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Charles Terseer Akwen

Charles Terseer Akwen

Nationality: Nigeria
Email: charlesakwen@gmail.com


Charles Terseer Akwen

Charles Terseer Akwen, who writes under the pen name 文稼山 (Wen Jiashan) is a Nigerian poet and Lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria. He was an Exchange Doctoral Candidate to the National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan for the Spring Semester 2016, and a 2017 Awardee of the Research Grant for Foreign Scholars in Chinese Study by the Center for Chinese Study in Taiwan (ROC). His Ph.D research entitled Identities and Literary Creativity in Nigerian and Chinese Poetry from Taiwan seeks to draw a link between Transnational and Multicultural Aesthetics in the poetry of Yang Mu and Odia Ofeimun. His collections of poems: Ilha Formosa: Rhythms of Memories and MultiCOvocla Interractions is set to come out in August, 2018.



(By the Pacific Ocean in Hualien)


Let the Pacific speak

And the Atlantic too

Let them announce

The coming of the tide

And the joy this season brings


Let the river flow

And the lake be still

Let gushing waters

From these stanch mountains

Fill my drifting soul


As I wonder through shattered dreams

Of my lively youth

I am bound with fear

Old age is announcing its presence

My youthfulness will I regain?


This is the seed in my waning heart

That must grow

So let these meandering waters sob for me

For I yell each time I remember

This energy fades within


Oh! Let the Pacific and the Atlantic

Withstand the tide that comes

With unfulfilled desires restricted by time

Let this memory be the source of strength

As I carry upon myself

A life transcending above the seashores.




(For Professor Chen-chen Tseng who passed away on the 3rd of December, 2017)


Now the sun is set on the distant shores,

As I make my way through the trackless sea,

I search of a place no spirit shall haunt me.

I bear heavy thoughts of times gone behind,

As my future hangs on the stitches of memory.


The weather is a foe to a lonely traveler,

And I listen to all sounds on this long journey -

They make numerous meaning to me always.

Wishes are now my good friends as the water-lily,

(Floating on all sides pushing onwards and inwards)

But the memory of you teaches to be alive again.


Those mountains are high and endures the shadows

Of the moving clouds rising up as sweet smell.

I wish I could let them go another time with you!

Were you prepared for this journey? Were you told?

The weight upon me is heavy and my hands too weak

To paddle this canoe alone on this raucous waters.


Let those sounds speak to me again,

Yes! I see in that distanced dreamland,

Stars shining on all horizons: those stars

Twinkle in our hearts for you.




For ours is the story

In the teeth of every cockcrow



We are here… carriers of echoes from exchanged melodies

On our dry lips this harmattan season

We stand at the rally spot with bleeding skins

If we survive this taste of knives on our bodies

To announce our desire to remain the giant of Africa


When will this tea party end, Odia?

Yes, our wounds cut are deep

We hate tyrants with hearts like zuma rock

And detest those who still hawk stolen wealth on grey hair

But carry crutches to break our back bones

With innocent faces


We are the common labourers led to the war 

By a denial of truth erected on clandestine ambition

Odia, toothless bull dogs have seized to exist

But wall geckos still own our houses

Patiently waiting for another timing

To explode in public square


The way to begin is the way we left

Our past on old school philosophy

Tomorrow is yet another time to sing a new song

Of exchange without the drums of war

But with the fear that never would end





Some poets go out their minds… to remind us of self-destruction


Under the harebrained impulse of a nurturing

force. Not sight in ecstatic whirling,

just the dazzling vision of outer

wholes sowed on evaporations, which come

with the mounting of passion. The music

of poetry flows cunningly in a stealthy

tuning of pluralities… of worlds multiplied

impetus, bright and dark again, as retold

tales of fallen kingdoms of old.


The only passable music, lost to the minds,

is sung by the expressive poet. He,

who just beats the mind’s wall, so hard,

against the innermost depth of our feeling-

an outstretched arm, with an unyielding voice.

This feelings lie within, so deep inside,

our minds holding stiff tensions. A run-off of

cacophony… snaking good and bad moments

with devastated inner blindness, under the sun.


Under this lunatic revolt built on falsehood

and pride, by many nations, I sometimes

adjust my pen, for fear that may, or should,

consume, the awful pain of veiled vision.

Should I go out of my mind to sing

another song? Pardon: our world now

is cast on dangerous journeys on the high seas

where our captains have fallen asleep

as we all forgot stories about the dinosaurs 



All poets search for the missing links in our minds



Above this sign of beauty, a crystal season

of assured dreams, formed on just another

dim reality, are vague and stiffening thoughts

of our brutalized world. In our minds, are

The smearing of thick ink, mixed with words,

which discover worries: many uncertainties

that have been, more that would come again-

between your absence and my presence, as

stars shoot too fast, on our thundering skies.


I remain silent for you to speak: bees always

would fly. I, too, seek to receive, wisdom…

results, not twisted and crushed as aches on

our frail minds. What releases an inner cataclysms,

when we lie on the bare field, counting nothing,

only wishing never to count the star on higher grounds?

This search continues. With your arrival, your love,

in our hearts…I snatched this honey comb,

from those mountains around us. Bees flying on.


Under this sign of beauty, wondering in doubt,

I am rest assured, our creative power, testing

might, and this pen, are, testament of a world

of flame, in your heart, as the day’s fall

On every creature, young or old. I defile

heavenly wisdom, that day I refused to accept

all the pains that cross this flinty heart.

bees always fly. But I am lost in your arms,

counting no stars, but running from my shadows


Under the sign of beauty, we always sit to ask

many questions… about rising and falling.

what about the love men have thrown away?

bees are still flying across our heads… our lands.





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