The year the war began

by Yewande Akinse

It was the year Nineteen sixty-seven
the year the war began
death hung over the valleys and plateau
as troops were drafted into the army

It was the year the war began
shrieks of lost limbs
lost eyes
and lost lives

as blood filled the earth
the skies reeked of gunpowder
arms and ammunition
as war breeds anarchy

we were spared to die another day
to tell the tales
of fallen heroes
and casualties of war

to tell the tales of loss
by orphaned children,
the widows
and of those that were raped

to tell the tales
for the sake of those coming behind us
that they may know
the meaning of war

as starvation filled the camps
under open fields
and many died before their time
along the bush path

with burial grounds scattered
across the vicinity
home and beyond
an unforgettable time

the year the war began
as woe befell casualties
innocent of insurrection
an unforgettable time

the year
Nineteen sixty-seven
forever in our hearts


Yewande Akinse is a Nigerian Poet and Author of two collections of Poetry titled ‘A Tale of being, of green and of ing..’ (2019) and Voices: A collection of poems that tell stories’ (2016). ‘The year the war  began’ refers to the Nigerian Civil War from 1967-1970.

Poetry as Commemoration is a Decade of Centenaries initiative marking 100 years since the War of Independence and Civil War in Ireland. Submissions based on conflicts in various regions that may provoke interesting comparative readings are welcome.