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African Writing Archives


Patrick Iberi



Patrick Iberi

Iberi is the Art Editor of Maple Tree Literary Supplement ( He has a background in philosophy and is greatly interested in existentialism. He works as a freelance writer, with attention (in varying degrees) on essays on the arts, literary criticism and poetry. His writings have appeared in a number of print and online publications. This set of poems is taken from a forthcoming collection with the working title, Echoes of a Desolate Voice.


 Four Poems

In the absence of shadows
The world is cowed in fright
Am I such a threat to these souls?
Or is it the night that won't let them be?

The night that hides the muse of songs unknown
But yields to the cravings of the ethereal bard

You have witnessed the birth of my consciousness
In the aesthetics of human nature
And you have known me on tombstones
My verdict is of expressions hidden but not lost

Mine is the invocation of symbols
To conjure the victory of silence over speech
To convey the reward of virtues of an age
And to capture the beauty of dreams in the dark

But why do I stay awake anyway?
Is it for the spirits that seek my salve?

Is it for the voice that hunger still for food?
Or is it for the promise of a new dawn?
That would prelude a trial of those who seek
To define poetry in stranger words than these!


Prompted by a million stares
I salivate, I stutter, I speak
Words are scarce upon your mirrored gaze
The constant visage of illusion
Peering yet again into obscured visions
I am enchanted…

Pupils dilating but seeing nothing
Just the mocking blackout
You’re undressed time and again
And anointed in the depths of my slumber
Where in a hallowed wish
Every lust is primed

I have looked through these sockets
And beheld the rainbow’s hue
And in them seen the world’s mysteries
Break into an old forgotten tune
Which beggar and prince have sang
The heart conceals more long after our eyes agree

Images are forever fleeting
And don’t ask me why!


You will not see me drenched in self-pity
After all I am the jailer’s cause for joy
Torn between innocence and freedom
Like a night out with puberty
Why should I speak again?
When I’ve learnt how to sing
To the jingle of lock and keys
And if I sit away in thoughts
Who’ll alter the chorus and bestir the lasting calm
That I’ve found in captivity

You will not see me cower in fright
In this bleak enclosure
What could really faze me?
After I’ve seen the wrath man can muster
I am the plaintive testimony foretold
Mine is the echo of a desolate voice
Floating in the still air, gravitating towards every eye
That saw Codo write on the wall
Invoking the secrets of sorrow
And poised to swab tears yet unshed

You’ll only notice as I eat up the cloudy day
In the hope of a brighter tomorrow
Where I’ll lend a mystic line to the passage of time
And witness the gothic fables
Of undying human frailty
Of invocations soaked in despair
Sagging like a corpse on a hangman’s noose
You’ll spot me flirt with liberty
And open a new vista for dreams
Since the night won’t go away!

Life’s Rhythm

Life strikes a rhythm
And leave choices before us
To midwife celestial vigils
Or sleep on the other side
To awake no more

Life strikes a rhythm
Where tributes run dry,
The sea assail our hopes,
Now like rebels in a slave ship
They must fight or drown

Life strikes a rhythm
Faster than a shooting star
Pillowing high on heaven’s accord
We who grope for a comet
Should come down with the skies

Life strikes a rhythm
In between harmonic passions
Rising high on conjugal tempos
With sustained libidinal pitches
For the dawn’s declaration

In one starving moment
Life’s rhythm shall rhyme!
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