Okara’s invocation towards the mighty Spirit of the Land
“But standing behind a tree
With leaves around her waist
She only smiled with a shake of her head.”---
Okara recites his view of the spirit of Africa as a form of the Nature Goddess in the poem The Mystic Drum. Okara worships her to revive the spirit of Africa, and the way he seemed to be doing it is by being more and more close to the nature. This closeness can be found in most of the poems of this African poet Gabriel Okara. The Mystic Drum, The Call of The River Nun, The Snow Flakes Sail Gently Down, Moon in The Bucket, You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed are only a few of them. The nostalgic poet tries to summon and bring back the pre-colonized Africa and to bring back this lost spirit of Africa he mingles himself with the only unchanged element of the pre-colonial Africa: nature. Okara not only finds nature as a mode to revive the spirit of Africa but also a way to find one’s roots, one’s heredity, one’s true identity in the artificial world, and mostly the purpose of being a human. The poems of Okara satiate a reader’s mind with the warmth and blessing of the nature with all its beauty alongside.
Background of The Poet
Gabriel Okara was born in 1921 in Nembe in the Rivers State of Nigeria. After his secondary school education at Government College, Umuahia; he became a book-binder. From then on he developed a remarkable personality by dint of personal tuition, reflection and a deep interest in literature generally and in the language and culture of his people. Okara is one of the most significant and serious early Nigerian poets. He started writing poetry in the early fifties and is still a practicing poet. His poems contain elements of nature that are among the best of Nigerian poetry. The motifs of childhood, innocence and nostalgia also run through many of his poems. He is often concerned about the identity of his people. Throughout his poetry there is...