Your value does not decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth. This is an adage that concisely sums up part of a new poetic collection by David Oyuke that is a culmination of a literary journey spanning more than 10 years.
Mr Oyuke is a man who wears many hats — a radio personality, a musician and public speaker, among others. He marks his debut into the literary world by plunging into the oft-feared realm of poetry, penning an enthralling anthology of poems in a book titled Flowers in a Broken Vase.
The title is symbolic as it sums up the main theme of the over 40 poems in the compilation — a message that your outward appearance should not dictate your worth. Even though you might be broken, yet with self-belief and determination you can still blossom like the flowers in a broken vase.
The book, full of symbolism and other literary devices, is inspired by the author’s life experiences and the need to be “the voice for people who have been in a similar situation before.” It offers “a shoulder to lean on” by several individuals.
The last born in a family of seven children, Mr Oyuke seeks to reassure the downtrodden, the heartbroken and those who consider themselves as outright worthless that there is hope in the word hopeless.
The 87-page book is divided into three parts. The first explores true worth, the second talks of humanity before ending with poems that are a voyage into the cupid world.
The anthology opens with a poem titled ‘Deep Gold.’ The main theme of the poem is that human beings are all worth more than gold; it is just that they have not taken their time to explore their true worth.
The poem seeks to assure that we are all ‘Deep Gold’ that within lie treasures sought by many and until we cast aside the doubts we have about our true worth, we may never appreciate our innate potential. But some will never believe they were deep gold, and so die with their stories untold.
The persona in the poem talks of an individual who is a ‘deep gold with stories untold’ — with limitless worth and potential not realised — a treasure that everyone would die to have yet there are others who are waiting on the wings to discredit and make you feel worthless.
‘Your Mother has Returned/Flytraps’ is a nostalgic masterpiece that introduces an eager and full of life lady with a bright future before her, only to be dashed by a ‘flytrap’ whose mission in life is to nip the bud of blossoming flowers.
This long poem employs imagery, symbolism and hyperbole to form a blend of an emotionally intense and captivating piece.
‘What we Hide Inside’ is a short poem of slightly over 60 words that poignantly captures an important state of dilemma — the fear of the unknown — that most people go through that limits their chance to find happiness and fulfilment in life.
The same message continues in the shortest poem in the book, ‘The truth of Love,’ where fear seems to overshadow beauty, prick to scent.
‘Heroes in the night Sky’ captures the dearth of role models and points of reference in the present generation where empty promises without action is in vogue at a time when a generation is being lost to the world as they ‘cry for heroes in the sky’ to come down and offer guidance.
Inside the collection is a poem titled ‘Flowers in a Broken Vase’, which captures the spirit and nuance of the motivation behind the book by seeking to nudge from their shells those who have suffered heart breaks before, those who have failed before that let not the past and the outward things that are easily seen define you or me.
‘I know why the caged bird is Caged’ also advances the same theme of self-belief, as is also carried in the book’s second shortest poem, ‘Miracles,’ which says that we find the most beautiful things in the ugliest places.
‘Brave enough to love’ and ‘If I was a Man’ are love poems that invoke the power of love that knows no bounds and the desire to experience picture perfect love that can only be told by the heart yearning for that love respectively.
The book ends with a poem titled ‘Temples,’ echoing the message carried in ‘We are Human,’ that our physical appearance should not define us.
It reminds us that at the end of the day we are all worthy of love and of belief and that we are all formed by divine hands, with heaven’s breath and heart; and our worth is invaluable, more precious than gold or minerals undiscovered.
For the lovers of poetry, this anthology will be worth your time and money as it brings together a number and variety of poems that are both easy and complex reads wrapped up in stylistic devices yet enthralling and nostalgic in their emotional effects.
Mr Oyuke says that the book speaks to those who have felt unworthy, afraid, broken, too far gone to love or even to receive love telling them that even flowers in broken vases are still beautiful, and the package should never take away the beauty from the flower drawing from his own experience of having at some point in his life felt the same.
“Many times we have fallen to the false belief that we may never amount to much because of external things that encroach into our lives. To some, it is career or the lack of it. To others, relationships or the lack of them but regardless of what yours is, you have a broken vase that tells you that you are not beautiful,” says Oyuke.
He says that the anthology is also a dedication to those who struggle in the journey of ‘becoming’ because of the circumstances that surround them.
“It is a testament that as a poet, I am also on the journey to becoming and without the book there are part of me that I would not be able to bring out,” he points out.
The book retails at Sh550 and can be bought from any bookstore in the country. It can also be delivered directly by the author who can be reached on his social media accounts: Facebook as DavidOyuke-BlackSkillz, and on Twitter as @DavidOyuke.