By Anikulapo Henry
When you think of happy people, you think about an extract of people from a distinct race and generation who have morphed into the happiest people on earth in spite of their challenges and the residue of quagmire that has paled their polity.
Coming from a background of colonial history and meandering through the highways of tribal suspicions, ethnocentric disposition and bad government, Nigeria, as a country, mirrors the hysteric bedstead of conundrums as described by the brilliant writer in this collection of poems. The metaphor, being a happy people, divulged the resolve of a people to stay happy even in the face of political and exhausting existential crises.
Adeoti, in “Canticles of a happy people”, published 2022 by Red Letter Crib Signature, and particularly in the poem, “Ribbon”, enthused about the precautions every man must observe to avoid misery and regrets through life and times – and also highlighted the alluring vices to be kept at bay if anyone seeks a life of meaning and peace against the background of a chaotic existence.
The first three lines opened thus: When you go across the streets
do not desecrate the fingers of a stranger, / do not entwine your thoughts with the desires of hogs …
In the third line, the poet warns his readers about the dangers of entwining their thoughts with the desires of hogs. Hogs are definitely dirty animals and always find food in dirt. This describes the politicians in his country and also the merchants of vices who survive on shady deals. These lots are not limited to miscreants but also top officials in oval offices whose competence is to forge papers, lie about their academic background, swindle unsuspecting lots and kidnap people to earn a living off their misery. The poet warns against desiring or hobnobbing with those despicable specimens to live a life of an exquisite delirium.
In the poem, “Canticles of a happy people”, the author painted the picture of a people in chains but are not suppressed by the avalanche of hurdles on their way to forging ahead in life. They barely resist and stand up against their shambolic government and would continually adjust to the dictates of a deluded government replete with thieves and scoundrels who don’t observe nor uphold the provisos of their social contract. The people have become a child tossed into the wind of happenstances, dealt with whatever hand of fate rife with ruins pelted by the wind.
In the last line of the poem, the poet enthused that these caravans are here today to thresh their agony into a song of encouragement. This implies that the people, despite their discontent with their polity, still appear everyday to contend with whatever forces they have to contend with, in order to make sense of their existence.
Adeola beamed nostalgia on the hysteria of being a Nigerian and the poignancy of commuting from one socio economic class to another and the prevalence of ponzi schemes and other get rich schemes fabricated by swindlers with vitriolic triggers and a cavalier disposition to the plight of their victims.
The poem mirrors and forewarns men to speak and examine their own life with candidness. Adeola enjoined us to place ourselves before the mirror and adjust our notions in a way similar to the quadrants in Johari’s window in psychology and do something about our lives. catch the storm again. This collection of poems is revealing and palpable in cadence. The words throw their fangs at you for succor, empathy and other myriads of emotions.