IF I EXCHANGE THE PEN FOR THE GUN, A POEM BY NUEL UYI

IF I EXCHANGE THE PEN FOR THE GUN, A POEM BY NUEL UYI

This is a poem about the pains of having to go fight at the war front and leaving one’s beloved at home with the thought that one may go to the war front and not come back alive.

(In memory of Christopher Okigbo)

Be not worried, my love, if
my verse sounds melancholic
or if I exchange
the pen for the gun
and the quiescence
of our home
for the hurly-burly
at the front.
Perhaps
tomorrow,
the pen of your poet
will spill forth no lines anymore.
This is why I write so fast
till my fingers bleed on the pen.
Perhaps
I shall bite the dust in the field
with a remembrance
of your lovely smile
and the radiance
of your face.
Then you’ll weep for a sun that
went down
to rise no more.

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