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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Napoleon; First Emperor of Fierce, Passionate Love

This is what I had in mind when I wrote my last post. How I ended up on the very unromantic abiku poem is beyond me.

If you have never read Napoleon’s letters to Josephine, you will thoroughly enjoy reading this. If you have read them, the pleasure is about to become your’s all over again. Napoleon wrote letters everyday and is said to have written the better part of 75,000 letters to Josephine. I have picked some of my favorites, enjoy.

Dec. 29, 1795

I awake all filled with you. Your image and the intoxicating pleasures of last night, allow my senses no rest.

Sweet and matchless Josephine, how strangely you work upon my heart.

Are you angry with me? Are you unhappy? Are you upset?

My soul is broken with grief and my love for you forbids repose. But how can I rest any more, when I yield to the feeling that masters my inmost self, when I quaff from your lips and from your heart a scorching flame?

Yes! One night has taught me how far your portrait falls short of yourself!

You start at midday: in three hours I shall see you again.

Till then, a thousand kisses, mio dolce amor! but give me none back for they set my blood on fire.

Dec 14, 17..

Grand Empress, not a letter from you since you left Strasbourg. You have passed through Bade, Stuttgart and Munich without writing us a word. It is not very friendly, nor very caring! I am always in Brunn. The Russians have left; I have a truce. In a few days, I will see what I can manage.

May you allow yourself, from the peak of your class, to occupy yourself a little with your underlings.

March 10 17…

I cannot go a day without loving you; I cannot go a night without holding you in my arms. I cannot have a cup of tea without cursing the glory and the ambition which keep me away from the love of my live.

And my personal favorite… not that I’ll be smiling if hubby refers to me as a wretch, perverse or stupid!

Spring 1797

To Josephine, I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. you are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, dashed off in a moment!

What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up your every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband? Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be.

In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four page letter instantly made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy.

I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.

Thank you for stopping by!

On Poetry

As a young child I didn’t like poems. I preferred stories. Poems seemed to give you a taste of a story when you wanted the real deal. My interest in poetry began in my early teens. Precisely the day my Literature teacher recited Abiku by Wole Soyinka. That poem gripped me with fear and curiosity. I was raised in a westernized Nigerian household where English was the main language sprinkled with affected Yoruba. My father didn’t and still doesn’t believe in superstitions or fetishes. My mother never told us any such stories so I lived in Enid Blyton’s blissful world where fairies strutted their stuff and goblins were bad creatures, the ones responsible for the stubbing of your big toe against a stone. This is the same world where little girls hair formed pigtails, and not scrunched up bunches that resembled tangerines that had been left out far too long.

Back to the poem.  An abiku is a child believed in some Nigerian cultures that is born and dies at will, only to be born again. Typically such children are marked physically so that they either remain, or are recognized if they do come back. It filled me with fear because I had heard about such stories in boarding house but no real confirmation that it was true until our teacher- can’t remember her name- read the poem out loud. It is a harrowing poem especially when you had classmates that claimed to be one of those and your mother wasn’t there to chase your fears away.

Yet I was curious because I wanted to believe there was a supernatural world. Not necessarily a bad one but something out of the ordinary. I wanted to believe ‘Grace’s’ mark on her face had indeed shrunk like she claimed as she got older because she had “come to stay”. I’ve changed Grace’s name- just in case. With facebook and others you never know.

As an adult I actually don’t know what to make of the whole abiku shenanigans because I know demons are real. But could a child really come and go at will? Perhaps its familiar spirits? What do you think? A friend told me of an aunt that was born with two missing toes. She had apparently come and then died as a child and they cut off her toes in order to recognise her if she came back. Behold the next child born after she died had two missing toes.

Back to Blogsville!

It has been a very interesting last couple of months. I disappeared without any notice of my er.. vacation. Truth is I have actually been busy growing. I didn’t go out looking for growth, it sort of handpicked me. Growth is a euphemism for challenges because we grow when we are pushed and pulled in all directions and before you know it you are so stretched that your capacity increases. God is totally awesome, I hope to share when the time is right as my journal has borne enough of the brunt of my musings. I do however thank you for coming back to read, and I apologize you were met with the same old story of my dentist who may have by now moved to Harley street- designer glasses, boots and all. Best of luck to her!

Now unto my next post…