Between the oyster-beach and the greens…
Sea and barren coast.
Between tresses of dark silver and reels of danger…
lonesome bird of the wilds!
I spat on the world from between my gums,
Shouted at the moon from between my lungs,
Hooted at the chirrupy mermaid of the dusk…
clever lad of a goddam tribe!
Then came the winds, flushing hearts,
The rains came, drenching all their mirth,
Came thunder scattering all irrelevance..
happy child of the new testament!
There were tears, then, when I was born,
There were aches, too, when I was born
Tears to drop, and hearts to ache,
No brains to pry, no minds to try
Where, when I was born.
So take, take me away!
Send, send me away!
Let the gold I loved which never was
Delude its glory-minded prodigy.
Send, O send me away!
by M.J.C Echeruo
Today is my birthday!
Do I feel like celebrating? Not even close. I feel like I want to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. Some more effusive emotion for a change. Not this silent and nagging feeling of disappointment.
By the way,what’s with the poem? I first came across this poem (and indeed poetry in general) in Junior Secondary school (that’d be middle school for those in America).
I have always thought it complex and confusing and thought the title misleading, but here now, I feel totally in tune with the poet in the words. Each verse highights a different phase of my life- beginning from the poignant picture it paints from the vanishing point of my current perspective- straddling today,tomorrow, yesterday, to the days of impetuous youth, when I thought myself wiser than my years, smarter than my peers and sacrificed communal wisdom on the altar of perceived innovation. Now when that course had led to no obvious advantages, I sobered up and have started ruminating on the basis of the tenets that I had so willingly flung aside, and questioning exactly what haughty ideals had driven me to discard them in the first place.
Now I sit and I look upon my life- it is as strange to me as it would be to an outsider looking in.
I graduated medical school at 22 years of age-an enviable feat in whatever continent. I had thought that only apocalypse could stand between me and making fellow before 30. I was wrong. I am turning 26 today and have yet to start residency. So much for dreaming big.
As much as I would like to pull my hair- strand by strand out from the roots, I remember that the success of the race is not necessarily based on how fast, but on how well the individual has run.
I remember that time and chance still happens to every man.
I remember that it is necessary to take a stand,regardless of the cost. I remember that following the path of least resistance is what makes rivers, as well as men,crooked.
I remember that the only constant thing in life is change.
I remember too that some things will never change. Some things like the instinct to help others that actually drove me to pursue a career in Medicine.
I have come back from a very hectic trip- helping my colleague move his things to the city where we have been posted to serve in the National Youth Service Corps.
It was a trip from hell. Everything that could go wrong went wrong today. Still I relish the opportunity to be able to help through the din-to be the voice of calm and reason,to put the chaotic pieces of my past experiences to good use.
Something I have been on the receiving end of, more than a few times.
I am glad and willing to give back. To have been of help.
As jumbled and out of sync my sad little life is, it has helped to get another life moving along.
That’s my little birthday present to myself