Six Famous Poems in Nigeria

Reading some of the famous poems in Nigeria absolutely has to be a top favourite leisure activity for not just persons who love the art of writing, but also, enjoy listening to their thoughts beautifully communicated by others. 

Poetry is just one of the three genres of literature, the other being prose and drama. This means that there would be people who would warm up much easier to prose or even drama and when it comes to taking in the articulated thoughts of someone else captured in possibly the famous poems in Nigeria, they are drowned in sleep. 

Whichever category you fit in doesn’t matter, art is relativistic and as such you don’t have to overly beat yourself up if you just can’t seem to enjoy poetry even when they are famous poems in Nigeria.

It is important to know that these famous poems in Nigeria have been written by the best poets Nigeria can ever produce. They are not just the best but also are as famous as their lyrical pieces. Names like Christopher Okigbo, Niyi Osundare readily show up in these conversations.

So, if you have been wanting to read these famous poems in Nigeria that have won public appeal because of their magical lyrics, penetrating thoughts and all of that, here’s your chance. Stay tuned to this post.

Six Famous Poems In Nigeria That Have Kept Mouths Talking

The following are some of the famous poems in Nigeria that you most likely would beard about if you are a poetry enthusiast.

These famous poems in Nigeria have found their way into the literary texts of many secondary schools or even university students

Six Famous Poems in Nigeria
Nigeria Nigerian flag on flagpole textile cloth fabric waving on the top sunrise mist fog

Answer by Chinwa Achebe

The master craftsman or words opens our list of the six famous poems in Nigeria. To his credit, his brilliant published works have received public admiration which has culminated in him bagging many awards too.

I broke at last

the terror-fringed fascination

that bound my ancient gaze

to those crowding faces

of plunder and seized my

remnant life in a miracle

of decision between white-

collar hands and shook it

like a cheap watch in

my ear and threw it down

beside me on the earth floor

and rose to my feet. I

made of their shoulders

and heads bobbing up and down

a new ladder and leaned

it is on their sweating flanks

and ascended till midair

my hands so new to the harshness

could grapple the roughness of a prickly

day and quench the source

that fed turbulence to their

feet. I made a dramatic

a descent that day landing

backways into crouching shadows

into potsherds of broken trance. I

flung open long-disused windows

and doors and saw my hut

new-swept by rainbow brooms

of sunlight become my home again

on whose trysting floor waited

my proud vibrant life.

The Passage by Christopher Okigbo

One of the poets to have put down what would go down as one of the famous poems in Nigeria is Christopher Okigbo. He is a political activist who decries through his pen certain national issues that affect the general populace.

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It is this ideology of his that has driven him to talk about somehow Nigeria has fared since the colonial era down to the colonial era.

BEFORE YOU, my mother Idoto,

Naked I stand;

Before your weary presence,

A prodigal

Leaning on an oil bean,

Lost in your legend

Under your power wait I

On barefoot,

Watchman for the watchword

At Heavensgate;

Out of the depth my cry:

Give ear and hearken…

DARK WATERS of the beginning.

Ray, violet, and short, piercing the gloom,

Foreshadow the fire that is dreamed of.

Rainbow on the far side, arched like boa bent to kill,

Foreshadow the fire that is dreamed of.

Me to the orangery

Solitude invites,

A wagtail, to tell

The tangled-wood-tale;

A sunbird, to mourn

A mother on the spray.

Rain and sun in single combat;

On one leg standing,

In silence during the passage

The young bird in the passage

SILENCE FACES at crossroads:

Festivity in black

Faces of black like black

Column of ants,

Behind the bell tower,

Into the hot garden

Where all roads meet:

Festivity in black…

O Anan at the knob of the panel oblong,

Hear us at the crossroads at the great hinges

Where the players of loft organ

Rehearse old lovely fragment, alone-

Strains of pressed orange leaves on pages

Bleach of the light of years held in leather:

For we are listening in cornfields

Among the wind players,

Listening to the wind leaning over

Its loveliest fragment….

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Another woman who has written not only one of the finest pieces to have graced the green and white land of Nigeria, but also, one of the most famous poems in Nigeria too. She is also a civil rights activist challenging issues that border on the female gender.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

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I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed?   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Six Famous Poems in Nigeria You Should Know

In Praise of Ahmada by Nana Asma’u

If you are fond of history in the Northern part of Nigeria, then Usman Dan Fodio of Sokoto state shouldn’t be new. Nana Asma’u is the daughter of Usman Dan Fodio who is a great scholar and poet.

Her ink has produced, what you would agree with me, one of the most famous poems in Nigeria. Ahamada in this literary piece is the female equivalent of the famous Mohammed.

It is one of the famous poems in Nigeria that was written originally in Fulani, but for your consumption, here is the translation into the English language.

His light exceeds the light of the full moon

There is no light like the light of Muhammad.

As for bravery, no warrior has ever matched the courage shown by Ahmada.

Musk and myrrh do not equal

The perfume emitted by the body of Muhammad. 

As for his beauty and physique, he surpassed all

For nowhere is there the like of Muhammad.

There has never been created a man like him

And none will ever be created like Ahmada.

As for his wisdom, there is none like him

Cheerful and smiling was Muhammad.

He was never angry. Only sin caused his righteous anger.

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Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

After the sad demise of his wife, Annabel Lee who also is the title of the piece, Edgar wrote what would go down in history as one of the famous poems in Nigeria written by an Englishman.

This particular piece is one out of the many poems he composed in her honour and ever since it has become one of the famous poems in Nigeria

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Then to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love

   I and my Annabel Lee

With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven

   Coveted her and me.

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And this was the reason that, long ago,

   In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

   My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

   And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

   In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

   Went envying her and me

Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,

   In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love

   Of those who were older than we

   Of many far wiser than we

And neither the angels in Heaven above

   Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day? by William Shakespeare

He definitely needs no introduction at all, does he? He is known for his beautiful plays and also doubles as an amazing poet. It easily ranks as one of the famous poems in Nigeria because anyone who is interested in literature and art must have stumbled on any of his pieces. 

William Shakespeare is an English poet that introduced the fourteen lines kind of poem which is technically known as a sonnet. Here is one of Shakespeare’s pieces that are believed to be one of the most famous poems in Nigeria with a romantic love undertone.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 

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It is important to know that the famous poems in Nigeria weren’t just written by Nigerians, they are written by some Africans and even people from some other non-African countries.

These famous poems in Nigeria could also carry a nationalist tone or a loving tone.

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