RETIREMENT – Onu Chibuike

Onu Chibuike Kingsley is a native of Uzoagba in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. He is a Literature teacher in Onitsha, Anambra State of Nigeria. He is a young budding but
versatile author and his first celebrated and published collection of poems is “Goodnight Africa”.

Many years on wheels
In faithful service to his fatherland
Today retires he home
And a celebration he holds

Many years has he pummeled his boozy throat
In obedience to duty rules and regulations
Today, he’ll go home a freeman
Eligible for his country’s services
Come friends, rejoice with me,

I shall booze and zoom myself home
Away from duty rules,
Come celebrate my freedom
Early to duty tomorrow holds not,
Thirty-five years of faithful service
I’ll booze to sleep away my sufferings
Today I’ve long waited for.

More joy to send him home
A brand new car in his name
An appreciative symbol
For undented thirty-five years of service to
“Come friends and rejoice more,
Joy till no more joy to joy
Today frees and makes me a king
My patience rewarded”.

And so, he boozed and boozed
Celebrating the celebration of his retirement
From faithful service to fatherland
He battled with his bottle booze.

On his way home on wheels,
Booze boozed his vision and clear judgment
He boomed his brand new car
And it sent him home
Home to rest in peace.

The poem “A Government Driver On His Retirement” is a mirror of caution, advise and admonishment to the way people should live their normal life. In many situations, people are unreasonably intoxicated with joy and enjoyment to the extent that they would be prone to disastrous trends. Also, total negativity to such circumstance must unequivocally out the whole thing – no matter the extent one has achieved it – to a detrimental conclusion. In the poem, a government driver that has served his fatherland for good thirty-five years and was due for retirement ended his life in disastrous style due to his excess and inordinate Joy and merriment.
In the first stanza of the poem, the poet told us that the driver has stayed many years on wheels (that is as a driver), importantly, a faithful service to his fatherland. But that day he will retire from that active service and a celebration will be held for such retirement.
In stanza 2 we are told that the government driver disciplined himself in obedience to his duty, rules and regulations. He abstained himself from drink or he pummeled his boozy throat as emphasized by the poet. But that day he will go home a free man and will perhaps start living in comfort again. In stanza three of the poem the driver invited his friends and well-wishers to rejoice with him and he also planned enormously to drink and celebrate for his retirement. In the first stanza of the poem, the poet’s state that the driver received a brand new car from government in appreciation and recognition of his undented service to his fatherland. For this honour the driver was intoxicated with joy and he called his friends for unending joy and merriments. But sad to say he spoilt himself with this inordinate merriments. This is what the poet means by “he boozed and boozed, celebrating the celebration of his retirement” from faithful service to fatherland as he battled with his ‘bottle booze’.
in the subsequent and perhaps the last stanza of the poem, the driver met his ‘Waterloo’ (catastrophe) and everything ended like a flash of light.
He drove carelessly against his personal control and hit his brand new car, finally dropped dead. The message established in this poem is powerful, clear, didactic, over-speed and inordinate Joy and merriments.


Diction /Language: The language of the poem is simple to understand. There are no strange and difficult words or expressions that can pose problem to an average student and the lines of the poem are precise. This is a credit to the poet in that the essence of any written work is to communicate with the reader. The beauty of the poem is greatly enhanced by the choice of words of the poet. As a matter of fact, the poet chooses his words with great carefulness and the words are arranged in such a pleasant manner so as to describe clearly what he is conveying to us the reader.
Alliteration: This means repetition of consonant sounds in a line of poetry or in any literary work. Some notable examples as used in the poem are: “boozed and boozed” (‘b’ alliterates), “rules and regulations” (‘r’ alliterates), “celebrating the celebration” (‘c’ alliterates), “bottle booze” (‘b’ alliterates), “faithful to fatherland” (‘f’ alliterates).
Irony: This means opposite of what one is saying. In this poem, it is an irony that a government driver who retired for respite after many years of active service and who has already moderated his “boozy throat” should end his life sadly and shockingly in such a manner of being careless on wheels after ex excessive drinks made him drove against his personal control.
Euphemism: This is s figure in which we speak of harsh and unpleasant things in a favourable or pleasant manner. One notable example in the poem is found in the expression as, “Home to rest in peace” (death).
Repetition: Certain words are repeated for effect. The poetic device is to achieve emphasis and to compel attention and this is true in literary way of speaking. Examples as used in this poem are: “fatherland”, “celebration”, “boozed”, “Joy”, “faithful”, “home”.
Hyperbole: This is a form of expression that is an overstatement of fact or exaggeration and is often found in poetry than in prose. The poetic effect is to give emphasis to the point which the poet wants to make. One notable example in the poem is found in the expression, “Today frees and makes me a King”.
Metonymy: By this figure, a writer, instead of calling a thing by its true name, describes it by one thing closely associated with it. One notable example in the poem is found in the expression like “many years on wheels”.
Synedoche: This is a figure very like metonymy. It is often called the whole and part figure. (That is the taking of a part for whole or a whole for a part). One notable of this literary device in this poem is found in the expression,”my patience rewarded.
Form/Structure: The poem has seven stanzas with all built up to the thematic message of the poem – the need for self-control during joyous and celebration period which the last stanza to a large extent captures the sad event that occurred in the poem.
Onomatopoeia: It is the tendency in words to echo the meaning by the actual sound. Some onomatopoeic words in the poem are: “boomed”, “pummeled”, “boozy”, “boozed”. By pronouncing each of these words and listening to it, we see that the sound is related to the meaning of the word.


  • The need for self-control during joyous and celebration period.
  • Vanity of human existence.
  • Theme of hardwork, obedience, dedication, discipline and selflessness to duty.
  • A patient dog eats the fattest bone.
  • Death ends human struggles on earth.
  • Determination coupled with confidence, brings success.

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