Book Title: Crest of Humanity
Author: Dr. Chukwunyere Chukwu
Publisher: Noblediv Limited
Year of publication: 2015
Number of pages: 206
Reviewer: Adeniyi Taiwo Kunnu
The initiation into the circle of humanity has always been by words. From giving a child a name and nurturing same in the course of growth, words have always been useful in the realisation of self and identity. At the outset of creation, ‘man’ experienced life through words, ordering his/her entry into the world. This is the reason why Crest of Humanity comes handy as a literary material in which the different perspectives of life get appropriate treatment through the poems.
The author, Dr. Chukwunyere Chukwu sectionalises this interesting collection of poems in seven parts. The first section comes with the title, ‘Nature’. What more can be said as humans emanate as original beings from God, and it is in acknowledging this that its first title can be described as very apt. A total of 74 titles are under this section amongst which are Obstacles, Diamonds are Precious, Music, Death, the Impartial Master, Light and Visions amongst others.
An excerpt from ‘Light’ reveals a great deal: “The touch of success / Flashes, when anyone wants it / Just a flash and / Darkness disappears ….”
Knowledge, the Master Key is the second in this collection. It is amazing to find how the poems in this part unravel the mysteries that come with moving one’s life forward and having impact as one journey toward greatness. Wisdom and Knowledge, Learn to Learn; The Destiny Driver are some of the titles under this part.
Crest of Humanity takes the reader to another level at the third section with the title Achievement; Conquest and Victory. Of the 15 sub-headings are Extra Ordinary People, Tricks of a Squirrel, The Heart of a Leader and Miles or Inches. Chukwu celebrates hard work because diligence and commitment guarantee greatness.
Excerpt from The Worst Road sheds light on his position: “As bad as any road may be / A great thing lies in it / But the worst road to ply / Is the shortest way….”
The poetry still keeps going strong with words as the collection births Anguish. One truth about life is that it we often love to ride hitch free, but how possible that is remains to be seen. Every stage of human life has its attendant surmountable mountain, and this consciousness evidently looms in no mistaken terms on the mind of the writer.
This fourth section speaks both to the individual and the nation at large. Our Promised Land Nigeria, Africa Weeps, The Dead is a Hero and Out of Love are amongst the poems that this portion comprises. Call Me Not a Bastard resonates thus: “Call me not a bastard / There is no pride in being one / Evidence of failure produces one … / Africa needs your greatness / Africa says there’s no bastard…”
The philosophy of Africa is here established, but beyond the African consciousness is the admonition on the isolation which comes from not excelling in life.
‘Intrigues of Nature’ comes fifth, and it is as the name implies a collection of intrigues. A fusion of the environment as nature and humans with their everyday experience spreads all over in different reasoning. The Blind comes with its attendant fascination is one; The Cripple also makes for a thought-provoking read; The Eyes follows suit, while If The Rain Could Fall Upwards evokes philosophy.
Hope, Courage and Admonition occupies the sixth section, comprising 16 titles. Challenges and progress are both with man, but the ability to navigate the calm or unsettled waters of both cannot be over-emphasized. It is easy to be downcast when challenges seem prevalent, whereas success also has its management strategy which is what the author brings to bear at this juncture. Fear, Change, Problems and The Genius form part of it. Some lines from The Reality of a Past read thus: “Let your yesterday justify today / For it is only a fool that would want / A mountain out of a mole hill …”
Reality check is what it can be called and until the individual speaks the truth to himself/herself, little or no progress will be made.
It is unarguable, that seven is adjudged the perfect number and the seventh section which is Admiration embraces beauty and commendation after all is done. We all need to be cheered at some point, even as we are expected to shout our applause to others as well. The praise rendered about our homes, women and the Black race can never be exhausted. Titles here include My Wife and My Family, The Beautiful Woman, Black is Beautiful, The Heroes I Know, Black is Heroism and The Black Culture.
In The Beautiful Woman, he writes:
“If not for a woman / Who would become human …? / A good woman / Is the beauty of humanity”
Chukwu has demonstrated his vastness on issues that affect human lives, leaving no doubt about his prolific ability. He has penned two hundred and three titles in over two hundred pages, making it a rare collection in numbers, let alone content.
It is no gainsaying, that Crest of Humanity has carved a niche for itself in the annals of poetic history.
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