Michael Achile Umameh – Two Poems


Flaming Feet Of Reed

Set me on fire, roaring infinity, let me blaze
In the fire of your spirit, your glory I raise
Let the flame leap in me with your praise
Let me be a wisp of hay, a flaring little blade
Let earth hear you, from this heart on fire
Let it bath in the divine inferno
And fight the fires of disordered desires, by the holy fire
Redeemed from fire by Fire
Forth and
Forth and
On the anchorage of the cross; the fireplace of grace
Geyser of favour; light, burn, blaze and flame in me
Holy furnace; melt, mold, forge me
Into a sharpened arrow, fit for his quiver
Sure-fire; purge, cast, shape me
Into a vessel of honour, fit for the master potter
Let me be your perpetual burning bush
Stamp and print in me a way, a voice, and a face
Your holy face; for which all will take off their masks

The Hope Of The Jewel Merchant

I am a thousand disguises
On life’s countless cruises
I am a thousand foliage
Of all my teachers’ courage
I am a thousand definitions
Of all gliding clouds of visions
I am the untanned skin
On nature’s drum and nurture’s kiln
I am a sharpened arrow in the universe’s quiver
Awaiting the archer’s finger
I am a chapter in memories
A crease on life’s velvet harmonies
Played on this taut string of discipline
Here, I am tuned into line
I re-calibrates life’s cacophony
Into a seamless symphony
The noise and the selves, I sieve
Sifting the lumps and clumps, to receive
The hope of the jewel merchant’s crumb
In the depth of earth’s mantle, for faceted gemstone, I plumb.
And found, I am, a thousand precious fragments, aspiring.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is wakefulness to the alignment of things as they are in their pristine form. For me, beauty is arriving at Oneness with things: spiritual/psychical and physical. Beauty exists by the exercise of the power within and without. Beauty exists plentifully around us- on mountain peaks, in awe-inspiring landscapes, in the glint of a child’s smile, the plumage of birds, engineering feats, in mathematics, in music, in flowers, in the silence that is so calming…, beauty is always self-unveiling, but it is often the case that not everyone could fully appreciate it. Beauty can also be created by forging together fragments, chiselling away aspects of a whole or by simply waking to the whole. The effects of beauty are wide ranging: When beauty is overwhelming, it ravishes. When beauty is beyond reach, the unfulfilled longing to possess it crushes. When we align with beauty, it is utmost tranquillity. Nonetheless, the excessive brightness from cultivated social mirror could be the blinder to the multiple incarnations of beauty. My poetry, therefore, is an ongoing effort to stay spiritually and physically wakeful to the manifestations of beauty all around us. Beauty sets me free.


Michael Achile Umameh, is a Nigerian-born Catholic priest, a doctoral student of Mathematics Education, University of Leeds, U.K., a published poet, critic, social commentator and avid promoter of Indigenous African literature and ethnomathematics of the Igala speaking people of Nigeria. His  collections of poems are The Memoir of the Reluctant Prodigal (2006) and The Mills of the Gods and Other Rented Tears (2011). He is eclectic in his approach to literature and arts.