heard Or you have herd?
Did you recover the loots or the lutes?
Will you give us our rights or rice?

Can you see our tears or tiers?
Did we hear ” we’ll make corruption bitter ”
Or “we’ll make corruption beat her” ?
Did you promise to make lives better
Or bind many with fetters?

Maybe the tongue twisted the truth
Only time can get us to the root.
These guys!
Can we call this “Change in Disguise”?

Is this what you call change?
Herdsmen slaughtering souls rather than cows
Only for us to hear whispers of ” Silent is Golden”.
Is that a meaningful silent?

When will change come?
When the price of fuel is more than one can bear
as it equates a bottle of beer?
Or as our Naira watch the Dollars
mount upon the wings of our very own Eagle
to soar high be called change or chains?

You feel not our pains
Yet we see your gains.
We heard of the fame
That you made with our very own name.

Is this the promise of Change
Or promise in Chains.

CITY OF OWLS by Efe Ogufere

Despair…

A parliament divided, the nation in flight
When death came in hoots, we stepped aside.

A mother laughs when her tears are spent
Blood and smoke creates a perfect collage.

A flame still flickers for the silent screams
The ghosts of womanhood lost in Chibok.

Before our very eyes, they steal our skies
Feeding us the blackness of night at dawn.

Harbingers of ill-omen, watchers of the night
Witness us, humanity dies and we do not cry.

Let the mourners mourn, We will drink their tears
When the earth has had its fill, we will drown in it.

Hold our eroding souls with migrating principles,
As we watch fragments of our dreams wash away.

Hope…

A bird with a broken wing still heeds the call
To taste the wind and bask in warm sunny rays

A wind of change with more wind than change
A choice buffet of rotten meat and rancid milk.

Pessimism is handed out with outstretched arms
Optimism, now that’s a luxury we cannot afford.

Oh if we could see the world from an owl’s eyes
We are all like little stars twinkling in the dark.

With our virtues leached as the sands in Bauchi
The world watches our feeble attempt at flight

The skies beckon as the evening breeze nudges
The sun blushes as we lift off and break heights.

OF A LAND WHOSE CLIME HATES CHANGE by Adeniruju Adedapo Treasure

Have you heard the untold tales of a twilight
that lived before winds wandered in wrung ways
while we were chastising pillars of guiltless trees?
that tale was written for a land whose clime hates change

Just this afternoon,
a tired river washed and
s-p-r-e-a-d-e-d i-t-s-e-l-f
like a defenceless garment of guilt
under a sun that is about to lose its temper.
I saw (pregnant) clouds from twilight getting
replaced by
(pregnant) women whose sweats
tell teary tales of famished families
doing farming during famine!

even if this night the rainbow dyes
the sky into honeymoon blankets
I will still tell of dying dreams in Newtok and
lonely leopards
sent parking from their fore-father’s forests.
they’re returning to eat the fruits of their neighbours
who sit in green-houses mourning
the arrogant fragility of a fading humanity!

We know this is not the land’s real face
it’s the face of our greed and gain
the face of faeces feasting on our farmlands
and of pregnant fantasies punctured by a miscarriage!

THE WEIRD WIND OF CHANGE by Frank Ezechi Eze

it was a warm wind waltzing
rhythmically to whistles of a tree
whose leaves furled and frolicked
like a volery of birds in the park

it worked its way gently gently
into the heart of the tree through
tracks of cracks in her barks

it saw her heart, a hatful of hurt,
soured, her soul, so sick, so sore;
warm wind came closer, cosy—
her holy healer…

at the helm, his grins grew grime
and warm wind unrhythmic, waltzed
a wild and weird wind of change

———-

Ogedengbe’s prize include a cash prize of N5,000, a copy of ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO’ by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, a copy each of the 2015 and 2016 BPPC anthologies and a feature as the WRR POETRY Poet of The Week.

OGEDENGBE TOLULOPE IMPACT, WINNER BPPC JUNE 2016

OGEDENGBE TOLULOPE IMPACT, WINNER BPPC JUNE 2016

All the other poets who made the top 10 will get a free copy of the BPPC Anthology and certificates which will be awarded at the WRR ‘FEAST OF WORDS’ LITERARY FESTIVAL 2016 (October). In addition, all the TOP 10 poems will also be published in the BPPC anthology and automatically entered for the ALBERT JUNGERS POETRY PRIZE 2016.

“Change is coming. Change has changed. Change needs change. Change is chained. The June poets have outlined the various aspects of the theme with convincing lines. Not only did no poem deserve to be discarded, but all together they have built a citadel of aspirations worth listening to. And if anyone ignores what a septanelle is like, they should rush to the June edition of the contest. Well done, talented poets. Do not change: keep writing!”
Brigitte Poirson

The BPPC is sponsored by WRR CEO Kukogho Iruesiri Samson in honor of Brigitte Poirson, a French poet and lecturer, editor who has worked tirelessly to promote and support of African poetry.

NOTE: Submissions are being received for the JULY edition on the THEME: “UNITED STATES OF AFRICA”.
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