The mother who was also my muse by Niyi Osundare


Prof Niyi Osundare and his wife during the farewell rites for Mama Fasimia
(A grateful son remembers…..) by Niyi Osundare
A Looming Poetic Presence
The Word Is an Egg, my 11th book of poems, carries the following dedication in its opening pages:
To: Fasimia, my mother, Indigo fingers Weaver of fabrics and fables; Iya Onisuuru: Indeed, “The patient eye will see the nose” ,
while the acknowledgement in The Universe in the University, my 2005 University of Ibadan valedictory lecture, registers my gratitude to “my mother, Fasimia, Iya Onisuuru, compassionate like a water lily, weaver of fabrics and fables” who [together with my father], “taught me the value of hard work and integrity, and made me aware that Character Is Beauty: Uwa l’ewa”. Gracefully enough, Mama was present at that lecture.
‘Human in Every Sense’, the third movement of Midlife, a book considered by many as the most autobiographical of all my works, has sections rippling with Mama’s native wisdom:
‘See with your whole body’, my mother said
your whole body
Ponder the silence of the noise,
the noise of every silence
the bitterness of honey
the lacerating coldness of the sun
Ponder the thirty-year old pounded yam
which still burns the flippant finger’
And when in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck in New Orleans, destroyed my books and manuscripts and everything my family owned, and came so close to killing my wife and me, Mama appeared to me in a dream with words of consolation and comfort. This was at the Red Cross Refugee Center in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, seven days after the hurricane. (Miraculously enough, at the time of this dream encounter, Mama was in Nigeria, completely unaware of her son’s close shave with death by water). Evoking my historical and spiritual provenance, Mother said with a near-oracular authority: the Spirit of Water (Osun) gave you to me; the flood of another land …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper