When the year is new by ‘LaKunle Jaiyesimi

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning

but a going on, with all the wisdom

that experience can instill in us

– Hal Borland
Once, Alakanmi was born

and before him, night and day, like eagles

adorning broad, long and fingered wings,

angled, glide through the waves

of life, that life sprawled far ahead

like a gaping ocean.

Albeit, sooner or later, with many rip currents,

deadly jellyfishes and great white sharks

hurricanes and monster waves.

Sooner or later.


On this single journey of Alakanmi,

with turns and stops

Night and day become unrelenting guides,

foes and allies,

Leading him to the tops of hills

and shallow valleys of

what he would sing about, “Life…”

Alakanmi berthed at settlements,

real and fantastic


And there, poured out like hot magma,

onto the shores of a new year

with contemporaries, screaming greetings of survival

and throwing up sparks of fireworks

in celebration of this new arrival

“New Year?” Alakanmi would not celebrate,

“What’s new in the year?

The burns, the pains, the scars

all remain, with memories

of past seasons, engulfed in rage and grace”.


What’s new in the year?

Has the hue of petals changed?

Did the sky suddenly lose her luster?

Did the oceans turn blood or wine?

What has the world become, the other?

Did a body perish that should not?

Has air ceased to blow, or

Does money now grow on trees?

Have we become monkeys, galloping

on the back of days and nights to a new year?


“It is time to listen, Alakanmi”

To a story told me by the resolved pasts of my leaning.

We were little, men and women,

Gathering around stoked fires,

We would throw a stone into the fire

with the passing of each day and night,

Like eagles gliding through waves,

And we learnt to count the years,

By the passing of nights and days.

So long!


We have learnt to be grateful,

even if, for the length of a windy journey,

with surprises springing up with no warning,

with a freshness announced by morn

and the greying of the nights.

Nothing is yet new but

the birth of each waking day and sleepy night

and hope, carried like the hunter’s torch

through the dingy bellies of days.

We have learnt to be grateful.


Grateful for the days past and the coming,

And more for today, the present,

the ever loyal friend and foe,

beckoning with outstretched arms

to savour the interior of time,

pregnant with moments never seen

or seen with dimensions never perceived.

It’s a new day, always a new year

never filled by resolutions but

the blood of perspirations.


We have learnt to count the years

The drawing nigh of time,

To be grateful, for what had been,

what could have been

And what absolutely is here

While wishing for all, with the best of intentions

what is wished for the self

as this single journey of Alakanmi

paces on ruthlessly beneath the sway

of the eagles of nights and days.


Write it on your heart that

    every day is the best day in the year

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


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