Life is unpredictable — a journey full of challenges, setbacks, heartaches, perils, accomplishments and wonderful memories that eventually leads us to our destination — our purpose in life. The road isn’t always smooth; indeed, we’ll encounter many difficulties through most of the journey. Sometimes, it is hard not to give up along the way if you don’t hold on to the thoughts that life is a cycle and that just like the two sides of the coin, after several tosses that reveal the tail, there will eventually be a head.
“There’s no arithmetic to living— no one could mark the distinct thin-line methodologies of life” as the Poet points out in her blurb. There is no manual for life’s journey.
Therefore throughout the journey, we will experience many situations. Some will be filled with happiness and some will be filled with pain and grief. How we generally respond to what we face helps determine what sort of outcome will be like in the rest of our journey through life.
Whenever situations don’t really go our way we have two choices to control the circumstances. We can focus on the fact that things didn’t go as we had anticipated they would, beat ourselves up and let life pass us by, or two, we can make the best out of the situation and know those are just temporary setbacks, consider the lessons learned and Cycle along.
The idea for the book generally stems from the above concept. The anthology is a “Journey with a poetic genius while she sails, gracefully, intellectually ferrying without restrictions into this voyage — the cycles of life and love.”
The anthology starts with a prologue which sets the tone for what readers are to expect from the book.
The prologue is a one stanza poem that encapsulates the concept of “life as a journey” but the poet writes the poem from an angle that is not usually explored. The poet uses the riding of a scooter, the bumps and the wrong turns in riding. The persona in this poem seems to be an omniscient viewer or an eye watching someone ride a scooter and throughout her ride, we get to find out that “cycling the scooter was never an easy ride”. Suggesting that life has never been easy for the rider. Another line that supports the fact that the journey through life sometimes becomes hard is Lines 4 and 5.
“Life’s travesty— the bump is at every ditch. Every time, /when you make the wrong turn.”
However, in the end, the persona tells the rider to “Spin on” because “home is never far away.”
Such an enthusiastic end to a somewhat gloomy poem! With that glorious ending, the poet is telling you to keep on fighting because, in the end, you will reach your destination — your goals will be achieved, your dreams will come true, your will receive your heart desires etc.
That same line can be looked at from a darker angle especially when the reader sees “death” as a means to a glorious end, a means to the end of any sort of suffering in life. Not the suicide kind of death but in the death where the journey through life’s ups and downs but with the hopes that you will one day not feel the pain no more.
Then again, it is poetry. The interpretation is mainly dependent on what the reader is exposed to.
Moving on, the next poem on the list “Cycles” which I believed was what inspired the title for the anthology as a whole.
“Cycles” is a six stanza poem with vivid imagery and symbolism that further portrays the general theme of the anthology. The poem opens abruptly into the ‘situation’ of the persona who is in a “tight loop”. Based on Line 2 of that same stanza, you get to know that it wasn’t the first time the persona was in that situation but rather the persona says, ” I find myself again.” The persona after the first stanza barely gives the readers a breather before she jumps into the stanza 2 which reiterates what was mentioned in stanza 1.
“Cycles, / A walk here and there, / I still find myself rooted here / Stuck to this scooter called feelings.”
(Stanza 2, Lines 1 to 4)
At this point, I am very sure you would want to find out how the journey ends for the persona and generally, how does the journey end in the anthology.
Well, this is where I do that thing that leaves you wanting more of what the poet, Akanbi. O. Rhoda (Zoe), has to offer with the anthology. What other themes are explored in the poem? What questions are raised? What kind of answers are given to these questions? Are there even answers at all?
Find out from “Cycles”
Links to get the book from