Title of Chap Bok: Canticles for Abeni
Name of Author/Poet: Adesokan Babatunde Waliyullah
Year of Publication 2022
Cover Photo: Todd Arnes
Cover Design: Jide Badmus
Number of Pages: 31(Inclusive of Acknowledgement)
Reviewer: Salamatu Sule
This collection of praise poetry by Adesokan Babatunde Waliyullah is one that creates words that are birthed to breath as if they are humans. Every line is a song that is beautifully written to the eyes and pleasing to the ears even as we read silently. Each line runs musically breaking into melodies of praises as it runs into another verse.
The eponymous character Abeni, is the object of the affection of the poet like the song of a lover’s tale told in musical notes. Laced with lyrics, caesura and enjambment, the imagery so created by the poet gives us the pictures of the entire collection.
“Abeni, the cloud cakes into a new day
& the dawn dazes your brightness into
my eager eyes”.
Abeni is herein referred to by the poet as the rising Sun of a beautiful morning. A very striking metaphor laced with consonance of “Cloud cakes”, “day dawn dazed”. While Abeni can be a wife figure, it also may portray here the wake of a beautiful and promising day.
The poet eulogies the literary scholarships of Toyin Falola, Maya Angelou and other, In A Mouth Sweeter than Salt , he described the historian so aptly that a reader who has never come in contact with Folola or his art will be drawn to do so.
For you have turned proverbs into herbs &
Charmed well-timed seasons into histories
That only a god could have scribbled
Only historical scholars like Falola are deserving or worthy of this kind of praise for he Falola, has duly earned it. In his Memoir, A Mouth Sweeter than Salt, he documents his almost 13 years of life and experiences as well as reflections about Nigeria. As the Poet puts it:
“You mount memoirs from the mouth of
Mapo Hill, with your words raining praises
That soften the anthill to sands.”( CFA Pg7)
Adesokan also finds nature, city and places as his muse that a reader is easily transported to the land of his muse in vivid imagery For example in the poem Queen of the Night
But my love is the breeze
that breaks the dawn:
In fine personification, the poet finds Breeze as the natural freshness that he loves. In another line, he made mention of the breeze that is caressing.
Let the breeze course
through your silky petals,
The object of the poet’s muse is the Queen of the Night; a certain flower that’s known to spread its perfume at night while it goes to sleep by morning.
Anticles, the title poem comes in a quatrain broken into melodies that is rhythmical. A sort of Splam or hymn that can only be heard through the musical note of a violin from the Cathedral.
Adesokan explored varied kind of themes in this collection: I have observed that love is a major thematic preoccupation which is expected for an Ode. However, the beauty is in how he writes it using the different elements of life especially most of the components of earth: Hills, Mountain, brown earth, Breeze and many more.
I have also observed that this collection will make a perfect audio piece and will very much be a masterpiece on stage should the author/poet considers it.
Finally, I want to recommend this collection to every lover of poetry and for those who still sees poetry as a bore.