A Writer's Life,  Black Authors,  Book Reviews,  Non-Fiction,  Poetry

Book Review: Two Poems by Peter Okonkwo

I enjoy poetry of all sorts, whether it’s cheesy limericks, genteel sonnets of love, harsh dystopian viewpoints, odes to nature, and more. In the category of ‘more’ is the work of Peter Okonkwo. I’ve reviewed two of his themed books, Fate, In the Dungeon of Doom and Whose Fault, Kismet or Impediment?

Peter has kindly given me permission to share two of his most memorable poems with you. These are not short, fleeting ditties, oh no. Find a comfortable chair, take a moment to clear away trivial thoughts, and approach these pieces with an open mind. You might be surprised by the paths you’ll travel. 


Dear God,
I write to you on behalf of my friend
Who suffers from extreme delay;
He has severely suffered
from inveterate failures
And most of the things he planned
never come true;
I don’t know if his grief is natural
Or some wicked forces
wrestle against him.
My friend is hopeless,
dejected, and desperate
The last time I visited him,
he was shedding streams of tears
and thought that he wasn’t
created for something good on Earth
I beseech you to attend to him
for he is on the verge
of a handmade death

I know that there is no nut
too hard for you to crack,
I know you meant good for him
I just don’t know why
he yet suffers in misery;
Dear God, my dear God
Look into his pains
and grant him his heart desires.
Help him,
So that he won’t die without
realizing your purpose for his life;
My friend is dying of shattered hopes
his failures have been derided by men
he has been forsaken by most people
he has suffered in
shame of association,
he has cried, and even got
tired of shedding tears.
God, are you intentional
about his troubles?
If so be, please, minister to him
before the devil deceives him.

He told me
of how he hated his own life
He said he wished that
he wasn’t birthed at all,
God, did you hear him
say that, or I tell lie?
He is frustrated of your
purpose of creating him.
His penury and
anguish have blindfolded
him to believe that
you care no more.
I persuaded him to share
up and believe that
he is an overcomer
despite all that happens.
But the scars of failures and obstacles
are yet to be healed from his heart
His misfortunes are
like the harrows of hell.
I beseech you, dear God
Speak to him in the language
he best understands.

I’ve comforted my friend to the
best of my ability
but he seems to
have given up totally;
My words of encouragement
are no longer effective;
his hope has been shattered
and his life is in habitual distortions;
He has suffered from harrowing delay
And his faith for a good life is dead;
That is why I write
to you on his behalf,
that you safe him from
the arrows of the devil;
that you hasten his step and
lose the shackles of impediment
that binds his glorious future
to the sorrows of setbacks.
I beseech you, dear God
let him know that
you are aware of his miseries
Let him know
that you know why he suffers
from unbeknownst impediment;
Let him know
that his pain is only for a while,
because if it is late before he realizes
he might kill himself,
and die a miserable death.

Dear God,
Show him the reasons
why impediment wrestles with his fate.
Dear God,
Show him the reasons
why those failures come his way;
Let him know,
why the easy things are
difficult for him to achieve.
For my friend is down in the dumps
and his breath inconvenient him
He told me of how
he cannot yet boast of a thing,
questioning the essence of his life
that is full of setbacks,
rejections, and sorrows,
Asking if it a test of faith
or something else.
I’ve done everything in my power to
feed him with words
of encouragement,
yet I failed at consoling him,
that is why I passionately
intercede on his behalf,
Dear God,
Consider his tears and change his name!


Hello, obstacle,
How are you getting on?
I’ve long to have some
discussion with you,
I’ve got a lot of gnarly
questions to ask you;
Inquiries that perturbed
me about your identity;
I hope you’ll answer me
and communicate your
response as soon as possible
because my soul is
extremely disturbed.

How do you feel
when you impede
the success of a man?
Tell me, is it your joy to watch a man
languish in the pool of stagnation?
Why do you always hinder
the progress of a man?
Don’t you ever feel ashamed
whenever you cause
a man’s eyes to tears?
Obstacle, why are you so mean?

You obstruct the good luck of a man
yet, never said sorry to him;
You act cruelly with no iota of remorse,
Obstacle, are you a spirit or a human?
How well must one
prepare to wrestle against you?
you wage war against
a man’s progress
without a physical weapon;
what exactly is your gain
for frustrating a man’s fortune?
why do you leave him hopeless
and to desperately yearn?

Obstacle, do you have compassion at all?
Don’t you realize that your presence –
breeds some problems in a man’s life?
You’ve sent many souls to early graves,
You’ve truncated and
destroyed many destinies;
You’ve killed much hope
and yet bury them;
I have a question for you –
What is your mission in a man’s life?

I ask you these questions because –
you’ve desperately dealt with me.
you left me in years of melancholy –
that I disputed the realness of my fate,
you left me in the prison of hard struggle,
and ignominy was the only friend –
available to keep my company,
the voice of my hope faints,
that tomorrow became so obscure.
You left me in years of pang –
that my hope even committed suicide;
obstacle, who exactly are you?
a spirit or a fiend?

I am vexed,
Please tell me if you have
a deal with my fate.
I surely know that you’re a
part of every human’s life.
I know that there are times
that you might have
to frustrate a man’s life
and cause him to
experience trying times.
But why are you so
intentional in my case?
Why do you slow
down the pace to
achieving my goals?
Why do you fluster
the reality of my plans?
Why do you hinder
my journey to meet fate?
Are you deliberate or
unintentional in your deeds?
What exactly do you want from me?

I have a question for you,
what connection do you have
with near success syndrome?
Someone said that, most times
Your presence paved way for
greater things in a man’s life;
But how realistic could that be?
I am of the opinion
that they said so;
So that obstacle’s victim
would keep his or her hope alive;
I have a question for you,
Are you a spiritual force
or a mere phenomenon?

The wrenching of
my soul is unbearable
that I consulted a specialist;
I narrated my tragic story to him
expecting some medicine of fortune;
I was surprised when he told me that
my current impediment
is the way to my fate.
I melancholically asked.

If impediment is the way to fate,
how about the many undried tears?
If obstacle is the path
to achieving destiny,
how about those who have
died in the course of its pang?
Were they impatient or couldn’t cope
with the extreme scoff of an obstacle?
If obstacles are the way to fate,
how about those who
left me in my days of throes?
If hurdle is the path to fortune,
why does it block me at
every minute of breakthrough?
Is it that those successes
aren’t met for me?
and that a greater one
is reserved somewhere?
If so be,
what is the function of
an obstacle in realizing
the fate of a man?
A guider, or a sorrow kindler?

Who should I blame
of my need to experience
impediments before I see fate?
will the level of my impediments
catalyze my fate and fame?
How should I have coped
with the shame of obstacles?
How do you want me to feel
when I see the progress of other people
and yet gasp in the dungeon of barrier;
I think you are a heartless foe.

In order to abstain from shame,
I refrained from narrating my sort of misery;
I lose interest in telling the tale of my pangs
Because while I expect some help,
I’m rather ridiculed and avoided;
Hope; whom I should have
confided in, betrayed me!
Faith; that ought to
Strengthen me, failed me
My close ones aren’t in
right position to help me,
Fate; left me to struggle with obstacles
Even though I cried to my creator for help,
It was as if my tears were not seen at all.

I have a question for you,
how many times
must a man fail
to achieve success?
How many times must a man
cry before he would laugh?
Haven’t I been conscious enough?
Haven’t I been prayerful enough?
Am I not qualified for fortune?
How long will it take me to meet fate?
when impediment
seduces me on the road
I have a question for you, obstacle,
How strong are you?

I don’t know if my muse
would be attended to;
But I wish that you could
provide answers to these questions;
Hello, obstacle…
Are you there?
Can you hear me?
Are you listening anymore?
Won’t you answer my questions?
Should I expect feedback from you,
Or report you to God?

Author Biography

Peter Okonkwo

Peter Okonkwo was born in Akure, a city in the South-Western part of Nigeria. He is a freelance writer, editor, fatalist, literary critic, soon-to-be novelist of Etean’s Destiny; and a certified orator from the Friendship Leadership Institute of Nigeria.

Peter is the author of three poetry collections: Ecstasy of the Dead; Fate, In the Dungeon of Doom, and Whose Fault, Kismet or Impediment? His works have been surveyed as one that runs a gamut of emotion, religious undercurrents, the afterlife, and mysteries of the human fate – occasionally coming across a quite wistful, melancholy, and in other instances very positive, and thought-provoking sort of anthologies.

Peter is the host of the “P. English Literature” YouTube channel where he reviews books and conducts interviews with authors around the world.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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