Eating with Hymar: Two Poems for Dinner

I remember how satisfying it felt feeding on J.P Clark’s poem Ibadan back then in secondary school. Twenty words was all it took for the poem to gift my mind a first-class flight to that famed city.

When I am presented with the opportunity to eat good poetry, I do so with relish, happy to slowly lick the delicious lines off my fingers as the stanzas stretch my belly to a bigger mound.

In Nigeria, dinner is the heaviest meal and in most households, it is the time both adults and children sit to enjoy a common meal spiced with all manner of delicacies. At the table, the professor of nutrition, the skilful cook, the prim and proper teenager, and the innocent little child all access the deliciousness of the meal at some level.

Great poetry is like dinner.

Hymar’s Dusk Dirge treats us to an unconventional style of eating poems. On the surface, it lacks the prettiness of standard poetry and seems robbed of the potential to make us lick our lips with satisfaction.

We ignore the cockrel’s wake up crow, ignore the sun slating through leaking roofs onto our faces. We dream on. Of monstrously huge mansions, armed convoys and better tomorrows.
The Nigerian Dream.

We are not asked to lick each sentence with the extended breaks of normal poetry. No. The poem pulls us along by the power of its form, assuring us that we need not worry, that the panorama of the whole is many times more vivid than the sum of each shot. So as one ball of yam slides down our throats in tandem with our rapid licking of fingers, we come to realize that what this sweet meal is telling us is a bitter truth: the Nigerian Dream is unlike any other. It is a selfish hope for a better tomorrow that feeds on the aggrandizement of power and material wealth at the expense of others. We suddenly realize that the Nigerian dream is unmindful of the warnings from the cockerels—the authentic activists, the upright religious leaders, the so termed revolutionaries and all others who sacrifice their sleep and safety to warn us of the dangers that will come if the cracks in our leaking roofs aren’t mended.

We wake to bruised dreams clinging like milk jars on the edge of a creaky-legged table,we wake to the sound of digging, mass graves for hollowed out smiles , for stiffled hopes and deflated dreams…

We are on to another ball of yam, slowly dabbing it in the soup as we begin to understand that this is not a heavy meal to be enjoyed and then forgotten. As our tongue guides this particular mound into our belly, our mind connects with the message it brings: there will be repercussions for dreaming irresponsibly. We will wake up to a disappointing reality, to a house flooded with the destruction we didn’t take the time to plan against. We will wake to a time when the Nigerian Dream will be a corpse that carries our smiles and all the good things we ever hoped for, to the grave. And we will be the undertakers, the ones working the diggers and shovels.

We keep eating, exploring the other sides to the poem—the times when we wake to moonshine and birdsong, to calm breeze and ecstatic village voices—we imagine that there is something wrong, something we can do to continuously live out these good sides. We resolve to go to bed with a different kind of satisfaction. Not the type that makes us snore with abandonment, with blank visions. We decide we will sleep with our rotund bellies, on this night, dreaming of a time when our dreams of better tomorrows will have a human face.

But that will not be the only dream. We get to eat Hymar’s On the Death of a Beautiful Woman, that swims in the remaining soup.

She leaves, yet lives in our sad hearts,
She has not played all her parts
But her days are done and she’s gone;
Her beauty fades to rot and bone.

It is amazing how nicely chopped each piece of meat is, how great every one tastes (I wish, though, that ‘bone’ rhymed perfectly with ‘gone’). Leaves and lives in Line 1 are beautiful homonyms that work an intense picture of ache. The next line follows with a perfect connection to the former, and the third assures us that even though the woman’s contributions to mankind are not complete, her time must surely be up for God to have summoned her home at this time. The last line echoes the sadness Hymar feels: he knows that the beauty of her life, her form, now slowly descends to the ugly plains of skeletons and putrefaction.

No more to cuddle tiny Paul,
To respond to His midnight toll,
Though she smiles still, even in death,
That smile will never light the earth.

And the streak of eating nicely chopped meat continues, the sweetness not dropping in intensity. But like the main dish, we are reminded of what sweetness is supposed to accomplish: a deeper connection with Hymar’s sadness on losing a beautiful woman to the ever cold hands of death. However, unlike the former poem, he wants us to understand the beauty of the life she lived, through the lens of a poem that is perfect in form and rhythm while still rich in content; he wants us to grieve with him as he lets us know that the beautiful smiles of this woman that lit the earth before, will never do so again.

There is one more meat left in the bowl. It is not shaped like the others and is much smaller. We pick it up and throw it in our mouths knowing well that we will enjoy it as the others. She’s gone this last piece of meat tells us as it journeys down our throats away from existence, leaving with us a strong reminder that—like the last two words of this poem, like the last piece of meat completing the disappearance of dinner—we all, someday, as this beautiful woman, shall be gone from this earth, never to pay a visit again.

49 thoughts on “Eating with Hymar: Two Poems for Dinner” by chemokopi (@chemokopi)

  1. Great review. Brings out the richness of the poem to the fore.

    Well done

    1. @topazo: Thanks my brother. I am happy you connected with the richness of Hymar’s poems through this.

  2. Tasty meal. Thanks Chemokopi for this meal.

    A very balanced diet.
    I enjoyed it.

    Nice write @Hymar

    1. Hehehe @Mimiadebayo, seriously, the balanced diet angle didn’t even cross my my mind. Hmmm…thanks, too. Glad you enjoyed the meal.

  3. OMG, OMG, OMG, someone told me to come online and see something and I just can’t believe what I am seeing. I doubt if I, the poet, can interpret cum review these poems as perfectly as you did, sir @Chemokopi, heck, I even have a better understanding of my own poem after reading this review. Now I understand what my mind was trying to say.

    Wow, for a writer, it is always an honour to have your works reviewed, but to have it done by a top dog by @Chemokopi, and very nicely so is Just short of a trip to cloud 9.

    Thankyhu, Thankyhu, Thankyhu, sir. I am so flattered you considered these works. Bless you.

    #still trying to wake up from the dream#

    1. Hehehe..oya do and wake up @Hymar. We want many more beautiful poems!

      I am glad you appreciate it, and I am thrilled we are all connecting on a deeper level with your poems and poetry.

      And thanks for these many kind words, too!

  4. Mouth watering review @chemokopi. You use words the way a good writer does. Words that make us think again about the unforgettable lines in @Hymar‘s great poems. I absolutely love your reviews Chemokopi.
    Welldone Hymar. Your work deserves this. Keep soaring dear.

    1. @olajumoke:

      Olajums (I can call you that shey?), thanks a lot for your kind words. Now your mention of ‘mouth watering’ is making me really think of visiting any correct bukka around to order for some swallow…hehehe.

      1. @chemokopi, lol. Now you know how I felt yesterday after reading your waist-line damaging review, hahaha.
        With no pounded yam or egusi in sight, I had to make do with carbs and chocolate- not good for a girl’s diet.
        Good work Chemo. I see the logic behind your style. Everyone loves food. Imagining the poems as dinner worked really well.
        @Hymar, I bet the review made you hungry too. *runs off before I wake Hymar up*

        1. Hahahahahahaha…@olajumoke, you won’t kill me with laughter o! I see I got served! Lol. .

          1. @Olajumoke, better come back here to reap the seeds of Jedi-Jedi u have sown. I done wake chop sotay, I just dey rush go toilet like say I get Divine Appointment there.

            1. Lmao @Hymar. You got me here.
              Easy with the divine appointment brother. I have an overactive imagination.
              Pele dear.
              If @chemokopi wasn’t so sweet, we could have both blamed it on him.
              Okay, I recommend a week’s bed rest. Hope that settles your tummy. No more food, you hear.

  5. Chemo, you too like food jare… I read a review few days ago that scared the crap out of me, and left me with a headache raised to the power of ten.
    I like the fact that you make your review appeal to the senses of the readers, and people get to enjoy the poem, thanks to the way you have ‘prettied’ it up.
    @Hymar ‘s poems are good, and with a review such as yours backing it up, one swallows the lines like morsels of eba and okoho? soup.
    Well done, Chemokopi. $ß.

    1. This shaving-off parts of one’s comments is getting a tad alarming!

      Chemokopi, this was a beautiful review…. You prettied up Hymar’s poem and made it appealing to all hungry men who may not be poetry lovers.
      Well done. $ß.

      1. hahaha..@sibbylwhyte.

        Maybe it’s the art of eating I like? And you had to bring up okoho! Funny enough, you have just inspired an idea with this okoho angle. *smiles*

        You know I like the fact you see this is really, in the end, an attempt to promote poetry to ” all hungry men who may not be poetry lovers.”

        Thanks again.

  6. Lol, @Sibbylwhyte, ‘u too like food’? Very funny.

    I repeat, this review is absolutely BOSS. I doubt if I even understood my own poem that Well….Reminds me of the ‘Virgin Offering’ piece he did that helped my understanding a lot.

    1. No mind her jare @Hymar. Maybe she dey even chop dinner two times a day..hehehe.
      @sibbylwhyte, oya come deny am make we see.

      Thanks, man. As a poet I can connect with the joy of understanding your own poem more through the words of another :)
      We all strive to better our craft.

      1. Na true joor, Sibbylwhyte wey dey chop for morning, afternoon, evening, night and the world’s earliest breakfast at midnight. No wonder her Muse no dey lean.

        That said lemme make my escape.

    1. @wendy: hmmmm. Thanks, dear. ;)

  7. Great poetry is indeed like eating dinner.And in my delicacy-pounded yam and egusi soup.*licks tongue*. Beautiful review you have here @chemokopi.very delicious.I love them reviews because it keeps the conversation going…Nice work @Hymar

    1. *licks lips, fingers and…* Hehehe…thanks @sambrightomo. I love that food combo no be lie.

  8. Yeah, nice review you sure know who the cap fit. I really enjoyed the review cum hymars poem. It was worth my while.
    We need more of this from this fine hand @chemokopi


    1. Thanks @basittjamiu. Really appreciate the kind words :)

  9. Nice review @chemokopi really, I have read reviews, this is flawless, and considering it’s a poetry review too.
    To the poet @hymar kudos and more grease to your elbows…or whatever helps you write such great poems

    1. @lordkel: Thanks a lot man :)

    2. @Lordkel, thanks dude. God put am there, so say More God-grease to your brain. Lol

  10. Dope poem, but what link does it have with J.P Clark’s Ibadan you mentioned at the onset of the review?
    Anyways, Y☺̣̣̥̇u̶̲̥̅̊ did well by venturing into the great task of literary review.

    1. @Chime221: Thanks bro. I appreciate your kind words. Wasn’t comparing J.P’s poems with the two I reviewed: I was comparing the experience of “eating” them.

  11. @Chemokopi, well that’s nice. You really did a good job, believe me. Reviewing any kind of work of art is not an easy task, since it requires that the reviewer must have read and gotten an in-depth understanding of the work in review. Keep more coming.

    1. @Chime221: Thanks a lot bro for your kind words. God willing, I will keep ’em coming.

  12. This is a great review.

  13. @Chemokopi, only you would go and make a review a very rich Nigerian meal. This is not for the hungry, I repeat, this is not for the hungry. Only my tummy can tell tales of what it experienced as we travelled through your words above. Now you’ve made me want to read those poems. @Hymar, how much are you paying him?

    1. @queennobo: Now my head is swelling well well o. Thanks a lot jare. Your kind words are much appreciated.

  14. @chemokopi,
    Chairmaaan! That was delicious. The wondrous thing about this kind of meal is that it finds a way through your oesophagus, down your belly, all of it, yet when you look down on the plate, the plate remains full. I’m going back to have another round; make una no hold me o.
    Well done, well done!

    1. @psalmy: Hehehe…we no hold you o! Enjoy as you want. Thanks a lot for your kind words man. Much appreciated.

  15. I came to dinner very late, but even the leftovers are delicious. Beautiful review, Chemo, as usual.

    1. @shadiat: Thanks for coming for dinner. And thanks for enjoying the meal! Lol.

  16. This is the first time I am really getting close to this poem … I guess I have to pureed it and gush down my throat …

    1. @josephoguche: hehehe…you are welcome to do this, my friend. Enjoy.

  17. Nice review, I had to eat what I met left.

    1. Thanks @louis. That word is fantabulous! Hehe.

  18. the poems are indeed rich….Weldon@Hymar

    oh but this review, very tasty!


  19. @chemokopi
    I love this

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