Book Review: How Morning Remembers | Deborah Uzoma

BOOK TITLE: How Morning Remembers The Night
AUTHOR: Ifesinachi Nwadike
PUBLISHER(S): Winepress Limited, Griots Lounge Publishing
YEAR: 2020
REVIEWER: Deborah Uzoma

How Morning Remembers the Night cover

This collection of poetry is beautifully crafted and timeless. It is a book for anyone who desires change and loves truth. It is a book posterity will always reckon. The simplicity of the language and impressive coinages beautify the imageries more.

How Morning Remembers the Night cuts across our everyday activities, the people on the streets, the seat of power, the failed society, negligence, crave for change, eulogy for legends, elegies for the gifted brains that lived shortly on earth and romance.

In this collection, the poet as a social crusader begins by introducing the pains his memory harbours in “Introit: My Memory is a deluge of Grief & Anguish”
Grief came knocking on my heart’s door
With sorrow stained Knuckles
Barging in,
They embraced the bosom of my soul… (11)

The opening stanza reveals the pains in the poet’s heart for years. In the following stanza’s, the poet moves to the sensibilities inherent of being African -the jungle justices’, blood rising against blood, stiff-necks, prejudices and concludes that his memory is “a deluge of grief, of anguish.”

It is worthy to note that the poet was into student unionism, having served as a departmental president, could feel the plights of the students and commuters of Imo state University junction which is evident in the poem “ Bang! Bang ! Bang! :

Bang! Bang! Bang1
The thunder of Armageddon;
Sounds of trucks and trailers
A comma for some, a full-stop for others
A road that winds into a black hole
The path, stream of blood, vulture demons hovering

It goes.
Red! Red! Red!
It flows (14).

Also in the Aluta fight, “In Blood Day Light” (four University of Port-Harcourt undergraduates lost their lives in the inhuman hands of jungle juries, in a community named Aluu, on the 2nd of Oct. 2012) the poet laments:

…In a climate of recrimination
Criminals, Criminals! They chanted
Justice! Justice! They raged
Charcoal-hearted demons
Gloved the juries’ bloody gavel
And in blood day light
Snuffed life out of the FOUR OF YOU (26)

A wake up call is made by the poet in “Who Says We are Corrupt?” which encapsulates all environs of human fields- the looters, criminals, politicians, the armed forces, bigots, traders, landlords, leaders, preachers of the gospel, to the neighbours in our streets, everyone. He ends by still asking “Who says we are CORRUPT?”:

Who says we are corrupt?
Is it when justice goes to the highest bidders?
When the guilty is masked as the innocent
Objection! That is called “judiSHARING competence.”

Who says we are corrupt?
Is it when preachers buy a fleet of jets
With the congregation’s tithes and mites?
Holy! That is called “sowing seed for proper evangelization”(48)

Reading the poems, the sabotage we nurse silently and unable to speak out is carefully stated in the poem “They have not stolen”:

They Have not stolen?
These honourable polithievians
Who shoot their pens
Public vaults emptied…

Are we yet to learn
How not to buy a goat
Only because of its voice?(43)

Also in “De-Money-Crazy?”(45) and “ House of Legislathieves?”(47). Interestingly, the poet takes us back to history- his home town, country, before and now. In , “ Denuded, Agwa sits supine” the poet recounts the ancestry tree “Afo Obeama, Agwa” which he describes as a “pretty sight to behold” and “a compassionate shade over the people” and “at dusk, a crown over community,” is destroyed and blames his people for allowing such:

‘In Jesus name’
We let them uproot you
You caved in and a curse
Blurted out from your band.(35)

In the poem, “Vision infinity” the poet mimicks and mocks the past leaders of his country, whose megalomania of promises from the time of independence till date has become more of a recurrent anthem and cause of laughter at once. The opening lines read:

Vision 1960

“Independence for everyone”
“Freedom for everyone…”

then to the prevalent year :

Vision 2020
“Patience for everyone.”
“Understanding for everyone.”

And when, tired of listening and waiting, the persona asks the President :
“But, His Excellency, what if we can’t wait?” The President replies this:

Vision Infinity:
‘One grave to one citizen.
And to those that died waiting.
One hell to each of them.”

In this collection, the author banks on tales and personal research to decry the sad experiences of the Biafra war in a tone that sounds like that of an eye witness. Hear him in “Memory is a crust of blood”:

I remembered pierced chest
Ripped bellies and buttered back
From where streams of blood gushed
And cursed the land in concertos of pain-
Gang rapes and gruesome murder of stars
And the kwashiorkored to death too soon… (33)

He also extended his voice to the ongoing but understated war going on in Northern Nigeria where lives are lost daily and people are kidnapped, killed and held captive because of their faith and social class. He pays particular tribute to Leah Sharibu and the “little children” of Borno.

Ifesinachi made special dedication of poems to past and present African legends and frontiers of poetry , likes of Esiaba Irobi (whom he continuously admits is his idol), Ezenwa Ohaeto, Pius Adesanmi, Niyi Osundare, Isidore Diala , Chimamanda, Dr. Stella Adadevoh of Ebola fame, Patrice Lumumba, GEJ, amongst others.

He leaves us with a sad feeling of lost love in “They come back to me by water,” specially dedicated to his former lover whose love he still relishes:

They come back to me by water;
…memories of you, us;
Of days when we were oblivious of the world
Of fear, of failing; of parting…

Every encounter with the sea reminds me of you
It whispers the sound of your laughter-
I can hear them now… (39)

Finally, after taking us through a torturous journey of grief and sadness, the poet ends with a poem of sweet romance, detailing and sharing his feelings of love and happiness for his lover in “Sweet Scent of Citrus”:
…Your supple dimples
Are burrows where I plant kisses
Your Avocado breasts
Are fountains from where I drink…

The day I found you,
I fixed the puzzle of my essence
May rose flower blossom
On the road that crossed our paths
Sweet scent of citrus
In my twitching nostrils…(64)

The poems in this collection are striking and incisive. A book every family should posses.

Deborah Uzoma

Deborah Uzoma is a graduate of English & Literary Studies Imo State University. She is a book critique, content writer, stage performer and lover of Arts. She won the first workshop Drama in focus organised by Association of Nigerian Authors and Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufe-Alike Ikwo, AE-FUNAI June 2018. Her works have been published in Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA series, World on The Brinks: An Anthology of COVID-19 Pandemic, literay blogs and a columnist to some tabloids in the State. She hails from Nenwe, Aninri LGA of Enugu State.

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