I have an incredible passion for mythology. Growing up i read greek myths. I learned about Norse mythology in college and read more about the mythology of the celts an dhow they found their way into Arthurian legend. Beowulf of course is a favourite.
In university i read more about foreign mythology like the Shinto of Japan and something dawned on me; i didn't know the mythology of my own people! So i dug deep and deep tons of research (godchecher is a brilliant website) over a period of time discovering some wildly exciting and interesting tales of do an dare.
I hail from Nigeria, Ghana(dad's side) and Jamaica (mum's side). The mythology of Ghana and Jamaica are mainly to do with Anansi, a prominent figure alreday in pop culture and only getting more popular (but have you watched American gods though? You need to!) I endevoured to write about the Orisha of Nigerian mythology, untouched for the most, not very popular in comparison to some others. I didn't want to wait for someone else to tell my stories.
It was an opportunity to introduce people to my local mythology, a part of my cultural heritage and history and make it accessible. Neil gaiman(American gods) Stephen Fry (Mthos, Heroes) and Rick Riordan (The percy Jackson, series, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase) have done some masterful work writing for adults and children on mythology.
The myths of the Yoruba are orally chronicled in what are known as Pataki's , parables if you will, that inform help and offer guidance. The god of luck series is a nod to those ancient tales and my humble attempt attempt at imitating Gaiman, Riordan, and Fry offering real world advice via old world stories. I hope you enjoy them.
god of Luck
All that glitters is not gold
Your heart to have and to hold
Put my money where my mouth is and speak truth
The art of appreciating your fleeting youth
I was eternal so I flirted with death caught in the crossfire it stole your breathe
Sledgehammer to my heart proud and bold
Trying to kiss you back to life your lips cold
I finally list, you were stolen in your prime
Deaths cruel joke repaying my cruel crime
The goddess of death, a violent cruel lover
You, the finite competition, she refused to be another
Another chapter in my lucky story, a forgettable page,
I loved you because you weren't forever, inspiring rage
In the empty casket death holds as a heart
She'd break me by tearing us apart
You see I was once mortal flesh and bone
Searching for a relic buried under brick and stone
Ile Ife, the city of the Yoruba gods of old
A forgotten mythical mighty stronghold
I searched for years until death learned my name
Everyone close to me died and I was not the same
I learned the names of Orishas forgetting friends
Manipulated by these eternals for their own ends
You see Sango wasn't happy and Ogun too
Oya goddess of death I seemed to woo
Sango god of lightening, Ogun god of war
Hated how I survived tooth and claw
I was an impressive fighter especially for a mortal
So at my moment of death she opened a portal
Oya goddess of death offered me divinity- life
Become an Orisha and make her my wife
I agreed and became Orire the Orisha of luck
And both Ogun and Sango I struck
Beating Oya's suitors back, protecting her heart
Until one faithful day in eternity it all fell apart
You see, forever is a long time, a little bit boring
And Oya's heart I started ignoring
I grew tired of safety and tried my luck
Looking in life for someone to pluck
You see for me there is no such thing as a clock
Because of this, mortal life gains new meaning , resonant stock
And in a desert filled world you shine brighter than a star
A diamond unfortunately born into a world of tar
The world didn't deserve you and in hindsight neither did I
How sad it is that the innocent in the world must die
I attempted to forget you, I really did try
But a star doesn't belong on the ground but in the sky
So I engineered your demise and fell in love with you as a man
Made myself search for the home of the gods with a secret plan
To defy death and make her my wife
To turn you into a goddess and steal back your life
And you became became Osun goddess of love
Rightfully living with us gods above
Oya was not happy, after all I was married to her
I'd deified you and created a paradox causing reality to blur
So I was punished, stripped of divinity and divorced
A return to humanity mundane mortality reinforced
I had pushed my luck, I had gone too far
All in the name of a fleeting no eternal star
You ignored the advances if Ogun and Sango, over you they constantly fought
You grew bored or the eternal inevetibility
real adventure you sought
The predictability of unattractive tedious time
Presenting nothing new, interesting or sublime
So you picked a project to teach a greedy man how to give
And he learned to give up immortality itself to live
Deciding it better to be mortal so that a star he picked might sparkle forever
Even if she remains a goddess and he finite no longer together
You see death had learned my name from your glorious lips
You knew I'd fall for your heart and worship your hips
Lust be damned, time taught me to delve deeper
Oya goddess of death, life's efficient gatekeeper
Life is not a dice to be cast by the palm of luck
Love is the lens through which we appreciate it- awestruck
Cherishing moment to moment until death has its way
And now I've learnt my lesson for death I pray
Hoping it takes me so I can be deified again
Jealous death ignoring me, laughing at my pain
Hopelessly in love with you, on this plane, stuck
Orire, Orisha of fortune, the hopeless god of luck
god of Luck II
The god of thunder was ruled always by desire and passion
Drinking immortal life to the dreggs with no need to ration
A characteristic not only admired but celebrated by men
For they knew they would all die but did not know when
And so it was paramount to enjoy and in excess exist
For human life was fleeting and did not persist
Sango god of thunder once a man, a mortal king
Taught his followers to test their limits and enjoy everything
god of the drums, god of the dance
Enrapturing all who watched in a trance
There was only one god who challenged him at all
Osun, goddess of love, at her feet men did fall
The gods were not exempt either
The lustful gods danced themselves into a frenzied fever
Attempting to win a stare, a glance, a smile,
But not a single god had the grace of the style
Ogun god of war, lived a challenge and loved osun even more
His rythm desperate, yearning at his core
Hoping to win her over with the right move
He danced, determined with much to prove
For all the other dances ended with Osun in Sango's arms
And with Ogun reaching for a weapon to clench in both palms
To strike the god of thunder down and for once win
To slay his popular brother although it was a sin
Surely enough Ogun lost the dance again, utterly losing
For Sango danced for the love of it, not pompous proving
Osun danced with Sango because he danced for passion
And she rewards those who do so with her affection and compassion
So Ogun stamped off throwing a tantrum full of fire
And out of the furious flames stepped the trickster Eshu, the professional liar
Eshu recommended Ogun ask Orunmila to look into future time
To seek out a version of events where Ogun was prime
To ask for guidance on how to bring about this version of events
And move any obstacles that places and presents
This wasn't cheating afterall, it was just a means to a victorious end
There was nothing wrong with manipulating the laws of physics and making them bend
What was the worse that could happen if he was to succeed
Would this new dawn rise upon the face of his greed?
Ogun was war, he received sacrifices plenty
If one life was offered he would grab twenty
He wasn't evil, it was just his nature that was all
He would take this clever opportunity and Sango would fall
So Ogun sought out Orunmila god of knowledge, wisdom and divination
But Orunmila had no good news for him, only stark condemnation
"Ogun I know why you are here and I cannot help you with what you seek!
The laws that govern alternate realities are not mine to tweak!
They are not there to serve your own interests or any other
Especially not to assist you in gaining petty victory over your brother!"
Ogun impaled him upon a spear for not seeing his death coming
Beating his chest, ego and pride-drumming
"You do not know what you have unleashed upon us all
You have chosen for us a dark reality and now we all stand to fall!"
Orunmila cried and dissipated into dust
Leaving the spear with which he was thrust
Ogun decided he would slay Sango's allies, compulsory for a fair fight
He was a master strategist and fighter- he did not need foresight
The next to be slain was Oya, goddess of the underworld and dead
The fight was a fierce one but he took off her head
The goddess of death dispatched, the newly dead without guide
The long dead no longer governed, nowhere for the living to hide
As the gates of hell were suddenly sprung open wide
An incoming swell of undead on the march, a monstrous hide
Obatala met Ogun at the gates of the underworld enraged
"Why have you thrown open gates that should have been left caged?"
"Let the current order unravel! Do I not toil for mankind in vain?!"
They revel in excess like my brother all mankind I will re-train!"
Ogun stabbed the king of the gods, the light lord
His form disintegrating, divinity recoiling into the sword
Ogun suddenly felt weak, dropping to the sword to the ground
A voice bellowed "Finally! I am no longer bound!"
Ogun,in what felt like dear, turned around
In you oh godling of war, weakness is found!"
"I am not weak! I am god of war! god of iron unbending, I am strong!"
"I hate to break it to you oh simple godling but you couldn't be more wrong!"
I am your better, destructive in more creative ways
You fight for mankind to improve them but I burden their days
And perhaps you do slay many, for all man seems to do is kill
But I am surely your better, I make even mighty warriors I'll
Pestilence is my name, death my beautiful invention
You've slain my brother with whom I was in contention
We often fought, life versus death
He always seem to win, granting man breath
Mankind deserves no guide or grace, love or loyalty
They deserve to kneel and cower in fear before our royalty
Sharing our divinity was how your brother Sango came about
A wreckless god of no substance or clout
A descendant of man, petty and small-minded
More often than not by their own greed blinded!
I will end mankind and his legacy shatter
We are important and they do not matter!"
Shakpana grabbed the sword and sliced Ogun across the chest
Divinity poured out from his cut breast
"If the gods love humans so much, into them they should transform
To the finite existence of man confirm!"
Ogun experienced a reverse birth expelled from Infinite plains, landing on earth
Fortune favours the bold so Ogun set off to save mankind
But he would need help, the god of luck he would have to find
Orire knew what Ogun had come to ask
To assist him in what was an impossible task
Repel the returning dead, send them back home
So that some of mankind might survive and be left alone
"We need to get the sword back from Shakpana god of sickness and pain
But if we go there like this we will battle in vain"
Ogun this is true but what you need to do is forge a mighty weapon for your brother
Shakpana has killed all the gods except him- you need to help each other
Together, fire and thunder you stand more than a chance
For has rythm and isn't every fight like a dance?
Shakpana thinks he has won, the gods lay on the altar in Pieces's defeated
He sits upon Obatala's throne full of laughter conceited
But he hasn't killed me and all you need is determination, a plan and hope
I'll help you in any way I can to help you cope
Forge a doubled headed axe, equally weighted
You will use it to crack shakpana's temple inflated
And so Ogun forged the weapon, one both he and his brother could use
The god of fire and thunder would fight side by side even if they did lose
Orire walked the immortal pathways taking Ogun with him too
Shakpana was surprised to see Orire and yelled "You!"
"He who is found at the alignment of preparation and opportunity
Where were you when the gods needed help with their continuity?
Behold! The gods have tasted sickness, they are mortal!
Pushed out of the heavens through death, the transformative portal
With any luck they'll die on the mortal plane and be no more
Life finally losing to me at their core!
And you have arrived just in time to see me kill your brother
To think you handed me the throne over your desire for a lover!"
Shakpana raised the sword to stab Sango through the heart
Ogun lopped his arm off before he could start
Orire picked up the sword of Oya and threw it through a thousand realms to its owner at the gates
The god of luck tipping the fight and changing fates
Oya returned her head on her shoulders, freed Obatala, shattering the sword
And together they summoned back death and it's hungry horde
Shakpana fought the brothers of fire and thunder together
"We will fight you to a stand still forever!"
The brothers were knocked to the ground, the double axe slid to Orire's feet
"I'll fight you if I have to, for that throne is not your seat!"
"god of luck you cannot defeat me-where would you even begin?"
"I know this to be true Shakpana but I know someone who can win!"
Obatala appeared, startling white, full of rage
A new battle playing out, life versus death on the eternal stage
Orire handed the axe to Obatala and swung it with incredible might
Slicing the god of sickness in two-day ending his reign of plight
Obatala restored the earth and returned the gods to their place
And where Ogun expected a sure punishment he received grace
For he'd made his brother Sango a weapon to defend mankind
He had thought of killing his brother but changed his mind
For brotherhood is paramount, brothers should stay side by side
Do away with pettiness and in each other confide
Osun suggested that Ogun apologise to Oya romantically with a gift
And Orire organised a sparring tournament for everyone's spirits to lift
So Ogun forged her a sword out of Shakpana's immortal shell
And disposed of his soul in the depths of hell
Ogun the blacksmith was always better at making things
Oya impressed with how in her hand the sword swings
The tournament commenced and sparring was intense
Warring god's on display, skill immense
Sango lost to Ogun in a battle of the ages
On that poets penned down to remember on pages
Ogun congratulated his brother for his valiant attempt
Finally filled with no malice or contempt
Playing to his strengths, yet appreciating others
Understanding that he and Sango were not goes but brothers
The final duel was with Oya, she was ready to put him in his place
The spectating gods had to move back and give them space
Swords clanged and there was dodging and spinning
Neither grew tired, neither were were winning
Orire called the final a draw for he could find no winner
Osun told them to duel again I've afire after dinner
Orire saw the opportunity for preparation and opportunity to intersect
And through it was able to help Ogun and Oya intimately connect
To allow pride to wither along with glory
And instead persue his own love story
As for the god of luck, tired of god's, he returned to earth for a while
To offer his services to mortals with his favourable smile
16/05/19 Captain's Log
This probably wont be the final cover as i am genuinely undecided about what sort of picture or artwork i should use. After all, how do you encapsulate all those words with an illustration that does it justice? A picture is worth a thousand words comes to mind so i am still certain the right piece of art or picture will do it. If you have any suggestions or recommendations or you know or are an artist please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Garden series
May marks the month i asked Rebecca to marry me. This month will mark a year we've been engaged. That picture below is her, shes writing a thank you card for the manager at the time who gave me the time off to see her for the first time. A year has gone so quickly, so much has happened. The month of April and May have been busy for us. she has been working on a brilliant blog called Knowledgetonourish.
As for me, I've been revising elements of poetry, reading poets, mainly Alfred Lord Tennyson if i'm being completely honest and working on the next stage of what I've cheesily dubbed in my head as Phase 3 of my poetry journey by using my journalist nick-nacks to publcise my poetic adventures and those of others on instagram and far beyond.
Most of April was spent reading The Ode Less Traveled: Unlocking the poet within and having correspondence with an old magazine i used to write for. They are called Wall Street International Magazine Not to be confused with The Wall Street Journal (LOL)! The idea is to use the platform to talk about all things poetry, classic to contemporary and everything inbetween. Trends and styles as well as interviews and book reviews are just some of the things ill be covering all under the "show's" title of Poetry-Perspective . If you would like to be on the show please let me know on email@example.com. Thank you! Chat soon poetry pals!
As part of my efforts to let you in on what writing a poetry series actually looks like for me here are some pics i think you'll like! This series is a 12 poem series about the page and how different people view the page differently but all end up with the same result..words on a page. It explores themes of love, loss, mental health, mythology, politics and suicide. I'm currently in the process of finishing