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The Spectrum of Fear: Poems by Ubong Anwana


Balancing on a knife’s edge
Would determine the weight of a feather
But would be futile
when a man’s spirit is on scale.

Innate intelligence of a desperado
Grappling with straws plucked from the roots
The mirror cracked; faces replicated,
Life and existence is a schizophrenic affair

Men in bits held by wraiths of violence
Tempered with hatred, retching saccharine feud
Spouting death and misery,
With saturnine fervor

Vengeance repackaged repainted and recycled,
Transmuted hatred, sublimate as peace.
Eagles with olive leaves and arsenals,
Cannot spare the prey.

Troubleshooters with eyes on gold
Measure blood, its weight in cash
And salve their crude conscience with oil
Machiavellian doves with poise and finesse

The world is your grasp
Active volcanoes your playground
Your best soup is bloody lies
And toasted deceit

Atropos has sharpened her shears.
Fortune has been ravished by men,
Whose eyes do not think,
Infected with political satyriasis

“How long will you stare at the weaver?”
“the tapestry has been done!!”

The Gangster took Gang wars
from the streets to the globe,
Yet when apprentices ply the trade
The master interjected with interdictions

Mega bombs for megapolis
Nerve gases for the nervous
Innocence died on the cross
Welcome to the real world.

The business end of the needle
Sews and pricks the seamstress
When you point one finger
Three points back to you

“You think hell was the abode
Where hellions dine with the devil.
No, it is home of the helpless, suppressed
And oppressed
Whose voices have been muted,
By politics and the bullet”



Truth gets sacred and scarce
Like a masquerade’s grove
And a masked clergy
Sitting in a grilled box
Pardoning the penitent.

Truth gets enigmatic
Like a tailless sphinx
And slave ships
On a journey of a million miles
Shrouded in thick uncertainty
Of an uneventful return.

Truth gets blurred
Like eyes filmed with cataract
And lanes shrouded with mist
And fog in the mid morning
And the glazed vision of the drunk.

Truth lacks illumination
Like a teacher with amnesia,
Like a blind footballer,
And a dry river bed
And a soloist with sore throat.



Red is anger; conceived by passion and impulsive hate
Orange is bitter-sweet; fear which stays feeling rejected
Yet loved, abandoned yet cherished.
Yellow is compliance; fear which comes from the band wagon,
The urge to jump ship before it is too late
Green-gray is envy; fear which comes from primes inter pares, the top dog syndrome
Green is jealousy; fear which comes from within, makes us human yet urges us to seek deification.
Blue is reverence; fear which acknowledges supremacy and renders its due
Indigo is indignant fear; fear which is conceived by
Prejudice and segregation
Violet is violent; fear that acts, wells up from within and squelches blood on her way to hell
But the worst of fears is without colour, the fear of me, who am i?

(c) Ubong Anwana

Ubong Anwana
Ubong Anwana
Ubong Anwana lives in Calabar, South Eastern Nigeria. He is a graduate student working part time with a media house in Port Harcourt. He is currently working on a book and has many unpublished literary pieces.


  1. He is like a grandson of j . P. Clark. He is a revolution set to conquer the world, he employs the most suitable diction. Hail!!!

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