• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
businessday logo


Expressing life and nature in ‘Wild and Free’

Expressing life and nature in ‘Wild and Free’

After the melodious vamp, the opening lyrics of Black Men United’s 1994 single song entitled ‘You Will Know’ readily come to mind: When I was a young boy / I had visions of fame/They grew wild/They were free / They were blessed with my name.

Black Men United was a collaboration of African-American R&B neo-soul and soul music artists. The song was written by a young D’Angelo along with his brother, Luther. Reading Remilekun Jaiyeola’s ‘Wild and Free’ reminds this reviewer of that opening lyrics of ‘You Will Know’.

Introducing the book, the poet writes, ‘Wild and Free’ is a collection of poems about life and nature. There are poems about the joys of being wild, and poems about the freedom of being free. The book was inspired by the feeling that we all have deep within us—that there’s something wild and free in our hearts seeking expression’. In the case of Black Men United, what grew wild and free were the visions, and the artists expressed them through a single song, ‘You Will Know’.

This should provoke the reader to know what will grow wild and free in people’s hearts that the poet expresses through ‘Wild and Free’, a collection of forty-eight poems written by Remilekun Jaiyeola and published in 2022 by New Touch International Limited, 1A Pemberton Road, Bradford, United Kingdom.

From ‘Firework’ to ‘I Am Powerful’, the poet treats us to chewable bones of poetry about nature, life and how life should be lived. These ultimately revolved around the themes of confidence, struggle, pleasure, pain, beauty, peace, loneliness, freedom, bondage, love, care, hardship, friendship, Legacy,regret, resilience etc.

The forty-eight poems that will transport the reader to the poetry land where poems enliven the spirit are as follows;‘Firework’, ‘Falling Apart’, ‘I Let Them Out’, ‘Ask Yourself’, ‘When I was Young’, ‘Nothing is Hers’, ‘I’ll Find My Way’, ‘Beauty’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Walk in Nature’, ‘A New Way Home’, ‘If I could Fly’, ‘Worried’, ‘See the World’, ‘Possibilities’, ‘Golden Hour’, ‘Love and Hope’, ‘What Do You See?’, ‘Ask God’, ‘A Gift for God’, ‘Most Beautiful’, ‘Left Behind’, ‘It’s Everywhere’, ‘I Wish’,‘To Be In Love’, ‘My Friend’, ‘Apart’, ‘Overcome’, ‘I Feel Like’, ‘Regret’,‘Fear And The Dark’,‘I Didn’t Know’, ‘Wild and Free’, ‘A Place of Wonder’, ‘The Goodness of Your Voice’, ‘Finding Joy’, ‘I Believe in Fate’, ‘One Thing’, ‘Where I Feel Safe’, ‘How to be Free’, ‘Stand Still’, ‘Looking Forward’, ‘She Did It All’, ‘I Am Myself’, ‘Lost In The Dark’, ‘I am not Free’, ‘What do you want?’And ‘I am Powerful’.

It is worthy to know that some themes in this beautiful collection are used antithetically to bring outcontradictory effects. Two poems are perfect examples, ‘Wild and Free’ and ‘I Am Not Free’: In ‘Wild and Free’, the poet expresses freedom.

The poem goes thus: Outside, nature is wild and free / It’s the perfect place to be / The wind is blowing, / the trees are rustling /I can hear birds singing, / telling me something. / When I look at nature / it makes me feel / I’m a part of something/bigger than myself / for I am wild and free.But in ‘I Am Not Free’, the poet expresses bondage, which is an antithesis of freedom. The poem goes thus: I am not free,/I am trapped in a cage. / The bars are made of fear,/And their shape is dread./ I wish I could run away, /But there is no way out. / I’ve been here for so long, / And I don’t know what to say. / I’ve been here for so long, / I’m just not sure how to stay.

There are some poems that have similar themes in context. A careful analysis of these poems shows that they can easily flow into one another. Two poems are sacrosanct in this regard, ‘How To Be Free’ and ‘Looking Forward’. In ‘How To Be Free’, the poet shows his failure on how to be free.

The poem goes thus: I wish I knew how to be free. / I wish I knew how to let go / of the things that keep me stuck, / and make me feel like a failure, / I wish I knew how to / Worry less about other’s opinion / And seek how to be free / Living to free myself / From the dangers of human / Who also are in a quest / To get freedom at my expense.

But in ‘Looking Forward’, the fear of failure that the poet expresses in ‘How To Be Free’ becomes a beacon of hope. It goes thus: I’m looking forward to the day / When my heart is finally free— / When I can walk out the door, / And never look back. / I’m looking forward to the day / When I can finally say goodbye— / To all the things that have held me back, / And keep me locked inside. / Today I break free / Fromshackles/that won’t let me be.

The poet in this collection features some poems that pose rhetorical questions to the reader. Two of such poems, ‘What Do You See?’ and ‘What Do You Want?’ are hereby examined: In ‘What Do You See?’, the poet brings out another form of contradictory themes using rhetorical questions: What do you see / when you close your eyes? / Is it a daydream, / or a nightmare? Do you see the past, / or the future? / Do you see your heart beating, / or your blood flowing? / Do you see peace and quiet, / or chaos and strife? / Do you see yourself in love, / or alone and afraid? It is all about choice-making. The antithetical pairs are Daydream and Nightmare; Past and Future; Peace and Chaos; Love and Alone.

In ‘What Do You Want?’, the poet is so direct in asking the reader to make his or her choice using the same style in ‘What Do You See?’. The poem goes thus: What are you going to do with your life? / Are you going to make art? / Or are you going to make money? / Are you going to take risks? / or play it safe? / Do you want to travel the world? / or stay close to home? / Do you want to make something beautiful? / or just make a buck? /The choice is yours / What do you want?

Read also: What life is like for people in Nigeria -A Review of Femi Morgan’s The Year of Fire.

The pairs of antithetical words in What Do You Want are Art (Fame) and Money (Fortune); Risk (Danger) and Safe; Travel and Stay at home. Other poems of rhetorical questions are Worried, A New Way Home, Beauty and Ask Yourself.

A literary device that is very common in this collection is enjambment. The reader will see a sentence continues into two or more lines in more than two-third of the poems. Examples of some of the poems and their enjambments are ‘Firework’ (A flash of colour in an otherwise dull night), ‘Falling Apart’ (The world is falling apart, and I don’t know what to do; I feel like my heart is aching, and I can’t bear it another moment; The darkness has come for me, and I don’t know how to fight it; It seems like the only thing is to give in to the pain) and‘I Let Them Out’ (There is an ocean in the center of me; But I know it’s there. It’s filled with all my dreams and wishes and hopes; I let them out, they’re reflected at me).

Other literary devices that the poet employs to make emphasis or create sensory effects are hyperbole, imagery and metaphors as well as oxymoron. These literary devices are more pronounced in poems that showcase the beauty of nature such as ‘Walk In Nature’ and ‘Beauty’.

In all, the language is lucid and the style is free verse with two or three poems featuring rhyming schemes. There are some spelling errors such as ‘Shackels’ instead of ‘Shackles’ in ‘Looking Forward’ and ‘Center’ (American) instead of ‘Centre’ (British). In ‘What Do You See?’, the word ‘Quiet’ should have been ‘Quietness’ in the context it is used. The poem, ‘I Wish’, shows lack of consistency in the use of tenses: The poem goes thus: I wish there was a land / Where the sun always shone, / And the flowers always grew. / Where the air was warm and sweet, / And the people were kind. / Where the sky is a rainbow / And the grass glows in the moonlight / Where all fantasies come true, / And hearts are full of love and light. The poem can be better written in a single tense.

In Remilekun Jaiyeola’s Wild and Free, the reader will know that life and nature grow wild and free in people’s hearts – they inspire them to make life-long choices. The people include the poet and his audience. Most poems in this collection are lyrical and easy to commit to memory. Above all, some of the poems answer the questions of life, struggle and death and point to the way life should be lived. I recommend this beautiful collection to all and sundry especially poetry lovers.