Name As The Genesis Of A Child’s Identity

a name is a sea surrounding a child’s birth

a name is a garden of circumstances a child sprouts from;

a name is a song in the beak of a hummingbird 

perched on a mother’s protruded belly

the clatter in the downpour of rain on the morning of delivery

a name is the joyous rays in the sunlight at dawn

the twinkle in the night stars of a child kismet

name as a song of solace in the heart of a hopeful mother

name as a whispering wind in the ear of a doubtful father 

name as a memory in the mind of a grandma 

name as a tradition in the culture of a grandpa

names like Durojaiye, the one who wears the cloak of an Abiku 

names like Iyabode, the one who wears her mother’s mother soul  

name of a child as a child’s shield 

from the chilly clutches of life’s cold

name as the genesis of a child’s identity 

Inspired From Adedayo Agarau’s title: The Origin Of Names 

Language As A Portrait Of Identity

my tongue is slippery so my lingo fall

—entangled in a quagmire of words,

my mother’s tongue is always in

skirmishes with the other language

there’s a quagmire of words in my tongue

& I’m a lost rambler on

the way to my father’s dialect

our dialect is a flower garden

but my tongue is a confusing forest

times, I wanted to say “oruko mi ni, Akanke”

but I say “my name is Akan ke”

they say my tone is too English 

& my tongue does not know 

the sweetness in our lingo

times I stared at my grandma

as she paints oriki into beautiful petals 

& I marvel at such colourful portraits

I belong to a race that traces its roots

to the sun & gets its blood from the deep Nile

but how do I identify my home 

when there’s a war in my tongue

Bio: Rahma O. Jimoh is a poet and nature photog and writes on humanity, identity and politics. She’s a lover of nature and tourism. She has been published or forthcoming in Ninshar Arts, The Hellebore, Serotonin and other literary journals. She was a joint winner, Pin 10-day poetry challenge, 2019, Second runner up in the Poesy writers contest 2019, a top ten in the Hysteria writing contest. She is a 2020 Pushcart Prize Nominee. She is Poetry Editor for The Quills and Contributor at Best Of Africa. 
She tweets @dynamic_rahma

Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: Interview with Rahma O. Jimoh | By Onyinyechi Okorie – ARTS LOUNGE

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