When Tears Become Rain Drops

Title: Tears From An Old Man’s Eyes
Poet: Bob Ekat
Pages: 74
Publisher:The Pen Society
Reviewer: Oladipo Kehinde

Poetry comes naturally to this author like leaves on trees, and with this collection of poems, aptly titled: ‘Tears from an old man’s eyes’, Bob Ekat feeds his readers with the fruits from his tree of creativity. He is the son of his age, but shares same page with sagely old men, who cannot but lament when society’s moral values are abused. Thus he says:
And I break down and cry for my land
I share these thoughts so that we can stand
   Put our hands on the sand
And make our land grand
The eyes of a poet search for beauty within lines, even while the mind wallows in the placid pleasure of the imageries. Ekat satisfies these desires in this book. His imageries are wrapped in nice-sounding words which tickle the mind; words which do not hide the passion behind them. In ‘My Words’, he proves this:
My words are like vitamin to my being:
Upholding me when I’m ill
   Helping me with the bills
And making my world real
In line with the title of the collection, the tears are like rain drops. These are tears of wasted years. Who will wipe the old man’s tears away? Change is a soothing balm and panacea for bleeding hearts. This is a wakeup call for change. A poet is an observer. Bob’s echoes Alfred Lord Tennyson in rhymes and rhythms which make the poems musical to the ears with spontaneous poetic magnitude. Bob is a living proof that poets are not, in fact, afraid of voicing hard bitter truths. In ‘Take My Life’, he writes:
Ah, death can’t be worse
Than living in this curse
   Where our country’s purse
Is the property of the political boss
The rhythm and pace of these poems capture the experiences of the poet in a voice and with a grace every listener can appreciate and admire. The poet cries for a change in the country as things seem to retrogress instead of progress. The land is all that we have and no one is greater than it. The poem, ‘The Land is Ours’, reflects Niyi Osundare’s ‘Eye of the Earth’. Here, Bob makes reference to the irrational, senseless killing in the northern region of Nigeria, and wonders if modern Nigeria reflects the dreams of our forefathers. The perpetrators are nameless, faceless, and senseless. The country is colonised internally by centrifugal forces and something is not just right. Thus, he laments:
Boko’s guns, Boko’s bombs
Turning every landscape to tombs
O, this land of our forefathers
This is not the land, the land of our forefathers
In ‘Arise Africa’, Bob states that Africa is a methodological assertion of a black man’s race. He is of the opinion that Africa is old enough to provide for her descendants. He writes that every African should rise up against the concerted forces and their stooges who are bent on holding the continent to ransom, thereby making our past heroes restless in their graves, as their children are enslaved by their leaders on their land. In the poem, he expressed his deep love for the black man’s black skin thus:
Thy colour is thy sunny strength
Blazing black radiance all around the earth
I will not be forgiven if I end this review without talking about the lighter side of the poet, Bob. He loves the African woman. He believes the African woman is the most finely crafted piece of art created. And this deep love is evident in some of his works like ‘The Girl From My Village’, ‘Strange Angel’, ‘Yemisi’, and others. These poems bring to mind the poem of Leopold Sedar Senghor, ‘Black Woman’.
The themes of hardship, love, adventure, nature, revolution, and death cut across this collection. The mood dictates the tone. The imageries are vivid in our minds. The poems have robust messages. The diction makes strong appeal to our emotion. Personification and apostrophe appeal to the sense of sight and vision. Bob is a rhyme master, an image maker, a messenger, a revolutionary and an adventurer.

Culled from-Newswatch Times Newspaper

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