Ogaga Ifowodo is criminally slept-on. Something that jumps out at you at every poem of his (my favorite is Homeland) is his use of imagery. He makes you want feel it all, like tiny earthquakes in your head. If you must rhyme a poem, this is how it must be done.
And those final lines "Unmarked days quench their suns, black into nights/ and dreams enact weighted hearts in free flights".... the music of that. Goodness.
This one's a favorite from his wonderfully-titled collection God Punish You, Lord Lugard.
Unmarked Hours Beat their Hands Against the Wall
Unmarked hours beat their hands against the wall
grieve for wings plunged in a waterfall.
Outside the window, a woman's shoulders
quake in tribute to a scene of soldiers:
teeth, fragments of flesh in warm blood painted
the picture she sees of those that fainted.
A single call to prayer, amplified
to all of Sin Town, brings mortified
legions to banal rites of righteousness.
As the minister swears his piousness
birds blessed with greater freedom flee our skies
abandoning us to death and muted cries.
Philosophies of suffering dress the walls
of this cell, make the fate of dead seagulls
happier than of failed hearts that bled and wept:
"If men were God!" that mocked the cliff and leapt,
crying out their grief: "Let Nigeria end now!"
No one will inquire who, why or how,
an old or new decree has sanctified
all wrongs in duty personified.
Unmarked days quench their suns, black into nights
and dreams enact weighted hearts in free flights.