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Top 12 Featured Poems From The Finalists Of The 2018 Growth Contest

After all said and done, the 2018 Growth Contest has come to an end. A totality of 72 poems from 72 contestants were recorded and compiled for the contest at the initial stage. With the help of our guest editor, Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah, we were able to arrive at 8.

For the first round, they were paired in twos and that led to the disqualification of 4 contestants, leaving the other 4 who won to the bout. That was the end of the knockout system. Another pairing was done (round 2) and another(round 3), leaving us to two grades for each of the contestants. 

The winners Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale (Winner), Tukur Loba Ridwan (First Runner Up) and Chijioke Victor (Second Runner Up) have been declared with full analysis of the grading system here

Below are the poems submitted by the top 4 contestants for the last three rounds of the contest:

Chijioke Victor


Houses are burning inside me

My eyes have lost her river to an unknown gods

In my body are cities on fire
Flying ashes to the beautiful face of the sky

Tonight comes with ghosts of dead angels
Holding burnt roses in their burnt veins

My home is a city
Decorated with flames of burning men
A home were men wear skin of men and call it fashion

If i'm angel
I will wake the dead and plant flowers on their heads

They said that men dies at their pavement of dreams

I had like to see my pastor
But I saw ghosts of children
Peg on crosses in his alter

And I saw a vulture snarling at their entrails

Suddenly my blood turn torrent
And freezed from her reservior

Ashes are not dead men
They are men flying to the blue sky

If i'm a bird
I will fly to heaven with my stories on a dragon wings

And write about the giant mosquitoes that stole my dreams from his blood

But here i am
Just a crab hissing in a dusty bow of savagery.

The making of a god

And I walked into an empty abandoned church
Suddenly I saw her aisle growing weeds
They said her priest was burnt to ashes, holding god's words in his stomach
They said their fumes flew freely to the sky
But it is not a sacrifice
This night i saw the voices of burnt priests cuddling in the beautiful faces of the rainbow
As their ghosts wallow in search of gods
Though am only a human, holding ocean in my veins
But in my heart are houses of god
And my face is her casement
I will shape my mouth to a roof
And make a god with my body and bones.


Stand a broken pot on the cold arms of a burning ice,
And send your ghost to a cemetry,
To reap the wrecked hearts of the dead.

Dress your table with duvets of colours
And watch the hearts of men burn in arms of ice

You must drill the dept of an ocean
To sort homes of fire
To cook the dead entrails hissing in the broken pot.

They said there are nests of fire
In the body of dead angels
So you must drift away with the wind into uknown worlds
To sort their bones and bodies

And when the dinner shall ring her bell, dress the children in whites
For they shall sit for my favorite meal
And watch hearts of men

Cooked with ice, served in a clean table.

Nwankwo Prosper Okwudili


—father once told me about power:
he said it's a sword that haunts the bearer.
Like a King's mind is a progidy of dreams,
when his heart becomes the tentacle of thrones.
As in the nature of man;
We are all aged thirsting for a power,
placing creed and oath beneath the shoes of greed,
to walk the void paths of a hopeless world.
At times I tremble at the spindle of God's might,
when each day crawls in and out of my body,
like a government mounted upon the shoulder of dreams;
directing the vision of hopes
screwing my conscience sovernance
in a system of friends
renting foes in dynasty that misspells a nation's sovereignty...

Mother told me last night,

We are pictures measured in words,
Like portraits hold scars as flower;
where eternity built on nothingness,
Like how boys fight wars in their shadows,
secrets are songs in our heartbeat.
like the mind parade the running issues of life.
Keep these puzzles in your mind
if you've a soul, you're a god.
If you've a heart, you're human.
If you've conscience you're a miracle.

This is the making of a god. She said!


It's way too simply to doubt my culinary prowess when i tell people I can cook, as a man. My favorite meal is OFE EGWUSI NA GARI (melon soup and garri)  as the English would have it labelled.  As in igbo culture, this meal is prepared with great diligence, as I have always watched my mother had the magic delicacy done, which begins by the cook's discretion on how many cups of EGWUSI to make. And there are three methods to have this meal done:
1: by frying.
2: by simply pouring into a boiling pot.
3: by moulding and pounding after cooking.

To ready this meal. I prefer the third method which best describe my culture's recipe,as learnt from my mother.

 First, it's crucial to know it's a 45 five minutes meal preparation. I start by making available two cups of EGWUSI, then grind it synthesised with pepper, crayfish, ogili okpeyi (native Maggi). Haven done this perfect blend with the grinding machine, in 5 minutes.

The second stage goes by washing the Anu (meat) and Azu (fish), ugu (pimpkin-leaves) thrice with salt. Then pack in a mini pot of three cups of water, sitted on a well glowing fire. I add half teaspoon salt, three cubs of maggi, pounded fresh pepper and let it boil for 15 minutes.

While the pot is still on fire and the tantalisers being heated.

I slice the ugu (pumpkin-leaves). After which is done.

I get to the third stage, having the ground EGWUSI into moulages. Then put into the pot to boil for 10 minutes. Then spoon it out and pound softly. I dish it back inside the pot and cover to stew for extra 5 minutes.

Fort and the last, I sprinkle the ugu (pumpkin-leaves) inside the soup, turn it and immediately bring down the pot to keep fresh the leaves. And after the soup is done, I put half kettle of water on fire to boil for 10 minutes. I now pour it out inside a bowl and have the garri spread inside till it's soaked and then have it turned thoroughly for consumption....


Tukur Loba Ridwan


My mind is a small room

peopled with large faces

urging me to keep going

without showing me the way.

I listen to dead whispers

singing life into my ears;

blindness— dark is my foresight

to the light of lies ahead.

Thinking I have seen it all—

to what end through this tunnel,

There I go, making the narrow path

My only map, back to back,

in and out my wanton desires.

But i must chase what i want—

I keep running after my tail

that leads my head into delusion.

the making of a god

words tint light from sketches of darkness
like we spell a deity out of nothings.

words make morrows from dying days
how we worship what remains seen
to the eyes of faith.

words make men from shed boys of pasts,
like girls to whom alphabets bow
as they become women — of growth.

this is how words make gods
from fallible fleshes' feats
when we wage war with words
beyond the sharpness of swords.


'such that satiates stomachs
is not unknown to the eyes':
such is the voice of hunger
strangling throats of teeth & tongues.

whatever learned from sitting
in the kitchen with mother
is a wasted meal of lessons
if the lakes of soups has not
been stirred by the spoon in my hand
like a paddle does to the sea, surfing.

for every end to every means to a meal
is a climax of stages upon the sparks
of matchsticks rubbing against matchboxes,
whether by a coal-pot or by a firewood,
then boiled is water, like a raging brain
teased with the heat of pressure.

the boiling point is the call sending
for the flour that makes carbohydrate
from the morsels of yam flour - àmàlà;
filling the hot water with its lightness
till the turning stick stirs & turns thoroughly
this thickening treasure of a food — smooth.

prepare a table before you with a plate
waiting to be fed with a portion of àmàlà
the same way you're waiting to be fed:

what's good for the bowl is good for you.

Olabisi Abiodun Akinwale

A hermit's soliloquy

The holes in my bones are filled with photographs of the past & memories- floating into a tombstone

My lover said I'm everything her father was;
-a pub where lives are enclosed in bottles
-an ocean; empty, deep & alone
Our love sailed westward- without us

My mother ran out of oxygen;
-trying to hold her breath from life's poisonous air
-talking deep to her reflection in a voice that turn wayfarers away from the world
I never got to forge her last smile on the walls of my heart .

The doctor asked reasons for my solitude
I folded my tongue into a lone star & answered;
-my story is one dancing to wind songs
-my life is a girl crying into herself

Deep in my heart- the world is growing numb
How do i live in a world that doesn't hold my body?

Genesis 1:26-27.

And God said:

Let us make a god in our image & likeness;

-a body, dark; deep; broken & alone, yet home-ful

-a prelude to light that cuts the skin into songs skating on the terrain of blue skies

-a poem filled with flowers, memories & everything that drown men in themselves.

& let him rule over the moon, sun, stars & waves,

Over the birds, wind, water & fire

& over every creeping thing that melt the world into a photo album full of strange people.

So God created a god in his image

After his likeness, art & heart & called him Adam- a name crafted from his bones.

The preacher said the scripture is the only script, scripted for the making of a god- this was how i knew.

My Lover's Recipe For Egusi  Soup

Step 1:

Pour the palm oil in a pot as dry as the memories of an obliterated woman & set on the stove to heat.

Let the oil melt like a man transiting from solid to a liquid state between his lover's thighs, add the ground egusi & start frying.

Stir the ground egusi with oil till every grain of egusi turns to the colour of the skin of a Mongolian princess.

Step 2:

Stir-fry the egusi till you get a texture, like that of the body of a full grown woman.

Step 3:

Add the meat's stock till you get the fluidity that could make a boy carry his cross & walk into his lover's Golgotha.

Step 4:

Cover the pot & cook for 20 minutes, stir at intervals till the oil separates from the mix like a soldier parting with his soul in a war front.

Note: do not let it burn, a burnt meal is a thorn to a man's tongue.

Step 5:

Add crayfish & pepper. A well spiced meal is a woman's lips calling her man home.

Stir & add the pumpkin leaves or spinach. A tradition that blends childhood days with a mother's memories.

Stir & add the cooked stock fish, shaki & meat. An unadorned dish is a sterile woman.

Stir & add maggi & salt. A tasty meal is a step closer to a man's heart.

Step 6:

Cover & leave to simmer.

Serve with a hot & fluffy Amala.

She said a meal like this drags me away first, from myself, to a wandering rainbow, seeking refuge in her heart.