From Minna, the literary capital of Nigeria (you can argue with your ancestors on this) arrives a poetry volume from a young but stupendously conscious mind. The Hilltop Creative Arts Foundation has, as usual, found a voice, nurtured it, and collected its sonorous songs and published it to the world as it has done for more than thirty other teenagers.
The voice of Ibraheem Uthman bursts into the literary landscape with the publication of his collection of poems titled, Mind of a Bard. It’s a voice I trust will be earnestly listened to for its acuity and having come from a mind that’s full of wonderments, suffused with brilliance and beauty. That’s for sure. We are currently witnessing Sadiq Dzukogi, Hauwa Shafii, Paul Liam, all weaned from the same foundry in Minna.
Mind of a Bard is an invitation to a poetic party in the enigmatic mind of the poet to which the reader would be engrossingly immersed. The venue is grand where we have ‘ a night resting in a fridge across the mountain top’, and ‘crickets are gossiping‘ while ‘light is a lonely girl.. ‘ The poems served, fifty in all, are hot and spicy capturing the ideas of life and death, love and heartbreak, Nigeria and nature, past and future, romance and friendship. They have a dose of musicality to complete the party scene. They are short, with only two going beyond a page, but with many layers of meaning delivered in thoughtful metaphors.
I am in love with love so I was glad to note that the theme of love dominates the volume. Many of the poems speak of the poet-persona pledging his undying love for a love interest as we see in poems like ‘A Drop’, ‘Last Moment’, ‘Obsession’, ‘I Care’ and ‘Hungered’.
Give me a slice of love
And I will turn a loaf
For your communion (pg 39)
He also expresses his thirst for her. As in the poem, Hungered: I yearn for your touch/your kiss/your skin/I’m mad and hungered.
In ‘Last Moment’, he repeats his request ‘whack me a kiss/to the thrill of my heart’ ( pg. 35). This love is never reciprocated as we learn in the heartbreaking poem, ‘Boom’.
But little does she know that
For her eyes are impotent
To the dots on the lover’s mind… ( page 12).
So in ‘ Writ of the Heart’, the poet-persona surrenders, bringing down the lines he uses as grenades and bombs to steal her heart. Hear him:
For my heart cross its heart against love
Heartbreaks became seconds
The worn part of my heart has become so real
That it could speak to me ( page 11)
Touching. Moving. The love poems alone are worth the price of the book.
All text excluding title as published on The Lagos Review