Thursday, January 2, 2020

With bits of mathematics, a poem for a New Year

     Here -- containing bits of mathematical terminology --  is an excerpt from "A Poem for the New Year" by Nigerian poet Christopher Okigbo (1932-1967).  

from    A Poem for the New Year     by Christopher Okigbo

          Where then are the roots, where the solution
          To life’s equation?

          The roots are nowhere
          There are no roots here
          Probe if you may
          From now until doomsday
          We have to think of ourselves as forever   
          Soaring and sinking like dead leaves blown by a gust
          Floating choicelessly to the place where
          Old desires and new born hopes like bubbles burst
          Into nothing – blown to the place of fear
          To the cross in the void;
          Or else forever playing zero-sum game
          With fate as mate, and forever
          Slaying and mating as one by one
          Our tombstones rise in the void.

Christopher Okigbo is one of the most celebrated African poets from the twentieth century.  Born in Ojoto, Eastern Nigeria in 1932, he studied the classics and was a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, before joining the Biafran side during the Nigerian Civil War. Since his death in 1967 during the war, Okigbo has become legendary in African poetry and as a source of inspiration for younger writers.  The complete text for "A Poem for the New Year" is available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment