Many entries center the almost cliché topic of the Nigerian situation characterized by decadence and some others, subtly point to the thin line between admiration and lust. The poem, “Her Dance” follows the captivating experience of watching Winnie, the dancer – which climaxes in the speaker joining the dance; this piece however begs the questions - why is the speaker slighted by the dancer’s choice of a new tune? Does she not have the right to her choices?
“Why is there anxiety…” is a relatable poem that lets the reader ponder on the thoughts of the narrator, as well as, what could have led up to that point in their lives. “A Poem of Green and White” employs repetition in coming to terms with the reality of the ills in the Nigerian system. “If a Lion in the Savannah…’ speaks of faith and perseverance; the speaker inspires hope in a seemingly hopeless situation…
“Then we too can wait
In this deserted wasteland”
“To my First Chin Hairs” is an ode to the book title that betones the topic of self; the process of knowing, cautioning, and encouraging oneself:
“Arise, ye little soldiers of maturity
Do not overstep your bounds
Fight till ye are cleansed from all impurity”
In an otherwise mood-dampening poem, “Beauty in the Pain”, the speaker accepts defeat without realizing it, by laying aside their feelings and honest desires for what is considered acceptable. This stands in contrast with the succeeding piece, “The Burial - Requiem” where the speaker acknowledges accountability to only one – his Lord.
Considering its array of themes, the collection would have made for an easier and more enjoyable read, had extra attention been paid to the arrangement of poems in order of likeness in the subject matter. This however, does not take away from the book’s strengths – the narration of each poem without the expected complexity of poetry, the ‘eureka moments’ embedded in most of the pieces, the skillful use of imagery and the fact that it leaves the reader with a sense of wonder about the narrators’ unspoken thoughts and the desire for more.
As I stroke my Chin Hairs may be a lighthearted chapbook but with its curious title, one cannot miss the writer’s brilliant intent – that the reader assumes the position of thought – metaphorically stroking their chin hair, while considering some of the themes within.
The winner of November – December 2019's book giveaway is Felix.
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