LOVE IS EVERYTHING AND A METAPHOR: A Review of amu nnadi’s ‘the love canticles’

Jide Badmus
3 min readDec 5, 2022


A poem is a city. A city is a lover. And this is how we are ushered into this collection of a hundred poems, given a tour of cities & emotions. A good poem, like every journey, is a loop — no matter the detours, it returns to its beginning.

The first poem, my earth, is a piece and a whole — an introduction, and a summary. It is of a planet of origins, completions, and cessations.

my love

my earth

to love you

is to live

to live is

to love you

to leave you

is to wither

and slowly

s low ly die

my earth

my love

It is one poem and a hundred.

amu nnadi is a poet in love with nature, and (naturally) with language. In encountering athens, the poet is quick to let us know he is no Olympian — and this is how he started his marathon of metaphors, wearing medals of words, seamlessly juxtaposing literary and scenery images until the metaphor becomes the actual — or not.

In santorini, and ave maria in love’s cathedral, Santorini is both a city and a lover. The poet’s fluid images bring gives land and seascapes a heart on the page. It is as though, the reader walks through landmarks held by the hands of histories and music. Nature takes on human attributes as city and poet interact.

sand cleaves as a lover, by your shores

to my feet, i amble into arms of sunset (santorini, page 10)

santorini, rests on one knee

being suitor and seductress

in both outstretched palms

rare gems of water and light (ave maria in love’s cathedral, page 11)

The beauty of poetry is its ability to present familiar truths as though, new realities. In the deep of Seychelles,

of what use is blood when it is not a river

of what use is river, which crouches on its

haunches, as legless lake stranded in place

and of what use, legs which will not move

for the man will drown who cannot swim

so in seychelles we discern this blue truth:

we too are as sand, light and dream

Journeys are characterized by distances, silences, and longings — sometimes we are bereft of hope, only left to hold on to grief, loneliness, and memories. You cannot talk of love without touching on departures and absences and heartbreaks — and unrequited affections.

nothing remains, nothing

subsists, nothing matters

when you are far from me (two lost selves, page 37)

Sometimes, I recite amu nnadi’s poems, imitating his baritone voice, to appreciate the rhythmic cadence of his verses. This is where, beyond its impeccable diction, in every absence is rich. distances & time tell reveals that we find absent lovers in the things around us — the memories and mementos left behind. Absence is a sharp knife — it cuts deep and at the same time reminds you of the tenderness that used to be.

Your eyes touch me keener than a knife

and flesh recalls their acute tenderness

for to be without you, is to bear a gash

where, beloved, your heart ought dwell (always, page 41)

Imagining is a feast on its own, a quick snack of passion — sweet dessert of fine flesh.

i will no longer eat dates

and not imagine our love

My favourite poem in the collection is worship. and what is worship/but to kneel, goddess/like this, before you

the love canticles is divided into five chapters — earth ache, unfurling, heart’s whispers, falling, & re: kindling. And love is everything in this book — cities, tulips, firewood, golf ball, christmas tree, a mobile phone, fruits, honey, beverage, electricity…

Jide Badmus

Author, What Do I Call My Love For Your Body



Jide Badmus

Author of 5 Poetry Books (and several chapbooks). Poetry Editor, Con-scio Magazine.