BOYS TO MEN

The older I get,
The more I miss my father.
The more knowing I grow,
The more I miss him.
The more I know him.
The more I understand him.
We live life forwards,
But understand life backwards.
When it‘s too late to change anything,
That’s when we understand everything.
The young shall grow.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije
(I just feel like remembering today)

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FEAR NOT THE IDES OF MARCH

Fear not the Ides of March
Go boldly your path to the end
What’s unclear today, another Plutarch
Will explain one day again

Fear not the Ides of March
Fear is the foe of your nature
Your feet it’ll drag, tongue it’ll patch –
Heed not every Seer or Preacher

Fear not the Ides of March
Though your friends turn into traitors
Or family conspirators, sly and arch,
Join and jubilate with your tribulators

Fear not the Ides of March
Death cannot upturn your victory
Tough as larch and strong as starch
Shall eternally inspire your Story.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
15.03.2019

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.

MISSING

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.

FARSIGHTEDNESS

There is a Nigerian saying
What a child cannot see from a treetop
An adult can see from the ground
They usually say it with a gentle smile

The boy that I was, the child now in me
Was nourished by my mother’s love
While the man I was becoming, who now I am
Was nurtured by my father’s severity

So when they say true love is severity
And severity is sometimes the truest of love
I guess I know now, in retrospect,
What they mean to say between the lines

It is impossible to see both sides –
Day and Night – simultaneously
You have to experience them one by one
And then piece it together in your mind.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.