REVIEW OF MUHAMMED MUSTAPHA’s THE FLIERS
By: Mohammed Oluwatimileyin Taoheed for The Yellow House Library, the poem under review is choosen to be studied by 100 level literature students of Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto State Northern Nigeria.
The land gives little or nothing
And so they flee
I heartily laughing demand to know
Whether they have ever seen
A barren woman put to bed
I think we need to fertilize the soil
In order that plants may sprout
And provide succulent fruits
For our children’s harvest
Keep on running from hell to hell
Runners are never problem solvers
Cowards, wingless fliers
Where have you left the dreams?
What vision for our forsaken land?
What future for our dear ones?
What prospects for our dear land?
– Muhammed Mustapha
“Fliers” is a short poem of three lines written by Mustapha Muhammed. The poem ridiculously mocks the wealthy individuals of a country (especially Nigeria where the poet) who fled away from her because she offers them ‘little or nothing’ which does not in anyway meet their expectations.
The poet claimed to have asked whether they have seen a ‘barren woman’ who have ever put to bed. He suggested that running away is not the solution as what they ought to do is to ‘fertilise the soil’ so that ‘plants may sprouts’.
By this, he meant that the rich supposed to contribute their own quota (no matter how small) in order to develop the ‘land’.
Ironically, he tells them to continue to run away ‘from hell to hell’. He stated it gallantly that ‘runners are never problem solvers’. What he meant with his satirical tone is that they will meet this doom or the other because they will not have the time to sit down and think as they run from here to there.
He called them ‘wingless fliers’ because they have not made any progress in their course of journey.
In the last stanza, he starts and ends with rhetorical questions. He seeks to know what those elites have for the future generations since they have left ‘our dear ones’ and forgetten ‘our land’ which is now ‘forsaken’ by way of their actions.
1. Corruption: This is the central message that runs throughout the poem, it is this corruption that is rife in the country that makes those who have capacity to leave it. Had it been the government of the day is not so bad by embezzling the public funds, no one will attempt to leave the country.
2. Poverty: There is still corruption in today’s USA and China but the government there prioritize free economic interests which will sustain the country and barricade even the signs of penury. If the same thing is applied in the poet’s country, the country will have been better in her state of abject poverty as depicted by the poem.
3. Warning: With its satirical tone, the entire poem is a cautious warning to those who flee the country as they will see nothing too because everywhere is like ‘hell to hell’. In lieu of running away, he calls the ‘wingless fliers’ not to be ‘cowards’ which are to stand up and plant ‘succulent fruits’ for their ‘children’s harvest’.
Nothing the poem suggests place or temporal setting but as a literary analyst, it is true if we say that the poem is set in Nigeria (the poet’s country) and the time setting is the present time.
The rationale behind this is that all the poem’s descriptions are actually what are obtainable vividly in the country currently.
As a reader and student of literature, you are advised to find the examples of the various devices as seen in the poem but their names are:
5. Rhetorical Question
Note that they are not in placed in alphabetical order.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Mohammed Oluwatimileyin Taoheed is a Nigerian bilingual writer, professional editor, legal researcher, tutor and investigative journalist. He is from Offa, a sweet town in Kwara State.
Taoheed is a Law Student of Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto State and he runs The Legal Cosmos Nigeria, a law academy. He is as at now the National Correspondent at Track News Nigeria and Chief Editor of Scholar Africa Magazine in Kenya.
Taoheed has ample works published online and he is a romantic lover of books, music, nature and women.