Charles Terseer Akwen
Charles Terseer Akwen, who writes under the pen name æ–‡ç¨¼å±± (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.
AGEING WITH HOPE
(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.
MY CANOE NOW SITS ON THE LONELY WATERS
(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.
TRIBUTE TO THE NIGERIAN POET, ODIA OFEIMUN
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
IDENTITIES OF THE POET…
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.