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Of Dreams and Reality: Poems By Olatunji Ololade


It is a luxury that knows no blight
The innocence of the weaning years
When the soul knows no pain
And the heart is free from pain
I remember the two great gourds
From which I nourished like a sot
And what strident shrieks greeted my infirm steps
Into a weary world!
It was in those days when papa was a god
And mama was an angel
When heaven was sneaking to Iya Legun’s eko and gbure
While Alhaja keeps the flies away from our rice
I remember Christmas in Itoku
When Iya Oni gaari could see us
Those were the better days
Papa is still a god
Mama is still an angel
Will memories of yesterday
Comfort the reality of today?
Iya Legun won’t rise from her slumber
Iya Oni gaari still gropes in the dark
I remember the better days
I long for the hood of (a) child



On the fog-drenched
paths of dawn,
eighteen hearts beat on
the wings of our dreams,
ambition meets the dull
cold chill of the morn

buoyed by the love
for fatherland,
passion stoked by the
frost-coloured lips of death,
winged tenants of the firmament,
recoil and flee the crimson breath

Now that the burning
hearths are quenched,
and flames gut the steely-bird,
would torrents douse the tongues of red
or honour soothe the pain of death?

Children scream,
lovers weep,
statesmen chant in eulogies,
but conscience flees in the wake
of the last bugle, and leaves
us to their greed.



When we stir from the splendour of pleasant perfect dreams
We awaken to apparent reality
And relax to ponder
Our travails in wonder
Like the gnat that terrifies the cattle lot
So do our troubles assail us
Fanning in our hearts the glowing embers of a distempered
For that which we love
But could not have
Which we covet
But could not get
Dark clouds hover above our sweetest dreams
Like a jack-knife over a fattened cow
And we bask in the eerie effluorescence
Of a dreaded moonlight
Will our dreams not see fruition by the morning light?



This world is but a brilliant parody
The ineffable screen  to the beauty within
Had you been conscious of this reality
Would you have made all the mistakes that you made?
You wish you had a second chance
You did undo the errors you still make
Had you a third chance
Would you escape the folly of jealousy
And the pain of separation?
Would you scorn the beauty of vanity
And the wantonness of fleeting pleasure?
But you revel in the pleasure of your foolery
He that scorns the forelock
Takes three steps to the hemlock
The reason for today
Is in the wisdom of yesterday
Destiny would not be blamed for the basest of your follies
Have you the courage
Would you ask who I am?

I am the compassion in your heart
The brute in your recurring nightmare
I am the prison that holds your soul captive
The portal to your freedom
You call me guilt
I call me Conscience.



Shall I to the plaudits of hideous hearts
Besmear this humble art?
He is no bard that seeks to please your pettiness
The greatest of rhymes
Would make no monster sublime
Let us absolve the devil of the easy blame
The evil in man bewilders shame
The world won’t be a better place
Until we find elsewhere to grace
The beggar is still in the rain
Three nights ago, he passed in pain
Many an upright man has fallen for the love of truth
And the heroes’ cloak adorn the shoulders of the lying
Fair justice with faith elope
And leaves our fate to dangling hope
Now with sighs we wine and dine
Are we a blight on a dream divine?

Shall I to your pleasure bridle my errant tongue
And soothe your nerves with pleasing rhymes?
Shall I recall of an esoteric past
Where verdurous vales cross splendorous streams
And esplanades bestrode the seas?
Shall I write you a ballad
Of dainty dames and gallant knights
Of blighted battle for love denied?
Shall I go the way of the fruitless fold
And pander to your wantonness
And paint to you a life of beaut
Where roses grow on concrete slabs
And sorrow mourns its ebbing twilight?
Shall I cease to be a man
And call a frown a simmering smile?
Shall I caress the swollen belly of your pride
And squander truth on minds untrue?
There is a smile on every face I see
And a sneer in every heartbeat
Do you not believe me?
Am I just a shoot thinking myself an elm?
Look at the man beside you
Into the depths of his eyes
Just like you do
He loves you not.


(c) Olatunji Ololade


Olatunji Ololade
Olatunji Ololade
Ololade is a Journalist, Columnist, Novelist and Poet. He is the author of “Reality Bites – A collection of poetic essays”


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