Homewards…


A poet colleague I respect his writings once wrote this line while long away from homeland, my dear Atọkẹ. He said: “…sometimes home is not just a state of mind; sometimes home is home.” I guess it becomes more real to us when actually away from home for long, in travel, in exile, or in expectation of a homecoming.

II

You know this nolstagia, the feel of familiar air, and the smell of familiar private environment. Perhaps it is what one of the English Trench Poets and soldier in the World War I, had meant when he talked about dying a patriotic death in battle and his fallen body retaining in that patch of foreign land “an English soil,” over which also extends “an English heaven.” Perhaps, then, there is a home sun, a home moonlight, a home rain, a home breeze.

You know, maybe in a person’s mind there is a sound of birds chirping that is home, that is characteristic of home. A familiar chatter of playing kids, that is just particularly home. Or it is some particular serenity, say, with a familiar buzz from industrial plants nearby sounding in the underground. Or maybe it is just a set of daily life activities someone have been so used to and become fond of back home.

Maybe in regards to logic they are to be same everywhere and without significant distinctions, anyway; but talking psychology and with regards to our sentiments I guess they bear particular emotional significances to us.

Perhaps home is just home.

III

One or two lines from Antonio Jacinto made me chuckle. That’s “Letter from a contract worker.” Let me read it to you:

…I wanted to write you a letter
my love
a letter of intimate secrets
a letter of memories of you
of you
your lips as red as the tacula fruit
your hair black as the dark diloa fish
your eyes gentle as the macongue
your breasts hard as young maboque fruit
your light walk
your caresses
better than any that I find here …”

Now, as if caresses are of several “textures”! *Chuckling* But, really…! Maybe it is just like the one sun shining on the whole world, but we would speak of the African sun, and which contextually means differently, feels differently, and appeals to our sentiments differently, from, say, the European sun. Just like that home rain, and that home breeze.

And then I thought about what makes home, home; and what makes travel never going to be like home. Maybe it is what we left at home, who we left at home – those people who are close to our hearts. And it is what makes us never home anywhere, until we come home. And if these ones are not there, and really matter to us, then anywhere – perhaps everywhere – may be home.

Yes, perhaps it is not the environment after all; for most of us it is essentially you our sweethearts and also our families we left back home, that is really home for us, baby. It is our relationships; our wives or sweethearts, our family and relatives, and our loved ones.

IV

Now, on furlough and vacations – baby girl, mine is this August, and I’m coming home, coming home to you. And that is what this whole letter is about. When I come I will tell you many things, many things one see and hear about here. Let’s just save them for when I come home. Now really, I have really missed being with you, Heaven knows! Missed everything about you!

Ah baby, you know, there is this aching need of man masked by, say, a macho height or frame, in us. This neediness, this manfully stiffled yearn of need within; this aching need for a wholesome feminine acceptance, feminine reception, feminine love.

And when we have gone all day setting plans, or have been working round the clock setting things to work, we just love – just yearn, just really love, to be wrapped up in the arms of the ones we love, the ones who are in love with us. We love – and yearn, to hear you whisper in our ears with admiration, and say, “I am proud of you, baby! And I love you.”

And if we always know this will be, men will always come home; and men will always stay – and not stray, in travel.

But first of all… come August, baby girl – God spare our souls, and grant enablement, and keep us together still – I think my way leads… homewards.

Kayode Taiwo Olla,
Assah-Ubirielem,
July 2014.

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