In what may seem as a show of will, determination and absolute resolve to stay in the coveted competition; two titans are poised to express that destiny today as Nigeria face Iceland in the second tier of the group stages. The fall of Argentina yesterday still beggars reason and a wide gap of opportunity is left for Nigeria or Argentina to advance on the expense of the other. One thing is sure, someone must be vanquished today and another must be celebrated as victor. Though Argentina may not have been completely knocked out of the game, it would seem that their progression into the knockout phase is entirely dependent on the outcome of today’s match. Nigeria have what it takes to win while Iceland stand as a great threat and a partial ticket to the next round. These two titans must invade olympus once again, and dislodge the gods themselves, in blood,sweat and the joys of glory!
The host of heaven-angels, spirits
Act one: scene one.
(The setting is in the clouds;Heaven-the throne of God before the elders and the heavenly host. Before the host is the throne of God. The throne seemingly looks empty for God has gone to visit man-Adam)
LUCIFER:(aside) Look at the sight;glorious in praise and great in awe. The throne of the King in the assembly of His host. Who can sit on thee?
GABRIEL:(appears and greats him)Oh day star,son of dawn. Fair and bright.
LUCIFER:(Turns to him gently)Gabriel. The messenger of pleasant tidings.
GABRIEL:I did not lay eyes upon you during the hour of praise. Where were you?
LUCIFER:I could not stand Him;the way He muses over His newest creation.
GABRIEL:It is a wonder that which he has made.
LUCIFER:(with an outburst)It is unsettling! The Heaven is of the Lord and the fullness thereof. His presence should be here;with us! Not that dust!
GABRIEL:(Calmly)Father is the Almighty one,all powerful. He does all that He pleases. It is His prerogative as king and Lord of all. He can pitch his tent anywhere he chose.
LUCIFER:This I know. My fear is the way he is mindful of man. He gives him our place!
GABRIEL:But yet Father made man a little lower than us.
LUCIFER:Though low,He made man high. His eyes are towards him. Just look! (He points to the earth)look at the way Father honours man before us!
(A great light appears,blessing both Angels)
MICHAEL: Brothers!(turns to Lucifer) Tell me I pray thee,what vexes mood? You look hurt and thus turn the course of the clouds.
LUCIFER: I will have them darker still.(he vanishes from sight)
MICHAEL:(surprised) I have never chanced upon such dark countenance in our host. We must entreat him to cast hurtful designs from sight,lest he offends Father.
GABRIEL:(taps him on the shoulder)Yes. Are we not our brother’s keeper?
(Lucifer forms a council with some Angels,spirits and forms. He accuses man)
LUCIFER: Brothers I pray thee harken to my words for they are not false. Take heed and know that Father now honours man with His presence. He now pervades earth with His glory and thus turn sight from us. Many a time have I sung His praise along side you all,with love and adure. Yet man had been carved in His own image to replace us,man has been created to His own image to spite us! (A suppressed murmur arises amongst them)
FIRST SPIRIT: What will you have us do?
SECOND SPIRIT: Nothing I suppose!
THIRD SPIRIT:For Father can not be questioned.
LUCIFER:(smiles) I nurse plans to see bitter error corrected.
(A brighter light appears; and the other spirits disperse abruptly, leaving the two)
LUCIFER: (to the light) How good of you to join us,Father’s heir and pride.
JESUS: (In flaming eyes) He who raises a charge against the righteous will not prevail but will stumble and fall. Who are you to question the works of my father? Just as we all are his creation so is man. Why are you pertulent? Nothing is unknown to the father yet for reasons known to Him you are allowed to do as you please. Father loves us just as He loves man and you will be wise to respect His decision.
LUCIFER:(angry) You speak to me as you would a mere spirit! I am Lucifer, the star of day and son of dawn!
JESUS: You are not father! And may loose your place among the host of Heaven if you continue in this current path.
LUCIFER:Why do you treat me as you would a liar? Why would you treat me thus? (thunders clap)
JESUS:(softly) Because you are. You lie and present falsehood against father. Any moment hence father will call the Host of heaven to Himself. You will do well to attend and praise the work he had wrought on earth-his work man.
LUCIFER:(smiles) O I shall present self only to accuse man before the host. I shall be there to bring a charge against the work of father.
JESUS: Nay. You will not succeed for I too will be there time eternal to defend him against your fury.
(Trumpets sound, light fades)
( A garden- Eden,full of God’s light and glory,beautiful and serene. Within the shrub insects chirp, beasts move about in the undergrowth. Adam is with Eve.)
ADAM:Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. It only seems like yesterday when I was in solitude,though in company of diverse beasts for none was my kind. I longed for a kindred spirit and my creator presented you to me. Alas, thou hast served me more than the trees in this garden,and has been both ally and friend. My heart is lifted when I turn from sleep only to find you by my side. You are truly a gift from the creator.
EVE:(smiles) Do you now flatter me? To make me happy?
ADAM: Each praise heeled upon you is most deserved.
EVE:Oh Adam. Words from your mouth are as soft as the dew from heaven.
ADAM: You are my woman,first of your kind and lover of my soul.
(Points to a lake nearby) Now let’s arise and go yonder where the trees are lush and the grass green. And I will show you our dominion for the creator has put everything in my hand-to be lord and master of all. And with you by my side;the earth is subdued.
(Suddenly a flash of light, a still breeze and a gracious aura descends)
EVE:(amazed) What light is this that blinds eyes?
ADAM: it is the glory of the creator, father of all. He created all things.
(God speaks from the light)
GOD: Adam. I see you have bonded with your woman. How have you been?
ADAM:(excited) Better! Since you brought her to me,a void has been filled. Gratitude o creator. For how can one keep warm alone?
GOD: Good. Now go and take pleasure in all but remember my command. (The light disappears)
EVE:Oh what a sight! A pity He should go.
ADAM:Worry not, He sure will be back in a short while.
EVE:(quite curious) He talked about a command. What might it be?
ADAM:Ah that. Simple but grim. We are to use all the trees in this garden for our sustenance save one. The one in the midst of them all. We must not eat,not a scratch, not a bite. For if we so much as look at it,we will die.
EVE:(shocked) This is serious.
ADAM: Now let us find a shade and there I will show you my “own glory”.
(They chuckle,leave. Light fades)
. ACT THREE
(In heaven,before the throne of God. There is a great light in the midst. All the Host of heaven are present. God is seated. The Angels bow and praise Him)
GOD: Ever faithful and blessed. Have you all considered my work man? Is he not good?
(A brief silence, then Lucifer comes out)
LUCIFER: I have reason to believe you now favour man above all else. What is man that you should take care of him? Who is he that you are so mindful of him? Why have you set him high?
GOD: Man is created in my own image and likeness. He has been created to take care of the earth and also to worship me.
LUCIFER: Is our praise not enough?
GOD:I do not question the praise of the heavenly host. But man is special. Through him my glory is revealed to the earth.
LUCIFER: Man is nothing but dust! Prone to evil;darkness. He could turn against you.
GOD:The man I created is unsullied,clean and without fault. He only knows good. Evil is not in him.
LUCIFER: What if I prove the contrary?
(Jesus cuts in)
JESUS:You have hated man since the day of his creation. Always contriving designs to thwart him. To what end? Just to prove the contrary? You plan to make man err. Repent from your ill intent for you are not his maker.
LUCIFER: An indisputable fact. But I can sow a thorn in God’s field and man will turn from Him. I can even make man serve me.
(Michael, Gabriel and some angels yell in disapproval)
MICHAEL: (angry) Treason!
JESUS:You wish to sabotage father’s work out of sheer perversity. You seek to be worshipped. You are not God. You are not the most high!
LUCIFER:(shouts) I am the day star, son of dawn! I will ascend to Heaven above the stars of God himself; I will set my throne on high, sit on the mount of the assembly in the far north above the heights of clouds;I will be like the most high.
(He vanishes into darkness for he has become evil. He descends to earth and causes man to sin. He makes man- Adam and Eve,eat of the forbidden fruit,creating enmity between God and man)
JESUS: Father I feel Lucifer has gone to earth, to man.
GOD: Lucifer has succeeded in making man turn against me. He has caused man to sin. And I can not be with man anymore.
(A dark figure appears;Lucifer returns)
LUCIFER:It is done! Man has fallen at last,unworthy of God’s presence and Glory! Indeed he has fallen. This is my work!
GOD:(angry and fire erupts from His eyes)
You have slain man with sin. For the soul that sins shall die. The light in you has become darkness and darkness can not dwell in this place. Just as I have banished man from my sight thou shall be likewise. You are the Devil,a murderer, a thief. You covet my praise but you can not have it. Man has fallen but in the time to follow, he shall rise again, for he shall be one day redeemed unto me.
LUCIFER:(scared) What will become of me? Will I be redeemed?
GOD: No mercy, no redemption for you. But shall be cast into a pit I have prepared for you. You are to be cast unto the earth you have corrupted to have dominion a little while. Afterwards I will claim the earth from you.
LUCIFER:(cries) You would redeem man and leave me to the dark? Did man and I not fall? Why must I be shamed thus?
GOD: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. Depart into your lot in the darkness.
(A great light descends on Lucifer; breaks off his wings and casts him unto the earth)
JESUS: (softly) I warned him. Now look as he falls,a star once great is brought low.
GOD: Let not his office be vacant;let another take his place!
GABRIEL: (aside) Day star,son of dawn. How you are cut down to the ground. You who said “I will ascend into the heaven and be like the most high”. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth for the deceiver has been cast down to you.
There is a clear space in the skies, and thunders clap from every direction. There seems to be a fog, and the lost soul emerges from the dark.
Lost Soul: I have come from a land of plenty, where the mouth was never deprived of things tasteful, and the eyes had the best feasts. Now, why do I walk the path of loneliness, when there are many who I call brethren?
First Spirit: Your time in the realm of men is spent, and now you are come into the netherworld, where you neither thirst nor hunger, but yet must be filled with deeds from your past.
Second Spirit: This wretch came from the dark whence cometh no help, and the garments upon him are filthy. He is unworthy of our presence. He must be cast into the depths-dark and frighful-a place fit for the fallen.
Lost Soul: (looking surprised) I know naught of what you speak. I was but a sailor lost at sea, when the tempest tossed and my voyage dragged to the bottom of Davy Jones locker. Then Looked I to the horizon, saw a time of wonders lost and of times of wonders found, and the seas, Poseidon’s wrath was known to man!
First Spirit: Still your foul tongue traveler! Your path is doomed and your soul is required in the fiery flames!
Second Spirit: (comes closer to him) And to the chasm thou must be cast!
Lost Soul: Is there no redemption in the hereafter? Will all ignorant souls meet sudden end?
Third Spirit:Wait! I see blood on his head! The blood of a debt paid, and of freedom gained! I see the blood of Jesus! This man must not be cast into the flames, but must walk the plains to redemption’s hills!
Lost Soul: ( shocked still) Who is this Jesus you speak? Why would he save a wretch that doesn’t know him! Such a friend I never knew nor had in my life time.
Light fades, the end.
A summary of the magnitude of Jesus’ death on the cross. We have all been pardoned of our sins!
Agbebaku Enon Franklyn is a young talented novelist and poet. Graduated from the University of Benin, with a B.sc in plant biology and biotechnology. He hails from Uromi, Esan North East Local government area of Edo State, Benin City. He has written several poems, novels and plays. Some of his works especially poems have been shortlisted in the Nextgenspeaks global anthology hosted in Netherlands. He is a politician and a philanthropist. His best selling novel titled ‘The travails of the Nigerian student’ is enlightening and a must have for all. He is also a proud member of the commonwealth writers forum, United Kingdom.
When you wake up, and the morning still young, the shroud of night just freshly being banished by the light of the sun, and you stir out of your bed, from your comfort, and go outside, when the gentle breeze caresses you on the cheeks, that moment you reminisce of a lover`s touch, and you feel yourself carried by the kindness of the wind, into the land of inner peace; yes that aura; that feeling could only be God; your friend who keeps the night watch daily, whilst you sleep ever in peace! Everything you see in the grey of morning, is God!
The African had known grief for time immemorial; always at the brute mercy of fate, and the whims of his god. He is utterly crushed under heel of an eternal misrule, and like a worm without rights; is downtrodden by the mighty; the same honorable men he saw into power, by virtue of his wits, industry and ingenuity; these same honorable men, now turned overlords have deprived him his rights with impunity and monstrous audacity.
The African who nature had destined to be great, is now brought low; by men who lack honor as they lack the meek of human kindness and sympathy. The African who was to be humble, kind and just, had been moved into greed, selfishness, wickedness and immorality, because right from the day he was cast into this world; he had seen nothing of the good virtues clerics worldwide preach; for all he had seen firsthand is hate, envy, hunger and despair.
The African seeing all roads to freedom, blocked by his own imperators; had decided to rise above his inferior statues from undertakings out of the common road.
You have heard of all evils, and the true massacre of the human soul; but the much despised African had seen it all, nay he had been the victim of all evil machinations and designs. The African is lost, and as a ship in dire need of a light house to come to a safe harbour; requires the help of all; especially his god; who has seemed to abandon him.
The African is ever full of potential, though he has lost his way; will some day become something beyond his worth and color; if he receives help daily.
The African is not truly gone, for beneath the obvious monstrosity that announces him worldwide; is an inner spirit of goodness; in its pristine state.
God help the African.
Let the world help the African.
When I first met old man Harry; I thought he was too erratic, foul-tempered, or rather a man who harbored dark feelings for all young men. The day I stepped foot in the ‘neighborhood of farmers’, as it was commonly called; I noticed a form of cold war between the old farmers and the young farmers; a cold disagreement that wasn’t showing signs of thawing any bit. Even if anyone wanted to call a truce, or sue for peace, between the two ‘warring’ parties; old man Harry is sure to never come to terms or have parley; and his faction studded with the grey, grim and old, looked on to him for leadership, and protection; and so he did champion their cause, even to personifying the high contempt they had for the young farmers; and I being a very young farmer, and quite new to the profession was careful not to come between a cross fire, lest I take a fire meant for an enemy.
”These old men should be dead or something”; I thought, innocently of course, silly me; for the old farmers were all fallen into a full ripe age; and should be gone! I was altogether intrigued and amazed by the hostility between the two ‘warring tribes’, as I was later to call them. And I wasn’t willing to commit to any side. No; I was a loner in this wilderness; a man on a personal oddessy of self-discovery, and to indulge in a malicious self assertion, was to me, not the solitary life I desired. What was I running from? Fate. And can a man be free from the firm grip of his fate? Can he forge a path unparrallel to the one family had bred him into?
I was born into a successful family, that had risen from the cesspool of obscurity into fame; simply by application and staunch industry, of a very good reputation. And though I had followed the path of my forbears, viz., trading and commerce; it didn’t quite save me from bankruptcy. And unwilling to continue in this line of business nor go apprentice to another trade; had decided to fall back to agriculture.
My grand father; being a successful farmer himself; while he was yet amongst us, advised me to consider agriculture, saying warmly to me, ”A farmer is never hungry”; and to further propel me into this consideration had willed to me his only farm located near the Niger, and also to be interred on the farm. Such was my grand pa’s devotion to farming; and I believe he wanted to be buried therein so as to continue the profession in the great beyond!
And here I am; thrust in the midst of two opposing factions, and also trying to honor my grand father’s memory, nay profession. And it came about, one cool morning; I was on my farm; clearing the weeds and the grass, that me thought I heard my grandfather speak to me from the grave, saying, ”Son, you work harder than the rest”; and I can scarcely describe the consternation of mind; and discomposure I was instantaneously thrown into, and I made to fly from the farm, thinking my grandpa’s ghost had come abroad, but when I lifted up my head for I was bent before, I saw to my greatest relief, it was old man Harry; the captain and commander of the old folks’ squad. He walks to me and says, ”You are a strong one lad. I have seen the young farmers in this neighborhood. They are all a nightmare to this profession. None of them worthy to lift their father’s cutlass”. This he said with such passion; that I almost thought I had misjudged him all along. His beef was not with the young farmers but with their weakness, and lack of devotion to their work. His hatred of them was justified, and the reasons adduced not far fetched.
And before he left he patted me on my shoulder, just as my grand pa would, and said, ”you are a bliss to this profession”; and I needs say, never was a man this appreciative of my work. This singular act of his endeared him to me; and whenever there was no work to be done, I’d stroll to his house, and break both words and bread with him, for we became good fellows afterwards. And sometimes, I’d help him on his farm, for being old he needed help. And all the time I spent with old man Harry on the farm, never once did I miss society or feminine companion; and the time we spent smoking tobacco together was the most delightful I never had again.
For one evening, returning from my farm, I perceived all the farmers both young and old, converge at old man Harry’s abode, and upon discovery was soon to find that the old man and my great friend; had passed. And when he was to be laid to rest, I was chosen by the lot viz, the young and old farmers, to perform the rites of a son, for as they observed; I was as a son to the diseased. And his own sons being overseas, could not come hither to perform their last duties.
I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude; when his will was read before all; and the old man had named me his universal heir, willing to me his farm, trucks and house; farm implements, necessaries I was in great need of. What was most welcoming was the old man’s passing brought an everlasting peace between the society of young farmers and the community of old farmers; for they all came together to commit the agricultural patriarch to mother earth, and as one of the young farmers would later say; ‘Old man Harry was an epitome of hardwork and industry, whose only wish was to see young farmers proud of their work’.
Well in honor of my fallen friend, and benefactor; I took the name ‘Old man Harry’. And the old farm lord, completely immortalized.