Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

On the Phone, Her Voice --- The Sound of Violin

On the phone,
Her voice — the sound of violin —
Would play in melancholy
With every words she uttered
Until the night spread
Its wrapper across the moon
And brought tears to my eyes.

She said: “Charles, the problem with our
Generation
Is that we mistake sex for love.”

And I blinked my eyes then and wondered
If there was hope for one so ruined by
Too much learning,

She was different,
And just like me, she was a freethinker
Who saw the world
Through the thick lens of doubt.

On Sundays,
She would rather wear her hair
On her shoulder,
And sit on her desk
To read and write.

“If I die now.” she said,
“I know I won’t go to heaven.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I doubt God, and I love sex,
And I lie a lot.”

I’ve often imagined what it feels like
To be female and freethinking
In this part of the world,
The countless relationships ruined
And the nights of drought
When neither sex nor alcohol
Would fill that emptiness of heart.

On the phone,
Her words — the sound of rain
In desert land —
Would fall softly on my ears
Until time froze and became cold,
And I sobbed and sighed.

She said: “Charles, I don’t know why,
But I feel so depressed.”

And I said: “Don’t you think you need Jesus
In your life, don’t you?

On the phone,
She laughed. I never heard her laugh so hard
“Maybe I need Jesus.” she said;
“But not tonight. Tonight
I would stay here with you and cry.”

And we sat there — two souls separated by space,
But united by our common loneliness —
And talked of life and death
And poetry,
And how writing made us sad,
And promised before we slept never to write again.

And now,
Whenever it rains at the midnight hour
And I’m still awake
Writing
I’m reminded of her.
And in that moment,
I hear clearly the music of the violin,
And every sound, every sight and
Every movement brings
Her to my desk.

 

*********

About the Author:

Portrait - CharlesChukwudi Ezeamalukwuo Okoye is a graduate of Geology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He was born in 1990 in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. He discovered his passion for writing, especially for Poetry while in the University. He is the editor of Ink15 Creative Group. He is a blogger and a regular contributor at Ink15.wordpress.com. An omnivorous writer, with a published poetry collection titled “The Words of my Mother.” He lives in Lagos and Onitsha.

Tags: , ,

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

9 Responses to “On the Phone, Her Voice — The Sound of Violin | by Chukwudi Okoye | African Poetry” Subscribe

  1. Farida July 18, 2016 at 7:21 am #

    Wow! Intense. Familiar. Beautiful.

  2. Gamaliel July 19, 2016 at 4:12 am #

    And how writing made us sad,
    And promised before we slept never to write again.

    I love this poem, particularly for its relatable nature and also for its emotional core
    Well written sir. Well written

  3. Oluwatoyin Adisa July 20, 2016 at 3:12 am #

    This is beautiful. I like.

  4. zinta July 20, 2016 at 5:27 am #

    Wow…..
    I feel like I’m the person the poem is talking about.
    Nice work.

  5. Uche otolo July 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    Lovely

  6. Ade July 25, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    Hmmm, the relativity to the world of nature is thrilling. Good one.

  7. kehinde April 17, 2018 at 9:47 am #

    beautiful…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. ON THE PHONE, HER VOICE — THE SOUND OF VIOLIN (Poetry) – ink fifteen - August 1, 2016

    […] First published on Brittle Paper […]

  2. Repost: On the Phone, Her Voice — The Sound of Violin | by Chukwudi Okoye | African Poetry – CwanjiruG - November 3, 2016

    […] The poem appeared on Brittle Paper […]

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

What We Are Reading This Week | Magical Tales About Life in Northern Nigeria

abubakar the whispering trees

BUY Cassava | Amazon A new edition of Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s The Whispering Trees is out in Cassava Shorts, a […]

Poda-Poda Stories Calls for Submissions from Sierra Leonean Writers

poda-poda stories Sierra Leone

Poda-Poda Stories is a new digital platform curating Sierra Leonean literature. The platform was founded by Ngozi Nicole, a Sierra […]

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light Wins the 2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah2020 Chautauqua Prize

Petina Gappah’s Out of Darkness, Shining Light is the winner of the 2020 Chautauqua Prize. The Chautauqua Prize has been awarded […]

Brittle Paper Quote of the Week — Wole Soyinka

quote of the week wole soyinka

  The of Quote of the Week is by Wole Soyinka: “The man dies in all who keep silent in […]

Chimamanda Adichie Shares the Ins-and-Outs of Writing Half of A Yellow Sun for Biafra Remembrance Day

Untitled design

  It’s Biafra Remembrance Day, and while many authors have written about the Biafra War, perhaps no other book on […]

Teju Cole’s Essay on The Disposability of Black Lives is Essential Reading for Our Current Moment

george floyd minneapolis teju cole

As we mourn the death of George Floyd, whose life was brutally taken by a white police officer in Minneapolis, […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.