‘On the Eve of His Marriage’: An Ode by Sly

This poem renders so much to its readers than the poet could even imagine. It depicts an exquisite friendship between two people. And after years of riding, grinding and thriving together, and now that one of them is wedding – the poet could not but compose a beautiful, succinct and thoughtful poem, a genuine effort to bid his best friend and confidante farewell into couple life. The title of the poem ‘ON THE EVE OF HIS MARRIAGE’ depicts the exact circumstances in which in was at the time he writes the poem. The poem opens:

“It’s over a decade since our friendship blossomed

Sinking and swimming together, in joy and boredom

For our connection was ready made from God’s kingdom

Through thick and thin, we appreciated our “nonkon”

Always saw each other through, unabandoned” ……….1-5

In the first three stanzas, the persona is gratified by their friendship and made an exponential account of it as you read through the successive line in these stanzas. They lived like brothers of the same parents, in public so does in private as the poet writes: “We were each other’s keeper, In the open, in the dark, far and near” (line 6 and 7, stanza 2). As friends, both coexisted harmoniously as brothers – interestingly, at some point, they’d been thought to be twins as a result of their unfettered loyalty to each other all through. The persona indicates in explicit how strong and unbreakable a bond like their friendship is, a quintessential of true friendship and staunch brotherhood. The poet writes;

“We were thought to be twins

For we were always together like a single wing

Moving around closely in line and ring

With the objective of having history written

As the best friends ever living” ……… line 11-15, stanza 3.

The second line of the stanza above, the bard uses simile to describe as united and undividable they’re “for we were always together like a single wing” thus, they’re close confidantes and nothing could possibly separate them with the ambition of making history as “the best friends ever living”. Quite astonishing, intriguing yet fulfilling. Such poems go far and beyond the corridors of mere felicitation, they seek to establish the true of the matter about real friendship – build on trust, loyalty and understanding.

Meanwhile, in the last two stanzas, the poet admonishes his friend, offer advice and guidance as well as counselling to the wife with a vote of confidence about this friend’s zeal, strength and fortitude to run a matrimonial home. The poet knows marriage is a level in life that all men and women must inevitably reach at, some point in their life. Notwithstanding, marriage may be an extraordinary relationship that may require extraordinary skills; however, the persona holds no iota of that his friend is willing and able as a husband. The poem reads:

“Now you heading to a new life ration

With Mariama, you will build an institution

I know you are capable of making it function

For you have a good heart and good intentions

Very kind and gentle in all indications” ………… line 16-20.

Unequivocally; often in most cases our friends, confidantes, colleagues and compatriots know us better than our own parents and families due to the nature of their relationships. The poet in this poem represents such a figure to his friends. He’s genuinely honest, devoid of figurative language or unconscious bias. Furthermore, in the final stanza of the poem, the bard deploys some humour, through a synecdoche in line 16, stanza 4 (“ Mustapha’s problem is his stomach, Mariama”) and symbolism in line 18, stanza 4 (“They will tell you he is like ant hill of the savannah”,) in a didactical form that is vey relevant to the subject and tie the knot to the title of the poem with an allusion at the bottom, line 19 and 20, Take care of that and forget his grammar, Then you will forever live like Michelle and Obama”. The poet concludes:

“Mustapha’s problem is his stomach, Mariama

Ask Sol, Essa, Yankuba, and B Sama

They will tell you he is like ant hill of the savannah,

Take care of that and forget his grammar

Then you will forever live like Michelle and Obama” ….21-25

Author/Poet: Sly, is a graduate from the University of the Gambia with a degree in English Language. He's a season English language teacher in The Gambia and have authored many poems and short stories.

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