I am She

I was doomed from the beginning.
Before I got a chance to know my family,
I was sold into slavery.
My father was royalty,
but when my new parents came,
He sold me off like a bale of cotton.

So, I became one of them.
Dressed like them,
Talked like them.
Ate, what they ate and quickly, I forgot my roots.
I was perfect at birth they said,
Ten fingers and toes all wonderfully made,
A headful of coarse black hair.
And no identity.

Throughout adolescence,
I was at war within myself.
I had many vices;
The love of money,
Of all things glittery and sweet
Of murder, drunkenness, and pride.
Many have died for me,
“For you”, they said, all for you.

I had an inheritance, but they took it all away, and called it theirs.
They named my streets after their sons while my father looked on unable to stop them.
My lands, my people, my crops…All gone!
My oil was my nemesis
It bubbled from within me
And came forth black, sweet and pleasant.
For a moment, it was my salvation,
Now, it seems it will be the death of me.
It is all I have left,
Until there is nothing left of me.
Today, I am coming of age
I weep for my sons, who have squandered it all,
For my daughters, who are struggling to rebuild me.

There is much to be grateful for,
For peace, however fragile,
For the seasons and for time,
For time, heals all wounds
I am in labour, while the world looks on
Each birth pang piercing through my core.
The world awaits a generation who will rejoice in my heritage,
Who will take back all that I have lost,
Who will reclaim my lost glory,
A generation that would not be ashamed to call me ‘mama’.

I am of many cultures woven loosely together.
Beautiful on the outside
Broken on the inside
Many wars rage on in my heart,
Those caused by beliefs, tribes and tongues that never agree.
The odds are against me, it would seem.
But, I am Nigeria,
I will thrive.

(c) Olamide Oti, 2014

30 Comments Add yours

  1. redgladiola says:

    Lovely poem. I thought it was a person at first but when you mentioned oil I suddenly knew you spoke of a country.

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you! I had hoped to portray my country as a person and give her a voice. I am glad you figured it out.

      Like

  2. Jude says:

    Beautiful piece!
    Happy birthday Nigeria!

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thanks Jude…Happy birthday to ‘mama’.

      Like

  3. TosinFatade says:

    Welldone, keep hope alive. Nigeria will thrive!

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Hope it seems, is all we have left. Indeed she will. Thank you for stopping by. 😊

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on Dr Clifford – @Worship_Maniac and commented:
    Independence Day! Oct 1

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thanks Cliff! Happy independence day!

      Like

  5. Luke Ogar says:

    Nigeria personified. I had to wait till the end to understand fully. Nice piece

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you Luke, you are far too kind.

      Like

  6. adedayo10 says:

    Thumbs up…love the personification….Good to see some people still believe in Nigeria

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you Dayo, we are the generation who will bring change to Nigeria. Happy independence day dear.

      Like

  7. Gbenga oti says:

    you should win an award for this poem. its really good

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you sis, you inspire me.

      Like

  8. Wow, can’t believe I’m just reading this (actually, I can 🙂 ) Great piece. Carried me along. Keep it up, where it belongs.

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you Emmanuel! It is good to have you here again. I am humbled 😊

      Like

  9. Tolu 'Tuyole says:

    Beautiful piece. Couldn’t stop reading. Keep it up.

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you Tolu…I’m glad you stopped by.

      Like

  10. nezeyi says:

    Yes. I’m finally reading it too. At least on here anyway 😉
    It is indeed a thoughtful personification of our Nigeria…quilting patches of history, travails, brokenness and hope.
    Yeah, you already know I like it 😉 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Olamide says:

      Nezeyi hi! As always your comments make me smile, ‘quilting patches of history, travails, brokenness and hope’, I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you 😊

      Like

      1. nezeyi says:

        You’re welcome, anytime! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Ope fab says:

    lovely….keep it up!

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you Ope fab 😊

      Like

  12. jollof says:

    Your words were vivid and your use of imagery really made the poem come to life for me. Well-written and worthy of getting more publicity. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt piece 🙂

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you! It’s so kind of you to say that. Glad you stopped by, and left your footprints behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Onye says:

    lovely piece! I have no words; honestly blown away!

    Like

    1. Olamide says:

      Thank you sweetie. 😊

      Like

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