9 December 2012

Nigeria: Savouring Ologeh's Poetry of Nature

Within the pages of this tiny volume of poetry titled, Collection of Poetry for Secondary Schools are some eternal truths that have a universal relevance to all lands and climes. Fortunately, although the author, Jibe Ologeh, a veteran radio/TV producer of popular children's programme wrote this slim delightful booklet for kids, its broad appeal cannot be wished away.

The author explores a wide range of themes that appeal to young children. There are offerings on dance, music, love, and questions of morality. All through the 46 page book, the common thread is the excellent use of simple similes and imagery that young readers could grasp without difficulty, even when more complex subjects like nature are involved.

Poetry in this part of the world is gradually going into extinction, but thanks to its inclusion in the school academic curriculum, works like this may inspire a revival of interest. Writers like Mrs. Ologeh, a successful business woman, proprietor of R-Weels Media, housewife, mother and producer of the popular TV quiz programme, Young Scholars and, Health Monitor etc, was still able to find time out of her tight schedule to produce this charming little book.

Her long interaction with school children must have inspired the author to use the medium of simple verse to educate the young minds about the wonders of nature, the intrinsic beauty of music and its haunting melodies; the charms of dances and how God's unsearchable creative work brought all these into existence for human enjoyment.

For instance Ologeh, in the short poem, titled, Rainbow, attempts to describe the beauty and mystery of the Rainbow...

Stretching from earth

To earth

Caved in the sky

You herald the covenant

Built in eternity

And supreme

You tower over the earth

Dispersing your

Lamp of colours

All the earth

See you dressed

In a pool of tincture

Shading the sky

In rare paint

I think the text, "Built in Beauty, And supreme, You tower over the earth, Dispersing your lamp of colours" is a clever description of the great majesty of the Rainbow, and the young reader would find its mystery and religious context partially resolved when he realises the Rainbow is "Caved in the Sky, To Herald the Covenant".

Mrs Ologeh must be a lover of nature; a favourite subject of children. She writes on seashore and the beach. Even in the ode to motherhood, titled, Here We Stand, she still made some crucial references to the sea: Drop them dead, Ship them back, Pick them to sea, As food for Grendels, The great sea rovers, That we may know peace". So amazing is her ability to infuse imagery into those verses.

Mrs Ologeh is a born again Christian, which explains her brief allusions to the doctrine of the faith. She attempts to inculcate in the youths the fear of God made manifest in his powers of creation. To behold the glory of the Almighty is to appreciate his grace as shown in the wonders of creation. This naturally inspires true worship.

Finally, the author, not surprisingly wrote one of the poems, "Na Who I Go See Ask" in Pidgin English, the most widely spoken language in Nigeria. This small book speaks volumes about the versatility of the author, a graduate of English from the University of Ibadan. She also holds a Diploma and certificate from the Radio Nigeria Training School.

No doubt, this work will enrich our library of indigenous poetry literature; one hopes our educationists will find it worthy as a useful material for secondary school students.

• Jigado writes from Lagos

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