This week, we start our May 2016 roller coaster on this “borderless motivational” space with reflections from the mind of one of those persons who stimulates our deep seated introspection on what our mission is on Earth, while at the same time, keeping us attuned to our spiritual side. Irrespective of our different race, religion, creed or gender, many of us can relate to a spiritual side. If this is true, then contemplate on how we can all live in harmony in our world today. As individuals, groups, sects or nations. To aid your contemplation, take a few seconds to seek answers from within, to this latest thought-provoking question of our guest feature this week before you dive in to read his poem.
What difference will the courage to admit mistakes to say ‘I got it wrong, I sinned, I made mistakes’. “And I am sorry make to our spiritual life?”
(Michael Achile Umameh, 2016)
AFRICA, ETIOLATED SUNFLOWER
Does my full throated and deep seated laughter incense you?
Does the universe of wealth under my African soil irritate you?
Or does the rounded shoulder of my sons,
The shapely hips of my daughters incite you?
These hybrids: African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Black-British and Franco-Negritude; and the dialectical helix of this indubitable thread: Afro-Hispanic
Does these admixtures show the sharp edges of my resilience? I am Africa.
Plundered, duped, sold, hybridized and soiled. Yet the blood is red
And my patch of earth still green and flowing with murk and diamond
Still flowing with the black gold and bloody memories of mine and yours.
Does the blonde-hair, blue-eyes, chocolate-skin, and generous nose, offend you?
Sorry mate, I can’t help, I am endowed.
Has the sound of samba, the tap-tap of patapata dwarf your noisy pop?
The graceful movements of lips, hips, flips; shatter your hysteria, named dance?
Sorry love, I can’t help it, I am endowed.
My house is burning, oil fields smouldering, yet my laughter enduring
The stuff African is made of. Mr and Mrs Grumpy:
Tell my woeful tales, paint my pain with highlights
On your meddlesome media, killjoy, let it run, ruining theatre of propaganda
Tired resilience of the dying embers of a spent empire
Africa, still rising, young and stronger, a sunflower, etiolated and variegated.
Whorled by your bitter tales, unfolding still
Maroon red back is no rust but a chocolate tan
Ebony in waiting. This lustrous black. Indubitable
Images of gods, etched in ebony of clay
Is sacred and inviolable.
Our stolen gods, makes temples of your museums
In ivories and in pyramids
In caves and in graves
I echo the true tales without the sweetener of your propaganda
My dusky rivers and mucky marsh seed with diamond.
A roof of star-flanked sky over me
Coiled in a duvet of fresh silence and roasted air.
Barn owl, nightingale are nesting in my hair
The sparrow won’t sing me a lullaby
For the smoky flare, made her angry.
Africa red breasted hope, rise, fly
The angry birds of the west are here. To stay.
-Umameh, Michael Achile @ 2016
Michael Achile Umameh is a unique Catholic Priest – yes, you read right. He is presently the Priest in Residence, of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Rev. Father Michael Achile Umameh, is a Nigerian-born catholic priest, a doctoral student of Mathematics Education, University of Leeds. A published poet, critic, social commentator and avid promoter of Indigenous African Literature and Ethnomathematics of the Igala speaking people of Nigeria.
His published anthologies are The Memoir of the Reluctant Prodigal (2006) and The Mills of the gods and Other Rented Tears (2011). His forthcoming publication Walls pretending as Doors is in press. He is eclectic in his approach to literature and arts. He obtained degrees from the University of Ibadan (2000), Pontifical Urban University, Rome (2004), University of Benin, Benin-city(2011), University of Bristol, Bristol (2012) and University of Leeds (PhD cand). His research interest investigates how to understand the mathematics teachers’ appropriation and integration of digital resources into mathematics teaching, its impact on classroom practices and the implication for professional development.
Testimony of his prolific writing activities can be found at:
Further more, he is one of the new age crusaders for the African Continent propagating the message for us to believe in our selves and collaborate in an ever evolving world to get back our pride of place in the new world emergent order.
It was a very humbling experience for members of Team LR, to meet with this very humble unassuming high achiever who is many great things rolled into one! “It must be because he is a Priest one of us said”. ‘No, replied another, we would never have guessed he is a Priest. He never flinched nor reprimanded my very obvious non-religious attitude and bizarre dressing said another’. Well, our very esteemed readers, which do think it is? Leave us your musings on not only the thought provoking poem above, but also on the poet – a specimen of humanity that greatly inspires many even without him being aware of it.