Featured Writer Remi Raji: One Poem

Does the earth turn?

In cycles, in circles of turns…
The earth turns, yet it does not

The sterile never does the womb dance
Nor the eunuch celebrate songs of birth

The vulture never refuses the ritual’s entrails
As the hyena never struts with the clan of dogs

The dung beetle does not travel empty-handed
The ember-carrier catches haste homeward

The dog’s dream, lives in the dog
The wisdom of pigs rots with the pig
The bushrat may strut, it will not become the hunter

The bastard may imitate, it will remain father’s counterfeit
When my lion roars, the earth swallows the fox on prowl.

Does the world turn?
The earth turns, yet it does not…

– Remi Raji

translated from Yoruba by the author

 

Òbìrìkótó, Ayé ńyí bìrí bí?

Òbìrìkótó, ayíbírí, ayìbìrí…
Ayé ńyi ́bìrí, bẹ́ẹ̀ni kò re’bì kankan

Lákíríboto, wọn kìi ́gb’ọ́mọ jó
Ẹgbẹ́ òkóbó, wọn kìí ṣ’ayẹyẹ ìbí.

Ìran igún kan kìí d’ẹbọ nù
Ikọ̀ ìkookò kan kìí k’ẹ́gbẹ́ ajá

Yínmínyínmin kìí sán’wọ́ r’àjò
Bẹ́ẹ̀ni kò s’áfọwọ́fọnná tíí dúró ṣ’awẹ́wa

Àlá ajá, a gbé’nú ajá pẹ́ pẹ́ pẹ́…
Ọgbọ́n ẹlẹ́dẹ̀, a gbé’nú ẹlẹ́dẹ̀ rà bí ìtì ọ̀gẹ̀dẹ̀
B’ókété fẹ’sẹ̀ méjì rìn, kò lè p’adán ọdẹ

Ọmọ àlè lè f’ara jọ ni, kò lè ṣe bíi baba mi
Bí kìnìun mi búú, kọ̀lọ̀kọ̀lọ̀ a bìlà.

Òbìrìkótó, ayé ńyí bí?
Ayé ńyí bìrí, bẹ́ẹ̀ni, kò re’bì kankan…

– Remi Raji


 

Remi Raji. photograph by Humboldt Foundation David Ausserhofer

Remi Raji. photograph by Humboldt Foundation/ David Ausserhofer

Remi Raji is the pen name of the award winning, Nigerian poet and scholar, Aderemi Raji-Oyelade. He is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Harvest of Laughters (Kraftbooks, 1997), which was the joint winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors/ Cadbury Poetry Prize and the winner of the Association of West African Young Writers’ VOCA Award for Best First Published Book. His most recent collection, Sea of My Mind (Kraftbooks, 2013), was shortlisted for the NLNG Prize for Poetry. He is a Salzburg Fellow and has been a visiting professor and writer at several institutions, including Cambridge University. He has received national and international recognition. Aderemi Raji-Oyelade is the recipient of the 2017 Humboldt Alumni Award for Innovative Networking Initiatives and the 2017 Humboldt Kolleg International Conference Grant which will be hosted by University of Ibadan in 2018.
website: http://www.remiraji-nigeria.com/

 

 

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About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, photographer, cultural journalist, and Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review (RSR). Zalehah regularly contributes articles and interviews on poetry, art, film, and new media for RSR and the UTS magazine, Vertigo. Zalehah’s poetry was projected onto the Federation Square Wall in Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals, 2008 and 2009; exhibited at Mark and Remark ,107 Projects, Redfern in 2013; and displayed in Alice Springs and Moruya thanks to Australian Poetry Café poets, Laurie May and Janette Dadd respectively. Her poems have been published in Writing Laboratory (2013), Sotto (2013), Social Alternatives (2016), Vertigo (2016, 2017), UTS’s The Empathy Poems Project (2017) and Rochford Street Review (2017). She co-judged the New Shoots Poetry Prizes 2016 alongside, Tamryn Bennett, Artistic Director of The Red Room Company, and published the winning and highly commended poems. Zalehah is currently working on an intermedia poetry collection entitled, 'Critical condition', focused on the interstitial threshold between life and death in medical crises based on personal experience. Zalehah holds a BA in Communication with a major in writing and cultural studies from the University of Technology, Sydney where she continues to pursue pushing the boundaries of multimedia poetry in Honours (Communication- Creative Writing).

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