Writer's Quote Wednesday · Writing

That Mysterious Spirit Of Deja Vu…Writers Quote Wednesday


Have you ever met someone for the first time, but in your heart you feel as if you’ve met them before? JoAnne Kenrick, When A Mullo Loves A Woman

The prompt for this week’s writers quote is ‘mystery.’ We can write a piece of fiction, poetry etc, incorporating the word mystery.

I chose to write on incident’s that I have experienced severally in my life, especially because I had one just over the weekend and I daresay that you’ve probably had several yourself. I’ve had instances where I run into total strangers and I am totally convinced that our paths have crossed at some point in time. I have this certain feeling of knowing and familiarity which I found to be a bit eerie especially when I was much younger.

This also includes overhead conversations, that would have me questioning myself, trying to recollect where I had that conversation.

For days, I would mull over such episodes, but over time, I no longer bother with it. Now when I run into a seemingly familiar person, if I am close enough, I engage them in a conversation, laugh over the matter and move on.

I wrote the poem below in respect of that.

Our paths crossed each others
and a frisson of familiarity
raced through me.
The drone of your voice
curled inside my eardrums
pulling at memories
that are stored within.

Yet we’ve never met…

A pull to draw closer and eavesdrop
made me pause and stand in clear sight
perplexed thought crossing my mind
as I shamelessly eavesdropped on your conversation
I was sure that sometime, somewhere,
we had the same conversation, you and I.

Yet we’ve never met…

I tried to unravel the mystery in my mind
woolly cobwebs of memories buried
couldn’t cough up the answers that I sought
I dug deeper into dark recesses
seeking the unknown.
Who knew where what time and in what life
our paths had crossed

Yet we’ve never met…

I cease my attempt to decipher
I seek no longer to solve
mysteries of déjà vu
that my mind wouldn’t unravel
But, I’ve come to understand in acceptance
that somewhere, somehow and in some life
You and I are kindred spirits.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Family · Life · Love · Personal story · Poetry/Poems · Writing

Ude-Aku…The tale of the wrinkled hands

Grandma dancing on the occasion of my traditional/customary marriage.
Grandma dancing on the occasion of my traditional/customary marriage.

I held your frail wrinkled hands in mine,
They were much smaller!
Now! You were old!
The skin of your hands had waxed, waned and tautened over decades;
Toughened by ages of farming and weeding, from lifting innumerable hot clay pots from the burning firewood, from bathing babies; lots and lots of babies.

I caressed them lightly; noting the veins that stood out more prominently; noting the traditionally placed tattoos and the story behind the tattoos;
Beautiful age worn hands that had nourished,
Beautiful wrinkled bejeweled fingers that lightly applied ”Ude-Aku” on my scalp whilst shaping my unruly hair into a bouffant style.

Those fingers were my preferred hair stylist because, you did not pull it tight like Mama Nkechi used to do whilst making the periwinkle hair-do for me.
Beautiful hands that left my little bum smarting from a well-deserved smack after a misbehaviour.

I beheld your face with my eyes. Your beautiful dark skinned face;
I looked! Looking and looking at every lovely lined feature of your face.
Knowing that it might probably be the last time that my eyes would behold your skin.
Your eyes had seen the Civil war, your eyes had looked life in the face, it was a map of times past, etched with love and pain, with joy and laughter, with fear and worry, with seeing things that I can barely imagine…
Your lovely wrinkled face, etched with very fine lines and tiny spots that had stolen in and taken bold space,
Your crown of whitened hair held in a little bun
Everything had grown smaller!
Your skin had shrunk and your capacious bosom which used to cradle my hair, had bowed to the caprices of gravity
You had aged!
I saw it coming! I knew that it would happen!
But I wasn’t prepared!
The pain still cut me deep!
I wasn’t prepared to stop looking at your age-wizened face!
And when you left, you left with the name!
Grandma, nobody ever calls me Nnedim or Ngozika again!
They were your special bequests to me.
You left with your skin all shriveled by death
And you took the lovely smell of Okwuma and Ude-Aku!

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Quick Glossary For Words in Native Igbo:

Nkechi:  A native Igbo name shortened from Nkechinyere which means “The one that God gave.”

Ngozikaego: A native Igbo name which means ”Blessings are far better than money” derivatives of the names are Ngozi, Ngozika, Kaego, Ego

Nnedim: meaning ”My husbands mother” this infers to the belief in reincarnation and grandma believed that I was her mother-in-law reincarnated..

Okwuma: Native ointment made from Shea Butter.

Ude-Aku: Local body cream made from oil extracted from roasted palm kernels.

In fulfillment of Writing 201 – Poetry Day 3: Skin. Prose Poem. Internal Rhyme.

Some of the hairstyles back then.
Some of the hairstyles back then.