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I Tried To Paint a Girl: Poems by Henry Ajah



It was the grin at first- the grin
which now hides under the veil of a racemate
of complication and simplicity.
Then, it was such a sight-
one you could swim across seven rivers and crawl over broken glass to behold.
Her lips parted to reveal a shy collection of well aligned white plates
with excitement written all over them.
To me, they were like the beautiful rays of dusk delicately split by the slit of your window
as they make grand entrance into your room
on an evening of bliss.

Now that you have stopped smiling, what shall we make of thee?
So much that we can no longer write!
For with each humble appearance before the blank page
I have more awe to savour than the will to be a scribe.
If our minds cannot hold the awe, our pens suffer palsy- such a pleasure and pain it is.
However, I shall not but hope that this ink of mine finds strength in it someday to paint your story
be it a tale of black and white or colours of ornamental pride.
For the while, we shall yet leave the brush in the very hands of Time.



It shall be to me a tale
of many thousand grains of sand,
like soft gravel, they taste, although
I’ve never tasted them but
I feel their softness each moment
as you pour them into me
at the peak of this act of violence
by which you’re loving me,
even tonight on our creaking bed as
every other night and place
as you will.

We may call this a wish
Or the words and echoes of my moans
which mean nothing to you
more than ‘good job’,
Or the paintings of my rocking breasts
that only make your rod prouder and harder;
Should this your many soft and swimming gravel be dead
Or meet deadness in me,
may we enjoy this act and call it
sacred, love or fun,
and be well without fecundity
until nature bids us come or take.
Then I shall call you Love and
you may call me Sweet, if you will,
as you will.


(To my family on Dad’s demise)

The twist of a floating story
That, someday, shall find root
Howbeit in the heart of earth;
The very depth where no water is.

how it shall squeeze sap from earth’s womb
by mechanics I cannot feign to grab.
And we shall be shouting eureka! with a hope…

a survival not akin to many.
A story of grief and gain,
And the many pains that painted our stories.



We’ve all heard it before;
the many faithful words of hope.
The sketch of new strategies oozing
from behind the mic to us pleasurable oration.
What’s more than hope to a sunless day?
Haze our heads with words of hope.
Haze us until we fall asleep this dark night,
totally ravished by your words that we quest for dreams,
lost dreams of many gloomy days.
Send us words! Even much more, speak on!
Until we’re struck with insomnia,
listening to you with swollen eyes and hungry bellies.
If it be for hope,
we shall yet keep a night to listen,
until our hearts hear the soothing sound of a mighty rain.
For we say the cloud has gathered!

But excuse me sir, you bear some similitude.
That wrap! Yes, that foil of closing remark,
A platitude cheered by many;
we have seen it before!
Precious words of finest strength.
We read them in books and heard them before
and cheered them with our chilly hearts.
Give us a moment chief.
For we shall yet convene again as we
swallow our hurry with history.
May we see you again on a later day,
Your calabash filled with just a piece of edible bread;
Leavened or far from it, we care no less.
And promise us not the hallowed bread,
words that only make the finest speakers
as a manner of speaking

Poems © Henry Ajah

Henry Ajah
Henry Ajah
Henry Ajah is a medical student at the University of Benin, Nigeria. He’s in love with words and the things they create.


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