Poetry beyond the shadows of a whisper – New Telegraph

Shadows Of Whisper by Ladi Soyode is a hybrid collection of 82 seminal poems designed in a tripartite structure – ‘Brevity’, ‘Verse’ and ‘Prose-poems’, a categorization which seems somewhat idiosyncratic but for which the author can conveniently appreciate the most poetic license brandished. I must hasten to state at the outset that all three sections are eminently qualified as poetry in the finest sense of the art. The “brevity”, the opening section, is no less poetic since, in any case, parsimony in stylistic phraseology is one of the fundamental characteristics of primitive poetry – the creative ability to pack maximum meaning into the minimum support, to transmit the most message with the least language. Brevity is therefore stylistic efficiency, the management of linguistic resources in the expression of the finest thought.

The second section of Soyode’s collection, which bears the clear and self-revealing label of “Verse”, is a tacit assertion of the obvious, while the third and final category contains “Prosepoems” which I had to wrongly addressed in my initial reading as polyphonic. prose. The seven prose poems of “Shadow of a Whisper” are difficult to fit into polyphonic prose because they lack generic attributes of prose such as clear sentence boundaries, fidelity to punctuation, and a distinct narrative plot or explanatory card. They have been correctly referred to as prose poems, i.e.

poems constructed with a certain prosaic flavor in the form of paragraphs, but which nonetheless hide in their flowing rhythmic complex and captivating patterns and tropes. Indeed, all 82 pieces in the collection are poems of varying lengths and structures organically united by an uncanny faith in the possibilities of hope and redemption through love in a world ravaged by lust and hate, powerfully portrayed through captivating, juicy and memorable images. diction and enchanting melody.

Adopting the dominant Judeo-Christian cosmology lightly flavored with Yoruba mythology, Soyode deftly manipulates the English language to configure the dilemmas that plague unregenerate humanity trapped in the dialectic of dualities of curious contrasts and contradictions. Oscillating through the three layers of realities and human experience, that is to say the sensitive, the mental and the spiritual, the poet paints a world ravaged by the wars of the body, the spirit and the soul. soul whose phenomenology as a critical-philosophical approach is well suited. to deconstruct. Given the Judeo-Christian cosmography in which the collection is set, the biblical influence manifests itself through the poems in the form of allusions, echoes and insinuations – the indirect expiation of sin, the syndrome of Judas, the baptismal rites, the crucifixion, the lamb of love, the angelic hosts, among the lot that permeates the atmosphere.

The poet highlights the deception and danger of lust and infatuation and other forms of carnal desire in this modern age where sex has been completely democratized. He warns in very powerful and piquant imagery that the search for fulfillment and lasting happiness in the misadventures of midnight is akin to the futility and folly of seeking the sun in the dead of night (p.78 ). Conversely, the world of true lovers, according to the poet, is a rhyme, a rhythm, a harmony, like the words of a beautiful poem (p.28). Drawing on the cerebral, if iconoclastic, musicality of Abami Eda (the strange one who never dies), Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the poet identifies with the avant-garde role of the artist as friend of the masses, enemy of monstrous masters, as graphically depicted in “You Can’t”.

Art, therefore, especially poetry, is the abandonment and fruition of the soul which recalls and redirects amnesiac humanity. In this regard, the artist is the memory and reminder of his race, his prophetic guide and guardian spirit (p.50). In the eponymous poem, “Shadows of a Whisper”, the poet wrestles with the artist’s mandate and burden to distill perfection from imperfection, impose order on apparent disorder, and expose disorder. in a deceptive order, all for the purpose of fulfilling its role as the beacon of hope and rebirth. The poet confesses his fervent faith in a God who listens, the same Author of “the tragic flowering of a faded rose” and of “the magic of the silent boom”. In the dialectic of contrasts and contradictions, opposites negate, combine and finally annihilate; God alone is the lasting strangeness (pp.38-39).

In ‘Lost or Found’, the poet further preaches the reciprocity of love as the basis for sustainable development and lasting happiness, that is, love should be shared and not hoarded. It is then and only then that the black rage that is currently ravaging the nation can be overcome and annihilated by the light of love in the complex dialectic of the contrasting and contradictory dualities of our phenomenal world. But the poet’s redemptive and regenerative vision is not simply nationalistic; it is also at the same time Afrocentric, Pan-African and universal. Shadows of a Whisper contains ingeniously knit nuggets of wisdom wrapped in vivid epigrams, witty aphorisms and pungent paradoxes: “The earth is a jungle of wolves”; “Life is a fragile gift” (p.42); “At maturity, all eggs give life” (p.43); “Humanity is not nice at all”; “Scorpions and snakes speak the dialect of poisonous bloom”; “The earth shelters savagery” (p.48); “Humanity, the king of beasts” (p.46), etc.

The parting lesson for Nigeria is that patriotic and philanthropic love must spring from the soul and that is what we must possess rather than bitter inter-regional, inter-ethnic and inter-religious rivalry, bigotry and antipathy.


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