PIN (Poets in Nigeria)

May 25, 2018 OTHER , Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Surian Soosay photo

 

By

Adamu Usman Garko

 

 

What would be your voice of devotion after you heard of a literary programme held in your school during lesson time? Would you think of how the waves of cloud chuckled or how the sky wind-hooked human thoughts as clouds rolled?

 

Would your teachers be flabbergasted to learn that some participants were actually your school students while others were renowned names in the field of creative writing?

 

You saw a post on Facebook and began to earnestly ask questions about it. You ran in haste to your classmates informing them how maximally your school premises would be filled with people. You asked unanswered questions that reminded you that tomorrow was Thursday, and the programme was slated for tomorrow. You tried to while away the time by biting the cover of your pen while visualising what the gathering would look like. Your heart was full of gratitude for your school’s press-club that was organising the event. You took your mobile and dialled one of your friends’ contacts to inform him about the programme, but his call came first, as sudden as lightning.

 

You wanted to intimate to him fast about the programme but he was ahead of you, already telling you what an awesome programme was coming up in your school the following day.

 

The following morning, you put on your blue and white uniform. You dashed perfume on it. The sweet fragrance assailed your nostrils. You knew today was going to cut a great impart in your life.

 

You stepped into the classroom, your left leg preceding the whole you inside the class. You heard the class humming delightedly like a bees in a busy beehive.

 

Students began to question you endlessly about the programme as if it was your sole affair. You answered those questions you could answer and ignored the rest. You approached your best friend and discussed excitedly your expectations from the programme. You were a great literary enthusiast and you regarded yourself a budding poet.

 

You already knew immediately that the short break was over and it would be club time, and that was when the programme began. You peeped through the blurry windows and saw the organisers, busy putting things together, about to begin. Visitors were also beginning to arrive, wearing different arrays of clothes.

 

The last bell before the commencement of the programme jingled.

 

The teacher in your class went out hurriedly to join the legion of others from within and outside school. Everyone began to carry his chair to the venue for the club’s meeting, but most of the students trooped to your event, even those who didn’t belong to the Press Club.

 

You also hurled your chair swiftly to the venue of the programme and sat down. The dignitaries had gathered on the podium. Then the secretary of the Press Club took a microphone and welcomed everyone who had come to witness the occasion taking place life in Gombe High School. You were staring at the faces of the visitors and it seemed as if flowers of happiness were blossoming over them. The secretary called on the chief organizer Najeebullah to continue dishing out the menu.

 

“Good afternoon everyone” he greeted, and apologized for the absence of some members who were not around due to one thing or another: people like: Muhammad Gaude, Joda, Dubagari, Goje and Amina, and then he zeroed-in on Usman Nurain; the lion of our literary hemisphere whose name rang resoundingly through our heads for one literary achievement of other. Apart from that, he was also the former head boy of the school and the first to be a published author with his debut collection of poetry. What did you imagine the place would look like – a motley of up and coming literary achievers and enthusiasts?

 

The master of ceremonies then called on Uzhairu Ubah to come forward and give a speech.

 

“What would you expect from this young man who spoke English as if he was a son of the Great Wole Soyinka. Everyone began to feel the power of his delivery immediately he started reciting his name. You wondered if he was a renowned British commentator.

 

“Who among you dares volunteer to come on stage for a poetry contest?” you heard him say.

 

Students began to stare at you signalling you to come out, knowing you for your poetry prowess. But before you decided what to do, three students from JSS1 stood up confidently and made their way to the front. Then you became jealous, the urge to showcase your god-given talent was now overwhelming. You stood up silently from where you were sitting directly facing the podium. The students applauded you rapturously for a very long time. They only stopped after an earnest appeal by Uzhairu.

 

Uzharu divided the four of you into two groups: two boys in group A including you were given a title “Health” and the remaining two girls were given the title “Rich”. You were asked to go back to your seats and compose a poem on the title given to each of you. You were given thirty minutes to do the assignment and requested to come back to the stage to recite your poems afterward.

 

And Najeeb stood up again to continue co-ordinating the programme. He calling on the invited guests to come forward and present their poems.

 

The first person to come out was Khadija. She began by raining encomium on PIN (Poets in Nigeria) and to Eriata for introducing it to Nigeria…then she presented her poem. Her presentation was given with gusto. She danced like wind-whirl, and her voice was song-like. But unfortunately many people didn’t get her messages. Poetry truly is not easy to understand at first reading, but the reason I thought people didn’t understand her might have to do with her vocabulary: the words were difficult. Perhaps it was because she was an English student.

 

After a well deserved applause, she went back to her seat, and the next presenter was Najeeb.

 

You remembered he was the first man you met in the world of poetry.

 

You bagan telling your friends he was your poetry tutor; his brother was your friend. Suleman, he was a silent poet too, but he seemed to have no inclination to exhibit his gift.

 

Najeeb said “I’m presenting a Hausa poem”. As simple as that, and everyone shouted delightedly.

 

What did you expect? He began pouring poetry into our ear-lobes in everyday language. People were truly thrilled for the first time and the applause seemed to go on and on forever.

 

Next came a man who recited a poem with rhymes. If you want to make people thrilled, tease their hearts with rhyming words.

 

“So thank you, Rabiu”, said Uzhairu after the display of the great rhymer. “Now the volunteers should humbly come-out”. He added raising his left hand up while spreading the mic.

 

The students came out one after the other. You were the only true poet among them. What the others had delivered in the good name of poetry were mere definitions of the topics they were given. But you gave us poetry, beautiful poetry clad in beautiful imageries and dribbling metaphors. You were amazing. You simply stole the day. You had composed a masterpiece within less than thirty minutes. Without a textbook or chalkboard you taught the other contestants that poetry was not prose, that poetry was not just putting words together but actually breathing life into words.

 

Because with you that day, words actually came alive, and people celebrated them.

 

 

 

Adamu Usman Garko

Adamu Usman Garko is a student (SS1) in Gombe, Gombe State, Nigeria. A poet and story writer. His work has previously appeared at The Arts-Muse Fair, Poetry planet, praxis magonline, daily trust. He authored an eBook “Lonely season”.

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