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The Beautiful Ones are Born: Poems by Dike Chukwumerije


The water does not run
When you twist the tap
But my face shines like the sun

The teacher does not come
When you go to school
But my soul is still winsome

I haven’t stopped laughing
Even when the police
Ask for a bribe or keep me in prison

I haven’t stopped living
Even when politicians
Give me nothing to believe in

Do not mistake me
For things around me
For all the things ruined around me

The roads are broken
But not my heart
It is not my mind that is broken



Though strange men from distant places
Tall and thin with ghostly faces
Spouting lies and bloody deeds
Robbing, preaching God and creeds
Were the ones who drew the map
Bound us all within that map
Though we stand on such foundation
Badly built- we are one nation

Though we fought no freedom wars
And no one tells the old folklores
No common cause to warm our hearts
Soft burning flames to light our paths
No hero sung from North to South
No valour that we brag about
Though we stand with such a history
Badly written- we are one country
Though we fight against each other
Kill and strike down one another
Turn our rivers red with blood
Pelt our faces with spit and mud
Raise our children to be suspicious
Of their brothers from other regions
Though we stand on legs so feeble
Badly broken- we are one people

Though we speak in different tongues
Sing and dance to different songs
Glory in our different places
Proud of all our different faces
We are men in masquerades
Dancing to vain accolades
Though we stand such pretension
Badly acted- we are one nation.



We have not come to weep
We have not come to despair
We have not come to throw hands up
And hang our heads in fear
We have not come to whine
We have no tears to cry
We have not come to stand in line
Until our time to die

We have not come to wait
For fate to favour us
We have not come to blame the past
When present things grow worse
We have not come to contemplate
Where it is plain to see
What must be done to forge ahead
And make our children free

We have not come to watch
The leaves come off the tree
The shadows creep across the wall
Till now is history
It is our choice to act
There’s too much to be done
We have not come to leave the cross
To those yet to be born.

Poems © Dike Chukwumerije

Dike Chukwumerije
Dike Chukwumerije
I studied Law at the University of Abuja between 1996 and 2001 and attended the Nigerian Law School in 2002/2003. I went on to obtain a masters degree in law at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2005. I am currently studying for a professional qualification in management accounting (CIMA).

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