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Dream on Canvas: Poems by Onis Sampson

Image: Cristina Gottardi via Unsplash.com


Nature teaches me not to yield
to intimations of fantasy,
but to weigh on scale pulp pages of every cloud
over my face, to devour the resolution of diarists
who inspire these sea waves to break and lap.

A bewildered god whitened by desert cold,
whirlwinds flipping over sticky pages
of some cloud crowded with the howls of Ginsberg—
I cross the receding shores to the first palm tree
and sizzle into Picasso’s canvas.

By these shores, I am obsessed with
the neck of bamboos and the mythical phrases
they submit— postdating the lapping sea waves.
Pleasures of the dreamily distracted—
absolved in the contortion of lines.

A dissenting brush in hand
that hatches constellations
of the surrealist—images of hellish dolls
bleeding blood from their eyes, revving
the pulse of the sadist who gleams in a crypt.

Tonight, I shall sit against the moon,
and exclaim a post-modernist’s philosophy,
watch Pound’s Imagiste drag their philosophies
onto my canvas. And come into that quiet
beyond dreams and the utopian.

Soon, like sea waves tired of their ripples,
I will surrender the grace of pencils
for contraction of brush strokes,
cautious of the ear’s expectations
and the spectrum that dances before the eyes

hour after hour to become a fiery graffiti.
And come into that quiet beyond dreams.
Tonight, I hope my heart sustains this dream,
I shall smoke in rainbow-coloured images
and puff out poetry stuffed with synaesthesia.



Art is atmosphere conjured
in nursery beds of a fertile mind.
At twilight, every eye
surrenders to curiosity.
This river bank
guides me to conclusions
wearing about it enchantment.
Abstractions need no garment
in corporeal whole.

Behold the waters,
behold the beaters
and the restorers of our flotilla.



On a bright savannah stretch,
the dreamers stand.

They gaze at penumbras.
They stroll, full of charged energy.

They are orbs and still
pleasant multi-faceted beams.

Their love goes for the blue of the sky
and the green of this thicket.

But oil spillage chokes their land
by its gullet and takes it to comatose

poured out to effluvium:
measured in scales of a Lagdo dam flood.

Poems © Onis Sampson
Image: Cristina Gottardi via Unsplash.com

Onis Sampson
Onis Sampsonhttp://www.onisreviewz.wordpress.com
Onis Sampson is an award-winning Nigerian author, poet, short-story writer, playwright, and practicing lawyer. His collection of poems, A City is talking inside my head was published recently by Proofnet Press. His poems and short fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Vinyl Poetry, Authorpedia, Tuck Magazine, Noise Medium, Praxis Mag, African Eyeball anthology.


  1. Somber images, with streaks of a cross-cultural disposition. And when you think you have it all in a corner, you suddenly realize the leash is burst! Onis Samson is certainly an act to watch.

    • Yeah, Sir Jeff, your comments drive home the point with depth & accurate analysis.
      Cross-cultural tendencies and discourses on hybridity are layered in the poems as you’ve rightly observed.

      Thanks for the plaudit & commendation! It keeps fueling the fire of creativity…

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