In Scripture, Jide Badmus unleashes the romantic in him as he ventures into a tirade, describing an experience that involves man’s interaction with God and the relationship that festers as man longs for and reaches to the heavens to his maker. This poetic enterprise is a metaphoric diatribe, expressing the concept of creativity – mirroring, first, God’s inventive prowess, and man’s innate ability to replicate that same knack for invention.
Jide Badmus is describing himself in the context of one who creates “walls of tongues from debris of echoes and whispers”; a deity who has known the pain of birth, “of moulding dust of thoughts into bodies of words” and the language of this collection draws the reader in, in a way that most poetic language won’t.
The fifty-one poems in Scripture embody the sum of the poet’s introspections which range from his ruminations on the personage of the God whom he believes in to his meditations on the subject of love and moving on from the pain of disappointment.
The poet shows us a different kind of mourning; one that doesn’t require the bereaved to shed tears like people who do not have hope, but to bask in a certain hope of victory in the long run. In I Long for Deep Nothings, the poet shares a yearning, one we all feel at some point in the course of our existence, for a place where confluence takes place, a place where “darkness meets light” in a way that conveys a certain anticipation for the unusual.
Like the poet, we all hope to hold time in our pocket, “sing with the voices of the seasons” and “launch dreams like a rocket”. The words convey hope; a longing to accomplish things which are normally difficult to accomplish, things which may be considered at some point to be impossible. Also, like the poet, we are honest enough to admit that this longing is for deep nothings, like all longings typically are. The Scripture according to Jide Badmus is a compendium of rejuvenating words said in praise of a supreme being and in recognition of the man made in his image. In the same vein, the poet isn’t too shy to reveal to us that from time to time, our deities are made by our hands and by our thoughts. In Paper God, Badmus declares that we create our desires; “a lover, a friend, a gun, a god”. It’s all depending on the desire of the individual.
By the time you approach the closing of this impressive body of work, you will encounter poems which appeal to our vulnerabilities as humans. One of such poems entreats the reader to “just lie here” even though breathing is hard, and lying still is hard; even though it is near impossible to contain the fire that threatens to spill to the surface. If you follow the poem to its end, you will find solace at Golgotha, our place of redemption, written in the most alluring language you have read in recent times.
Like this review? Read this one, of Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Kintu.