Poetry and the power of COVID-19-induced isolation

By Chijioke Uwasomba

It is only the bottom that draws the bottom. At a time like this when anxiety and fear became the other day of the one triggered by the Coronavirus, which humiliated and humiliated the Superpowers, rendering their high technological development ineffective, humanity is deeply challenged. For the human race to survive, it must think outside the box. The President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, in his usual cheeky style, had dismissed the devastating new virus as the Chinese disease, leaving out what the country should have done in the initial outbreak of the disease. The reality today is shocking, given the humiliating and humiliating experience of the United States.

The pandemic has also created emergency specialists at all levels of life, including health, education, politics and economics. No matter what you think, it is obvious that public health and the political economy go hand in hand and backward countries like Nigeria face major problems. The debate is ongoing and it is hoped that this will not undermine the necessary efforts and focus on finding a cure for the virus or vaccines that would cause a fatal blow to him.


In addition to Trump and other wildcards in the world, some smart Africans like the Governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayadeh joined the fray claiming his experience in epidemiology, virology and other public health challenges. time would decide the correct results.

In the United States and elsewhere, those who think that freedom is more important than life are taking the path and doing harm to themselves and massacring others.

The previous realities clearly show that the world is uncomfortable and, therefore, requires genuine efforts to redo it, since pandemics such as the one that plagues the world today are always venting from time to time. Creativity is the antidote to any challenge facing humanity. Therefore, it is not surprising that, as the pandemic is devastating the world and tracking and tracking are underway to remedy the situation, creativity is likely to increase. There is a particular talk of poetic creativity in these times.


After all, poets who occupy their place in the hierarchy of humanity can skillfully create, construct and sing a specific reality. This “linguistic turn” is an imaginative speech or exercise that gives a powerful expression to experience, ideas and emotions in a standardized and elevated language. Obviously, experiences produce ideas and emotions. It also communicates in several ways at the same time. All the media interact to produce an effect. Each poem is a response to a specific situation.

The current pandemic has raised a dramatic situation and caused some fine poetic evocations in some Nigerian poets. There are a good number of them who were grabbed and grabbed by the poetic muse. Apparently fired by John Keats, arguably the most engaging and deeply spicy of all romantic poets, Mahmud Aminu, a lawyer-poet finished a collection of poems entitled Metaphors and Paradoxes: Poems Written in the Time of the Corona. These poems with more than ninety constitute a testimony of what any experience could generate and it is exciting that Aminu took advantage of this opportunity, despite the debilitating conditions imposed on people of various orientations by this virus. Quoting Keats himself, who asked these existential questions: "Is there another life? / There must be, we cannot be created for all this kind of suffering", Aminu takes off with the first section of the collection entitled "Nineteen ways of Writing about Corona. ”In the poems, he draws attention to the joke that many people, including Nigerians, had reduced the outbreak of the pandemic. Trump himself, who should know more than others, considering that he is the most powerful gift in the world. world because of the hegemonic status of the United States of America, has ruled out the virus calling it a "Chinese disease", but statistics today show that the United States has become the epicenter of the virus.


Like Trump, many Nigerians, especially in the northern part, did not take the pandemic seriously, but everyone in that area is running impulsively because the reality has come to the people. The poet warns thus: What I hear is not a joke / I close the curtains / I go black / despite Corona's fear19. The orator-poet prepares herbs "amid the lament around me". Meanwhile, "Corona travels the world, crossing seas and accumulating regret". "Someone new to London / is fighting is fighting for his precious life." In a subsequent poem, he intones that "Another day sleeps, low". Corona is described as "the murdering king" who is on the march / defiant, threatening and looting. "The power of" king Corona "is hailed, as is the king himself.

Still in the first section of the collection, the poet sees the hidden world: “When you can give up the window. But "times have changed" as people are alerted to engage in social and physical detachment. Any violation of this injunction puts one in trouble, as death can occur as a consequence. The speaker-poet himself dismisses anyone who wants to approach him warning: "Why look for my hand / Shake hands / Avoid touching the eyes / nose and mouth".

Because the poet is a town crier, he warns: "Look at the world / Look at humanity / They are cities, towns, communities, continents / put quicksand / Speeding to death". Another poem speaks of the issue of facial masks as a protector of the people: "Ours is a festival of masks / Look at us now / Our noses, our mouths / Covered and shaded by the rainbow / Closed like prisoners / To protect us from infections ". The poet continues to warn humanity even at the point of repetition saying: "Look at the world / Look at humanity / Look at the world now / There are dark houses here / There, where darkness spreads / Rooms and people dressed in black clothes ".

There is no doubt that people of various stripes and shapes are dying as a result of the pandemic. Hunger has also hit many people, especially the lower class, who live daily, but the virus and state forces are overcoming hell. It is no wonder that the poet lamented: "You are still in mourning and hunger / Here, where you cannot close your mouths yawning". The poor treat the advice of government forces with disrespect, therefore: “What is the use of locking up the warehouse / While the poor go to sleep hungry? / What is the use of saving for the rainy day / When the rain is here ”. But the poet who sounds like a singer announces with joy "I Obemata, I say: do not cry / Enter the warehouse … / You are the light".


In section two of the collection, entitled Continental Renshi: A Chronicle of Suffering (a conversation with fifty-four fictional African poets). In fact, because of the poet's Afro-positivist and pan-African credentials, he attempts a fictitious creation of prominent African states that represent the collective of the African Union. The explosions of these fictional African poets defy the virus with their sufferings and deaths. These poets represent the collective efforts of African writers and activists to change the African condition. Again, this section evokes Keats' poetic powers and evokes his memories.


The Corona virus is portrayed as beating furiously in search of those to destroy: "Knock, knock, knock." But as the knock continues to knock on the door, no one opens the door. The virus is treated as an attacker, an unwanted and unwarranted guest and is therefore fired. The virus came from China. China is the new sheriff in the world and tries, as much as possible, to imperialize the whole world. The search and the consequences, if not challenged by the global community, will mean condemnation to humanity: "You have come a long way / From China, from your coming / That keeps coming in waves / Today I woke up / And I found my nose / Eyes and mouth keeping malice / With my bands “.

The poet is extremely unhappy with the arrival of the virus in Africa, as the virus has made absurd the African value of the union: "Hand in hand is how we found a home for peace", but "a new war is here … screaming : "Don hand in hand”. This section ends with the poem that begs the father to intervene. This poem shows the poet's new religious conscience. Despite his activist position and a human rights lawyer and the defender of the oppressed of a Marxist tendency, the poet was captured by a new evangelical conscience. This can be seen in this poem: "Father, who will come to our aid? / Not the armed policemen who killed / Most citizens who covet19, not the soldiers … / Father, father, come to our aid".

The third section of the collection ends the exercise. This section is titled Extracts from the new and goodbye. Given the poet's largely populist and optimistic nature, it is not surprising that the entire collection ends in a hopeful and optimistic direction. The devastating virus would be defeated despite its damaging and virulent attack: "Live! / Free, free / Finally, now you can / Go abroad". And with the new radiant order of life and happiness: "The street of our lives has returned / To reenact its magic / The long night has also returned / Through the forest of lights for itself".

The poet also states that, with the defeat of the coronavirus, any society will emerge. Things would change for the oppressed who would have suffered terribly at the hands of the brutal security forces. Even if people suffer as a result of the total blockade, the police and other security agencies treat them with contempt and all manner of humiliation. And for the poet, the defeat of the pandemic order by the people shows that "the sun was born / like Christ, stamping its seal of light". With the removal of this virus, future generations will speak and write about it as pandemics, pests, diseases and other previous epidemics became stories in today's world: "After Corona walks away / Hangs his portrait / Upside down ". A defeat of this pandemic is not only a victory for all humanity, but a disgrace for China in its most recent hegemonic promotion.

It should be noted that, as the entire medical team is busy finding, isolating and treating those who tested positive for the Coronavirus, poets such as Mahmud Aminu as witnesses of events and phenomena with their implications for the survival of humanity are in their very quiet corners, thinking on how to defeat the virus and generate happiness for the human race … As legislators of the world, they have a responsibility to think again about the world.

Uwasomba, scholar and critic, is from the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

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