MOTHER

Happy 70th Birthday to my dear

MOTHER

If heaven were but a grain
Of those arms on which I was once lain
And only a mere faint echo
Of that inspiration which has become my life-long shadow
Then claim me kiss of death
That upon your hearth
Mother Again will be my first breath
And I’ll never crave rebirth.

It is between Scylla and Charibdis
For me to start to describe what it is
To eternity in the warmth of a bossom
And the gentle resourcefulness of a flower in blossom
So comforting and caring
So loving and true
This comes straight from my heart:
Mother, I love you.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
1990.

I wrote this poem for my mother when I was 16. Today, almost three decades later, the words still hold true.

HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY, MUM.

FAMILY

Is it those that smile at you
Or those that frown at you?

Is it those with the same blood
flowing through their veins
Or those with the same thoughts
springing from their hearts?

Is it those who want nothing from you
even when they’re there
Or those who always want something from you
even when they’re not there?

Is it really a bound tree
With invisible tangled-up roots?
Or is it an open sea
Rolling freely in all directions?

Does the departed soul really stop and turn back
Or does it hurry away into another life?
Are all those who call themselves family
There to bind or to free each other?

Is protection sometimes limitation?
Is liberation sometimes abandonment?
Is a kiss sometimes an embracing of betrayal?
Is severity sometimes an anchorage of love?

Only the sincere should read your inner book.
Only the sincere should read your inner book.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MISSING

Missing flower 1

Where are you?
The police have looked high and low
Community watch and kind strangers near and far
Have tried your trail to follow

The orange tree we planted
Yields season after season bitter bitter fruits
That would turn sweet were you but here
To pick them off their roots

The children you lovingly bore
Daily older grow, as beautiful as you were
They ask where their mother is
Unable to comprehend how people disappear

I wish we hadn’t gone on that holiday
I wish you hadn’t taken that stroll
That night alone to watch the waves
The ensuing years have taken their toll

My thoughts spank of guilt
I should have been your guard on every walk
What happened, my love? Footsteps don’t talk
Time is a blackboard of fading chalk

Give me a sign of life
Calm my heart, let us know
You’re happy, even in the beyond somewhere
Saying goodbye, I love you in my soul

Strength is a luxury
But succour shall whisper quietly some day
All good things come together in their own day
In their own way, this I pray.

Waiting and waiting in vain
For you to return, to talk, share and to listen
Where are you, my dear? Your picture is silent
Written above it, that killing word, still: MISSING.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

DADDY DEAR

Ashes to ashes…

Dust to dust…

Spirit to spirit…

Have mercy, o Holy Ghost!

CDKC

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

Another anniversary of the day I beheld for the last time the noble countenance of my father. Then we closed the coffin and confered his cloak into the warm arms of Mother Earth. And set the spirt free for the Flight back Home. Always in my fondest Memories, Daddy dear… 22.5….

(Pic: my first day in Boarding School, Sep 1995 – King’s College. Lagos)

SONS OF MOTHERS

Set the trap
In the taste
In the tastes.

They’ll eat out of your hand
And see you
And seek you
In everything, in every woman, in every land.

Make them enemies of their father
They’ll see him
They’ll fight him
They’ll hate him in every man
Even in themselves.

Crown their hearts
With their father’s good image
They’ll revere him, uphold him, replicate him
In themselves, their sons too, their world, the world.

Power is subtle
When subtly broken
Or subtly woken.

CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.

WHERE SHE IS, HOME IS

Where she is is home,
Hope, I shall no longer roam
Any further, she’s my world,
My home, around me curled,
Unfurled, wanting me bad,
I, this never-ending fairy-lad.
Home, where she is is
Home, hope, land of bliss, is
Where I stay, I roam no more,
I return home and want no more.

– che chidi chukwumerije

AT HOME

When you already have
What you’re looking for
What are you still looking for?

What are you still living for?

Some live to find – when they find
Their life finds meaning

Some live to seek – when they find
Their life loses meaning

They must seek a new meaning
To their lives

To appreciate what you already have
To cherish it, to nourish it, to
Protect it, maintain it, value it and
Valorise it
Make something more out of something less.

Sometimes there is nothing better
Out there.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

BABY

He’s lying in the midst of his toys
And what language do they speak
To one another? They seem to understand
Each other. It’s his smile
That makes me strong.

I’m glad he can’t interpret my frown
When I look out of the window
Into the world, into the times –
Yes I’m glad for him
Let him store happiness in his heart today.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije..

EVENING

A dog is barking higher up
On the mountain
A worried sounding woof
Every few seconds
I wonder if someone is missing again

Down in the valley there is a train
That rushes past. It sounds like
A river every few minutes
Carrying someone’s dreams into
Another person’s thoughts

I’m trying not to pay attention to the
Conversation taking place beside me
The emotions are strong
Father and daughter gently tying
Up the memories of years past

Just like I waited six days
To finish this poem
So they also waited all these years
To finally say, at the departure, I love you
Please forgive me.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.