Valentine Okolo

Biography: Valentine Okolo is a poet, a filmmaker, a social activist and a spoken word artist. He is the author of the book: I Will Be Silent and the studio album I Will Be Silent: Spoken Words. His poetry has been published internationally in various literary magazines, including Apogee Journal, Origins Journal, Shot Glass Journal, African Writer and Best New African Poets 2018 Anthology, edited by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka & Nsah Mala. An anthology of African poetry which brings together the work of 154 African poets from over 30 African countries, and the African Diasporas. His work was also featured in a community based pandemic poem, along with the lines of 220 other poets, selected from sixteen countries from across the globe. This community poem was published by Muse-Pie Press, a literary establishment based in the United States, which has been publishing award-winning poetry since 1980.

Valentine Okolo's Profile

Valentine Okolo
Sunday 12 December 2021

I Will Be Silent

For ‘Karim

“We used to have peace, but now we have only war.”—Halima.

I will not speak of the dead
for that is another matter.
I will not speak of those
driven out of their homes
to find shelter in a camp
fenced with strings.
I will not speak of those
raped at dawn. Or of children
shot in the head.

I will not speak of them.

I will not speak of the woman,
round and heavy, like me,
who will give birth to a child she’ll be ashamed to name.

Neither will I speak of
a dozen other women, like her,
and a village which will beget bastards.
I will not speak of the slash—deep in my thigh,
made by a knife: a brand of ownership, the mark of a slave.

No; on such matters I’ll be silent.
Rather, I’ll speak of warm fires. Of oases, dates,
and night songs.
I’ll speak of things that once were.

African Poets, African Writers, Black Poets,  Historical Events and Topics, Politics, Society and Education, Genocide and Ethnic Cleaning,  War Crimes, History, Nigerian Crisis


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