Tribute To Ikeogu: Before The Chiming by Godwin Nketus

Before The Chiming

My brain slipped on banana
Skin of ratiocination – if death
Can twist light into turgid murk.

I have just learned to bulge in you
Like bud on iroko in a thick forest.
Was it not one exiguous day that passed,
The day you gave birth to Heresiad*,
When your internal world proclaimed
Your name, epigraphed on its dazzling moon?
The podium was replete with ancient regalia,
When you reminded the world of nativity.
You proclaimed Africa beyond the horizon
Of tongues and ears, beyond mind rails…

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But, Ikeogu, the bell chimes now;
It’s blurbing sound of ululation
Dropping at the end of yesterday’s laughter
Like drops of water dripping when rain elapses.
The sound tolls fortissimo on like the exigent matin,
Calling the fellowship when the great rock rolled.
To build heresy around the certitude
Of such cold touch, when it’s not yet noon,
Is standing at the diameter of a whooshing river.

Oh Ikeogu, the dancers dance with dizzy steps;
There’s alteration in the flute’s tone –
It’s now a string of monody in single procession!

We must turn, turn to Heresiad,
The fresh elephant-print of where you threaded.
But can it, can it suffice the fissure
Left on cosmic wall of your pregnant sapience,
Which we will never know again?


Heresiad – a book of poetry (probably his last) written by Ikeogu Oke, which won him NLNG prize in literature in 2017.


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Nket Godwin hails from Andoni Local government, Rivers State, Nigeria. He attended Government Secondary School, Ngo before proceeding to Ignatius Ajuru University, where he is currently studying English and Literary studies. He has his works (mostly poetry) published in print and online anthologies: Nibstears Poetry Cave, Thoughts And Nature Anthology, MyAceworld online magazine, Pengician, Words Rhymes And Rhythm, Pun Poetry Anthology etc etc.