In Obo Effanga’s To The Sun at Sundown, nature meets creativity
It was the gathering of the art community last week in Abuja at the reading of a collection of poems — To The Sun at Sundown, in honour of the poet, Obo Effanga. The collection contains 50 poems, coinciding with the number of years Effanga has spent on earth. Divided into six sections, the poems capture several issues of life, including those of love, politics, odes, sport, city life as well as nature. There are also politics, country and honour, nature and religion.
Going through the first section of the poem, the author presents such titles as, Long Live the King, Follow your Heart, For Utibe at 13,The Day of the Girl Child as well as A Father or Mother’s Poem.While some of the poems are long and laden with meanings, some, such as Follow Your Heart, are presented in few words with clear and precise message.
In a multi-ethnic society such as Nigeria, the poet in Follow Your Heart encourages his readers to transcend ethnic sentiments when it comes to issues of love and life partner.Probably because of the relevance Effanga attaches to the six-line poem, it comes in a simple, formal diction that will pose any ambiguity to an average user of English language. “Listen to your heart and let love happen unhindered by ethnicity and flutter like a butterfly to her stigma,” the poet admonishes.
Coming under Nature & Religion, the poet presents such titles as, Christmas in the Air, Some Days Like Today in Lagos, The Rain Found Me Out, To the Sun at Sundown as well as Suddenly 50. The poet in this segment creates a unity between nature and religion. With Christmas in the Air, the poet lives no one in doubt about the time of the year in which the poem was conceived.
While Some Days Like Today in Lagos attempts to convey the poet’s unpleasant experience in a traffic jam, the title poem, To the Sun at Sundown, captures the essence of nature.Affanga in the poem watches the radiance and the splendor of the sun as it goes down. However, in spite of the beauty of the setting sun, the poet did not forget the impact of the sun while it was full.
The poem fully explores his creative ingenuity in the three-stanza poem as he engages several figures of speech in relaying his experience on that particular day.Watching the sun go down in its beauty, the poet cannot but recall how harsh the sun had been during the day. Yet, to drive home his point, he chooses to blend words that juxtapose one another.
These are captured in the marriage of radiance and splendour of the sun, searing bout, harshly caressing, breathing down, soaked in all its love and drenched in our sweat.Speaking at the occasion, the poet stated: “I take note of things and one of the things I also noted down is my ability to recall things that might have happened in the past with so much graphics.
“I can still remember most of the things I passed through as a child and my experiences while growing up. I can even remember how words were spoken; who said what at a particular time and that has helped me with my writings.”Speaking on the choice of title, Affanga recalled graphically the hot sunny day that left an impact on the people.
“It was one of those sunny and hot days. It was also the day I took the photograph that is on the cover page of the book. For those who work in Archimedes, when you look at the cover you will know that those are the trees in front of Archimedes.“I was about leaving and I saw the sun going down. So I decided to take a picture of that with my phone. Then I thought of the sun at sundown, thinking about how hot it was and how we have survived it. That was how the publisher and I came up with the name ‘To the Sun at Sundown’,” the poet stated.