Jide Badmus uses poetry as an art of deep reflection. In Scripture, poetry isn’t just done for art’s sake, poetry is rather used as an archive of many things. Much of this collection heavily borders on the erotica to strike at depth. This collection uses erotic descriptions to portray images – this makes them very difficult to miss. The sexual, rather than sex always sells. Sex is singular. The sexual embodies the continuity to appeal to human’s deep senses. The sexual is human; but sex is just a singular human need. This is why the former often hooks more. Jide Badmus knows this, as he shrewdly harps on the sexual selling point of this collection to sponge in the reader. There is a reflective depth behind the surface of most poems in this book. Sexuality then seems to be a necessary façade to couch the book’s strong will. What the sexual images of this collection portray are more than meets the eye. In Scripture also, there is a vivid brilliance in the poet’s diction.
Also, Jide Badmus’ choice of words is refined with the simplicity that is message conscious. This isn’t poetry that appeals to a highfalutin sense. Poetry isn’t poetry if it confounds; poetry is art when it uses simplicity to creatively show the complicated mesh of living – Jide Badmus’ Scripture is poetry that uses simplicity to create art. With its simplicity, this collection should easily transcend into a spoken word piece. In each line, the words titillate.
Jide Badmus situates the Preternatural at the centre of this collection. Little wonder the collection opens up with an adoration in “God”. The poet shuttles between adoration and deification in the first three chapters of this collection. Beyond their titles, this book is divided along varied moods and tones that are apt for the issues they are on about. In an anti-climax, the collection sets out with a boisterous tone, to a tone of strong certainty until it dampens to a tone smacking of palpable misery. Scripture almost straddles the genres of prose and poetry in its simplicity of language use and in the anti-climactic nature of its mood. This collection de-familiarises common issues like gloom, supernatural eminence, and longing in ways that almost make them anew to us. That there should be the main aim of art.
In “Bleeding Steel”, the poet plays with various antitheses of life. In using contradictions to poetise life, he creates epigrams of wonder:
Reply to my heart cries.
So I hide the blue with the purple
And wear concrete to mask the supple” (pg. 14)
Before those instances of ponderous epigrams are personifications abutting on rhetorical questions that stick on with the reader:
“Can you tell when the seas cry?
The eye of the sun is always dry –
Yet it leaves streaks of blood on the horizon at dawn!
Does the wicker feel pain when it burns?” (pg. 14)
In “Dark Sin”, the poet speaks about the pain of sexual trauma. This poem captures that misery in an apt manner. Nobody should be made to live like this:
“She still shivers
From that touch that torched
Her innocence and sensual sanity
She is still lost between
The boundary of pain and pleasure…
She’s still lost in the ruins of the rainbow,
Hanging wet, waiting for sunshine.” (pg. 60)
This collection isn’t lacking in powerful similes either. See these in “Fallen”:
“Grudges, like sore bullets
Tear down the sun
And tears fall like slain soldiers.” (pg. 64)
About the most outstanding poems in this collection are the few liners. Those poems reinforces the power of succinctness in poetry. Poetry says much in its condensed form. “Castle” and “When gods Make Love To Men” are my favourite few liners. The eponymous poem, “Scripture”, is a perfect poetic duet. “For Boys That Went And Came Back” is a poem that needs re-reading. That piece is a gem hidden at the tail end of the collection.
The collection is a good progress from Jide Badmus’ debut, There Is A Storm in My Head. This collection will make you love poetry.
Joseph Omototayo, Book Reviewer
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