‘Never Play Games with the Devil’ by Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi is no cliché when it comes to the poems in this book and is definitely much more than a creative book title.

Never Play Games with the Devil by Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi

The Roaring Lion Newcastle Press, 2019, pp.56.

Reviewed by Realistic Poetry International

Never Play Games with the Devil by Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi is no cliché when it comes to the poems in this book and is definitely much more than a creative book title.

One of our favourites from this poignant collection, Never Play Games with the Devil (poem), clearly puts into perspective the reason why the Author is filled with an abundance of wisdom, as he makes it quite evident through his verses that he is well-aware of his eternal enemy – his adversary; the devil – cognizant of his destructive nature and wicked workings.

Plenty of poems included throughout the collection vividly support this point and theme, essentially drawing a solid line between good and evil; love and hate; misery and happiness; and failure and success.

By reading this poem and considering the phrase itself (never play games with the devil), we learn of the Author’s acknowledgement of a supernatural world as he unashamedly displays his devout spirituality. And with more than one reason as to why he highly recommends eschewing the devil’s maleficent games, Author Akinyemi goes on to testify of the atrocities he has witnessed in his life to help readers better understand why he upholds this point of view, fearless in his demeanour and tone as he tells tales of the SARS (acronym for gruesome murderers) teaming in blood-stained streets, and the Northern Hemisphere, whom he bluntly asks;

“Why North? Why turn a blind eye to the failings of your kinsmen?”

In this poem, we sense the significance of accountability and confrontation as he writes;

Write North a letter they have failed woefully;” but North isn’t the only place not living up to inherited expectations.

Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi goes on to describe a portrait of a broken world in which even the pastor, the most prominent leader of the church, has lost his way! The idea is as thought-provoking as it is peculiar as he elaborates on this saying,

“I see filth, I see dollars in Kano, I see bigotry, ethnicity, a cabal-controlled government and a pastor that has lost his voice.”

A bitter truth for some, the Author highlights the noticeable imbalance he witnesses between the relationship of the shepherd and his sheep, causing us to consider the current state of the church, a divine and holy place, in a convoluted and corrupt world. The irony of this fact certainly heightens our curiosity.

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While reading, we find it’s impossible to escape the dreadful images of war, death, and violence on earth as we encounter honest, unsettling poems such as “Another Precious Candle Dimmed,” a detailed poetic account of how protests in the city (his city) only equate to more lives lost and predictable bloodbaths. The report is enough to leave you speechless and numb.

The severity of this issue he explains expands from city to city (even unto the federal capital and Aso Rock)! Surely, whether you’re emotional or not, reading this poem places a great, great weight on the heart.

The last verse;

There are cities where human life is worthless, where the sting of death festers like an open sore,” sings melancholic notes of sorrow and weeps for the mother, who as a result of chaos, must now forever live without her son.

His compelling testimonies continue throughout the collection, leading us straight into the golden gates of his heavenly heart, where he places love on a beautiful pedestal, buries his cheating chromosomes, and vows to love only one woman until death do them part. And all we can say is, well, what woman would not want to hear this?

One of our top picks, “A Woman’s Prayer,” conveys his appreciation for the woman’s role in the relationship and emphasizes his respect for a woman of faith who represents grace and strength. Clearly, Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi knows the value of a good, virtuous woman, and cherishes the undying foundation of true love.

Strategic, professional, and organized, the Author undoubtedly exemplifies superior quality in a creative manner as well as mechanically. His poetry is articulate, original, profound, and intellectual, and the Author is one who is versatile in using his gift as a Poet and Writer, skilfully transitioning between a wide variety of emotions and thoughts relevant to life and humanity.

With this said, it is our sincere pleasure to rate this collection with a complete 5 stars as we truly enjoy the work of Author Tolu’ A. Akinyemi and believe his words have the capacity to make an impact and difference in a world where it matters and is much needed.

Excellent work, superior quality!

You can buy “Never Play Games with the Devil” on Amazon, Barnes & Noble  and Waterstones 

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