POETRY: Lone: An Anthology of Metered Verses

Book cover of the Lone: An Anthology of Metered Verses.

Author: Anthony Onugba

Genre: Poetry

Country: Nigeria

Reviewer: Benvictor Makau

The sixty-poem Anthology by Anthony Onugba is one of the most stimulating compilations of thoughts in our age.

For an unclouded meaning, he catalogues it into three scintillating episodes: Origin, Precipice, and Denouement.

Each bears a collection of poems of its own, depicting the different themes as are in the real world. 

The whole anthology is staged in a fictitious, conversational manner, utilizing both intrapersonal and interpersonal conversations. 

Origin is feather-bedded with a series of sagely hand-picked poems delving into the origin of love, the commencement of romance and its initial stages. 

The opening poem, My Pearl, conversationally narrated by Angel, is a welcome mat to the Anthology. 

It vividly describes the setting as Holy, and Heavenly, where the Creator lives. His position is of a Soldier, mandated to keep peace in Heaven.

With the other Creatures, Angel bows. Love finds its way when one day:

As we rise and bow,

Distant, she I see

Wingless but radiant.

To give my heart, sure!

To win her heart, must!

Lured, he follows her, a heartbeat for love paving the way. 

She is wingless, a show of innocence and charming youthfulness.

She demands that Angel must bring a proverbial black flower (previously unseen, only existing in tales) to be allowed to know her name.

This best fits the caliber of today’s lofty dowry demands. 

Through thick and thin, metaphoric of the hard times a typical bridegroom goes through to get the bride price, he gets the flowers. 

Onugba takes us to Angel’s joy through a beautiful couplet:

To her, I go

Flower in hand

Her name, to know…

Her name, I know.

The subsequent poems beautifully grow the drive of love Angel has towards Pearl, as he knows her name to be. 

It’s a journey of hard work and resilience because though Pearl had thought Angel won’t get the flower and will fail, she herself fails.

Onugba carries us in a wave of emotions and mixed feelings as the two love birds ponder how their future might be. 

Pearl foresees the probability of Angel turning into a demon but Angel sees a happy future with Pearl, having wings grown on her virgin back, a show of physical and spiritual maturity. 

The mood is interrupted by a Messenger, through whom Almighty prompts Angel to abandon Pearl and get to work because:

Threatened, Heaven is

To defend we must!

But my love to leave

In defense of home,

In defense of love.

Juxtaposing their feelings, Onugba posits that Pearl takes Angel as selfish and should not have hearkened to the Almighty’s call but paints Angel as actually fighting so that there may be peace and their growing love blossom. 

How best could the Anthologist paint this image if not by handpicking these heart-touching poems which evince a sense of romance in which the man has to branch out and weather everything that so easily hinders a seamless love? 

Be it poverty, conflicts, joblessness, or any other hindrance, all for the sake of love and jovial matrimony. 

The first part of the Anthology fades out with the Fallen Angel’s prayer. 

Angel, now in the Abyss, captured by Demons, seeks Supernatural power to free him from the Pit. 

Onugba’s “Trapped” tactfully ushers us into Precipice, the second part, in Angel’s mood of missing Pearl, yet still bound and helpless. 

It swiftly covers Angel’s painful struggle for emancipation from the Devil’s tepid cage of agonizing confinement.

It speaks to us of the destitutions of life and how we should courageously liberate ourselves from puzzles entangling us and the worries that so easily tow us back. 

Pearl has a feeling that since it’s now three months since the war started, Angel might have died. 

She resolves that the drink intended to keep Angel from going to war failed its mission when Angel took it on the battleground.

Pearl, however, refuses to confess it.

This perfectly identifies with the human character of adamancy and hardship of heart to say “sorry” and solve issues. 

Using the best-fit poem “Fallen”, Onugba narrates the nostalgic memories of Angel in Heaven: the glorious state and how he victoriously led Heaven’s charge to destroy Hell’s pits. 

He’s suddenly stuck in painful doubts behind the fall:

But then a dark spell

Could it be Pearl’s drink?

Unsure still I am

Harmless, my Pearl is

Love she is, and more.

In a vague flashback, Pearl poisoned Angel using a drink intended to hook him from going to war but forgetting to take it then, Angel drank it while in the war, thinking it was a drink of love, only to make him a weakling. 

Don’t our enemies, whom we think are our friends, pull us back when we open up on our efforts to make our future brighter?

Meanwhile, the aluta continua for Angel to escape and meet Pearl. 

Broken, my wings are Unbroken… my heart. 

Pearl, while regretting her acts, gradually grows impatient.

After six months in the waiting bay, intolerance reigns and hate starts brewing.

Though Angel feels hopeless, dreams about Pearl and a journey of intimacy spur him on.

Nine months and counting, with neither help nor light, Angel feels unloved and concludes: To love, I toil. 

The long precipice, a lengthy cliff of pain and struggle, a stretch of despair, culminates with Lucifer’s summoning of Angel. 

The deal is that Lucifer needs peace. She urges Angel to crumble Heaven’s Gates. 

Mr. Anthony Onugba. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Free at last, Angel, now impure, is released, twelve months since, fully armed, like before.  A lengthy cliff it had been. 

The wave of the metered verses from Precipice to Denouement─ a resolution─ heartwarmingly carries the reader.

Angel has been received home by surprised faces.

Pearl is still around but taken! She feigns regrets for not being patient enough but still resolves not to accept Angel back because she’s already engaged to someone else. 

Which quintain can capture this situation of rejection beyond this?

To me, Angel comes

For a kiss, longing.

My back to him turn

No joy, no gladness.

To return, he must!

Unequivocally, Angel is sadly convinced Pearl poisoned him to keep him back by herself. 

Pearl now stands sure that the truth has been revealed.

Doesn’t this speak to us about how hard it is to sustain lies all the time?

Parting ways, even after Angel’s torturous fight for peace for their love to blossom only to earn rejection instead, their love becomes past tense.

Angel is thrust into loneliness again.

Painfully and lonely, Angel yields to Lucifer’s call and opens Heaven’s gates for Demons to enter. Thwarting the plans seems in vain and therefore:

For peace, I open

The same, we all are.

Hell turns pure Angels

To violent Demons

Talk. Heal. Reign peace would.

Almighty, exasperated, thrusts him out of His presence to purgatory.

It’s the consequence of rebellion, even amidst despair, speaking to us of the virtue of restraint and self-control.

Rejected, lonely, wretched, roaming in desolation and feeling unloved, Angel revives a return-home dream. 

Thoughts of pretentious friends with encouraging words but sacrilege acts flush through his head.

He’s determined to make amends with the Almighty and ask for forgiveness.

With time, cognizant of the fact that he’s now a Fallen Angel, though hopeful for restoration, resolves to admit rejection by Pearl. 

It’s sad but he has to so that he may find peace, love, and acceptance from himself and maybe, others. It needs courage.

Avoiding any blame game, he appreciates himself for previous victories and glory from battles. Recognizing the presence of both good and bad days, he courageously acknowledges:

In my current craze

Mission failed… again!

In me a lot changed

In me, more to seek.

But this fact I know…

Lone I am today

Lone to be… always!

Angel’s lone again.

Onugba’s book takes the reader through a scintillating tour of life and its random uncertainties, underscoring the need for courage and resilience in every step. 

Undoubtedly, it’s a multifaceted anthology of well-regulated verses, a book of many meanings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anthony Onugba is a multi-genre writer with works spanning poetry, prose, drama, and children’s literature. He has previously authored seven books. These are; Mixed Emotions (2005), Reflections (2010), The Chronicle of Christ (2011), Darien (2015), Three Men and a Bottle (2015), Amanda’s Crime (2015), and Lavender Tales of the Summit (2021).
Anthony is the founder of Writers Space Africa, the African Writers Conference, and the African Writers Awards. He is an animal and nature lover, a star-gazer, loves to walk in the rain, kiss animals, and go mountaineering.

The link to his website: www.anthonyonugba.com

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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature. His contact: b.makau@scholarmedia.africa.

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