Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian poet, author, and creative writing teacher living in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a proud member of Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation.

Ode to the Hungry Earth

At another gravestone of a boy who misted into memory,

I stopped to count the dreams drowned in earth’s belly,

the beautiful flowers that stemmed from his decayed skin.

I won’t conclude that I’m the only one poked by grief,

that nothing aesthetic, no matter how little, 

grows from a still body. His mother, on her kneels, 

was doing what I call the worshipping of the supreme 

because you don’t submit to what cannot subdue you.

At the horizon where the sun is another body passing 

from view, I deify the heavens of hollows. 

If only the dead could speak for themselves, 

this boy, like the sun, would say salutations to the earth 

where he walked into the ditch. His mother, like I do on behalf

of my mother, still sings of the earth that swallowed her sun.

To ask what she’s praising is saying, ‘earth, teach me dark things’––

how the cloud coagulates and splits into a confluence of water.

I left the graveyard with dead feet trembling to walk home.

It was as though the earth would open at every thumping.

The woman won’t allow me to leave heavy with her grief

without putting a map of survival in my hands.

‘A boy yawns,’ she says, is a phrase for ‘the earth is hungry again.’

And I marvel at how quickly the earth opens its mouth at the mention 

of my name! If I break the mirror in my mother’s empty room,

scar my body into something ugly, add a handful of pepper to it,

will I be too spicy for you, Earth? Will your tongue fail to enfold me?

People like Judas 

(a poem including a line by Neil Gaiman)

“One of you will betray me,” the Messiah said.

He was right. Books were safer than people anyway.

Sometimes, it’s what Judas did to his master

that makes me wallow in solitude instead of 

walking a lonely bridge with a friend at night.

Lately, I’ve stopped thinking about extreme grief

stemming from the plant men stalked into me.

Truth be told, I trimmed myself not to grow as thorns.

A brother betrays his tribe and I watch you sigh.

I, too, grow weary when anyone washes his fear 

into the stream that passes through every pore in my body.

Often, I imagine the look on the Messiah’s face

after the third cock crow, the sadness that enclosed

his heart like clouds on God. Perhaps, I should

speak less about the ancient betrayal accounts.

Recently, a son murders his mother and seals his father’s lips

with a coin. A father lullabies his little daughter to sleep

and lights her into a country. See, it’s not bad to reiterate

the truth once told: betrayal begins with what looks like love.

Forgive me if you say you love me and I do not respond.


Blessing Omeiza Ojo is a Nigerian poet, author, and creative writing teacher living in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a proud member of Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation. You can find his works on Konya Shamsrumi, the Deadlands, Split Lip, Wax Poetry & Art, Parousia, Afrihill, Artnews, Artslounge, Icreatives, Words Rhyme & Rhythm, Parousia, Trampoline and elsewhere. Omeiza is the mentor behind the birth of several teenage poets, authors and slam champs. His works have been translated into several languages including Yoruba, French and Italian. His poetry has received nominations for Best of the Net, Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Prize, Creators of Justice Awards, Castello di Duino International Poetry and Theatre Competition, Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest and the Korea-Nigeria Poetry Prize.

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