Orphan, Africa, African, Child, Portrait


Darkness too thick to be called darkness
Emptiness, void
Nothing seems to make sense
Yet from the darkness, hope speaks


How do I explain to hope?
That I have waited for far too long
How do I explain to patience?
What it means to be hopeless

How do I make sense of nonsense?
How do I weave hope from nothing?
From the abyss, hope speaks again

You do not understand
Allow me to explain
Aremu is a successful cocoa farmer
Akanni is a successful basket weaver

We belong to the same age grade
How do I explain to baami?
That it is not yet time to enjoy the fruit of his labour
Or to Yeye

That the yam she has prepared for many years is not yet done
Ah! Eewo!*
An anomaly of the highest caliber
An abomination of the finest timber

How do I explain to Ayanfe?*
That it is still not time to pay her bride price
While I watch her youth blow out
Like burnt firewood abandoned after use

After many years of failed promises
And whispers of love under the mango tree
They say money is not everything
Oh! How I wish it were true

In a soft breath, hope speaks again
Be patient with yourself
Be not too eager for wealth

It will come in its own time
At the end of the day
A word remains enough for the wise
No! You do not understand

You only think you know
But you do not understand what it means
To move from disappointment to disappointment
From failure to failure

Like a pattern drawn on adire*
Sometimes in unending circles revolving round and round
Sometimes like parallel lines that may never meet
Have I offended the gods?

Or committed an unpardonable sin
What is my crime?
I have planted my seeds in season
And watered them well

I have neither been indolent nor slothful
In trade or in business
I have paid my dues
And paid them well

And this is what I get
As reward for work
Barely having enough to eat
Scraping and toiling

With no end in sight
Is this what virtue is all about?
The nobility of character
What is the use of hope?

Is it edible?
It will get better
Things will change
How do they know it will get better?

Do they not know it can also get worse?
Or do things only change for the better?
In a voice now firm
Hope speaks again


Next articleIrredeemably incompatible
Yewande Akinse (Adebowale) is a Nigerian Lawyer, gifted storyteller, Poet and Author of two collections of poetry titled ‘A Tale of being, of green and of ing..’ (2019) and Voices: A collection of poems that tell stories’ (2016). With over 110 published poems to her credit and counting, Yewande is one poet who doggedly seeks to change the narrative one poem at a time. She won the World Bank YouthActonEDU spoken word prize and Project Knucklehead Prize for Creative Rebellion.


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