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Waiting for Nightfall: Poems by Senator Ihenyen

These poems divided into seven movements are randomly selected from the author’s collection of poems titled, ‘Colourless Rainbow: Poetry of My Childhood’, forthcoming from Coast2Caost (2009), Lagos –  Senator Iyere Ihenyen


Waiting for Nightfall

I know it is twilight when I see the sun kiss the lips of the horizon
And birds glide across the sky, homebound.
My mind begins to drown in golden profundities
Wondering why it’s been twilight for too long?

How is it that whenever these eyes look up to the sky
It is the fires of the sun it sees burning our hearts
Like charcoal into unidentifiable ashes?
How is it that our lives have been fettered by the unforgiving chains
of freedom…the freedom of tears to flow!
The freedom of blood to run! The freedom of dreams to die,
Like the hues of the rainbow
after the kiss of the sun and the rain…

Under the twilight of sinister silence and wiped sweat
My soul yearns for nightfall, the serenade of nightfall
Where stars sparkle out songs in a silvery voice
And fireflies rise to raise dreams in fiery colours.
Mother holds up her breasts as a sweet offering to the moon.
The moon suckling from pointed nipples of hope.


When We Cannot Tell

When tongues
cannot tell butterflies
by their wings

When tongues
cannot tell mosquitoes
by their buzz

…how can we know
the light of the sun
from the shadows of the night?


Night of Deception

Those hands painting the sun with the colour of night
Those hands turning butterflies into fireflies
Those hands turning the dew of dawn into tears of night
Turning singing larks into screeching crickets

They cannot repaint our blood
nor turn our heads upside down,
They will only die
in the artificial night of their own affliction.
Those hands that demand to stay beyond the night
Promising cockcrows in the dawn that has since risen
They will only die the death of their own
night of deception.

If truly it is night
why does the moon hang still in the sky
like thickened blood after a massacre?


Umbrella in the Rain

…when tears roll
down my heavy eyes
like torrents of rain from a cloudy sky,

with colours of love
you open up your heart to me
like an umbrella
unfolding in the rain

like rainwater that wets
the earth, and flows back to the sky
only to fall again

…our tears evaporate

and on the nest of hope
where we lay our dream-eggs,
they return into our dry eyes, again to roll
down our swollen faces

…our tears evaporate –
a hopeless cycle



Although now colourless,
Must we open our doors
To let the West come in
To take away our sun?

Although now colourless,
Must we open our doors
To let the East come in
To take away our rain?

Should we not close our doors
And with our sun and rain
make rainbows

And open our doors
For the world to buy our colours?


The Unknown One

Is it your voice I hear
Whistling in the echoes of night? And your tears
Drizzling down in the dawn?

Are you the night
That gives the moon her silvery splendour
In the sky?

That night so dark that
Stars sparkle their song in the serene sky
and fireflies glide through glinting dreams?

The night so still that owls hoot for fear
And mosquitoes buzz for blood?
Are you the yet unknown night
That has given so much without a reward?



I search
for rainbow in the sky,
but there is no sunlight
piercing through the
ranting raindrops

and I begin to wonder
where to find its colours –
colours of my heart, colours of my dreams,
my hope.

In the emptiness,
I begin to understand
that if I could not look into the eyes
of the living around me
to see that the rainbow
gleams there too

I may never find the colours
to paint a better place
for you and me


(c) Senator Iyere Ihenyen

Senator Ihenyen
Senator Ihenyen
Senator Iyere Ihenyen was born in Lagos, but hails from Esan-West L.G.A., Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria.  He writes poetry, short fiction and engages in literary research. Recognised by a U.K-based organization, Outspoken, in 2006 as 'one of the significant voices in Africa pushing the boundaries of contemporary African Literature.' The late and respected Nigerian editor and critic, Okey Okpa, had described the young writer as his 'future Poet Laureate' in 2008. While some of his poems have been published in local dailies such as the Daily Times, New Age and Business Times, his early works have also been featured in international anthologies published by the U.K.-based Anchor Books, Poetry Stop, Canada, and the U.S.-based Voices Network, where his poetry has been given special international recognition. Currently in a full-time Law Degree programme in the University of Benin, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, he has been serving as the Campus President of Golden Minds Centre, a youth-focused organisation. With an inveterate interest in Literature, especially creative writing, Colourless Rainbow: Poetry of My Childhood is forthcoming from Coast2Coast, Lagos.


  1. The poem by this poet tittled COLORLESS RAINBOW is touchy. Though the poet has the words and the language and the massage but I did not see the DANCING or RHYMING tone in it. I was only moved by the poet’s statement when the poem was bout to finish. However, it is a nice work………

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