Poet: Emmanuel Inedu
Poem: A Requiem For Virtue
Book: Cockcrow At Noon, 2015.Pp 45.
Publisher: Words Rhymes and Rhythm
Reviewer: Akor Emmanuel Oche
It was the french poet, writer and art critic, Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) who admonished that “to insist on purity is to baptize instinct, to humanize art, and to deify personality” a statement which traverses nationalities to futher strengthen the link between sound morals and the struggle for purity at heart by individuals all over the world who strive to excel in life. A knob which was later approved by the francophone philosopher Simone Weil in this freticiously kneaded words “purity is the power to contemplate defilement”
Today, we live in a world where moral decadence accompanying pungency is the norm of the day. The things we do now, prior to this time where regarded as anormalies and ills of the society. With the fast detoriating standards in virtues and morals at this time, it is the paramount duty of the poet to call his people to order for it is said that “the wilder of the pen, is the eyes of the society”, this duty which Emmanuel Inedu,–foremost Nigerian poet, instructor and thinker–has masterfully taken upon himself in his poem “A Requiem For Virtue”
Originally published in his debut collection of poems; Cockcrow At Dawn, a requiem for virtue is a poem wrapped in the habiliments of mournful reflections as the personage would put it.
….”If you ask me i’ll tell you
things are sure happening these
Virtues are evolving”…
He is particularly akined to his sententious arrangement of metaphors which he craftily implores in expressing these happenings when he proclaims
…”infact virtues are now standing on their heads,
forcing blood into the brain,
making the body malfunction…”
For the poet, as it is for many of us, the situation has deplored into a near death phase. Indecency in this age is unpalatable, and we cannot fail to cry out that
….”it is a requiem for virtue”
While we also wonder in astonishment at the extent to which things have deviated from what it was and what it should be. We observe also that
…”before now, honesty was a virtue,
so was humility, CHASTITY, fidelity
hardwork, love for neighbour too.
Kindness and wisdom
i knew some virtue in poverty.”…
Where has purity of heart gone? Why have sound virtues given way to corruption, nepotism, immorality and evil acts in our society? Perhaps let us like the personage join in his dirge
….”Alas, virtue took a millennial dive
redefined and re-configured to suit the times,
after its metamorphosis
virtue became a queer, ugly, hunched man…”
But what do we have today to replace Good? Shamefully they are reciprocals to purity, sexual immoralities: fornication, bisexuality, gay relationships, adultery and the like, corruption, wickedness or as it is in the poets words
…”wealth, thievery, greed, acrimony and hate
beauty and foolishness.
Bestiality, corruption, and bribery, its twin
are now universal virtues!
Mal-administration and tyranny too…”
As poignant as it may be, we all should join the poet in signing virtues obituary as he enunciates in the poems last lines
rest in green peace…”
Or maybe not.
Akor Emmanuel Oche is a Nigerian poet, critic, essayist and thinker.