With beautiful poetics, Adaramoye returns from Skyless Sky
In a country with unending socio-economic and political turmoil, it is almost impossible for a writer to remain passive or neutral. He or she can hardly remain apolitical in his works. The questions will, however, arise: Is he able to pass the test of art? Does he command good craftmanship even as he, with his pen, battles the ills in his fatherland?
In his new collection, The Skyless Sky, Kayode Steve Adaramoye passes this test. In the volume, he deploys inspiring verses to x-raying the many dilemmas his country is facing. His muse is up against the misrule and other vices in vogue. With 127-page collection, the poet turns a weaverbird who must sing about the sky-less sky of largely man-made evils that are the lot of society. It will, however, interest lovers of beautiful poetry to discover that, in the collection, Adaramoye does not sacrifice form on the altar of content.
His thoughts are contained in the various segments such as House of Abstracts and Realities, A Nation in Transit, World War 3: Covid-19 Pandemic, Great Life, Verses in the Open Sky, Love in Colours, Reminiscences, Praise and Postscripts.
The work opens with ‘Creation’ in which Adaramoye swings from amazement, peace to the hope that the beginning of existence itself exudes. It echoes the process and aftermath of being. In another poem, ‘Rainbow in the Sky’, he captures the vicissitude of living. As if preparing the reader for the turbulence he sings about in ‘A Nation in Transit’, he depicts how ‘Our mouth is soaked in blood’ but returns to hope with ‘The healing sun on the rise again’. The same poet who returns the reader to uncertainties in ‘Fire in the Wind’ – with a wicked cobra lurking – yet embraces hope in ‘Swell Beyond the Ribs’:/ Plough beyond the shore/ And make the ocean swell/ Beyond the ribs…/ See the stars afar off migrating/ In elegant clouds to our stead,/ Brightening our hopes, as the/ Long shadow eating itself to extinction…
As earlier noted, it is, however, in the second segment – ‘A Nation in Transit’ – that Adaramoye becomes his country’s sad biographer. In ‘Blind Alley’, the people sleep on a bed of calamities, yet the day refuses to break. Also, ‘African Mountains’ are wolfing mountains, while in ‘Lamentation’, the continent’s cock, according to the poet, is dead. The titles of many of the poems in this section indeed speak for themselves: Blood Sky, Eclipse at Dawn, Dark Scripts – and Puppets and Puppeteers, where:
Terror on every side/ Horror on every side/ I can hear many whispering/ In long echoes of gash pains.
Adaramoye extends the lamentation to other poems that include ‘Migratory Flight’ and ‘Blood of Reality’.
The title poem, ‘The Skyless Sky’, reflects the utter confusion and danger in the world the poet operates. While he still hopes almost against hope, he captures the fear and agony that befall the world with the coming of coronavirus. This is the essence of World War 3: Covid-19 Pandemic. But Adaramoye’s hope liveth in spite of the problems.
Indeed, as functional as ‘The Skyless Sky’ is, it harbours parts that are not political. These contain poems in which the poet is not imprisoned in societal pressure. While he is really not doing art for art’s sake in the sections, he is able to escape into the kind of imagery that establishes his maturity as a poet.
The language use in most of the poems under ‘Verses in the Open Sky’, ‘Great Life’, ‘Love in Colours’ and ‘Reminiscences’, for example, drip with mature poetics. Between pages 67 and 69 are three poems in which Adaramoye is in hot romance with the muse. The poems – ‘A Night with Poetry’, Voice of Poetry’ and ‘The Night Voice Again’ – are a great example of what beautiful poetry is, the type that shows that the composer is operating at a compelling realm.
In terms of production, ‘The Skyless Sky’ exudes good quality. The poems are well proofread just as the printing is generally neat. In subsequent prints, however, the content page should be included in the volume. Besides, one hopes that the absence of ‘dedication’ is deliberate.
Beyond such rites, there is no doubt that, through ‘The Skyless Sky’, Adaramoye has bequeathed to Nigerian literature poems that will stand the test of time.