Twenty-two Couplets for Eche
Let’s start with physical descriptions, divine inscriptions
Wrapped in fabric of genes. The venerable’s son
Came with fingers sleek for music, beard buds that will charm ladies,
A tongue for lager and a head full of poetry.
His tongue throng verses resounding with wisdom,
Behind the recesses of where music abuts. His words are limber
They bend but don’t break. They stretch but don’t relent, resilient.
Eche was a poet before the piano called him from the pew to the pulpit
Beside his father. His emphatic keys syncopating behind the sermon,
Like onion rings accompanying sautéed salmon.
I haven’t met Eche, the pianist but I hear of encomiums
Of awe poured before him. Testimonies of his prowess
Echoes in bars from Awka to Umukwesilim.
Even the Nise people are full of good cheer, they buy him beer.
I know Eche, the poet, the dub poet
The man whose rapturous voice is soothed by cold beer.
I know Eche, he wears his colorful Kente,
His supple neck wrapped in a shawl, its colour matches his beard.
Eche, whose verses are shaped like Cupid’s arrow,
Eche the poet of tenuous emotions and cadences
Eche the ex-pianist at the instance of spoken word
Eche commits his words to memory and spews them out like chyme
And they sometimes rhyme. His poetry is amorphous like speech.
But its reach surpasses a jock’s itch. Eche is the poet of inflections.
The bard of passion. The echo of sentiments.
Eche is the poet of Highlife. He obeys the wind.
Ro-po-po. Beat the Conga drums.
Bleat, you trombones and tuba, let the clarinet whisper
Conspiringly with its reed whilst the piano keys stay mute
And let the coo from the flute wash the night with piquant tranquility.
Let the jubilant celebrant twist and untwist to a dance of Atilogwu
For his maker. Let his feet prance; let his torso quiver
Let his lips thin into a conceited smile.
You will never be twenty-five again.
Let his bride ride him on a bed of scented roses
Whilst soft rains pummel the doughy Oko laterite
Let lightning part cracks in the skies as thunder belches
And farts cosmic sounds. Let trees dance to windy storms.
Leaves flutter to their freedom in windy vehicles.
The soil surrenders its rich humus to the call of restive waters.
Chibok maybe missing two hundred and thirty-four nubiles,
Boko Haram bombers strapped to the teeth with explosives.
Lagos flooded and Oko losing itself to erosion.
But let the drums beat twenty-five times for Eche.