Memoir of a Poet│Olaseni Kehinde Precious


When I wake up in the morning, I hear cockerels tingle like a town crier as I release my body from the calmness that the night had wrapped around it. I hear my hands and back whip tunes as I stretch them to honour the beautiful day that has just come to welcome us with beautiful fruits, possibly.

It is a daily ritual. This rinsing, dabbing and decorating of the flesh. And I put in an ample time, before I embark on the journey that will wage war against my empty pocket. At that point, I see myself smile at the day. When night comes, and with it the questions of how the day has been, I show what I have gained.

I’ve always whispered to my mind that it shall be fruitful. Like the African mothers of those days, daylight holds all that you can accomplish. I would turn my ears against my crying veins until my hands have reached the top of the orange tree where I shall pluck the oranges that I always eat in my mind on empty stomachs. Then I look at the home from which I have sprouted. I look at the roof filled with holes and the bricks cracking, then I say to myself again, “I shall remold this when I return.”

Yesterday, my neighbour asked why I act like insects that store food before the rain comes and live like birds that sing sonorously while setting forth to fulfill a desire of nature. But when I tried to unravel this for him, he told me I was speaking in a hidden language. I often wonder: how do I point at the path for which I’m sailing? How do I describe the stars and the terrors I encounter on my journey? How do I describe the demons that come to attack my home with the help of vicious creatures – men? If I fail to speak in this language that grows within me, I fail to nurture my home with the ink of my pen.

As a child, I knew I came into the world to build myself and rebuild my home. But my eyes were not clear enough to realize that my mind was different from those around me. As I grew older, my mind began to transition to a world of giants. In this world, I saw words transform into different creatures but as a young African child, I was terrified of the kind of woman I was gradually becoming. My mind was turning into a library and my head began to see visions that my hands couldn’t point out in the language that was spoken around me. One evening while I wanted to birth the stories in my pregnant mind, the words began to divide themselves into verses and stanzas and I began to speak like Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare and other great minds.

I have become a distinct creature that sees the world from different spheres and reveal it in the language that could better describe it. When I think of a king, I see a crown and a scepter. When I think of blessings, I see showering rain. Mention a word and this language shall help me describe it, with images. And on this path I have spooned my mind to grow into motherhood.

One thing I know for sure: if I do not live like a cockerel that got swooshed away by a flooding rain, I shall nurture young minds into giants with my words and great minds shall fill their libraries with my name. I often wonder how beautiful heaven would be and when I think of this, I see a mansion filled with amity and solemnness and hear people speak in poetic languages. And when I transition to the world beyond, when my hairs have borne grey fruits, I shall smile at the life I’ve lived and sing sonorously with the heavenly choral, celebrating the creator of the universe and the immortality of poetry.

Olaseni Kehinde Precious has a great enthusiasm for essays, poetry, and other creative works. She writes from the Obafemi Awolowo University
Ile-Ife where she studies English Language.

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