The evocations of Deborah Morenike Yisah in this collection of poems, Under the Orange Sky, are like the nets of a fisherman that curls around your neck, then sucks you in before dragging you to whatever port of intent to berth. Yisah’s pen is lit with candour and a rare flare of cadence. She writes like a craftswoman weaving words to suit her meanings; taking us on a bumpy drive to her happy boulevard of words sifting through metaphors to establish a phenomenon and also enthusing about her feelings on quotidian issues that are common to man.
The persona in the poem, Little Sister, demonstrated her love for her little sister in the poem, Little Sister: Little Sister / Dance / For you need not fear / I will appear anywhere to wipe your tears / Dance for the skies are full / train your voice in this noisy cloudstorm / but don’t catch a cold / dance / for your years are prosperous / and your soul is drenched in the rain of joy / Dance / Dance / Little sister / Dance / For your time of dance is now.
In the poem above, Yisah demonstrates the kind of love sisters’ share with each other. A bond beyond comprehension and the sacrifices she is ready to make for the little sister. The persona in the poem is determined to be spent to see her sister transit in joy from whatever circumstances that comes her way.
In the poem, Love me not, Yisah enthused about lovebirds in each other’s arms; seeing things take a crooked turn. While one foresaw a beautiful end, the other didn’t see any glimpse in the crystal ball of their affection. As the dialogue between the lovers goes: Love me not /You talk about rainbow / and other play-nights / You talk about our children / milling through a field of corns / and our hands clasped in that little hut / you torched my groin / I talk about a land far away / and the agony that accompanies / unkempt promises / You talk about coming to hold me / when the tide is wild and when in the / pool of despair, I need a hand to hold / I talk about life drifting us apart / and my name etched / on all bright places in the city.
She shows the strength of womanhood in the poem, Woman: “A sharp edged wing / soar-ing through the cloud of ambition / darning the seamless robes of obligations / with the thread of diligence and a joy carved on silvery efforts; we have come to the fire of your / engorging strength in awe of your temerity / as you gather workloads like a bundle of leaves / and set them ablaze with ease with no ridges on your face.
The poet also reveals how women make chores look so easy in the seventh line of the poem by comparing the avalanche of workloads engaged by women to a bundle of leaves, thereby making it amazing and enthralling to get them done without whining or sullen with anger.
In this collection of 40 brilliant poems, Yisah comes forth as a clinical prophet; calling people to introspection, wholesomeness, dalliance of art, and a buffet of well crafted analogies. Yisah also gave us a manual to stay aware of our mental health amidst the pain and turmoil under the orange sky. Yisah in the poem spoke about the conditions of children with autism and how they are mostly misunderstood by society; as the poem reads: “Hanging on the blade of a mahogany / with tongues tied in sparks of a louding fire / bursting with the fresh allure of reasoning and coded notes / reaching your soul with empathy / burdens etched in hieroglyphs / speeches braided in alluring crypts / a horde of intents betrayed by / a language of expression / minds as illustrious as a lush garden / with ingrained instructions of engagement.”
Yisah’s advice in the poem is that there should be more awareness about cases of autism and parents and caregivers must be ready to be in partnership with society to ensure that children on the spectrum are given the best of treatments and are also well integrated into the society. This debut collection of poems by Yisah is a splendid read for all and should be met with such a resounding applause.