Poetry Feature: An Elegy for Ogbe Osowa by Vincent Nwabueze

Who would have thought that time,

               Can obliterate that tragedy in Nineteen Sixty-Seven?

   Eight and Forty years have fleeted on, and still counting, 

                   Yet memories have refused to die,

       Still etched in our consciousness like a sore wound.


That fateful morning as the Sun bestrode defiantly above the tall palm trees in the neighborhood,

                    Her powerful sunrays cuddled the frail ferns of the ageless coconut trees,

           Like a mother will do her suckling babe,

               Merchants of death in military camouflage 

         All armed to the teeth invaded the serene enclave.


  O, beguiled to show solidarity to one nation hued in diversity,

                               The young, the old, the feeble; all crept out from crannies,

                 Whereto they had fled to escape the flying shrapnel of death.

                     And adored in their trademark AKWAOCHA, 

           The traditional handcrafted white wrapper the people are noted for,


All danced gleefully to entertain their August visitors.

                 Boom: Boom: Boom: Boom:

                        The bullets sounded and rattled, 

          As they jumped out menacingly

               From the smoking muzzle of their article of destruction. 

 OLISA; is this what they deserve in return?

              In place of applause and a thunderous clap,

          For entertaining their August visitors,

                  The invading forces pelted hot bullets from their mortars, howitzers, — 

             On the defenseless poor souls.


And when the sound of mortars and heavy artilleries had ceased,

                  Heaps, and heaps of mutilated bodies strewn the killing field,

                           Like some prized trophies for the invading troopers to take home.

        And to remind posterity how merciless merchants of death once visited a peaceful enclave,

 And left behind trails of tears, blood, anguish, and sorrow.


 Brother, great was the massacre on that day,

                   That the goddess ONISHE, the custodian of the great river, 

Has refused to be consoled.

          Day and night, her ululation could be heard, 

As she grieved the death of her children.


Vincent Nwabueze is a poet and author who studied sociology at the University of Abuja, Nigeria where he started writing. He also holds an LLB degree in law. He has written a collection of short stories and poetry and takes part in writing competitions. One of his short stories was shortlisted at the African Writers Awards in 2020. His poetry has been published by the Society Voice Project and the Voices Project. The manuscript of his debut novel has been completed and his latest books, THE BROKEN DREAMS OF THE INTELLIGENT THIEF and HONEY OUT OF LAMENTATION (a short story) have been released on Amazon.
He can be reached via email at: vincenttnwabueze@gmail.com or on Twitter @VincentNwabuez5
Nwabueze currently resides in Abuja, Nigeria.

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