My cousin, Ini used to live in Nigeria at some point (she was older than me). Two things I remember about her were that she was prime and proper. While we sat at the table eating and getting excited, she faced her food, ate daintily and didn’t speak till she was done. And when she did, it was because she was spoken to.
We called her mum ‘Aunty Ibadan’ (because they lived in Ibadan at the time) and Ini could speak Yoruba fluently. Ini left Nigeria and vowed never to return because she had taken some entrance exams, passed very well but rather than give her admission into University, the person in charge wanted to have his way with her before assisting. she never got over that shock. I’m not sure she came visiting anymore. As I didn’t see her again but I knew she didn’t get married either…got consumed with work and God.
When she passed on, my mum was really sad and she blamed our educational system (that evil man) for sending Ini (and indeed other bright minds) away with their lecherous behavior. Since September 11th I have written series of poems about it. Though I didn’t maintain that habit every year, I never forgot.
Dawn broke out with promise
…A promise that the sun will shine through
Or perhaps it will rain after the dew
…Promise of dates not to miss
And links we need to keep
Dawn awoke and time kept its’ tick.
The day nations stood still
…And hearts ceased to beat
Buildings came tumbling and crashed upon the dreams
Hopes were dashed as glasses flew
Potentials buried as the heat grew.
May be some knew
And never said
But as blood flowed
United we prayed
Hoping against the unseen
That someone we love survived the scene.
Wishing they had gone minutes later
Thereby missing the burning towers
Wishing we had loved them better
And hugged a little longer
Wishing we knew
…And halted the true.
It was someone’s birthday
Or perhaps 2 became 1 that day
Someone else remember with hurt
A loved one that never returned
However you choose to view
It’ll always be true
That September 11th
Will never be forgotten.
In memory of my cousin
and others that didn’t say good-bye
© 2001 Frances Kelvin Otung
A YEAR AFTER
Families were torn apart
With deep pains in every heart.
Every tongue and tribe
Had a reason to cry
The wounds of yesterday
Had refused to die.
There was a bond after the bomb
…A peace beyond all storms
A unity that brought divinity
Dispatching balms and healing hearts.
A unity that brought us longing
Reaching out to the rest more loving.
A year is gone now
…We made it through somehow.
Thought it will always hurt
Let each new day tear down the walls
So we can see beyond the fall
The flowers that have sprout.
Believing that this newness of life
Will wither all strife
And keep us on our feet
Giving the devil sweet defeat.
‘Cos painful it’s true
Yet God still rules and our aches to remove!
© 2002 Frances Kelvin Otung