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To the Painter of Dreams: Poems by Marvel Chukwudi Pephel

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash remixed


Paint my dreams blue,
For it is in it I will swim – sea.
For it is in it I shall soar – sky.

Paint my dreams blue,
For life is a sea, for life is the sky –
I will sail, I will fly.



a kite licks the sky,
the boy draws the string like he’s the king of kites.
He looks into the far horizon, away from his kite,
and sees his mother — the first one, the dead one,
before his father went to the neighbouring village
and picked Jezebel.
He wipes his eyes, his new vision
reveals his father at home, Bomboy strapped to his back,
pounding fufu.
He is transfixed for a moment;
when he becomes himself again, he draws the string gently
hoping it does not tear and that he will return home
to find his father still breathing.


(Tribute to W.S., C.A., and C.N.A.)

You must set forth at dawn
Before it is half of a yellow sun,
Even if the thing around your neck is so heavy
Your feet begin to wobble under the weight
      Of the burden.
You must have the courage to continue your journey, my son,
Even if things fall apart.
Life is a lesson learned in the classroom of experiences,
Don’t stay too long in the cafeteria.

You must set forth at dawn
Even if the arrow of God is coming to fight for you.
Don’t stay too long in the shadow of sorrow,
For you need light to blossom into a glorious purple hibiscus.

You must set forth at dawn
      Like a warrior;
For in this Peccable sphere called Earth,
Life is but a Merry-go-round.


Poems © Marvel Chukwudi Pephel
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash remixed

Marvel Chukwudi Pephel
Marvel Chukwudi Pephel
Marvel Chukwudi Pephel is a prolific Nigerian writer who writes poems, short stories and other things besides. His works have appeared or are forthcoming in Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, High Coupe, The Kalahari Review, The Avocet, The Naked Convos, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, Praxis Magazine for Arts and Literature, Academy of the Heart and Mind, I Am Not a Silent Poet, PIN Quarterly Journal, African Writer, amongst others. He was shortlisted for the 2016 Quality Poets Competition. His poetry was selected for the Best New African Poets 2016 Anthology. He is currently a two-time winner of the Creative Writing Ink Competition (Ireland). You can follow him on Twitter @Marvel_C_Pephel.

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