Heart Beats In The Mangrove, a collection of poems by Fabiah Briggs brings to the fore a creek of a low tide with three thematic movements namely: nature and environment; history and contemporary happenings and praise worship. The latter segment echoes Miltonian sensibility of paradise lost as evident in ‘Cymbals to the Creator’. The nation needs the help of renaissance Moses.
The discovery of oil has caused a paradigm shift from Agriculture and no nation can survive without it. God used Joseph to save lives when there was famine in Egypt and all the land. Nigeria should borrow a leaf from that and bring back the good old days.
Fabiah writes in “They Destroy With Much Impunity” O gracious God, pray hearken when we wail. The poet’s thematic preoccupation depicts the rich natural resources the country is endowed with. Corruption, kidnapping and violence have become the anthem of the day. Nothing seems to work out on the platform of dialogue. Fabiah writes: Blood becomes the aesthetic value/ respect for human souls violently vanished.
The Niger delta youths pick up arms. Insecurity has become our day’s mares. Angst of impoverishment from class crass, creating policy that chokes the nation with fear and insecurity. We survive to destroy the chain of dependency syndrome. Collective negligence of our leaders. In “Millions Melt Away” the Poet’s lament: Trillions grow wings/ And fly away into oblivion/ Some tucked away anonymously/ In foreign bank account!
A wake up call in the midst of plenty. Fabiah’s poems give a picture of the reflective mood of the deplorable conditions of the Niger Delta. The political gladiators’ are merging and vetting the aspirant for the next election.
The land is famished. The citizens breathe the mountain air. The land is keen on virulent ideology, invidious looting. Words lurking horns in flimsy debates. Violence foisting discrepancy. The Poet put it thus in “Bind Us Lord”: How beautiful it would be/ If we hold in unity/ Networking bridges of oneness/ And breaking the walls of division/ Forgetting all the past/ Stepping on of toes/.
We pray for the peace of nature to flow into the land as sun flows into trees. Let the sun of understanding shines on every dark spots on the land. “This river of oil belongs to us. The metaphors of our thoughts are unbroken. The Niger Delta militancy is a result of the deplorable backwardness of the oil producing state. The youth restiveness is another time bomb. Amnesty will be given after killing one another in the long run.
What seems very important to us, we turn away from it and we are facing the consequence. We have compromised moral and ethical values.” Fabiah‘s artistic eyes points the way forward with a rhetorical question in this volume. The oil has caused riff, rancor and discord.
The Poet depicts: “We will continue to receive the pain/ While they steadfastly extract the gain? Every question needs an answer.” Little will go round when there is love. The nation needs to settle its differences and stop the senseless killing and bombing.
The oil is a blessing not a curse. In “Curse or Blessing” The Poet writes: “Sucking out oil/ From all the veins therein/ Why press they your womb. It is really sad for the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) to break the fences they mend. The Boko Haram insurgency is militating against the peace and unity of the land. Terrorists tail to terrorize.”
Fabiah recommends: “Mend your fences quickly with the twigs of unity”. Love is the medicine for pain, anger and the peace of love, on all.